Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon
Interview with Bob & Tom

November 7, 1991 - WFBQ Indianapolis


Tom: Morning. Welcome to Indianapolis. Sorry about the weather.

Julian: That's OK. (laughs) That's OK. I brought a friend along. This is Justin Clayton.

Bob: Justin...good to see ya.

Justin: How are you?

Julian: He's my main guitarist for 16 years now and has played on the last four albums.

Tom: Last time you were here I saw you down at the ah

Bob: It was the Sports Center.

Tom: Yeah it was the Sports Center. They no longer do concerts there, they now do them out at Deer Creek, but it was a great show.

Julian: Thank you!

Tom: Was that five years ago?

Bob: It might have been.

Tom: I had hair then (everyone laughs) so it was back in the good old days, but those were different times. I want to ask...open with a really stupid question. I read in the paper a couple weeks ago...

Julian: Yes...(laughs)

Tom: A friend of ours, Tim Allen has a new TV show on called Home Improvement...

Julian: Oh no, I know where you're going...

Tom: He's like this handyman, he's a comedian and did all this stuff. There's an article in the paper about real Hollywood and rock 'n' roll handymen, carpenters and stuff and it said...one of the things was "Julian Lennon lives in a fixer upper in Hollywood." Is that true?

Julian: Yeah...

Tom: See, I am too.

Bob: I heard you bought - didn't you buy some unusual home in the Hollywood Hills?

Julian: Well, yeah, that was a couple of years ago. That was about three years ago. I bought what was a 2nd World War bunker. It was actually - it had actually been converted into a house by the time I bought it, but it still had sort of foot...sorry...12-inch thick concrete walls which still had the mustard gas tubes.

Tom: Really?

Julian: Yeah it was pretty interesting.

Bob: Pretty good if you want to break up a party, huh?

Julian: (laughs) Oh yeah, no kidding, no kidding!

Tom: (laughs) Everybody out! So, but, you are, in fact, a carpenter and stuff?

Julian: Well, I mean, I like to do the odd bits around the house, you know. The painting, the fixing up one or two things...yeah, sure.

Tom: I just wanted to stretch the credibility of USA Today. He's got a new record out. Make up something about carpentry, we'll put him in this week...you know, these publicity people.

Julian: Yeah, it surprised me.

Tom: So, it was a surprise for you, too.

Julian: Yeah, it was.

Tom: Julian Lennon is our guest, along with Justin and you guys have your guitars. Do you want to start with something from the record or do you want to play a tune live? What do you feel? Do you want to rest for awhile and get your voice or...?

Julian: Let's talk for awhile... warm our throats up just a little bit.

Bob: Let me ask you a question about the song "Saltwater".

Julian: Yeah okay.

Bob: Is that Harrison playing lead guitar in there?

Julian: No...no...no. It was...

Bob: It sounds like Harrison's guitar it really does.

Julian: I know. I know! I originally wrote the guitar solo and played it on the demo and Bob Ezrin, the producer, and I thought, 'Well, Why don't we get the real guy in to do it?' and we called George and, unfortunately - I mean, we sent him the tapes over but at the time that he was going to try and do it for us was the time that Eric Clapton's kid died and so George was consoling Eric and it was a bit of a bad time but he, nevertheless, did do a couple of - threw a couple of rifts in and what we did was we got someone who was also a great guitar player, Steve Hunter to...

Tom: One of the best.

Julian: ...to throw a mixture of George's solo and mine together and that's the final thing that you hear.

Tom: While we're talking about that... why don't we play that to them?

Bob: Do you guys want to sing that live?

Julian: Well, yeah, we'd like to do that live.

Tom: Let's play something from the album so people get a taste of it. We're talking with Julian Lennon, along with Julian today, Justin, one of his guitar players is here.

Bob: Can I play the title track Help Yourself?

Julian: Sure, absolutely.

Tom: The album, clearly called Help Yourself. It's brand new. We just got it and we're just going to play something and come back. These guys will do some stuff live.

Bob: This is Julian Lennon Help Yourself Q95.

