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Old Dec 14, 2005, 09:59 PM   #1
FPSHOT
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Default 1987 George interview with "The Beep"

I just found this nice interview with George, from 1987, which was in The Sunday Tribune October 18, 1987.

I need to do this in 2 parts because of too many characters LOL

http://www.bpfallon.com/article_harrison.html

"Sometimes it feels like another world, another life, some previous incarnation," George Harrison says. "I view it a bit through a haze but, y'know, people don't ever stop talking about it so it's hard to got too much distance between myself and The Beatles."
George Harrison doesn't mind that, not anymore. "I used to," he admits. "I used to not like it at all. I wanted to be free of it. Now I've learned to live with it. And also, don't forget, there was a period when The Beatles split up and there were all kind of court cases and bad vibes and stuff and that left a bad taste in the mouth for a while but after the years it's all cleared up, everybody's friends again."
He's sitting in a little office in the house owned by his company Handmade Films, just off Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge in London, a few streets behind Harrods. Fourty-four-years old this man is, he has a bit of a beard and his shortish hair is swept back and there are new lines on his face. He drinks coffee and smokes ciggies and when you sit talking to the geezer you can't help but feel warmth for him.
As one of John, Paul, George And Ringo, The Fab Four, as a member of the most popular, the most inventive, the most influential rock group of all time, he has gone through one of the strangest trips ever. They were Gods once, The Beatles. And sitting here now, George Harrison comes across as a normal bloke.

He was born in Liverpool, the fourth child of Harold and Louse Harrison. George's father was a bus driver - before that, he had been a ship's steward on the White Star Line for ten years and from one of his travels in America had returned with an old wind-up gramophone and records by bluesman and yodeller Jimmie Rodgers and country singer Hank Williams. Young George was smitten. He listened to skiffle, people like Lonnie Donegan and songs about the Rock Island Line. And then he heard Elvis Presley singing Hearbreak Hotel.
"It came out of somebody's radio," George Harrison says, gazing out the window at the autumn light fading behind the trees, "and it lodged itself in the back of my head. It's been there ever since."
At the age of 13, for £3, he bought his first guitar. Two years later, Paul McCartney introduced George to his friend John Lennon (George - "this snotty-nosed kid" as Lennon recalled). George joined John and Paul in their skiffle group The Quarreymen. In 1962, when George was 19, John, Paul, George and their new drummer Ringo Starr made their first record together. It was a fresh-sounding bluesey pop record called Love Me Do and they now called themselves The Beatles.

They changed the world, these four Scouse moptops making new noises and singing about wanting to hold your hand and about walruses and about revolution and all you need is love.
And for eight years The Beatles were bigger than Jesus.

For a while, The Beatles - at very least by example - endorsed smoking dope and taking LSD. John, Paul and George were each busted at least once for breaking the cannabis laws. "A lot of the stuff that happened..." - and then George brings himself up to the present tense - that happens, it's just like when Prohibition was on. If they make a big deal about stuff it becomes bigger than it actually is. In moderation... you have to have moderation in everything. The worst drug of all is alcohol... it actually kills more people then heroin." He says he was fortunate as a kid to see a film about the trumpet player Chet Baker, about Baker's heroin addiction, "and that and maybe something else made me aware that this thing was just too much.
"Of course, the other things, the psychedelic drugs, are much different because they don't put your body in a stupour, they sort of..." and now he's laughing... "they sort of catapult you out into the universe. It's a totally different perspective." Then his voice is serious again. "These things obviously can be very dangerous too. I'd hate to have some right now because I don't think I could handle it. It just gives you too many things to think about all at once."

