Mr. Jordan According to Mr. Lennon
A Candid Conversation

Atlantic Records PR 2693

Mr. Jordan According to Mr. Lennon Interview By:
Dan Neer and DeWitt Nelson

Produced By
Neer Perfect Productions 
(David Bailes & James Fahey)

Executive Producers:
Perry Cooper, Judy Libow

Side B: Banded (Answers Only - Question were given on a sheet of paper.)

How did the song Angillette come about?

Julian: I'd written the music with McCurry. That was one of the first couple of pieces that we had done together and I had the music and I know how the music felt you know. It had a vibe and what direction to write in, but I'd never come up with something to write about. There was nothing strong enough or good enough that meant anything enough to write about. So, we put down the music in the studio. It was one of the last things. And I said, 'I've got to do this song. I feel it, you know, it's necessary.' And I was going through a real stage where I was - I had an involvement with someone and their life wasn't going too well. It was a thing that affected me and affected me in the studio as well. It was very apparent that I was very upset or down by this situation that was taking place. And Pat Leonard had always been a joker so no matter how serious you were or how upset you were he'd always make a joke out of it. Pat Leonard is the producer for the album. So, I'm sitting down at the piano writing this and I think 'Oh God, there is something here, I don't know what.' And I was thinking about what I had been going through only there wasn't a starting point. And he took a Polaroid of me - of me sitting down at the piano doing this song and I'd just got off the phone with someone - this person - and said 'Great, now they're at home with a bottle of Stoli and Gillette razor blades.' So, anyway. So I am sitting at the piano doing this so he takes a Polaroid of me and he comes back and he shows me the Polaroid with the caption underneath 'have a nice day with your Stoli and Gillette.' And I go, 'Oh no, you can't be serious' so I - but then I went 'What a great line. What a great line from a sarcastic point of view.' I mean 'C'mon, get it together' kind of. So. That was my starting point. Have a nice day with your Stoli and Gillette. Stolichnaya and Gillette razor blades - that's the first line in the song. It's a little heavy but it's a heavy song. I can feel it coming. So I went home, just got a piece of paper and wrote every line out and it came straight like that it there was no mixing lines up or down or writing things on the side. It just followed straight through. I went 'Wooah. Well, I guess that's what I feel. That looks right.' I thought 'Well, I can't call it the person's name' so Angillette. I think musically it's one of the nicest pieces I've written and it was a one of focal take. I just went in there and sang it and I think it's one of the best performances straight through with emotion that I've ever done.

Tell us about Open Your Eyes.

Julian: Originally, the song was a very - was half that tempo and was very Bowie-like song, believe it or not. Very weird, mysterious, strange noises in the background - all that kind of stuff. So, originally that was like very, very moody and bizarre and had a harmony part to it all the way through it. I'd thought of two people of singing a duet with for the first time in my life and what happened was one of them I didn't get in touch with but the other one was Bowie, he was in town. I said, 'I've got this idea. I've got this song' and he suggested the other person which was Bono and said, 'No, Bono should sing this.' I said 'No, you should sing this.' Anyway, he said 'Yeah, alright.' So, he went away and I put the track down in a different style, not quite like the one we hear on the album. But - He - Something happened and he had to do something else and it was one of those ordeals. I mean it wasn't his fault or anything but it just didn't come together and we were at a point where we could've done with an extra song on the album because we hadn't actually done it as such. And there was a point where there was nobody in the studio except for me and Pat. We were just sitting around one day going 'What should we do now?' and I said, 'Well, listen Pat. I'd really like to just try this song' so he started - he changed the bass line, he came up with a techno bass line and we did it with sequences and synths at first and said 'Yeah, the idea is great. It's got great potential.' And originally, it went all the way through the drum machines and stuff went all the way through even the stop parts. But then when we re-cut it live with a real drummer and whatever and real cello players and all that and I just said 'Stop, stop. Just try it, stop there.' And I just loved it said 'yeah' most people think it's going to continue and then 'GaDa!' nothing's there but I thought 'Yeah, I like that' because it's not expected you know. But so many people have liked it and sort of said, 'Well, it could've been a single if you had kept it going through there would have been some rhythm for people to dance with.' So there's always the potential idea that maybe I'll go back in and just throw a little drum machine over the top of that just keep - so people can keep grooving along. And I went in to do vocals and I had no idea what I was going to sing and I came up with some really lame lyrics and I said 'This is pathetic.' And when I actually did the demo all I did was mumble lines and sort of (sings... '...believe in nothing...') I came back and we said 'Look, this isn't going very well.' It was sounding terrible. I mean I was sounding terrible. But I did see the writing on the wall and Pat said, 'Listen. Get the demo, listen to what you said and then just try to make it into a sentence. It doesn't have to make sense, right?' Fine, fine. And then we put it down and we said 'It actually does make sense' and it just came together- very bizarre and it worked and we said 'Yeah, we like that a lot' and it actually became one of our favorites.

