Julian Lennon

By Sean Plottner
September 4, 1989 "US" Magazine

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You got an early start in music by playing drums. What got you interested?

Well, Dad gave me a set of drums when I was 5. But at that age I kind of didn't understand. I was a very confused little kid. I believe I painted the drums white and threw them in the pool. I had no respect at that point but have since learned. When I was, like, 14 or 15 I started playing them again. I guess I stopped because you couldn't write songs on drums.

What kind of music have you written that you haven't recorded?

All sorts. I experiment at home all the time. It's like sound-track, movie-score music. Some very off-the-wall pieces. Not necessarily punk, but odd stuff.

Is it true that you live in a former army bunker in the Hollywood Hills?

It was apparently a storage place for army films when they were first testing nuclear weapons. They used to store all the footage from the explosions up at the house, which has 15-inch walls. It's far from a bunker these days, but I'm moving already because of a lack of cash flow.

Who are your close friends?

Guys in the band, that's for sure. Some other people. Just run-of-the-mill people. When I go out I just go down to the local bar; it's, like, an old Irish bar. It's the only sanity I find out there in the club world or in my life.

Are you involved with anyone now?


Do you want to be?

I really want to find the right person and settle down. It's tough. Because music takes up 90 percent of my time. And it's also hard finding someone who will understand the love I have for music. It hasn't happened yet, so I'm married to music. I used to flirt around all the time, especially in that drunken phase I went through. But I don't like to do that anymore. Some past girlfriends have turned out wonderfully, but then I've been an a--hole and got back on the road and forgot to call, that kind of thing. And there's times, well, recently, where I've put 100 percent into it and they've run the other way thinking, "This man's too serious."

Are you real close to your mom?

Yeah. I'm on the phone with her every other day. She lives in the Isle of Man now, which is a wonderful, beautiful island off England. She has a boyfriend whom she's been with for over six years.

If you need a shoulder to cry on, or some advice, do you go to her?

I can, but in the past haven't. I've been sort of trying to prove, "Yeah, I'm strong, Mom, don't worry about me." But over the past year or two I have opened up to her, although there's still a bit of wall there which I've got to knock down. It's just a question of, I think, getting a little older.

How's your relationship with Yoko Ono?

When I'm in town, I'll call up and say, "Hi, cup of tea?" And I'll go over and have a chat. We don't really talk about anything in particular or business. We just sit around and say, "So, what are you up to?" Sean is someone I very much care about, though. We have a very great relationship, but unfortunately really don't get to see that much of each other. He's in school in Switzerland. He's 14 now, and very bright. I see him growing up in exactly the same situation as I did. Even with problems at school, and of just trying to be yourself and taking a lot of crap from a lot of people.

What does Sean aspire to?

He loves everything. Because of me and Dad, he sees all the attention one gets from doing music. But he also is a whiz kid. I mean, he's Mr. Computer. He does far more things than I ever did at that age. I was in the woods climbing trees.

Does he look up to you?

Very much so. I try not to play the father figure, but it's kind of tough because although there is another man in his life, Yoko's boyfriend (Samuel Havadtoy), I'm the closest male, bloodwise, to him. I'm looking forward to the point where he's even older and we can hang out, when he's not being supervised or watched ever second of the day, where we can be on our own, travel or whatever. It's so weird seeing someone change in front of your face. That's what appeals to me about settling down and getting married and having kids one day, because I'm witnessing this kid grow up and I say, "God, this is amazing, this is wonderful." So it's something I'm really looking forward to.

Do you think about your dad often?

No. I lie in the dark and think about him once in a while. It's tough. I try not to think about him too much because it's upsetting and it makes me angry to think about what happened.

Have you received an inheritance?

There was a trust fund set up for me as a kid which is to be split with Sean. It's, like, $200,000. I'm not going to cash it in by any means. I'm just going to leave it there for some security.

Since your father's estate is said to be worth at least $250 million, don't you think you got a pretty small piece of the pie?

Yes....It's interesting how things work out. The will basically states that Yoko's the boss, so everything is up to her discretion. That's fine by me. I mean, I had qualms about it before, because people told me to do something and like a fool I followed. But I don't care. She's entitled to do what she wants. And I don't think I showed any responsibility in the past or proved I was a stable son or concerned human being. If I get something later, fine. It's not an issue anymore.

Do you wonder why your father set it up this way?

I think he was very smart. I might have turned out to be a complete and utter a--hole if I'd had money. I wouldn't have done anything, I would've spent it, and I'd probably be dead by now. But I thank Dad for doing that. I mean it took me this long to learn about life and people. I could have learned earlier, but money wouldn't have helped me.

Do you have any of your father's belongings?

I've spoken to Yoko about how I'd like to get more of the things that actually belonged to Dad. But again it's a question of settling down. She says, "Well, there's not much there, there's clothes and things, and guitars and a jacket or two of Dad's just to hold on to." But that's what I want, to hold dear to me!

Does she feel that you're not ready to have them?

I spoke to her about it, and I said, "Look, maybe it's better if you don't give me anything until I've settled down." I bought my first house a year ago and I've moved once since then and now I'm moving a third time. I'm not in a hurry.

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