January 1st, 1976: Elliot Mintz interviews John Lennon about his feelings for The Beatles, now and then, and takes him back to the early days. John is lucid and somber. (Note: The suffixing audio is an unreleased song by John called ‘Memories’, which John worked on in several iterations between 1974 and 1979.)
MINTZ: Before I even ask the first question— Do you still get troubled, and disturbed, or bothered, or bored?
JOHN: [sarcastic] Me? Me, Elliot? Troubled, disturbed, bothered, or bored? Don’t you know that pop stars are above that? That we live in a cloud of happiness, that no one can touch?
MINTZ: [pause] In other words, you do get bored talking about—
MINTZ: Fine. It’s back now to, uh, November of 1963—
JOHN: It is for you. [laughter] For me, it’s April of 1984.
MINTZ: The last time we talked about Beatles and the like, you said–I could almost quote, all your memories of that experience are now good ones, and you’ve erased all the stuff that was, uh, upsetting you, and now the, the thing that you just want to keep in mind is that the music was good. And it’s done. That’s pretty much where we left it, is it?
JOHN: Uh–good, good. That must have been when I was getting positive, yeah. I–I like that. But of course I remember the other stuff too. So I get a bit absolute in my statements. [laughs] Which sometimes get me into deep water, and sometimes into the shallow. But both statements are true, and it suits me fine.
MINTZ: Okay. As we enter 1976 as we are now, when you think back to the days of Beatlemania, these days, are the thoughts good ones for you? Or are they stuff - are they things that you’d rather not think about?
JOHN: No, I don’t have any preference, you know. If Beatle life is brought to my attention, I think about it, or if it drifts into my head… I don’t have any— [pause] I don’t know. I can’t–I can’t answer the question. It depends on which thought, where I am, who brings it up, what angle…
MINTZ: Well, okay, I guess the best angle was at the very very beginning, for you. I just have a feeling that before the whole world got wind of what The Beatles were all about, you were probably writing your best songs, having the best times, enjoying your shows. It’s that era that I’d like to talk about for the beginning. London, Homburg, Liverpool—
JOHN: Hamburg. Homburg is a hat, I think.
MINTZ: [laughs] Yes, sorry. Hamburg. When you think back to those times, just tell me some of the thoughts that go through your mind. The mages that you see when you think of yourself as being a twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two year-old.
JOHN: [long pause; quiet] Um. Definitely weren’t writing the best songs, then. We were just… just learning the trade. But uh, performance was good. We were a good live band, then. I enjoyed that. We worked and played long hours, which was good at that age, when you could get work. And in general, it’s pretty pleasant memories of struggling along, you know, to go–lord knows where. But at the time, it didn’t seem any more fun than now. It was just, you had a job, or you didn’t have a job. Look— Everything, when you look back on it, you realize how good things were. Even though at the time you might have thought, “Well, god, we’ve gotta play six hours a night, all we get is two dollars, and you’ve gotta take these pills to keep awake, man, it’s not right,” you know. But uh, looking back on it, it wasn’t too bad at all. And no doubt looking back on this… well. You know. Everything looks great through the– through the memory.