What is Make It Up To You about?

Julian: It's about having this relationship but knowing that one has to go through certain experiences and work and things like that. Where have to be separated to be together you know. You have to go separate ways to earn so you can live to be together. That was the theory - the theme behind that. Give me a chance. I've got to go away. I've got to do this. It's like me thinking, 'Well, if I've got this relationship and I have to go off on work on tour and do all that. Just give me time to do all of that and just hopefully wait for me and I'll make it up to you.'

How do you and producer Pat Leonard decide on an arrangement for a song?

Julian: The best things that happen were spur of the moment. I'd sort of say what about (sings) and he'd go 'Yeah, okay, let's try it' and they'd play it and it was great so we'd just continue on that theme. Just whatever came into our heads that felt really good instead of setting it out and plotting it and 'Well, this chord goes here'- whatever happened happened and it worked.

Tell us about Sunday Morning.

Julian: I came up with the music first. And it was one of those sit down with the headphones and go 'blah, blah, blah' and I - generally how I write is I do the music first. And, the feeling that I get from the music is what kind of song it's going to be, what kind of - like Angillette was definitely a sinking feeling and this one was just very light, dreamy, very - a couple of questions floating by in the air, that kind of theme. Basically just another love relationship story.

How did you end up with Peter Frampton playing on Second Time?

Julian: I said, 'You know what? Peter Frampton voice box' and I knew he was in town and around. So I called up and said, 'Peter, it's been awhile. You haven't used that for awhile but how about the voice box?' and he said, 'Ah. Yeah, alright. Alright.' so he came down and he did a straight solo and he did a voice box solo. As you can hear on the album we later introduce the straight solo because that part of it was brilliant too. And, in my mind, Peter is one of the best, if not the best one of the ultimate best guitar players I've heard. He's incredible. It makes me sick how good he plays, but, also, especially on that sequence with the voice box it was very Steely Dan-esque as well in what he played, which is also another big influence in my life.

Is Second Time about trying to rekindle a relationship?

Julian: Yeah, just you know, 'give us another chance babe. Hey. Please?' And also saying the second time you're gonna be in line. It's a little hmm - It's pretending you're not interested but you really are interested.

Tell us what event went into the making of I Want You To Know.

Julian: It was looking at the lighter side of life, not being so serious, but also again, parts of that song, in fact most of it, is praise to influences I've had. The bridge section is another style of music that I've heard throughout my life whether it be like Joe Cocker come Steely Dan. It didn't intentionally work out this way but I - but when it started coming together I realized, I said, 'Well, it's that kind of like that. Well, it's that kind of influence.' And the verses are kind of Bowie-ish and then there was that long musical piece where we do kind of I'm the Walrus vibe. And that was a sort of a  'No-no. Well, shall we?' and we listened to it and we said, 'It really does sound great there.' It was one of those things again. And we said, 'Well, listen, if anybody is going to do it - you know nobody has done that kind of style for awhile. If anybody is going to do it why not me?' The last time anybody did it well - I mean a lot of people have tried doing that but it just - somebody says, 'He's trying to sound like I'm the Walrus there,' you know. But this time it just felt right and we just said, 'Yeah, Yeah. You know, this song seems to be an influential song from every angle of music that I've ever been involved in. I don't see why we shouldn't leave it there and we'll take the responsibility later' you know.  Also, with the bubble bit it was sort of taking the micky well not taking the mickey but was in connection with like Yellow Submarine kind of vibe. It was a bit of everything just all squashed together in one song. Really confusing - It will confuse quite a few people, I believe. There's so many different areas in that song, different things happening at different times. Different segments. It's a long interesting song that changes throughout.