Love and peace went out the bathroom window when The Beatles split in 1970, with Paul McCartney publicly announcing he had left. George says he realised The Beatles weren't shaking a couple of years before that. "Everyone was just getting all uptight with each other. The new wives were coming in and, y'know, living under the piano and there was no privacy anymore for us as far as the group was concerned in what was normally the only privacy we ever had, the four of us when we got into a studio. And we'd just grown away from each other. One time or another every one of us left that group before we finally stopped."
George left during the making of what would be Let It Be. Ringo left another time "and went on holiday, and John was always wanting to leave and Paul too. You know, it was too much pressure and we'd been through those years. It was just too much.
He emphasises that the remaining three Beatles are good pals, now. "Paul and I went through a shaky period but we're okay, now. All the old aggravations have passed a long time ago. There's no reason not to be friends."

By 1971 George Harrison was the most successful solo Beatle, with his triple album All Things Must Pass and the enormous hit My Sweet Lord. Four years later his single Ding Dong Ding Dong - a record even worse than McCartney's Mary Had A Little Lamb - was the first release by a solo Beatle to fail to enter the charts. Several years later a court ordered him to pay £260,000 damages for plagiarising the Chiffons' song he's So Fine with My Sweet Lord. That Harrison had modeled My Sweet Lord on another song, the gospel Oh Happy Day by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, was bad enough. That he had to pay the money to his former manager Allen Klein - "a looney who didn't take care of business" George describes him now- because Klein had scooped up the publishing of He's So Fine... that rubbed salt into the wound.
His career and also his marriage to his first wife Patti Boyd were in pieces. Patti had gone to live with George's close pal Eric Clapton, who had written Layla about his best friend's wife. George started drinking heavily, contracting a serious liver complaint that his friends feared might be the end of him.
George's chum Eric Idle had found it impossible to raise the necessary finance to make the Monty Python film Life Of Brian, so George chipped in with half the required money, £2,250,000. It turned out to be one of the best investments George had ever made, reaping a profit of more than £30,000,000.
Since then, Harrison and his film company Handmade Films have scored with another Monty Python film The Meaning Of Life - banned in Ireland - and delivered films like Time Bandits and Mona Lisa as well as Shanghai Express, a disaster for its stars Sean Penn and Madonna and its producer Harrison. But what the heck. George isn't short of a few shekels.

In 1978, George married Olivia Trinidad Arias, a 27-year-old who had been born in Mexico and had been working as a secretary in A&M Records in Los Angeles. George's health had been desperate. He was fading away. Olivia contacted the Chinese acupuncturist Dr. Zion Yu and within weeks of treatment George had regained his energy and his spirit.
They have a nine-year-old son named Dhani - the Indian for wealthy - and the other day he asked his father to make him up a cassette of Chuck Berry songs. After George appeared at the Prince's Trust concert in London five months ago with Ringo, Eric Clapton and Elton John, Dhani came backstage. George had sung his own Beatle compositions While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes The Sun. "I asked him 'What did you think?' and he said 'Uh, you were alright Dad, but why didn't you do Chuck Berry songs like Roll Over Beethoven and Johnny Be Good and Rock'n'Roll Music?'"
He has a new LP out any day now, his first in five years. It's called Cloud Nine. "Have you heard the album?" he asks solicitously. "No? I'll see if someone's got a copy."
George Harrison wanders off, and returns with a young woman who says "It's a bootleg I taped from the CD." George flips the cassette into the music system and spins it through, looking for a specific track. "I think you might like this one," he says in his dry Liverpudlian drawl, settling himself into another chair as he watches for reactions.
Ringo's drums with cellos straight from Lennon's I Am The Walrus lead into George singing with fondness for former Beatle times. It's a track that could fit on a Beatle record and it's called When We Was Fab. "Fab... but it's all over now baby blue" George sings, and at the end there's sitar sounds like George cosmicing out on Sgt. Pepper. It's... well, fab.

