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There is nothing else to do: you smash the place up, and you insult everybody. We were all listening to Sleepy John Estes and all that in art school, like everybody else. Except for the track with Ornette Coleman from the past that we put on to show people that she wasn’t discovered by the Beatles and that she’s been around a few years. we are going to put out “Oldies But Goldies” next for Yoko. Ono: There is this thing that he just goes on falling in love with all sorts of things. Listen to “Cold Turkey.” Ono: He’s screaming there already. Listen to it, and you’ll hear what she is putting down. I’m influenced by her music 1000 percent more than I ever was by anybody or anything. And when the musicians play with her, they’re inspired out of their skulls. I announced “Cold Turkey” at the Lyceum saying, “I’m going to sing a song about pain.” So pain and screaming was before Janov. I went through therapy with him like I told you and I’m probably looser all over. You said that you wrote most of the songs in California? Actually I wrote “Mother” in England, “Isolation” in England and a few more. You said that this would be the first “Primal Album.” When did I say that? Ono: He is sort of like any artist, because he really wants to be honest to himself and to the album, I suppose. The Primal Scream is a mirror and he was looking at the mirror. You say you can make the guitar speak; what songs have you done that on? You see, a lot of you people want technical things; it’s like wanting technical films. When Paul was feeling kindly, he would give me a solo! I like rock and roll and the direction they took after they got over trying to imitate us, you know, but he’s even going to do Apple now. He’s obviously so upset by how big the Beatles are compared with him; he never got over it. What did you think of that review in the New York Times of “Sgt. You said at one point, you have to write songs that can justify your existence. I write songs because that’s the thing I chose to do. Sometimes I felt as though you worked to justify your existence, but you don’t; you work to exist, and vice versa, and that’s it, really. You say on your record that “The freaks on the phone won’t leave me alone, so don’t give me that brother, brother.” Because I’m sick of all these aggressive hippies or whatever they are, the “Now Generation,” being very up-tight with me. I read that Eldridge Cleaver said that Blacks gave the middle class whites back their bodies, and put their minds and bodies together. It gets through; it got through to me, the only thing to get through to me of all the things that were happening when I was 15.

But we were groomed and we dropped all of that and whatever it was that we started off talking about, which was what singing … But it is like he fell in love with some girl or something and he wrote this song. Lennon: Listen to “Twist and Shout.” I couldn’t sing the damn thing I was just screaming. I don’t know how much they played her record later. They’ve probably gone away and forgotten all about it. What he does is just patching up something that is sort of interesting — so-so, or something. When you came out to San Francisco, you wanted to take an advertisement to say, “This Is It! Listen to “Why” on Yoko’s album “I Found Out.” I think it’s nice. Most critics of rock and roll, and guitarists, are in the stage of the Fifties when they wanted a technically perfect film, finished for them, and then they would feel happy. Maybe if he was feeling guilty that he had most of the “A” side or something, he would give me a solo. I think George produced some beautiful guitar playing. Now he’s in his old age, and he is beginning to knock us, you know, and he keeps knocking. Pepper” came out, did you know that you had put together a great album? Either on the street or anywhere, or on the phone, demanding my attention, as if I owed them something. They come to the door with a fucking peace symbol and expect to just sort of march around the house or something, like an old Beatle fan. He’s balmy, like any other Beatle-kind of fan who reads mysticism into it. Were any of those things really on the album that were said to be there? Rock and roll then was real, everything else was unreal. Ono: Classical music was basically 4-4 and then it went into 4, 3, 2, which is just a waltz rhythm and all of that, but it just went further and further away from the heartbeat. Rhythm became very decorative, like Schoenberg, Webern.

