Julian Lennon Sonic Net Chat 
For the Release of Photograph Smile

 23 February 1999 

Photograph Smile

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Julian Lennon: Hello everybody out there in internet land. Long time no speak personally. Good to be back. If there's any questions I can answer, please go ahead and I'll try and oblige the best as possible.

SonicNetHost: We are chatting tonight with Julian Lennon. We'll be accepting questions in a moment, but for now we have Julian uninhibited and live expostulating for your pleasure.

Julian Lennon:First record in seven or eight years and what drew me back was that basically I felt that the last four albums were not a good enough legacy to leave behind in the music industry if I was going to leave it. And so I decided to finance this album myself without any contracts to anybody and record it on and off over the period of a year in which to finally have control over what I was doing. Instead of what had been the case before which had been lots of intrusion and influence from the previous record company and management. And so therefore recorded the album with Bob Rose a good friend who has been in the business from both sides, artistically and business-wise After recording enough material for 2-3 albums I finally sat down to figure out what would be the best way to release the album. And so finally came to the conclusion that starting an indie record co. in England was the only way forward in which I would not have to sell my soul to the devil again. And would be in a position of full control and would be the person who ultimately made the decisions about my life and my career, probably for the first time. Through the label, I was able to set up negotiations for either distribution deals or liscencing deals in the different countries throughout the world, which has enabled me, again, to oversee everything and anything that has to do with me. At least this way, I know that when I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror I know I haven't stabbed myself in the back, or lied to myself, because this is my baby. And I will do whatever it takes to support it -- without compromise. The main reason being that I afforded myself the time to not only write without intrusion, but to record, produce and oversee the whole project without intrusion or influence. That's how this album is different. And the other main thing, it was not done under a time clock and there was nobody at the door, knocking and telling me the songs weren't uptempo enough or not commercial enough, etc. etc. etc. I like Sean Lennon's stuff, but I have to say that I was more impressed with the earlier demos that I heard several years before. Which lyrically, melodically and musically I felt were far stronger and better than the album itself. It seems that there was a lot of influence coming from other places, but I still he feel he is a great talent that just needs time to nurture, develop and blossom. He's a good kid and he's got his heart in the right place -- I just hope he follows it. As for working together, one never knows. As far as my label in England goes, the main thing is the success of my company is dependent on the success of this album. But I have been speaking to several friends who are artists who would be willing to sign up. So if all things go as part of the plan. These are artists who I feel are great songwriters, but do not fit into the vein of major labels.

Lucy_of_Revolutions : Have you had any song writing inspiration while doing your promo tours in various countries? Have you written any new songs on the road?

Julian Lennon: To answer Lucy, I tend not to write on the road, maybe I have ideas, but I leave them as ideas until I get back home and have the time and space to work on them. Otherwise, there is enough work to be done. Speaking about yourself for 4-12-18 hours a day takes enough energy as it is and the last thing, really, on your mind is writing music after talking about it for that length of time.

manolis_varna : What do you think of the music industry in our days?

Julian Lennon: I find that in general as far as the major labels are concerned there's not much heart and soul left. It seems to me that it's not about nurturing artists any more who will eventually have great long careers, it seems to lean towards the one hit wonder scenario in which rather than having a whole CD full of a theme or a great body of work, CDs these days seem to be chock-a-block full hit and miss singles. Because we're not used to listening to favorite artists in the not-so-distant past, you would generally buy an album there was maybe one song you didn't like, more often than not these days you may find one song on an album that you do like. But as for some independent/bands I still there is life yet.

connie0304: One of your goals was to marry & start a family by the time you were 30. Are you married now?

Julian Lennon: I never ever said that.

Beatle__Bill: You were great in Leaving Las Vegas. Are you planning a movie career?

Julian Lennon: Well, I used to do quite a bit of acting before I got into music and was offered a scholarship to the Royal Shakespeare Company. I have always enjoyed acting and it was very interesting to see the process of a film being put together and though there is a lot of patience required putting and album together there is certainly a lot of patience needed also in filming in general. My brief experience in Leaving Las Vegas, which was approx. a minute or two of screen took anywhere between 12-18 hours to film. So, I would in particular need to know there was a serious break before I could indulge myself in another project. But I do like the idea and maybe further down the road.... But first things first.

CellophaneFlower15: Have you ever felt like you had to live up to certain expectations because you're the son of John Lennon?

Julian Lennon: Only my own. As a free spirit. Not anybody else's. Otherwise my life would be ruled by others, which I have to say it was for some during the first ten years of my career. But which is no longer the case. I just get on with the work, do the best job I can and hope that people out there in this world like what I do. So far, so good. I'm a happy camper these days.

MissMysterium: What kind of tour will you have, small clubs like before or venues?

Julian Lennon: Well, last year we actually played some very large festivals in Europe, one in particular, the first of mine in seven years, Primo Maggio in Italy, which was in a piatza with approximately half a million plus audience. The bill was full of other international artists and was quite an experience to say the least. But my intentions for my own tour are quite different. The idea I'm working on at the moment, which will hopefully come together no later than mid-summer is to play theater's limited shows in which every location we do play at least one of the shows will be a full donation charity gig where we find what is the worst problem in that location. For example if it's about children all we ask at the front door is clothes, cuddly toys, or however much your conscience allows you to give At the moment we are in the process of talking to several sponsors and are undecided whether we are talking to local or global sponsors. But the other idea that is in place going hand in hand with this concept is that in the foyers of, hopefully, the beautiful theaters we will play will be opened up like a gallery. My idea is to approach the arts community and have the foyer as a forum for their work.