Help Yourself

Bob: Q95 That's Julian Lennon, our guest this morning, and Help Yourself title track to his album.

Tom: Ah - Julian Lennon is sitting next to us and Justin

Bob: Clayton

Tom: Clayton, Justin Clayton

Bob: Not Justin and Clayton.

Tom: Not Justin and Clayton is also here with their guitars. They're going to do something live for us in just a minute. So, you're living in Los Angeles these days?

Julian: Yeah, for the time being.

Bob: A little crowded out there for me.

Julian: Well, it's not only crowded but, I mean, just the air is quite - it's quite a sad situation to say the least.

Tom: You guys planning on going out on a tour?

Julian: Yeah, I mean, we're sort of tentatively talking about spring time because we've been on this promotional tour for about two and a half months already and we figure we'll go through Christmas and probably through the New Year and possibly take a little time off and put a band together and then hopefully get out there and play as many places for as long as we can as long as the demand is there.

Tom: This is your third album?

Julian: Fourth...slap you!

Tom: OK... Go ahead... I'm your piano teacher, give me a whack. (laughs) We're going to play some live stuff here and we'll play some other stuff from the new album. You guys want to do one now?

Julian: Yeah, sure. Yeah we'll give you a...

Bob: By the way, who's Mr. Jordan?

Julian: Mr. Jordan? God, that's...I have to think about four years ago now. He was a character in a film called Here Comes Mr. Jordan which was an old black and white movie which Heaven Can Wait was based on.  Which was the guy....

Bob: That's right...wasn't it James Mason?

Julian: That's right..that's right....who helped this guy who died before his time get back to earth in someone else's body to continue and finish what he had to do.

Bob: I didn't know it came from a movie... just wondering who Mr. Jordan was.

Julian: (laughs) That's OK.

Tom: What are we going to do here fellas?

Julian: We're going to do an edited version of Saltwater

Tom: Okay.

Julian: slightly edited... we don't have Steve Hunter doing a solo in here right now! I always like to dedicate this to all the people out there that are trying make this world a little better place for themselves and everybody else to live in. Are you ready Justin? Are we in tune as ever?

Julian and Justin play Saltwater

Bob: Great stuff. Beautiful song.

Tom: Beautiful. That was Julian Lennon live in the studio along with Justin Clayton. Great guitar playing and background vocals from Justin over in the corner. I know it's hard for you to sing before the ten o'clock hour.

Julian: We get (laughs) very self-critical and a little nervous at this time in the morning.

Bob: I would imagine.

Julian: But it's good to do it. It feels good to do it.

Tom: That was great. Great song. Just beautiful. I guess, well, back home in England it's like what - just after 3:00, just before 3:00 - so it's in the afternoon.

Bob: Yeah, but it's LA time it's 6:35.

Julian: Yeah LA time.

Tom: But you guys are doing a great job for this early hour. It's fabulous. Julian Lennon is our guest so stick around.

Bob: It's 9:39.

Commercial Break

Bob: 9:43 at Q95. You're with Bob and Tom in the morning.

Tom: Joining us in the studio Julian Lennon...

Julian: Hey hey hey!

Tom: ...along with Justin Clayton, a guitar player. Justin, one of the many guitar players on Julian's new album, along with the likes of who else? Steve Hunter, he counts for one, and can we play one of the tunes that he's featured on or do you guys want to play another song live? What's next? What should we do?

Julian: You want to hear one of yours Just, or one of ours, should I say? Either Maybe I Was Wrong or Imaginary Lines?

Justin: Um...

Julian: Speak or forever hold your peace!

Tom: What's your favorite song on the album, Justin? You were there when it was recorded.

Julian: Yeah, what's your favorite song, Just, for a change?

Tom: Tell the boss man.

Justin: It's not one that...

Julian: Well, it doesn't matter. What's your favorite...

Justin: Maybe, go on.

Julian: Maybe I Was Wrong.

Tom: Let's get back to square one here. We are speaking with Julian Lennon, his fourth album?

Julian: Correct! Thank you very much!

