ABOUT THIS PRESS CONFERENCE:
While on tour, the Beatles often felt confined to their room because of their fame, yet they often enjoyed the freedom of sneaking out incognito for a few hours on the town.
Upon arriving at their hotel suite at the Tokyo Hilton, the Beatles found that they were literally confined under police order. They were allowed out of their room only as part of a military maneuver to transport them to Nippon Budokan Hall for their performances. While in the confinement of their room, the Beatles learned of a militant organization that had made public threats against them, seeing their performances as a violation the Budokan Hall which usually was reserved for programs of more traditional Japanese culture.
This press conference was held at the Hilton Hotel in Tokyo. Questions were asked in Japanese and were translated for the Beatles.
Following the tensions in Tokyo, the Beatles were to receive more threats against them in Manilla, and even death threats from American religious fanatics during the U.S. leg of their 1966 tour.
- Jay Spangler, www.beatlesinterviews.org
Q: "What understanding of Japan did you come to this country with?"
PAUL: "We don't know much about Japan except what we've read or seen on film."
JOHN: "And we don't believe all that."
PAUL: "But it seemed like a good place, you know."
Q: "It is said that your fans are wild and frantic, and rather than appreciating music itself they are satisfied just by watching you on stage, whether they hear you or not. What are your attitudes towards fans?"
JOHN: "Well, they buy the records to listen to the music. And when we appear in person they come to see us!"
RINGO: "And it doesn't matter, you know."
JOHN: "They buy records to listen, you know. And when they come to see us they just come to watch."
Q: "How do you feel performing under such elaborate and pretentious security measures?"
RINGO: "Very safe."
PAUL: "The thing is, uhh-- If the security is strict then it is probably best for us and the people as well. Sometimes it's too strict, but the best situation is when it's just strict enough so that nobody gets hurt."
Q: "What are the reasons for the change of once rhythm-centered music, gradually changing into a ballad type. Especially numbers such as 'Michelle' or 'Yesterday.'"
GEORGE: "Well, we've always done both types of music-- Beat and Ballad. And we haven't actually changed it right over from one to the other. We still do both types."
Q: "What were the motives and incentives which made you devise the present hairstyle? If you have any intentions of changing, what will your new hairstyle be like? And we hear over here that one of your members had his hair cut in New York."
RINGO: "The New York bit was actually in Washington, and somebody cut a piece off."
Q: "Of whom?"
RINGO: "Of me!"
RINGO: "And I was very annoyed at the time. I doubt if we'll be changing 'em for a while, anyway. I think the next change will be when we go bald."
RINGO: "And, uhh, I've got mine now, so join the group. They all had it before me."
Q: "Well, what was the incentive... the original..."
GEORGE: "The original idea was, uhh, it just happened. You know, we couldn't afford a barber at the time, and we liked it long, and it just developed into this."
Q: "You couldn't afford a haircut?"
GEORGE: "Well, not really. It was in the old days."
PAUL: "We still can't."
Q: "Do your families associate with one another socially?"
JOHN: "Oh yeah. Our wives mix together. Our parents don't mix together much. (laughs) Well, no, I mean, they don't see each other every day."
PAUL: "Oh, no. Associate."
Q: "When you have private and public troubles-- official troubles-- do you settle that by talking to one another or do you yell?"
JOHN: "Uhh, we don't have many troubles with each other, you know. And any ones that we do we talk it over."
Q: "You have attained sufficient honor and wealth. Are you happy?"
Q: "And what do you seek next?"
PAUL AND JOHN: "Peace."
PAUL: "Ban the bomb."
JOHN: "Ban the bomb, yeah."
Q: "There are three questions submitted to us from the foreign correspondence association of Japan, I beleive. And Mr Ken Gary of Rueters will represent the group in asking those questions."
KEN GARY: "What do you think the differences are between Japanese fans, yours, and teenagers elsewhere in the world?"
PAUL: "I think the only difference with fans anywhere is that they speak different languages. That's all. That's the only difference. And they're smaller here."
KEN GARY: "Some Japanese say that your performances will violate the Budokan which is devoted to traditional Japanese martial arts, and you set a bad example for Japanese youth by leading them astray from traditional Japanese values. What do you think of all that?"
PAUL: "The thing is that if somebody from Japan-- If a dancing troupe from Japan goes to Britain, nobody tries to say in Britain that they're violating the traditional laws, you know, or that they're trying to spoil anything. All we're doing is coming here and singing because we've been asked to."
