1969-12 - Canadian Radio - John Lennon
Interviewed By Marshall McLuhan
Radio Station Interview
Mirraussaga, Ontario, Canada
MARSHALL McLUHAN: Can you recall the occasion or the immediate reasons for getting involved in music?
JOHN LENNON: I heard Elvis Presley and that was it. There were lots of other things going on, but that was the conversion. I kind of dropped everything.
MARSHALL: You felt you could do it at least as well as he could?
JOHN: Yeah. But I thought we better get a few people together because maybe we wouldn’t make it alone. So we did a team job.
MARSHALL: The British are still more team-oriented than the Americans. In terms of performance, the star system doesn’t play quite as well in England. The private star.
JOHN: They have a reaction to that in England, treating their stars and entertainers like animals. We’re not quite like the Americans, to be hyped by Hollywood. The attitude is be quiet, do a dance at the London Palladium and stop talking about peace. That’s what we get in London.
MARSHALL: Language is a form of organized stutter. Literally, you chop your sounds up in order to talk. Now when you sing you don’t stutter, so singing is a way of stretching language into long, harmonious patterns and cycles. What do you think about the language in your songs?
JOHN: Language and song to me, apart from being pure vibrations, are like trying to describe a dream to each other, to verify to each other what we know, what we believe is inside each other. And the stuttering is right, because we can’t say it. No matter how you say it, it’s never how you want to say it.
MARSHALL: The moment you sing, do you feel you are communicating more?
JOHN: Yes, because the words are irrelevant.
MARSHALL: Rowan and Martin say, “We don’t tell jokes; we project a mood.” You’re also concerned with projecting a mood and defining it. Putting down some pattern so that other people can find the pattern and participate.
JOHN: As soon as you find the pattern, you break it. Otherwise, it gets boring. The Beatles’ pattern is one that has to be scrapped. If it remains the same, it’s a monument, or a museum, and one thing this age is about is no museums. The Beatles turned into a museum, so they have to be scrapped, deformed or challenged.
MARSHALL: They’re in danger of becoming in good taste?
JOHN: They’ve passed that. They have be thoroughly horsewhipped.
MARSHALL: Do you think we’re moving into new rhythms and patterns?
JOHN: Just complete freedom and nonexpectation from audience, musician or performer. And when we’ve had that for a hundred years, then we can talk about playing around with patterns and bars and music again. We must get away from the patterns we’ve had for thousands of years.
MARSHALL: We’ve this means very much in the way or decentralizing our world, doesn’t it?
JOHN: Yes. We must be one country and stick together. You don’t have to have badges to say we’re together. We’re together if we’re together and no stamps or flags are going to make anybody together folks.
[size="1"][ Jun 17, 2003, 12:14 AM: Message Edited By: Jerry ][/size]