Bob: I noticed you guys have a writing credit on the Smithereens album...

Julian: That's right. That's right. Actually, Pat DiNizio is an old friend, acquaintance, that I bumped into many a time on the road and when I was writing in a little grey room he was in town and I asked him whether he wanted to pop by and so the song we wrote originally was for this album but it just didn't seem to fit with the rest of the stuff, so a couple of weeks later when I was in London he called me up and said 'Jules, Do you mind if we use the song we wrote?', and I said 'No, of course not' and I thought 'Well, they're either going to use it or they won't, you know, it's nice of them to ask' and then a week or two later I was in the car fumbling through the radio stations in London and there it was. I'm like, 'Yeah, that's great'. (Justin says something in background) What? Get A Life. You want Get A Life instead? Alright! (laughs)

Tom: I think he probably got the idea looking at our board back there. It says to Chris Elliott from Get a Life, the actor who's going to be in our show tomorrow.

Julian: We might as well dedicate to him! (laughs)

Bob: And also it's one of Tom's favorite phrases.

Tom: And Chris Elliott and I are losing our hair so this all ties in this whole show makes sense.

Bob: Well, this is Get A Life. Julian Lennon and Justin Clayton. Q95.

Get A Life

Bob: Q95 Julian Lennon Get A Life

Tom: I like that one.

Bob: I know you do.

Tom: It's one of my favorite themes, actually, selected by Justin Clayton, a guitar player who's also here with us, apparently his favorite on the album is that correct?

Justin: Yeah. One of them...

Tom: (to Justin) Are you freezing? Do you want a jacket? You're over there...

Justin: No.

Julian: He always looks like that! (laughs)

Tom: Julian Lennon is also in the studio with us and we've got his new album. They've already played a live tune. You guys want to do one more?

Julian: Sure we'll do another one.

Bob: I listened to the album yesterday and the song Listen.

Julian: Yeah..

Bob: Who pissed you off? Pretty strong lyrics in there, Bud.

Julian: (laughs) Well, That was actually the first song written on the album. That's when I was still very miserable...

 Bob: Yeah I guess.

Julian: ...and that was directed mainly at critics and press and then secondly, at relationships.

Tom: And then mostly at morning disc jockeys Bob..

Bob: ..who ask stupid questions.

Tom: Julian Lennon's new album has just received a stellar review in Rolling Stone magazine. So you're off to a good start in terms of the reviewers anyway.

Julian: Yeah, I was finally glad to see that someone was actually taking the time to sit down and listen to the album instead of just a quick listen and a quick report, you know, so someone really sat down and listened quite a few times.

Bob: Why all the sound effects? Just playing around?

Julian: Yeah, a bit of playing around. I've always enjoyed atmospheric stuff, you know, and, obviously, Bob Ezrin's been into that for years. It's something I've played around with at home many times but never really done it on an album and the idea for the album was that - what we were trying to establish was an album that reminded both of us of the past before videos came into play where you could actually sit down and turn off the phone, turn off the TV, and just go on your own little trip through the album, you know, relating to it however which way you wanted.

Bob: Will you do a video?

Julian: Well yeah. I've already done three in fact. I started - after the first video, I started to write the scripts myself because ah the videos - the scripts that were coming in from other directors just had no idea what the songs were about and their interpretation was just completely left field and so I finally decided to say well  if anybody's going to do it on a visual level, a visual interpretation, then mine would probably be the clearest and if anybody's going to see a visual interpretation then at least it should be mine.

Tom: It was your idea after all.

Julian: Yeah, yeah, absolutely, because, I mean, so many videos you see, I mean, there's absolutely no connection to the song whatsoever.

Tom: In some cases that's good because some of the songs are so bad.

Julian: (laughs) Very true. Very true.

Tom: Who really wants to see what Stevie Nicks had in mind when she wrote the song...? No thanks Stevie. I'll just imagine it in my headphones, thanks.

Bob: Let's do another live song here, guys.

Julian: OK - alright.

Bob: Your choice.