Paul had an impression, he has it now like a parent, that we should be thankful for what he did for keeping the Beatles going. And on the plane — Klein came with me — I told Allen, “It’s over.” When I got back, there were a few meetings, and Allen said well, cool it, cool it, there was a lot to do, businesswise you know, and it would not have been suitable at the time. ” And I said, “Only if you don’t talk,” because I just couldn’t think. We were going about ten miles an hour, but it seemed like a thousand and Patty was saying let’s jump out and play football. And then George’s house seemed to be just like a big submarine, I was driving it, they all went to bed, I was carrying on in it, it seemed to float above his wall which was 18 foot and I was driving it. That’s how I wrote “She Said, She Said” — “I know what’s it’s like to be dead.” It was a sad song, an acidy song I suppose. you see, a lot of early childhood was coming out, anyway. I said, “Well I can’t go on, you’ll have to do it and I’ll just stay and watch.” You know I got very nervous just watching them all. ” And they were saying, “Yeah.” They had all been very kind and they carried on making the record. We couldn’t eat our food, I just couldn’t manage it, just picking it up with our hands. We auditioned people to write for us and they came up with this guy.

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I was blocking the feelings, and when the feelings come through, you cry. Do you think the experience of therapy helped you become a better singer? We used to be a bit supercritical of each other, so we inhibited each other a lot. I’m not going to start saying that she did this and he did that. you don’t have to be born and bred in rock, she knows when a bass sound is right, and when a guy is playing out of rhythm and when the engineer — she had a bit of trouble — the engineer thinks well, who the hell is this? Anybody that sings with a guitar and sings about something heavy would tend to sound like this. I didn’t even realize that there were two in the song until somebody pointed it out. What is the difference between George Martin and Phil Spector? In the early days, I can remember what George Martin did. Like “In My Life” there is an Elizabethan Piano solo in it, so he would do things like that. We were getting heavy because we had done a few things and the thrill of recording had worn off a little. You said you were throwing up before you went on stage. Would you still be that nervous if you appeared in public? Personally, at home, I wouldn’t play that kind of music, I don’t want to hurt George’s feelings, I don’t know what to say about it. It’s all right, but it’s not him, it doesn’t mean a fucking thing. I’m a very nervous person, really, I’m not as big-headed as this tape sounds, this is me projecting through the fear, so I choose people that I know, rather than strangers. Because in spite of all the things, the Beatles could really play music together when they weren’t uptight, and if I get a thing going, Ringo knows where to go, just like that, and he does well. That’s the only thing I sometimes miss is just being able to sort of blink or make a certain noise and I know they’ll all know where we are going on an ad lib thing. Well, it will never be as new and it will never again do what it did to me then, but like “Tutti Fruitti” or “Long Tall Sally” is pretty avant garde. I would love to remix some of the early stuff, because it is better than it sounds. These bastards are just sucking us to death; that’s about all that we can do, is do it like circus animals.

And now I have Yoko there, and Phil there, alternatively and together, who sort of love me so that I can perform better, and I relaxed. It’s like that, but the looseness of the singing was developing on “Cold Turkey” from the experience of Yoko’s singing. I’m bound to be influenced by those, because that is the only kind of real folk music I really listen to. Did you put in “fucking” deliberately on “Working Class Hero? When I actually sang it, I missed a verse which I had to add in later. I was very near to it many times in the past, but, I would deliberately not put it in, which is the real hypocrisy, the real stupidity. In England it’s the day they blew up the Houses of Parliament so we celebrate by having bonfires every November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day. We would say “play like Bach” or something, so he would put 12 bars in there. Always that nervous, but what with one thing and another, it just had to come out some way. I’d sooner have “I Hear You Knocking” by Dave Edmonds, it’s the top of England now. Let’s re-approach that: always the Beatles were talked about — and the Beatles talked about themselves — as being four parts of the same person. A friend of Yoko’s in the village was talking about Dylan and “the One Note” as though he just discovered it. The Blues are beautiful because it’s simpler and because it’s real. What do you think of those concerts like the Hollywood Bowl? Some of them were good, but I didn’t like Hollywood Bowl. I resent being an artist, in that respect, I resent performing for fucking idiots who don’t know anything. I’m the one that’s feeling, because I’m the one that is expressing.

