Rangy and revealing interview/conversations between Rolling Stone journalist Cott (Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, 2006, etc.) and John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
This is the story of Cott’s long association with Lennon and Ono, starting in 1968, told mostly through fully rambling interviews. The pleasure is in hearing their voices, for it seems that the material is verbatim from recordings. It starts during that fraught period when the Beatles were breaking up but still producing game-changing music, and Lennon and Ono were coming in for much more than their share of grief: for their naïve and ludic ways, the experimental nature of their music, the dissolution of the band and the passing of a brilliant cultural moment. Cott engages with Ono’s art, which could be challenging, and embraces its spirit of mindfulness and mirth while exploring how she managed to turn the vitriol spewed her way into a positive energy. But it is Lennon who commands the stage here, holding forth on the music he and Ono were making, bridling at the disservice of the press, explaining the bed-ins, the nude album cover, the deportation battles, the struggles with writing songs (“I always think there’s nothing there, it’s shit, it’s not good, it’s not coming out, it’s garbage…”) and the troubles of fame (“Do they want me and Yoko to kill ourselves onstage? What would make the little turds happy?”). Cott keeps the proceedings fluid and conversational, sometimes with a bit too much detail—“John got up and went over to a closet, took out a blue denim jacket, put it on, and then the three of us walked to the front door”—and sometimes a bit sycophantish (“an undeservedly blessed fan like myself”). Overall, though, he provides rare, raw and insightful comments from two colorful art personalities.
Lennon and Ono as open and naked as on the cover of Two Virgins.