Phil: The Lennon legacy lives on with Julian Lennon: Too
Late For Goodbyes. Hi. This is Phil Harvey inviting you to join
us for the very first Julian Lennon radio special. For the next 90 minutes
Julian will be talking about his life, playing his favorite music and
sharing with us what it's like following in the footsteps of his dad
Julian: Hi. This is Julian Lennon. And I just
treat this career just like a normal musician. I mean, I'm very proud
of the situation I'm in, but even so, I try and get my own identity
and pull away from dad a little bit you know because I have to, to
make my own way, you know.
Phil: And Julian Lennon has already received his own international
acclaim with his impressive debut album Valotte named after the
European estate where he developed the project.
Julian: The actual place is an old chateau in
the middle of France and it was kind of a place in the middle of nowhere,
no distractions, so it was a good place to work and the actual chateau
was a beautiful place so it was very inspiring out there and it was
the kind of dream house you might want to live in you know, so that's
what started off the whole song.
Julian: Well, that was "Valotte"
by this man here, Julian Lennon. I shut up at this age. I just think
I'd rather wait more until I learn a bit more about things, you know,
before commenting on them. Obviously, I'm all for peace and everything
else, you know, but there's not too much I can do about it at the
moment, you know, and the only thing you can do with music is communicate,
and ah I suppose try and just back up already what thoughts people
have already in the world, just give them a bit of hope. (Over
the beginning of "OK For You") "OK For You"
would be 2 or 3 years old...
OK For You
Julian: I can't read or write music, you know,
so I struggle along but I can just play what I want, what I need to
hear when I write. I mean, generally, if I'm writing a song, if I'm
just fumbling on the piano and I hear something I like I try and arrange
it into some sort of shape-into a song-into a tune-and then record
it onto an 8 track with any other instruments I can play and then
after I've got a general sound together for the song then I sit there
with the headphones and mike and mumble away until I come up with
something that either the music gives me or whatever I'm thinking
about at the time and I just try and mix those together to you know,
create a whole thing, and try and bond them, rather than separate
lyrics or separate music. The next one is one of my favorites, it's
"Isolation" by the father of this man (laughs) and
it's one of my favorites because it taught me how to really write
lyrics. It's very straightforward and it's well worth listening to.
So this is "Isolation" by John Lennon, hope you enjoy
Julian: This is Julian Lennon and we'll be right
back, we've got a couple of bills to pay and the discs are still turning
so ah, we'll see you in a minute!
Phil: Welcome back to THE JULIAN LENNON RADIO SPECIAL - TOO
LATE FOR GOODBYES. Once again, we join Julian telling us why he made
the Valotte album.
Julian: Well, I mean I've had all these songs
for ages and I guess it was after listening to a couple of friends
saying that it was worthy of being on an album - which was nice you
know - that I finally said I might as well give it a go. It was a
great opportunity and I really like music that much to go ahead do
it. And, also, it's a good way - it's no use writing songs for yourself
you know. The only way to get it across to people or to let other
people listen is by doing an album
Say You're Wrong
Phil: That's Julian Lennon with Say You're Wrong from
the album Valotte which was produced by the renounced Phil Ramone.
Julian: I - I'd been looking for a producer for
a long time and I mean just listening to records and seeing what sounds
and whatever you know whatever I liked about the production and I
couldn't find anybody and I came back from an interview. The interviewer
was driving me back to my place and he stuck in a Billy Joel tape
with Nylon Curtain and I never heard Billy Joel's music except
"Big Shot"- that's the first song I've heard of it,
and I heard the tape and I said, "That's it." That's how
I imagined I wanted the overall sound, you know. So I begged the record
company and they begged the company over here who dealt with Phil
before and we played him the tape and he loved it. And Phil is the
kind of guy that if he doesn't like the music he won't do it, you
know. I mean he's more interested in the music than the money. I mean,
that counts and that's great to work with someone like that, especially
in the business you know, people who care about the music.
Julian: Hi, this is Julian Lennon and we just
have to pop into, yes, another small commercial break and put the
kettle on again. We miss our tea over here you see - we're gonna have
a good cup of tea. We have a little surprise for you when we come
back. It's ah - well, you can say it's one of my recording debuts.
Don't go away, see you in a minute.
Julian: Hello, welcome back. This is Julian Lennon.
This is "Ya Ya" which was in fact my first recording
debut in, oh, almost 11 years ago when I was about 11. In fact, what
happened with this track is the old dad there was playing piano and
I popped into the studio and there was a snare drum and one stick
so I started bashing away. And without our knowledge, the sound engineer
actually recorded it and put it on the end of the album, so like it's
a surprise for you it was a surprise for me. So here we go with "Ya
Phil: From Walls and Bridges that's Julian Lennon thanks
to the studio engineer and his dad John Lennon who encouraged Julian's
interest in music.
Julian: He bought me a guitar when I was 11 and
you know I had lessons and we used to sit around together on the floor
and jam around along with old rock and roll songs. I suppose I - just
around 9 or 10 you know, something like that, was when I really sort
of was aware of what was happening around me you know. Like mad father
singing on stage with all these loonies running after him you know,
I mean at an early age you know it is hard to understand stuff like
that but as you grow older you find out what it's all about. He was
a total lunatic, you know, wrestling on the floor you name it. He
said the Beatles was great to do, it was fun, it was wonderful, but
forget it, you wouldn't catch him doing it again, he said that was
enough you know.
Phil: Julian's parents, John and Cynthia Lennon were divorced
Julian: I mean was five at the time. I don't
remember it at all but when I speak to my mother about it, you know,
which I've only done once or twice, you know it's not something you
sit around and speak about everyday and have a cup of tea over you
know but ah she said I went through mini-traumatic sort of times you
know, - right mental patient - but ah you know just wondering
where dad was. Just crazy situation. But I don't remember those days,
you know, it was too young for me.