Allen, he’s a very creative guy, you know, he creates situations which create positions for them to move in, they all do it, you know, and it’s a sight to see. That’s when I decided: I could no longer artistically get anything out of the Beatles and here was someone that could turn me on to a million things. He said “I advise you not to leave,” and we all thought he was trying to keep us for an orgy in his house, and we didn’t want to know, and we went to the Ad Lib and these discotheques and there were these incredible things going on. When we went to the club we thought it was on fire and then we thought it was a premiere, and it was just an ordinary light outside. ” We were cackling in the streets, and people were shouting “Let’s break a window,” you know, it was just insane. When we finally got on the lift [an elevator in England] we all thought there was a fire, but there was just a little red light. We were in the garden, it was only our second one and we still didn’t know anything about doing it in a nice place and cool it. A “Hard Day’s Night,” I was on pills, that’s drugs, that’s bigger drugs than pot. It was more of a visual thing and a therapy, looking at yourself a bit. I write the music in the circumstances in which I’m in, whether its on acid or in the water. The story wasn’t bad but it could have been better.

They play a game, first they have a ritual, then they create. Everything seems as though it’s going to be trouble, like you can’t say anything about anybody, because you’re going to get sued, or something like that. I did a job on this banker that we were using, and on a few other people, and on the Beatles. I would have expanded the Beatles and broken them and gotten their pants off and stopped them from being God, but it didn’t work, and Yoko was naive, she came in and she would expect to perform with them, with any group, like you would with any group, she was jamming, but there would be a sort of coldness about it. Maybe after “Rubber Soul.” I can’t remember it exactly happening. They had all heard about it, and they didn’t know it was different from pot or pills and they gave us it. At some point, right between “Help” and “Hard Day’s Night,” you got into drugs and got into doing drug songs? But it didn’t write the music, neither did Janov or Maharishi in the same terms.

So that was a good way of coming to San Francisco to see you. There is nothing conceptually better than rock and roll. Just before I record, I go buy a few albums to see what people are doing. Rock and roll is going like jazz, as far as I can see, and the bullshitters are going off into that excellentness which I never believed in and others going off… Because we were performers — in spite of what Mick says about us — in Liverpool, Hamburg and other dance halls. He’s a black guy that was on a concert and sang “Strawberry Fields” or something. And there is one bit, one of those where it stops, one of those “carry that weights” where it suddenly goes boom, boom, on the drums and then we all take it in turns to play. I’ve never listened to the words, properly, it was just a noise. So I said to John, “Why do you always use that beat all the time?