JOHN: "Better to watch singing than wrestling, anyway."
PAUL: "Yeah. We're not trying to violate anything. Umm, we're just as traditional, anyway."
KEN GARY: "Why do you think that you are popular not only in western countries, but in Asian countries like Japan?"
JOHN: "It's the same answer as before about the fans. They're international. The only difference is the language. That's why, you know, all different kinds of people like us."
RINGO: "And also because the east is becoming so westernized in clothes, it's doing the same with music, you know. It's just happening that... Pretty soon we'll all be the same."
Q: "The MBE medal-- did you bring it with you?"
Q: "On what occasions do you wear the medal?"
JOHN: "We don't."
RINGO: "We've never worn it yet."
Q: "Other musicians have received this medal?"
PAUL: "Uhh, Peter Sellers."
GEORGE: "Yes. Not very many musicians, but all sorts of different people get it."
Q: "But do you know of any musicians that have received this honor?"
RINGO: "Not musicians."
PAUL: "There are musicians, but they're normally classical musicians. Normally, yeah."
Q: "When you receive a medal-- usually you have a medal, and you have an abbreviated form of the thing that you wear. There's a word for that."
PAUL: "There's a small button-hole thing."
Q: "What do you call that?"
PAUL: "Don't know. Button-hole thing!"
JOHN: "Like a ribbon, actually."
PAUL: "Miniature, that's it. But we didn't get those."
JOHN: "We didn't get it. No."
GEORGE: (jokingly) "You've got to buy those."
PAUL: "We can't afford it."
Q: "The ones you showed were the real ones. Why don't you wear them?"
PAUL: "People who wear their medals, anyway, are only showing off that they got medals. And so if you've got them there's no reason to show them off."
Q: "Brian, here's a question directed to you. The gentleman asking the question extends his greatest respect for bringing up a group of such... getting them to be where they are now, and in many cases the boys can be on their own now, sort of, leaving your hands. But they still act under your wonderful leadership. But have you taught the boys any principle they should follow in regards to music and stage?"
BRIAN EPSTEIN: "Uhh, I didn't train them to be talented, because they are talented. They do their jobs as artists and I do my job as a manager, I hope. If there's any influences I suppose it's both-sided-- that they probably have influenced me, and possibly to some degree I may have influenced them."
JOHN: "We've influenced him and he's influenced us. It's equal."
Q: "As you experienced very well I suppose in Anchorage, there was a big typhoon here yesterday and day before, and delayed your arrival ten hours-- was it twelve, fifteen hours. We had the biggest rainfall in Tokyo in the past ten years. Your coming to Japan has been referred to by the Japanese press as the arrival of the Beatles Typhoon. Can you think of anything in connection between the two?
JOHN: "There's probably more wind from the press than from us."
Q: "The gentleman asking the question has read an article saying that an old Englishman-- you know the type, the ocean type. The old Englishman said that two things he does not like in England at the present moment-- Rolls Royce changing it's model, and the Beatles receiving a medal. What do you have to say to that."
PAUL: "Yeah. Well, we don't like old men in England."
JOHN: "We're trying to change that image of England."
GEORGE: "But we tolerate the old people, whereas they don't tolerate us."
PAUL: "We're only talking about the ones who say that. We're only talking about the ones that don't like us."
Q: "How much interest do you take in the war that is going on in Vietnam now?"
JOHN: "Well, we think about it everyday, and we don't agree with it and we think it's wrong. That's how much interest we take. That's all we can do about it... and say that we don't like it."
Q: "There are many dolls, wigs, portraits, photographs, books sold in Japan in your name to your fans. At the same time there are many copyrights you hold with your music. The gentleman asking the question would like to say 'Beatles equals music.' But at the same time you are in the business of such. How do you associate the business side of life with the musical side of life?"
PAUL: "The thing is-- that's what Brian was talking about before. We don't really do the business side. The only thing we do is go and make records. And then, if it happens that people want to buy dolls and comics and things of us, then obviously we're not going to say, 'We don't want to make money as well.' But Brian does that side of it and we do the other side. But we're more interested in the music than the other."
KEN GARY: "Since you are all the time caged in your hotel except for performances, is there any pleasure at all except for the money in traveling abroad?"
JOHN: "We enjoy it as well. Sometimes it's not good, and sometimes it's good like any job."
GEORGE: "And when we go away, anyway, the main reason for going away is just so that all the people can see us at the concerts. So it doesn't really matter if we don't have a good time because it's for the other people, anyway."
