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Beatles Interviews Database: Beatles Interview: Chicago 8/20/1965
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This intriguing chat between Larry Kane and each of the Beatles was conducted immediately following the Beatles performance at Chicago's Comisky Park, also known as White Sox Park, during their 1965 American tour. Kane was the only American reporter allowed to travel with the Beatles during their 1964 North American tour, and also accompanied them on their 1965 tour.

Larry Kane has authored the insightful books, 'Lennon Revealed' (2005) and 'Ticket To Ride' (2003) documenting his conversations with the group and also his first-hand accounts of behind-the-scenes events as they happened.

                                          - Jay Spangler,

Q: "With me I have John Lennon in the basement of Comiskey Park in Chicago."

JOHN: "That's right, baby."

Q: "What'd you say?"

JOHN: "I said 'Dat's right, baby.'"

Q: "John, last year, most of the concerts were indoors, and this year a majority of them have been outdoors. Which do you like better?"

JOHN: "I don't care, you know. As long as it's not raining, I don't mind where it is."

Q: "You guys today were as loose as I've ever seen you. I mean, just as relaxed. Is there any particular reason for this, or did it just come naturally?"

JOHN: "When you're playing just after you've got up in the morning, we tend to be hysterical in the morning. Either very grumpy or hysterical, you know. So we were just sort of - still really half asleep, you know."

Q: "I also noticed that you were looking around at the stands behind you. Do you think this is a bad psychological factor, the empty stands... even though they didn't sell that portion."

JOHN: "Yeah, it does put you off a bit, you know. Even though they keep saying, we don't allow them to sit there. I dunno, I wish they'd hide it. Whereas there's also kids always half behind, you know. And I'm really looking 'round so they get to see something, anyway."

Q: "If you had the chance, which role do you like better... and there are basically two roles in your life - Your job as a Beatle, and your role at home, as John Lennon the guy from Liverpool. Now which do you like better?"

JOHN: "Uhh..."

Q: "It's a tough question to ask, I know."

JOHN: "They're so intermingled, you know. I'm no different, you see. I don't look upon it as two different jobs. I change a bit when I leave home 'cuz I've got to smile more, or something. I dunno."

Q: "We all do."

JOHN: "But I could only stand being 'John Lennon at home' for so long. And I can only stand being 'John Lennon - Beatle out on tour' for so long. So either one... there's no preference. I couldn't stand living without one or the other."

Q: "Has your wife ever seen one of your concerts?"

JOHN: "Yeah, she used to see a lot of them. She hasn't seen us for quite a bit, though. She enjoys 'em, but it's so... She gets to see us when we stay somewhere in England and do a show."

Q: "Do you ever get any critiques from her on them?"

JOHN: "Oh yeah. Well, she used to come 'round with us a lot and say, 'You were lousy tonight,' you know. 'You're pulling those faces' ...she doesn't like me fooling around. Clowning, you know. She says 'Why are you always pulling them stupid faces?' On TV, you know, I usually pull some kind of face. She doesn't like that. She wants me to be straight, you know."

Q: "Paul McCartney. How are you, Paul?"

PAUL: "Fine."

Q: "I noticed a question before about your relationship with your family. When you first started with The Beatles, and you first started in this type of entertainment, was there any opposition from your family?"

PAUL: "Yes, because my dad originally thought, naturally you know, it was the obvious thing to think... He just said 'Well, you're never gonna make any money being in a group. And you may be enjoying yourself, but you've still got to have some money to help you live,' you know. So he said, 'Get a job and do it in your spare time.' But because we were playing lunchtime sessions and things, I did get a job. But because we were playing lunchtime sessions, I couldn't stick to it. I had to keep running away every afternoon to play a lunchtime session. So I gave it up. And luckily we made it, you know. And so now he's very thankful I didn't take his advice."

Q: As an Englishman and as a Briton... Before you came over to this country, did you have any things in your mind about this country that were proved false later?"

