Two days after John Lennon’s appearance at the Rock And Roll Revival in Toronto,- with Yoko Ono alongside Plastic Ono bandmembers Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman and Alan White, it was the first gig he’d done since he was with the Beatles, -John gave an exclusive interview to New Musical Express -September 20th 1969 issue. The article would be entitled, John Lennon: “I’ve Formed A New Group!”
Also in this issue of NME is an interview with George Harrison entitled “I’m Not Competing With John And Paul.” NME’s also gives a track-by-track synopsis of the forthcoming “Abbey Road” album, which would be released one week later in the UK on September 26th.
John Lennon decided to fly to Canada for the weekend — you know how it is — and when he and Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman and drummer Alan White got to Toronto they appeared at a rock ‘n’ roll revival, and had a fantastic time singing all the old rockin’ ravers.
“The buzz,” said John when he got back to London on Monday, “was incredible. I never felt so good in my life.”
He was utterly mystified by reports in the Daily Mirror that John and Yoko were booed off the stage. “All I can say,” said John with the words bubbling out at the kick of the experience, “is that there were about 25,000 people there, and maybe 15 didn’t like it. I don’t know. I didn’t hear anything… It’s always the man from the daily paper who does!
“We started doing things like ‘Blue Suede Shoes,’ rehearsing on the plane. It was a mad-house! Everybody was really together. It was as solid as —- ! And so we did all the ‘Money’ and ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’ bit and it was fantastic.
“Everybody was with us and leaping up and down doing the peace sign, because they knew most of the numbers anyway, and we did a number called ‘Cold Turkey’ we’d never done before, and they dug it like mad. Nobody’s recorded it yet… it was the first performance… and the way Eric and Klaus and Alan the drummer, who used to be with Alan Price… the way we got it together was like we’d been playing it for years.
“It looks like this is going to be the Plastic Ono Band in the future! I don’t know though… it’s very flexible.
“The whole thing was a laugh, because I got a phone call at nine o’clock on Friday night; left Saturday morning at 3 am; and before they’d even hung up, I had the group together!
“It was a fantastic bill… Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Doors. And Yoko did a number which was half-rock and half-madness, and it really freaked ’em out! And after Yoko had been on about a quarter of an hour, we all left our amps going like clappers and had a smoke on the stage. Then when they stopped, the whole crowd was chanting ‘Give Peace A Chance.’
“I was only able to say hello to RIchard on the way in and then he seemed to get lost, but Gene Vincent was watching us on stage and he was crying it was such an experience.”
John revealed that he had wanted to take part in the Hyde Park free concert on September 5 — which was cancelled — and that performing live now gave him a great kick and he’d like to do it again.
“We may even bring our own booers. Everywhere we go, we’ll have a resident team of booers to help us on!”.
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