What is the story behind Jules Be Good?

Julian: Well, once again, it's going back to the humor. You know, let's not be too serious. I'd just been messing around with times you know. I don't know what the hell I was playing. I was just going, 'God, doesn't that sound weird? Look, I don't know if I can do that again.' And then McCurry was standing on the side and he started singing 'Johnny Be Goode' and I go 'What! How do you connect that with that!' And so I sat down and tried practicing it and I finally got it together and then we said, 'Listen, let's just try it one take.' So we thought, 'Well, rather than just sitting there and doing it, let's create something.' It wasn't too put together you know. So I just walked in there and started mumbling away, sat down, said whatever came into my mind and also said that bit about I Am the Walrus I knew I liked that song, just to let him know that I know it's there you know. I do know that what I've done is an influence in my life and just took it to where I couldn't play it anymore. And I just went, 'That's it, don't make me play this anymore because I tried practicing it and it was a nightmare.'

What was it like playing with Chuck Berry for the movie 'Hail Hail Rock and Roll?'

Julian: It was a very interesting nightmare. What happened was - this whole thing about the filming of his life and what not was - it was a new thing for him you know. Of course he had to be the main attraction. So throughout - I mean if anyone has watched 'Hail Hail Rock and Roll' one sees what Chuck is like to a degree and what happened was we were doing so many songs. I mean - just at times he got crazy and decided to change things just for the hell of it. Sometimes it was for teasing purposes just to see if everybody was keeping up with him or just plain because he forgot. And I went through a mini-nightmare of that. I was nervous about the whole situation anyway. I mean it was basically we just went in there and did it. But halfway through the song he decided to sing somewhere else and I was supposed to be following him harmony wise and he just sort of disappeared for a second and I was sort of - there's a point where you see that I don't sing. I'm sort of 'ahdup? ahdup?' cause I don't know where he's going. 'Where's the harmony to that?' I couldn't find it anywhere and then we sort of finally got back together and it was alright. But it was definitely an experience nerve wracking but a wonderful experience at the same time.

I believe you had problems with Peeping Toms at your house in Los Angeles?

Julian: The house where I was living there was I was right on the street and they had a six foot fence which was all - you were only allowed to build that high. And occasionally I'd get the 'ol bus going by going, 'Oh, look who's swimming today' looking over the fence. I thought, 'Oh God, If the next album is going to be a real success I'm not going to have much swimming time' so fortunately I'd asked this friend of mine, friend-broker, I said to just keep your eye out for something quiet. Something with a little more land where I can have a walk without thinking who's hiding in the bushes you know. And four minutes away from where the first house was I found this house with roughly an acre of land on the top - a flat acre of land - completely flat - on the very top of one of the mountains out there and nobody's looking down on me I was looking down on everyone else. I just felt I could move closer to God and I did you know. But, the only problem I had lately was I was walking around and instead of buses now we'd have helicopters. I'd see them coming directly from the airport and they'd literally fly 100 foot, if not less, above the house, just zoom around it and then take off and then do an aerial 360 around the property and then fly off again and there's no other reason for them to be exactly where they are except for being nosy and getting some report for the news or some sleazy tabloid.

How did you happen to pick your producer Pat Leonard?