PAUL: "Yeah. I had lots of things in my mind. My main thing was - I thought all Americans were like American tourists. And I'm sure, say, people in France must think that of... or Spain must think that of Britons too. Something happens to a person when they go on tour - when they become a tourist. And those are the only Americans I'd ever seen. You know, if you sort of go to a place, you see lots of tourists and it doesn't matter what nationality they are, they're all a bit crummy... going 'round flashing everywhere. The typical tourist kind of thing."

Q: "I hope you won't take this wrong. Before I went on the tour last year with you guys, I had the 'impression' of a British person as a rather sticky person."

PAUL: "Well this is the whole thing. Our impression over in England generally about Americans, before we came here, was of the big sort of Stetson hat... They're a Texan, really. That was the whole image. Texan, and big colored tie and oil wells everywhere. And cameras and clicking, and you know... Trying to talk French with an American accent. But coming over here, I think that's been proved untrue 'cuz there are so many Americans who are great."

Q: "One last question. When President Kennedy was assassinated, what were your first thoughts concerning this country, the assassination, and the fact that it happened at that hour in 1963?"

PAUL: "My first thought was, 'Idiots!' The idiots - everyone who bungled the whole thing. The fella who killed him, I don't know whether it was Oswald or not. The official thing's gone out to say it was Oswald. Umm, he was an idiot."

FEMALE: (to John, away from the microhpone) "You're a tool."

JOHN: "Does that mean the same thing over here?"

PAUL: "I think so."

JOHN: (jokingly) "I'm a tool, man. This girl just called me a tool."

PAUL: "From my point of view, and from a lot of people in England's point of view, he was the best president that America had had for an awful long time. And he was creating a great image for America, and he seemed to be doing great things, you know. He seemed to have a good head on his shoulders, and it was good for everyone, I thought. And Russia was getting on quite well it seemed too. I don't know whether this was true. This may have been all newspaper talk. But you get someone like Khruschev who was knocked out with Kennedy, and it seemed fine. And just the fact that someone bumped him off was a terrible, big drag, you know. 'Idiots,' I thought."

Q: "Hi Ringo, how are you?"

RINGO: "Alright, Larry. How are you?"

Q: "Pretty good. A lot of these fan magazines, and legitimate articles about you, describe you as being very sad all the time. You're not a sad person are you, really?"

RINGO: "No. It's just the face, you know, as I keep telling people at all these conferences. Someone jumps up every time saying, 'Why are you so sad?' I'm quite happy inside. Just the face won't smile."

Q: "Do you like these outdoor concerts, like at Shea Stadium and here in Comiskey Park?"

RINGO: "Not as much as indoor with the people a bit closer, you know. 'Cuz they're too far away, really."

Q: "You lose some connection with the audience."

RINGO: "Yeah."

Q: "When you're playing the drums and singing at the same time... Did it come naturally to do a song, and play the drums with your hands and feet at first?"

RINGO: "Yeah, it just happened. I was in another group, and we used to play such long hours. It was in Germany so everyone had a sing, you know. Everyone sang a couple of songs to give 'em a break, 'cuz we used to play for about seven hours."

Q: "Now seeing you guys every night, and you look tired at times..."

RINGO: "Yeah."

Q: "Do you ever get tired of the traveling bit?"

RINGO: "Well, the traveling knocks you out in the end. You sort of get fed up with sitting on planes and in cars, and you wanna just sit down for a year."

Q: "Last year after the tour, I found it hard for myself to get back to normal."

RINGO: "Yeah. It took me about three months to get back to normal in Britain, 'cuz I was sleeping and waking up all at the wrong times, you know. Because it was so long and all the interstate changes with times, and then the flight back to England, and that. I just didn't know what was happening when I got back."

Q: "I'll repeat a question that's been asked about ten times in a different vein. Everybody asks whether you'll be back for another tour, and you say 'It's not up to us right now.'"

RINGO: "Yeah."

Q: "Do you want to come back for another tour?"

RINGO: "Yeah, yeah! That's the truth, we want to come. You know us, we like the States."

Q: "One last question. Do you plan any songwriting?"