Tom: Julian Lennon and Justin Clayton on the guitars.

Julian: We're actually going to do something different for a change. This is...

Justin: A country tune.

Julian: (laughs)...Yeah...Ready? (Julian and Justin play a few chords) Well never mind!

Tom: Some Johnny Cash?...hey we're game. This is a comedy show. You guys go for it.

Julian: We can do a Mark Cohen medley, the best of? (laughs) Sorry... private joke.

Tom: Did you say Mark Cohen?

Julian: Mark Cohen medley... yes, right... greatest hits... never mind!

Tom: I won't even ask.

Julian: No, no, don't. Ah this next one was actually written before I went into my little grey room to demo for the album and it was actually going to be on this album, only it didn't quite feel right for this album. It was even, in a sense, a little more personal than some of the stuff that's on the album and it will probably be on the next one with a couple of others that didn't make it for the same reason and it's kind of one off and this is a song about someone who I cared about and it's called Loving Is Easy (When You Don't Count the Costs). Ready Just?

Julian and Justin perform Loving Is Easy When You Don't Count The Costs
This song was NEVER released anywhere

Bob: Great song.

Tom: Julian Lennon and Justin Clayton, right here in the studios of Q95 radio, here with Bob and Tom and can you guys stick around for a few more minutes play a few more tunes?

Julian: Yeah.

Bob: Alright, we'll come back. It's 9:57.

Commercial Break

Tom: Joining us in the studio Julian Lennon is here along with his guitarist Justin Clayton. Julian has a brand new album we've heard a couple of cuts from it already. The guys have played a couple of live cuts. They're just going to stick around a few more minutes, then they have to run off to Cincinnati for a radio interview this afternoon and you're eventually going back over to Europe. Do you find in your career, have you been a larger star, if you will, or a bigger draw, what have you, in certain countries?

Bob: Like more so Europe than America?

Julian: No, in fact, it's been more so America than Europe, I mean, mainly because things have taken off for me a little sooner over here, a little quicker, and therefore I've spent a lot more time promoting it over here, so I really haven't sort of given Europe the attention that I should have. But, with this album, as I've said, we've been over there for two months and the results - pretty much doing the same thing, whether it be TV and radio as well - and the results have been fantastic. We've ended up being pretty much top ten in most countries throughout Europe, so it works. It works getting out and saying 'Hello' to people and playing for them, which is fantastic, you know, and we enjoy it, too. It's better than just coming in and being that sort of 'celeb star' that just sits there and interviews all day because that can get boring after awhile, whereas this is a little more lighthearted, a little more fun as well.

Tom: Sure. It's like when you watch the Johnny Carson show and the big stars come on, the stand-up comedy guys, and they don't do any stand-up comedy. They just say 'Hi, Johnny', sit on the couch and talk to him instead of getting out there and actually working, so it's great that you guys have your guitars and stuff with you.

Julian: Well, thank you.

Tom: Do you tour the whole world you know Australia... ?

Julian: We haven't been over there yet. It's trying to find time to fit all this in. There's a lot of places to go, you know. Australia is definitely on the map, yes. I mean we've toured there in the past.

Tom: Have your earlier albums done well there?

Julian: Yeah, we got number one with the last one in Australia. So ah they're good fans over there, so we'll be back over there when we finish doing what we have to over here.

Tom: Do you have a favorite on this record that we haven't played yet?

Julian: My favorite is a slow ballad. I'm not sure whether you're up for that this early.

Bob: We're always up for anything. A ballad...would that be "Maybe I was wrong"?

Julian: No...

Tom: Do you want to play Listen, the angry song...

Julian: We can play Listen, the angry song...

Tom: ...that Bob was talking about earlier?

Julian: Especially people sitting in their cars with the snow and the traffic.

Bob: Yeah, there's traffic. They can probably relate to this song.

Tom: It's not exactly 'Damn, this traffic jam' by James Taylor. It's not sort of specifically oriented to traffic but we'll kind of make that connection. Once again, you said earlier, this is a song about anger and critics.

