The Musical Landscape of
Julian Lennon

By Russell Hall
Performing Songwriter December 1999
Page 2 of 5

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It's been seven years since you released an album. Why was there such a long delay?

I had spent more than ten years on the treadmill, with little or no control over [my career], really. And I had been frustrated by lots of broken promises and a lack of support, not only from management, but from record companies, too. I just felt things should have been, or could have been, much better. And so I decided to get out and re-evaluate.

Plus, it took me five years, approximately, to get released from my contracts. During that time, I thought, "Well, I can't write anything, because I don't want to give these people any more. They've already taken enough." So, for five or six years, I just decided to enjoy life outside the industry. And it was a wonderful experience - not having any deadlines, and not having to be here or there, or to be at this photo shoot or that. It was a time of reflection, and a time where I felt there needed to be some resolve - not just on a professional level, but on a personal level, too. I wanted to acquire some semblance of peace, and balance, and contentment in life.

I consider myself first and foremost a songsmith - more than a player, more than a singer, more than anything

And finally, another reason was the desire to get back into writing for the sake of writing - not for an album, and not for anybody else, but more as a challenge to myself, and to prove to myself my worth as a writer. I consider myself first and foremost a songsmith - more than a player, more than a singer, more than anything. I feel the songwriting process is very much an artform and a craft, and so it was a matter of slowly getting back into writing for the reasons I got into it in the first place.

Did you have any reservations at all about returning to the business?

Well, it was really refreshing to not think of music at all, or about the industry. And it was difficult deciding to get back into the business. One of the main reasons I did was because I felt the last four albums were not the kind of musical legacy I wanted to leave behind. More than anything, I felt that if I do say goodbye - and I'm not saying that's going to happen - but if I do, then at least let me do something that I have control of, and that I'm one hundred percent happy with.

How did you end up working with Bob Rose?

I had bumped into Bob from time to time over the years, but we had never really talked about working together. But then about three years ago we sat down and talked about what was important to us. It turned out we had the same feelings about music, and about sounds. And I was sort of drifting. I had started writing, but there was no time slot for an album, and I wasn't sure I wanted to do one again. So I played Bob some stuff on acoustic guitar, and he said, "Well, let's just try some things in the studio for a couple of days. We'll put a band together, go in with no pressure, and just have some fun." As it turned out, we ended up staying in the studio for a week, and during that time we got eleven tracks down. I thought, "This actually feels great." That was the first time I had ever had that feeling. We ended up recording, off and on, for a year, and in the end we had over two albums' worth of material.

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