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Lennon joined (from left) George Harrison, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr and
brother Sean at the Beatles' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction
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
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
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
© 1989 US Magazine