Julian Lennon Interview from
"Today Tonight"

Channel 7 Australia - 2 September 1998

Special Thanks to Sandy for the transcript!

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Interviewer: Melanie Ambrose (Mel)
Presenter: Peter Luck (PL)

PL: The handsome musician (John Lennon) could do no wrong. He was- and still is idolized by tens of thousands, but not his son Julian. In this amazingly frank interview Julian lashes out as his father for abandoning him and his mother. It's strong stuff. And he also accuses Yoko Ono of manipulating his half brother Sean and stirring up a family feud over John Lennon's half a billion dollar estate. Today Tonight's Melanie Ambrose spoke to Julian Lennon in his London home.

["Day After Day" video clip]

Mel(background): He may look and sound like John Lennon but this 35 year old wants to be recognized for his own musical talents. For most of Julian Lennon's adult life living in the shadow of his famous father has been a heavy burden to bare. But seven years of soul searching has changed that- and now he's back with a new album and a new attitude.

Jules: I think there's a lot of people who don't wish me to succeed. Who are actually Beatles' fans and John Lennon fans which is very strange. They're scared of me being as good as- if not better, because that takes the dream of who their god is- away.

['I Don't Wanna Know' video clip]

Mel (background): If Julian Lennon has upset Beatles fans in the past then surely this is not going to help. 'I don't want to know' is a send up of the Beatles. While Julian has spent years shying away from his father's legacy and, that of the fab four, he now feels confident to take it on.

Jules: I'm singing as close to dad as I can from the early sixties.  Same melodic styles. Background harmonies written.  And that was...It was actually 'tongue in cheek' amusement on my behalf.  We tend to forget the Beatles were one of the funniest and silliest groups around. Yeah it will upset a couple of people but they need to not have a humor bypass y'know.

Mel: The album is dedicated to...

Jules: Dedicated to my step father who stepped in when my dad stepped out. The guy that took me to school. He was the guy that took me on holidays. The guy that picked me up when I fell down. He was the guy that taught me about life. So for me he was my father. Y'know a lot of people don't like to hear that but on my behalf it's true.

Mel (background): Julian was four when his father walked out on first wife Cynthia to live with Yoko Ono. He saw him less than half a dozen times before his assassination by a crazed fan in 1980.

Jules: Well it's difficult when people come up to you and say 'I loved your father so much' y'know coz it tugs at my heart in two ways. Yes, as an artist in his solo work and with the Beatles- he was fantastic..but as a father I don't have much respect for him coz he wasn't there and he didn't take the time to be.

Mel: A hypocrite.

Jules: Yes absolutely. Absolutely factual and true. I mean how can you believe your life and your beliefs and say to the world about love and peace..and looking after each other and taking care of each other when you can't even do that at home.

Mel:(background) Eventually Julian's mother Cynthia came out fighting for her son.

Jules: Mum got the sort of balls to call him up and said 'Look! Y'know... I know you've disappeared off into another world but you still have a son here and it's about time you spoke to him' So..y'know it was mum who forced him to start communicating with me again.

Mel (background): The family feud has intensified further with the release of Julian's album in the same week as that of his half brother Sean. While Julian broke his seven year silence at a press conference... Sean was launching 'Into The Sun' with sensational claims about his fathers assassination. But Julian says his younger brother is not to blame.

Jules: I mean why in a million years would Sean say bring out the statement of the assassination of his dad and the conspiracy on the day he's releasing his album. Why..do you do that? What is the logic behind that? It's attention of course. It will certainly get you world wide attention if you want. But that's not going to help you with your musical career. I'm not putting that down to Sean...I'm putting that down to the person at the top who's looking after Sean

Mel: Who?

Jules: Uhh...(naughty boy look)Yoko. See I don't think Sean knows about half the stuff that goes on around him. Y'know Yoko's spent a lot of money making sure that Sean's album is being heard and he's getting the correct reviews. She's been stated as saying that the 'Music industry has a conspiracy against Sean becoming successful.' (ohh those eyes... he gently shakes his head)

Mel: And you thought when you read that...

Jules: I thought well isn't it sad when spoilt people don't get their own way (gentle grin)

Mel: So an overprotective mother...

Jules: Which is Insecure Paranoia more like it.

[Shows Jules standing on the balcony...leaning his chin on his fist..:)
Earring in his ear and 'Believe' song in background]

Mel (Background): The bitterness doesn't end there. Julian's had to fight for money from his father's estate the former Beatle left all five hundred million dollars of it to his widow. Only in the last two years has Julian agreed to a settlement although he's forbidden to disclose how much it is. But what upsets him most is Yoko selling off Lennon memorabilia. Personal possessions that have cost him thousands to buy back.

Jules: If I have kids I want them to know where they come from.   What their heritage is. I want them to have part of that.  And the rate Yoko's been going there's going to be nothing left for them. The settlement we made, the money that I've received is being used to buy back his belongings which should rightfully remain in the family anyway and should rightfully be passed on from generation to generation.

PL: And more of the revealing Julian Lennon in a moment. And... the musician's Australian connection.

[Ad break]

PL: Ok part two of our exclusive Julian Lennon interview now. And the 35 year old has a passion other than music... and...it's Australia.

[Saltwater clip & Eyes Of The Soul]

Mel (background): The future of the planet is also something Julian deeply cares about. It was the inspiration for his hit single Saltwater which was used for this film 'Eyes Of The Soul'. The connection between Indigenous people and Animals led him on a journey to Australia.

Jules: I love Australia. Every time I've been there I've actually thought of moving there. It's very strange.

[September 5th National Tree Day advertisement w/ Jules for Planet Ark (Real Audio) -- www.planetark.org background talking about Jules's love for the environment ]

Jules: It's part of our lives. Part of all of our lives. So, it's a great necessity. I'm a great believer in karma. In order to find out who you are and to find happiness and contentment and some level of peace you have to be honest with yourself...focusing on truth and honesty is the only way forward. It teaches me every day.