When John Lennon was murdered in 1980, George Harrison didn't suddenly lock himself away from the world in his Gothic mansion. Near the riverside town of Henley-On-Thames, this bizarre 70-roomed palace called Friar Park was remodeled a century ago by the eccentric Sir Frankie Crisp and is set in 33 acres of parkland with three lakes with secret stepping stones so one can appear to walk on water, underground caves linked by a river and a reproduction of the Alps that includes a perfect 100 foot high replica of the Matterhorn. George was already in hiding.
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Old Dec 14, 2005, 10:02 PM   #2
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"I was already trying to hold onto some sort of privacy. I think everyone needs to have a bit of space, y'know. I mean, if you were just being mobbed and on the TV and that all your life you just turn into a loony, and long before John got shot I was already just digging in the garden, planting trees and just trying not to go on television, just having a bit of peace.
"But what it did, it affected me probably like anyone who loved John and who grew up with him and his music. And it was a very sad thing and, um, it didn't make me feel..." Harrison's voice trails off, and for a moment his eyes look away and he's lost in private thoughts. He looks back. " It made me wonder about ever gettin' into situations where there's fans, although at the time you can't blame fans for that. There's one loony in every crowd, I suppose. But I go on living normally. I don't panic unnecessarily."

There was talk that for Live Aid Paul, George, Ringo and Julian Lennon might let it Beatle together, but George dismisses any idea of reunions. "I don't think we'll play together. The Beatles certainly can't play again and I think it's best left as it is, y'know."
Long before Live Aid, George Harrison's Concerts For Bangladesh raised £45,000,000 for the starving. He didn't appear at Live Aid but says if he'd known more about it "maybe I would have done it but they did alright without me."
George talks at length about the planet, his concerns about destruction. Last year he participated in an anti-nuclear rally in Trafalgar Square, and he's a member of the ecological organisation Greenpeace. "I love those people because they go out and actually do it. I mean, if it wasn't me that's the kind of thing I'd like to be, out there on a ship getting harpooned by Russians and Japanese."

At the turn of the Seventies, George became a benefactor to the Hare Krishna movement. He not only made records with them and talked about them publicly but also forked out a quarter of a million pounds to buy them a 15-room Elizabethan mansion with 17 acres of land.
Since then, George's friend His Divine Grace Guru Bhaktivechanta Swami, the leader and founder of the International Society For Krishna Consciousness, who was 77 when they met, has died. George feels that some of the remaining Krishnas have at times abused his patronage, and he cites letters from people who wrote saying that they were hassled at airports by devotees using Harrison's name.
Nevertheless, he still subscribes to "the Swami's ancient Vedic way of having God consciousness. The technique of chanting, just like the monks and Christians, they do it too really but it's just using beads and chanting these ancient mantras... they do have great affect. I wouldn't knock them at all. I am always a bit dubious about organisations and since the swami died it does seem to be chaotic, with all kinds of guys thinking they're the gurus. To me, it's not important to be a guru, it's more important just to be, to learn humility."
And George still chants. "I've still got my bag of beads and they're really groovy now, all polished up."

Is he a happy chap? "Yeah, I'm okay. Sometimes I get depressed. It's a constant battle, isn't it? You have to consciously make an effort to be happy and considering everything, I've come along quite nicely. There's always room for improvement but, um, I have a laugh and I feel quite good about things."
He believes in reincarnation. "The only reason we're actually in these bodies is to learn and develop love of God and liberate our souls from this round and round, the Memphis Blues." He reckons he'll come back again. "Well," he says laughing, "by the look of things I'll probably have to... but I'd like to give it a pass one of these incarnations!"

And, George Harrison, what would you like to be remembered for?
He pauses. "I don't know... I don't know." And then he smiles and looks you directly in the eyes and you see the face of a man still searching, still looking to extend his gentle vision for all time. He'd like to be remembered, he finally says, "just as somebody who's not bad, not that bad...
"That'll do, yeah."

Fair play to you, George.
..........................................
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Old Dec 14, 2005, 10:05 PM   #3
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I like this interview

Now...who is this "Beep" person. Quite a characher:

Renaissance man, submerged in music all his life.
Irish. Discjockey on the radio since 17 years old. Photographer and writer. Rock'n'roll sage. Publicist and media guru to Led Zeppelin and T.Rex and Tone Loc. Played tom toms on Whole Lotta Love live, described by Marc Bolan as "Purple browed Beep" in the T.Rex hit Telegram Sam.