Julian Lennon: So as you walk in to come and see the show, you will be surrounded painting, sculptures, the written word. It's just another way of giving a helping hand and giving other kinds of artists a step up And I hope to take the idea globally.

ValentineDancer: I read that you were into photography . who are your favorite photographers.

Julian Lennon:The list is endless....to give even three would be too difficult at this time.

Lisa1842: Did living in Italy inspire this, your most beautiful work? I listened to it all summer, under Mediterranean skies, & it became a part of me!

Julian Lennon:Thank you for saying that. I think moving back to Europe is what inspired me to live again. And motivated me slowly but surely to write again for the right reasons. I guess you could say that to some degree, the beauty of Europe certainly inspired me. And I believe always will.

MissMysterium: Do you plan on signing new bands/artists to your label in the future?

Julian Lennon: We talked about this a little ways back, please scroll up. Basically, if this record succeeds, yes I will.

mribm: How is your mother, Cynthia doing?

Julian Lennon: Mum is doing great. She is the happiest I have seen her in years and the freest of souls these days. Enjoying every moment of every second of every day. And I personally couldn't be more happier for her.

EllenNYC: Julian, is it true that you will be Paul McCartney's guest at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner in March?

Julian Lennon: Well, I don't know about guest per se, but I will certainly be there to support him, because without a doubt I have always felt that he was one of the greatest songwriters. So, whatever I can do to be there for him, I will do. But especially because he wrote a song about me in a time of need for me and my mother, "Hey Jude." So the least I can do is stand up, raise a glass and cheer for him.

Shep_cardinal: What is your favorite song your Dad did?

Julian Lennon:Very difficult question...there were too many. But one that I felt very close to during overwhelming times would have to be a song called "Isolation."

trirob99: Who are some of the artists that have inspired you?

Julian Lennon: I'll give you a part of a list...Keith Jarrett, Donald Fagen, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, The Police. These days I would say Radiohead, Beck, Manic Street Preachers, George Michael's last album.... There's too many to mention....

Lisa1842: What's your favorite on Photograph Smile?

Julian Lennon:It would have to be "Walls." Because it touches every emotion for me. Because it represents a great break-through on many, many levels. Not only do I think the song lyrically, melodically, musically and arrangement-wise is a very deep, emotional, strong piece of music, but because I used to be so shy and the only way I could express myself was through music and there were many walls and barriers that I felt the need to break through to finally understand who I am.

syd2330: Do you think electronic media like the internet is spoiling artistic expression, or helping it?

Julian Lennon:I think it's helping it. Because it's giving people who would not normally have a voice somewhere to scream from. I feel that the only problem that could arise, especially for musicians and/or film work or any information, in general, is bootlegging. But once that can be sorted, which I hope someday it will. I think then it gives everybody the freedom of expression to all four corners of the Earth. And that ain't a bad thing.

FoxSolo: Do you have any advice for a struggling musician????

Julian Lennon: Never give up. Believe in yourself always. And if the opportunity does arise try never to compromise. And always read the small print. And have a good lawyer.

Missy121477: Beside musical influences, was your music influenced in other ways, i.e. Literature?

Julian Lennon:I would have to say generally not. Mainly because what I write most about are the experiences I personally see or feel myself.

EllenNYC: What musician or band would you like to work with?

Julian Lennon: I would have to say that I've already done that to a certain degree in working with the lead singer of the Blue Nile, Paul Buchanan on the last album, "Help Yourself." He and I collaborated on a song which I still dearly love called "On The Other Side of Town." At the moment, I think just off the top of my head the only other person that has truly inspired me in more ways than one is Bowie and wouldn't mind putting together something with him one day.

PAUL_MCCARTNEY_no9: What is your favorite post Beatles/ John song?

Julian Lennon: That would have to be "Isolation.

sweetiestarr: What advice do you have for teens and people for their lives and to make the world a better place?

Julian Lennon: Never put out what you're not prepared to take. I.E. from my point of view, I try to never judge people, I try to always respect and love people, because after so many years of being talked about, rumored about, pointed at, I know how that feels and I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone. I'm also a great believer in karma. Those are my guiding rules.

kwarczak: Julian, Do you have an inspirational spot to write music or do you have many?

Julian Lennon: Ideas for music and/or the written word generally come after an experience and there are several experiences that I enjoy that open my mind to the natural process of expression. Such as sailing or traveling in general with new adventures, experiences and relationships and then when I go home after such experiences that tends to motivate me into writing about something either new or old.

MissMysterium: Where would you like to see yourself ten years from now?

Julian Lennon: Hopefully, on the same path of enlightenment that I have been on since the past recent years.

Julian Lennon: It's been a pleasure chatting vicariously. I hope you all enjoy this new album and if you do obviously it would be lovely to see you come and support the charity shows that we'll be doing later in the year. Apart from that, keep happy and healthy as best you can. Until next time, love always, Jules.