Let Me Be
Phil: Tragically, John Lennon was taken from us by a sniper's
bullet on December 8, 1980.
Julian: In any case, just I hope there is some
sort of life after death and maybe I'll have a couple of beers with
him later on.
Phil: The Julian Lennon Radio Special Too Late For Goodbyes
- we'll continue after this.
Phil: We continue with our special guest Julian Lennon who tells
us of his newfound home.
Julian: Well, I got a little flat in England,
in London, at the moment where I try to lay my hat you could say,
so I've thrown everything I own in there, not that there's much, it's
all equipment, and I'm trying to settle down so I actually have a
base to live and work from because it's crazy having a career like
this and still having to move from flat to flat every 6 months because
your contract runs out. So, eventually, we bought this place with
the help of my mum, just purely for the base because you've got to
have it, especially in this biz.
Phil: That was "Lonely" by Julian Lennon and
now for a lively change of pace it's time to put Julian Lennon in the
hot seat with everything you've always wanted to know but were afraid
to ask. First off, how do you get along with your stepmother Yoko Ono?
Julian: Well, so-so you know. We argue, well,
in fact, when we argue we don't even talk, that's how funny it is.
Phil: Have you heard the rumors that say you'll replace your
late father in a Beatle's reunion?
Julian: Yeah, I don't know why they bother, you
know I really don't. I think it is outrageous, silly idea. But I mean
on an individual sort of level, I mean if I was offered to write with
Paul or somebody, not from the Beatle's point of view, but, I mean,
a lot of people wouldn't like it just because of the past or whatever.
But, purely from a musician's point of view, anybody would give their
right arm or leg to write with Paul McCartney or sing with him you
know. And although my dad had connections with him, sure - but I mean
it's still the same for me he's still a great songwriter, he's incredible,
anybody would leap at the chance and I think I'd do the same thing
purely from a musician's point of view.
Phil: And, speaking of Paul McCartney, is it true that the song
"Hey Jude" was written about you, Julian Lennon?
Julian: Yeah, yeah, yeah. When mom and dad split
up and I moved off with mom, he drove over to see us and he was whistling
along in the car and he just came up with it. Hey Jules, at first
and then it changed to Hey Jude and there you go. It's a great feeling
whenever you hear it, whenever I hear it I mean. It's very rare you
get a song written about you in particular so it was very nice.
Julian: Yes, the old lads there, the Fab Four,
This is Julian Lennon and we're just going to go into
a commercial break for a couple of minutes or seconds or whatever
it is. And please join us later on when we'll be listening to "Too
Late For Goodbyes," which incidentally is off the album Valotte
by myself which is not doing too badly for the moment so don't go
away see you in a minute.
Phil: Welcome back to "Julian Lennon: Too Late For Goodbyes"
and the story behind the song.
Julian: Well, this is when I had a break when we were doing the actual album over here and I went back to England for a weekend, (laughs) all the time I get off! But I had a deliberate argument, you could say, with my girlfriend for no reason. And it was all my fault and I knew it was my fault and I just had to go - men find it hard to say 'I'm sorry,' they do, they can't do it, and I thought rather than say sorry I'd write a song about it, on the idea. My thoughts were at the time if I didn't say sorry, it was that serious, she would have gone, that would have been it, so it would have been too late for goodbyes if I hadn't done what I did. So that's basically the story around that. Here we are, ready to roll, "Too Late For Goodbyes.
Too Late For Goodbyes
Julian: Hi, this is Julian Lennon and that was
"Too Late For Goodbyes" from the album Valotte.
Next one on the list is the b-sides to the 12 inches from Valotte
and Too Late For Goodbyes. One has like a semi-hard rock track
called "Big Mama," which is a total different approach
but it still has a warm feeling about it, but it's hard rock.
Julian: The other b-side one is almost like a
Soul Jackson song called "Be Bop" in fact. It has
nothing to do with the song but it fitted the song when I was writing
it, so I kept it anyways.
Phil: You're listening to "The Julian Lennon Radio Special:
Too Late For Goodbyes." We'll continue in a moment.
Julian: Welcome back out there, I hope you're
still there. Anyways, this is Julian Lennon. We're saving the
best to the last, I think. For the moment we haven't been doing too
badly but here's one of my favorites by dad again, "Watching
Watching the Wheels
Julian: Well, I think everybody should earn their
own way in life. I mean if anything is going to come out anything
later, that's fine, but I think at least you should really get out
there and have a go for yourself. In the end, success is much more
sweeter that way. You're actually proud of what you've done. You had
to do it to gain whatever you got from it you know.
Well, it seems like the Lennons are taking over the
later part of the show but ah. Well, here we go, here's one by me
- I thought I'd squeeze this in somewhere. This is "Well I
Don't Know." It was written about dad. It is a very nice
thoughtful song, well we'll see what you think, here it is. "Well
I Don't Know" by him here myself Julian Lennon.
Well I Don't Know
Phil: Julian Lennon Too Late For Goodbyes was produced
by Jon Sargent Productions in association with the Radio International
Network. Executive producer Jon Sargent. I'm Phil Harvey.
Special Thanks to Tony Mandage and all our friends at Atlantic records
and especially to our guest host Julian Lennon.
Julian: I'd just like to thank everybody at the
radio station here for allowing me to take over and putting my favorite
Phil: "The Julian Lennon Radio Special: Too Late For
Goodbyes" is copyright 1985 by Jon Sargent Productions.
Copyright © 1985 Jon Sargent Production
Transcription by CJ Burianek