No spring chicken, this bald creature has traversed rainbows.

Mimed bass guitar with John Lennon on Top Of The Pops [photo], worked at The Beatles' Apple Records where one of his jobs was testing Paul McCartney's grass.

Press Officer at the infant Island Records, representing Traffic, Joe Cocker, Free, King Crimson and Jimmy Cliff.

Among the backing vocalists on U2's Pride (In The Name Of Love). Transformed Bob Geldof into pop star and Ian Dury into Blockhead. Played harmonica on the Johnny Thunders album So Alone alongside two Sex Pistols and Chrissie Hynde, Phil Lynott and Steve Marriott.

Has photographed everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis to Public Enemy, Emmylou Harris to Iggy Pop.
Author of three best-selling books - words and photography - including U2 Faraway So Close, his adventures when he joined U2 on their legendary global Zoo TV tour as DJ, Guru And Viber, deejaying live to 1.8 million people. Wrote, presented and with Bill Kates produced Zoo Radio, broacast in US on 600 radio stations and in Europe by the BBC. Presented ABC TV's In Concert, hosted and deejayed ABC TV's New Year Special featuring Keith Richards.

Lives in New York and Dublin. Broadcasts regularly in Ireland on RTE and TodayFM, including for the last two years TodayFM's BP Fallon's New Year's Eve Wipeout with guest deejay Sinead O'Connor.

As Fallon And Alan has been deejaying live in New York and Detroit with Alan McGee [see 'Alan McGee on the legend of King Boogaloo'] and in July toured Japan with Alan, wowing audiences in Tokyo and Osaka.

Described in Hammer Of The Gods as "a visionary imp", described by Vogue magazine as "a gentle wispy sorcerer", described by Bono as " a rock'n'roll creature. The only white black man I know apart from Bob Dylan".
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Old Dec 15, 2005, 03:27 AM   #4
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Thank you for posting the interview, FPSHOT. 1987 seemed to be a banner year for George. I think he was a very interesting person and I always enjoy reading his views on issues.
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 07:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FPSHOT
his single Ding Dong Ding Dong - a record even worse than McCartney's Mary Had A Little Lamb - was the first release by a solo Beatle to fail to enter the charts.
Dang it. I like both songs. I think he wrote much worse ones. I won't name them of course. And Paul, he wrote much much worse ones. The entire Press To Play LP for instance.

Thanks for the interview, mate!
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 10:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkhorse


Dang it. I like both songs. I think he wrote much worse ones. I won't name them of course.
Thanks for the interview, mate!
hahahaI saw that part too and thought "Ding Dong is a great song !!!"

Yes you better not mention the "much worse ones" LOL because as you know we will no doubt have a debate on them.
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 11:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FPSHOT
"George talks at length about the planet, his concerns about destruction. Last year he participated in an anti-nuclear rally in Trafalgar Square, and he's a member of the ecological organisation Greenpeace. "I love those people because they go out and actually do it. I mean, if it wasn't me that's the kind of thing I'd like to be, out there on a ship getting harpooned by Russians and Japanese."
I love this side of George too.
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 06:32 AM   #8
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So do I.

And I agree - "Ding Dong, Ding Dong" is one of the many songs I like and yeah, I do think it is better than a few others he wrote (not to name them either, of course).

What is so wonderful about this interview is that it is pure, natural George -- you get the sense that you are, in a sense, getting an even deeper sense of who George was and what made him tick.

Thank you again, FPSHOT for posting this interview.
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 09:39 AM   #9
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"Not that bad." Can you imagine? If he only knew how "not that bad" he was.
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Old Dec 18, 2005, 06:29 AM   #10
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That's a very sweet interview, lovely to read, thanks for posting FPSHOT!
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