RINGO: "I've sort of been writing one song for the last four years and still haven't finished it, so not really. No, I'm happy just doing' what I'm doing. Playin'."

Q: "The song you have, 'Act Naturally,' is going over pretty well..."

RINGO: "How can it go over? It's not..."

Q: "Well there's some radio stations that have played it, you know."

RINGO: "Oh I'm glad, you know."

Q: "Well, in fact, I think in some cities it's one of the top five most requested songs. I know it is in Miami."

RINGO: "Oh great, great."

Q: "Did you feel pretty comfortable doing a country and western song? Is this your line of trade?"

RINGO: "I like country and western, you know, as much as rock and roll. And they wanted me to do a number on the album - our recording manager. So I sorta played a couple of albums one night at home and picked three songs out. And then we went up to John's and we picked one out of the three that I could sing okay in key."

Q: "We have with us George Harrison in the basement of Comiskey Park in Chicago. George, at the taping last week of your show, I was concerned about whether you would do one song-- 'Help!' and you did it. And the quality of the song in-person, in contrast to the recording, was just so fantastic. I just couldn't believe it. Did the Beatles have problems perfecting a stage sound?"

GEORGE: "No. We've never had much trouble, because right from the beginning when we started recording, we'd just record in one take. You know, things like 'Twist And Shout' and 'Saw Her Standing There,' which were all on our first album in England - we just turned the recorder on. We got a sound balance in the studio - just put the tape on and did it like that. So we never did any of this overdubbing or adding orchestras or anything like that. It's only recently where we've been using a bit of overdub stuff. We've added things like tambourine, which you don't notice, you know. Because we still like to think we can get basically the same sound on stage."

Q: You always see these groups who appear on television, and the sound is so different from the sound you hear on a recording."

GEORGE: "Yeah."

Q: "There's another question I'd like to ask that I covered with Ringo and John. You have in actuality two personalities - You're a Beatle, this is your job, your profession... and you're also George Harrison, the guy who at first was not a Beatle."

GEORGE: "Yeah."

Q: "...and has a family and everything else. Which life do you prefer best?"

GEORGE: "Well, now the two personalities have sort of merged into one. And I definitely couldn't go back to the thing that was going before Beatles, you know. It's just become ME. This is my life, you know. If I was taken away from records and guitars and crowds and everything... But me personality... I think it's broadened since we became famous, because you can't be inferior in our position. You've got to meet people. You've got to talk, and you've got to be what they expect you to be. So naturally, you come out of a shell. That's one thing. I think Ringo - it's more obvious with him than with me. Because he was very introvert when he joined us, but now he's as extrovert as all of us."

Q: "Do you think you were a little introvert at first, too?"

GEORGE: "Not really. I probably am more introvert than the others, because I would prefer to come along and do a show... I don't mind how noisy everybody is while we're doing a show - but when we come off, I would like just to be able to sit 'round and you know, have a bit more peace than we do get."

Q: "Because this is right after the show, and I don't want to keep you long..."

GEORGE: "No, actually, I don't mind all you fellas, because with being on the plane and seeing you every day, it feels as though you're sort of part of the group."

Q: "Well, that's nice."

GEORGE: "Rather than on the other side, you know."

Q: "Do you have any individual plans for further songwriting in the future?"

GEORGE: "I'm still trying to churn out a couple. My main problem is trying to write lyrics. And I don't think it's worth writing songs and getting somebody else to do the lyrics, you know. Because it's no point. You don't feel as though you've done it, really. So I've written a few more songs I've got taped at home. If I get something going, then I'll tape it and I'll leave it for about five weeks. And I'll suddenly remember, and then I'll add a bit more to it. So probably it'll take me about three months before I've really finished one song. I'm so lazy, you know. It's ridiculous. But I'd like to write more."

Q: "I'm sure as you get doing more, you become more experienced and it becomes smoother."

GEORGE: "Yeah."

Q: "George, thanks a lot for talking to us, and I hope you have a great vacation out in Hollywood."

GEORGE: "Oh. Thank you."

Source: Transcribed by from audio copies of the inerviews

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