JOHN LENNON NEVER BEFORE HEARD INTERVIEW TAPES
A recording on two high quality cassette tapes between Bill Jobes and John Lennon on February 6, 1975. At the time Mr. Jobes was a staff correspondent for The Washington Star Newspaper. Mr. Jobes interviewed Lennon for an investigation he was doing into the US government efforts to deport him. They spoke for an hour about a wide range of topics including Lennon's music, working with other artists, The Beatles, his experiences as a target of intelligence agents and the role of artists in society. The article resulted in a question and answer feature article. Few people have heard this recording and it is a remarkable insight into Lennon's true love of America and his feelings toward his life and future. The tapes start off as an interview and then become a discussion between Mr. Jobes and Lennon.
JOBES: Tell me about working with Elton John
LENNON: I did not work with him a lot but I did work on Lucy...I did all the reggae, that was my contribution...There was not time for the legal department to okay my name for credits so I used Dr. Winston O'Reggae... In those days we all did.
JOBES: Is there a lot of that going around?
LENNON: It's true, yes we all did...Those days things were secretive, nowadays companies give other musicians credit...Just last night I played with David Bowie, and I am going to call EMI tomorrow to make sure I get the credit... But in the old days, we just did it.. You can hear Mick and Paul in Carly Simon's You're So Vain track.. Once you know it, you can always hear Mick...You can not miss it.
JOBES: Do you get bothered walking down the street?
LENNON: No, it's not 1965. Sure I get stopped for autographs...If you are having an opening or you have had a lot of publicity lately then its different... Like Led Zepplin is right now...But staged publicity generates the most...Take Sgt. Pepper's Opening...I will never forget it. It was an amazing experience...I could hardly get into the theatre. It was such a peculiar feeling.. For a while before that album, I forgot what it was like.. This is how it is?
JOBES: Tell me about your average day?
LENNON: I do not have an average day....I do all my composing and song writing at home....mostly on the piano.
JOBES What is happening to music now?
LENNON: I have no idea
JOBES: What was going through your head when you came here?
LENNON: Literally, I got off the plane in 1971 and Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were the first people that contacted me. Before I even knew it, I started performing at these rallies...Being an artist, I sort of go with the wind and the next thing I knew my phone was being bugged....I took them for face value..., I took them for what they said, we used to argue about peace and violence as Yoko and I were against the violence no matter what the revolution was about...And then an article in Rolling Stone came out that said Yoko and John heading a rally in San Diego during the Republican Convention..nothing had been confirmed, then the roof came down...A lot of discussion about it... The next minute there is noise on the phone and people outside my door, I realize my phone is being tapped... I was being followed... My feeling was I supposed to know as they did not try to hide...the thing that stopped it was I went on the Dick Cavett Show and told everyone... nervously and quickly .... think back, then there was no Watergate, and I was begining to doubt my own sanity.... My friends told me I was a rock and roller and to stop being paranoid.
Jobes and Lennon then get into a discussion about John and Yoko's problems with immigration and the rest of the tape is basically a discussion between the two. Below are some of John's comments:
Immigration case said that they were just treating us the same.... They said they treated Yoko exactly the same but after she had been to court, spent money, they realized that she had no court case of marijuana in England, she did have a green card from her first husband and that we were just two peaceniks... They had nothing on her, rather then that she was my wife....we knew that instructions were coming from Washington even though they kept saying that it was a local case...but we found out that a letter was sent Strom Thruman.... Leon, our immigration lawyer was great, he knew from the start that they were not treating us like normal aliens.... lots of well to do Liberals helped us....some would tell us that if we got the right high powered lawyer in Washington then it would be over right away but if the case has to be solved by knowing someone, I do not want it to end that way... I have been wronged, I am not causing a riot, and I am basically a musician... I thought it over a lot...This has caused me a lot of bread, pain and harassment...I am scared to leave America.
I have paid since I have been here, a round figure about a half a million in tax just to live here and I saw in a few papers that Mr. Lennon is here because this is the land of milk and honey.. But I am paying my way...I employ people, I generate money and I pay my taxes... That's a lot of taxes considering I have not done much lately....I wanted to go on the road but Immigration held me back.. I have a good time in this country...I want to be here...I am not leaving....I am a good citizen..I bring people more pleasure then pain... Why are they doing this to me?..It's stupid.
I think Watergate is the best thing that has happened in the world. It could only happen here...That's why I love this country.. I love the energy and the people. ..I do not resent people...who can I resent? I am going to sit this out..
I love New York City...There is nothing in the world you can not find in New York City and most you can get on the phone..
I want to be liquid, not penniless, no big offices.... Lennon Music is a small office...there is one girl... I just want to make the music, write the songs... I no longer have the dream of wanting to be the record company... The Beatles were a huge business... A giant industry and suddenly we found ourselves involved in all these companies...We just wanted to be rock musicians and the next minute we turn around and people are asking us to make all these decisions...Can we use your image on a lunch box?... I am an artist and that's what I want to be... let me make the music...the record business is filled with lawsuits and the immigration is just one lawsuit. I would like to live life without litigation.
The Long and Winding road...It has its prophecy...I panicked after I wrote it that maybe I will end up broke...And not just about money... I did not want to be possessed by material goods. I did not want it to take over my life.