Julian: It was obviously time to wonder and think about a producer. I had about ten people lined up of albums that I've listened to that liked and said 'Yeah, that's the kind of style, that's the kind of sound I'm looking for' so I went through about ten people, some well known, some not so well known. What I generally do is I play them a couple of the demo cuts, and then we go somewhere and talk about it. A lot of times things happened where while he was listening to the cut they'd jump up in the middle of the song and say, 'Well we can do this here and we can change that' and I said 'Well, I'm not looking for that' and that happened a lot. So, finally, without Pat Leonard hearing the stuff, he came to dinner once and I just saw him walk in the doorway and I said, 'He's the guy. I just have a feeling about him. That's the guy right there.' We sat down. And we sat down for half an hour to an hour and basically I said, 'OK, you haven't heard anything, but what do you think?' so he said 'Well, I think this and I think that' and I said, 'Well, I agree with you, would you like to hear the stuff now?' and he says, 'It might be an idea' so we did and then he said 'Yeah, okay' and that was it. In the studio next thing and finished album.

Your producer Pat Leonard is a bit of a practical joker. Tell us about one of the pranks he pulled on you.

Julian: I was just in the studio and all of a sudden the IRS called the studio asking about me saying 'Is he working here? What's he doing' and all that. And it was just one phone call, it was just one of. So I start calling my lawyer saying 'I'm legal, aren't I, what's the matter?' and they said, 'Well, we don't know. Everything seems fine. There's nothing that says that...' so I was panicking a little bit but then I settled down. About three days later two extremely large men looking like FBI people with handcuffs and dark glasses and about seven foot tall come into the studio and say, 'We'd like a word with you please.' And I start looking at Pat and his assistant saying 'What is going on?' because I really started being scared. Am I leaving this country in the middle of the album? So, they took me out to the back room and said, 'We'd like to ask you a few questions, sir. It's about accounts, what's been happing with..?' I said, 'Listen, you can have all the details. Why don't you just call my lawyer or the record company. You can find out anything you want about my whereabouts, where I've been, all that kind of stuff.' They said, 'We need to take you downtown for questioning, sir.' I said, 'I want to speak to my lawyer right now. Pat, get my lawyer on the phone now.' 'Sorry sir you have to wait. You can't make a phone call. You can't speak to your lawyer.' I said, 'C'mon, you've got to be - you're joking right?' They said 'No, I'm afraid we're going to have to handcuff you at this time and take you downtown whereupon after a couple of questions you'll be allowed to call your lawyer' so my trousers had changed a different color by that time to say the least and they started taking me out. I am white. I am panicking. I'm going, 'Oh God, what...help!' I was in the twilight zone. I was just spaced out thinking I don't know what's happening to me and they're taking me out the back door and this woman dressed up as a clown floats in front of me but I didn't understand what was going on because I was so scared and paranoid. This clown starts jumping around me like this and it's all in slow motion in my head and I'm going 'What's going on? What's going on?' and so finally Pat sees the real panic on my face and halfway just as they're taking me out to put me in the back of the car he says 'Stop it guys, you've got to stop it.' I was then just completely shaking, then I just didn't talk to him for a couple of days and had - I've been thinking of a way of getting him back. But originally what he was going to do was they were going to get the car outside. There was going to be the clown in the car too sitting there so I'd be thrown in the back of the car handcuffed with the clown and as we were driving away the clown was going to say to me 'So they got you too, huh?'

How did the album cover come about?

Julian: I found this illustrator a guy called Mark English that was an incredible painter and I'd seen some of his work with wings and people and we'd been talking about the idea over the phone and he sent up some sketches. A very sad thing happened that the day that we talked about it and he was going to go to work on the oil on canvas painting. He had had a heart problem and almost passed away and it was very sad, because, I mean sad that all that happened but also on the album - for the album's sake - that we couldn't get the work done in time anymore and I so much wanted the fallen angel to be the front cover and the unfortunate thing was that the sketches weren't quite there to be a front album cover so what we did-the front cover was originally going to be the back cover and so we switched around and said, 'Well, I think at least the back cover deserves the fallen angel no matter what condition it's in and it's special.' And I'm just sorry that Mark's work couldn't have been finished.