Then I have an objective: “I’m going to do an act and this is what we are coming to do.” And we settle down and we just talk. Sounds like “Wop Bop a Loo Bop.” I like rock & roll, man, I don’t like much else. No group, be it Beatles, Dylan or Stones have ever improved on “Whole Lot of Shaking” for my money. Whether they have improved any, or whether anything happened. There’s a lot of great guitarists and musicians around, but nothing’s happening, you know. I consider myself in the avant garde of rock and roll. Because I expect more — maybe I expect too much from people — but I expect more. We were just a band that made it very, very, big that’s all. What we generated was fantastic, when we played straight rock, and there was nobody to touch us in Britain. Everybody spoke about the backwards thing on “Abbey Road.” That’s bullshit. The same beat, why don’t you do something a bit more complicated? And that’s when we made “Magical Mystery Tour.” That was the real… I don’t know, but we said we had some other surprise for them later. So it came to a point where I had to say something, of course, and Paul said, “What do you mean? So I said, “It’s out,” I couldn’t stop it, it came out. It went on for years, I must of had a thousand trips. He stayed with us two days, and wrote the whole thing based on our characters then: me, witty; Ringo, dumb and cute; George this; and Paul that. Maybe the others do, I don’t remember those kind of things, because it doesn’t mean anything, it’s all gone. So Brian died and then you said what happened was that Paul started to take over. But when you look back upon it objectively, he kept it going for his own sake. Paul made an attempt to carry on as if Brian hadn’t died by saying, “Now, now, boys, we’re going to make a record.” Being the kind of person I am, I thought well, we’re going to make a record all right, so I’ll go along, so we went and made a record. we always kept them on their toes, during our events period. To go back to Apple and the breakup of the Beatles, Brian died, and one thing and another… Then we were discussing something in the office with Paul, and Paul said something or other about the Beatles doing something, and I kept saying “No, no, no” to everything he said. People are under a delusion that they made us, when in fact we made them. I was getting all these sort of hysterical jokes coming out like speed, because I was always on that, too. I did some drawings at the time, I’ve got them somewhere, of four faces saying “We all agree with you! So LSD started for you in 1964: how long did it go on? The other Beatles didn’t get into LSD as much as you did? There were all these people serving us in the house and we were knocking food on the floor and all of that. He was a bit phony, like a professional Liverpool man — you know like a professional American. It’s the same joke, really, they are that insane about Allen, too. Part of the dream was that the Beatles were God or that the Beatles were the messengers of God, and of course yourself as God… There is a guy in England, William Mann, who was the first intellectual who reviewed the Beatles in the Times and got people talking about us in that intellectual way. Why should she take that kind of shit from those people? I’ll never forgive them, I don’t care what fuckin’ shit about Hare Krishna and God and Paul with his “Well, I’ve changed me mind.” I can’t forgive ’em for that, really. But the Beatles were artists, and all artists have fucking’ big egos, whether they like to admit it or not, and when a new artist came into the group, they were never allowed. See, when you start putting out messages, people start asking you “what’s the message? A dentist in London laid it on George, me and wives, without telling us, at a dinner party at his house. Bit by bit over a two-year period, I had destroyed me ego. Then Derek tripped me out at his house after he got back from L. He sort of said “You’re all right,” and pointed out which songs I had written. Lennon: That’s not the thing, the point I’m talking about is creating a situation around Apple and the Beatles in which Allen could come in, that is what I’m talking about, and he wouldn’t have gotten in unless I’d done it, and he wouldn’t have gotten in unless you’d done it, you made the decision, too. What were their reactions when you first brought Yoko by? Lennon: We were in our own dream, but they’re the kind of idiots that really think that Yoko split the Beatles, or Allen. When did you first start getting the reactions from people who listened to the records, sort of the spiritual reaction? Ringo was all right, so was Maureen, but the other two really gave it to us. I know it was very strange, and avant garde music is a very tough thing to assimilate and all that, but I’ve heard the Beatles play avant garde music — when nobody was looking — for years. I was slowly putting myself together round about Maharishi time.That’s what we were doing in Hamburg and smashing things up. In case he’s not sure of himself, he makes it double entendre. Paul was saying, “Don’t call it ‘Yer Blues,’ just say it straight.” But I was self-conscious and I went for “Yer Blues.” I think all that has passed now, because all the musicians… In October they returned to England, where they made their new albums. “Don’t Worry, Kyoko” was one of the fuckin’ best rock and roll records ever made. It was probably different, because those were actually bells slowed down that they used on the album. My own taste is different from that which I’ve played sometimes, which is called “cop out” to make money or whatever. I would like to ask a question about Paul and go through that. The camera work was set-up to show Paul and not anybody else. On top of that, the people that cut it, did it as if Paul is God and we are just lyin’ around there. And I knew there were some shots of Yoko and me that had been just chopped out of the film for no other reason than the people were oriented for Englebert Humperdinck. But they are not in the same class, music-wise or power-wise, never were. I’m not going to sacrifice love, real love, for any fuckin’ whore, or any friend, or any business, because in the end, you’re alone at night. But when I was hiding in Weybridge (1968) I used to think I wasn’t working there. There were very few people I could play those tapes to, and I played them to her, and then we made Two Virgins a few hours later. I just won’t get involved in too many things, that’s all. It’s silly to feel guilty that I’m not working, that I’m not doing this or that, it’s just stupid. We did put in like “tit, tit, tit” in “Girl,” and many things I don’t remember, like a beat missing or something like that could be interpreted like that. Is there a point at which you decided you and Yoko would give up your private life? We decided that if we were going to do anything, like get married or like this film we are going to make now, that we would dedicate it to peace and the concept of peace. Peace is still important and my life is dedicated to living — just surviving is what it’s about — really from day to day. But they were obviously all insane people, and then these other two came with him…. If we want to go bullshitting off into intellectualism with rock and roll then we are going to get bullshitting rock intellectualism. Let’s own up now and see who’s who, who is doing something about what, and who is making music and who is laying down bullshit. It gets through to you, it’s beat, go to the jungle and they have the rhythm.

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