Julian: Yeah. This was directed at the press or people that are just ignorant in life that they assume things about people before they even know them, you know. It's a shame that people do that.

Bob: (to Tom) Yeah, like people would assume that you're a dork.

Tom: Thanks.

Bob: Well, it's the shirt that gives it away.

Tom: They would assume I'm Hawaiian or blind!

Bob: Julian Lennon Q95.


Bob: Listen. 10:10 you're with Bob and Tom and Julian Lennon and ah...

Tom: Anger... Julian Lennon is our guest and he's got a brand new album out, just came out, and he's kind of hanging out, going around the radio stations, saying hello, playing some tunes. Also joining us in the studio Justin Clayton. From Julian Lennon's band. I noticed, looking at your record, that almost all your songs you have co-writers.

Bob: Except for this last one Listen was all you wrote.

Julian: Yeah it was all me yeah. Umm the reason being for that is that some was out of desire and some was out of need because this is the first album that I've started writing about other issues besides from just relationships, you know, either being in love and happy or lonely and depressed, so it was good to write with other people just to get different perspectives on writing about other issues and it sort of opened my mind to a different way of writing and thinking, in that respect.

Tom: Do you tend to write the lyrics?

Julian: Everything.

Tom: Do you have the last word on the lyrics?

Julian: I have the last word on everything, yeah, I won't let anything go by without me being happy with it, that's for sure, these days. These days.

Tom: Do you when you sit with someone do you tend to find you are more involved in the music or the lyrics or does it all meld into one?

Julian: Everything. Everything. 100% everything.

Tom: Okay. What albums do you listen to in your car or driving to Cincinnati for another radio interview? Anything spark your fancy recently?

Bob: Mark Cohen obviously!

Tom: Wasn't that a bit of a joke.

Julian: Umm... stuff that's out there lately... what I listen to at home is pretty diverse. It ranges from classical to jazz, stuff like Thelonious Monk, Keith Jarrett.

Bob: No favorite pop artists out right now or rock and roll artists?

Julian: I like some of Seal's stuff, I like the Blue Nile. I don't know if you're familiar with those guys.

Bob: That's a new one on me... Blue Nile.

Julian: They're a fantastic group. I heard them two years ago and I finally got to do some co-writing with the singer of that band. I thought they were the most emotional and sincere band I'd heard in years, very sincere, a lot of ballads, but very incredible stuff so if you're into that kind of thing the Blue Nile is a serious band to hear. But, besides from that stuff, like the Police, The Pretenders, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, Led Zep... A whole mix in there.

Tom: You obviously listen to everything.

Julian: Yes, basically! (laughs)

Bob: Are you guys travelling in a bus or just...

Julian: Just a little van.

Tom: So you can't watch videos. I'm thinking of a video review...

Julian: No, no... unfortunately not, no.

Tom: ...because the guys that are in the buses always have four or five videos they watch endlessly. They've watched Spinal Tap for the 8000th time.

Julian: No. That's the real touring mode of travel. We're just in the vans at the moment with the gear stuffed in the back.

Tom: Julian Lennon has been our guest. Thanks a lot for coming by.

Julian: It's been a pleasure.

Tom: Thanks for playing the tunes and we'll be playing the record. We heard just a few tunes from it this morning. It's out there in the stores now so you can go check it out and has MTV - I never get a chance to see MTV - has MTV picked up the video yet?

Julian: Yeah, they're well on top of it. They've been very very supportive with us especially with this particular first single Saltwater. We're in the Buzz Bin category. We were in stress rotation (laughs), "stress rotation", but now we're in the Buzz Bin, so we're - they're being very very good and helpful with us.

Tom: Ok, so you can look for it then. Is this the one that you had some control over - this video?

Julian: Yeah, of course I had a lot of control over it. This is not one that I scripted though, but nevertheless, it didn't go without my approval, that's for sure.

Tom: Ok Julian Lennon has been our guest. We'll take a short break and will come right back with chick magee for free.

Bob: Alright it is 10:14. Thanks again guys

Julian: Thank you. It's been a pleasure. Cheers.