JOHN: "We're not on holiday. We don't expect to see any sights or have any fun. And if we get fun as well while we happen to be touring, well then it's okay, you know. But it's our job as well."
KEN GARY: "How highly would you rate your own music?"
JOHN: "We don't rate it. We don't sort of compare it and classify it like everybody else."
PAUL: "We're not very good musicians, you know. And we never claim to be very good musicians. We're adequate, but not very good."
KEN GARY: "What's the reason do you think the tremendous popularity... Is it because people admire your talent, or..."
PAUL: "Well I don't know, you know. Maybe they admire adequate music."
JOHN: (giggling to the others) "He's having an attack."
KEN GARY: "You are entertainment for millions-- what do you consider to be entertainment?"
JOHN: "We don't."
PAUL: "We like mainly colored American groups. Those are the groups that we like best. I think that's our favorite kind of entertainment."
KEN GARY: "Would you pay two or three pounds to go and see people like yourselves and that sort of music?"
PAUL: "Yes, if we like them. Yeah. I paid seventeen-and-six to see Bill Haley. I was twelve. It broke me."
KEN GARY: "But why is it you think that there is such fantastic response to your music? Is there something in it that people find in you a handy opportunity to let off steam?"
JOHN: "There's no excuses or reasons for seeing us. People keep asking questions about why they come and see us. They come and see us because they like us. That's all. There's nothing else to it, you know. And they don't have to let off steam at our concerts-- they can go and let off steam anywhere."
PAUL: "It's the equivalent of a sort of football match for a girl, you know."
KEN GARY: "Do you thnk that the response that people give, which sometimes gets violent and hysterical, do you think this is a good thing? Are you happy to see people behaving in this rather extravagant way?"
PAUL: "It doesn't normally get violent, actually. You know, it may get hysterical. But it only gets as hysterical as men do at a football match. It's no more hysterical than that. Nobody's really trying to hurt each other. The thing is that obviously when you get alot of people together, whatever they're doing, there's always a risk of that. But that's what we were saying about security before. It's always best if you can keep it so that it never gets out of hand. And it doesn't very often get out of hand. In fact there are far more, I imagine, injuries at football matches all over the world than there are at our concerts."
JOHN: "And less violence too."
KEN GARY: "Would you then be disappointed if in fact you didn't have this kind of response?"
PAUL: "No, you know. We'd just... If we didn't have this kind of response, or we didn't have this kind of life, you know... It's no use really asking us what we'd do if we didn't have it, 'cuz if we didn't have it we'd just do something else and we'd adapt to that. There's no sort of great thing behind all of this. There's no big message or anything, you know. We just get up and we sing, and people happen to like it, and we happen to like being liked. And that's all there is to it, you know."
KEN GARY: "You've been tremendously successful for a very long time now. Do you think this will continue?"
PAUL: "Do YOU think it will?"
GEORGE: "We don't think anything. We think very little at all. You know... we just do it. And if the time comes when we don't have an audience, then we'll think then about it. But now we don't think."
PAUL: (in comical voice) "Live for today, man."
KEN GARY: "I have a question from behind. Uhh, what are you going to do when you grow up?"
JOHN: "We don't wanna grow up."
RINGO: "What are YOU gonna do?"
JOHN: "If he doesn't think we're adult, then you know, that's his opinion. But we are adult, and if the question was a joke it wasn't funny. We're as adult as he is, and probably moreso."
PAUL: "Was it a joke?"
KEN GARY: (pause) "...more or less a joke."
JOHN: "Well, you look adult enough to not ask questions like that."
PAUL: "You know-- Hmm."
KEN GARY: "Are you planning to do anything apart from your performances in Tokyo outside of this hotel?"
PAUL: "We're not planning anything, but we'd like to see Tokyo, you know. If we get a chance."
KEN GARY: "Is there anything special in Japan that you've read about that you'd like to see or do?"
PAUL: "Hmm. Many things."
JOHN: "Radios, you know. I don't know, we're just average tourists if we get a chance at all."
Q: "There was a question from Mr Gary, 'When you've grown up what are you going to do?' What was the answer to that? I wasn't listening too well."
PAUL: "The answer was that we think we have grown up."
GEORGE: "And that's only his opinion. He's suffering from a superiority complex."
Source: Transcribed by www.beatlesinterviews.org from an audio copy of the unedited raw audio feed of the complete press conference