Friday, October 23, 2009
Ron Hart vs. Sean Lennon
When I was a little boy back in the late late 70s, my mom used to take me to an eye doctor on the Upper West Side. While I'm sure a optimologist in Levittown would have sufficed (though I didn't complain, as a trip to the eye doctor for me also meant going to the Central Park Zoo and the Museum of Natural History afterwards), part of me is convinced that she chose this guy, whose name I believe was Dr. LaVall, was due to the fact that he was in close proximity to the Dakota and she had a onside change of running into John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the street during one of my visits.
As anyone in my family would tell you, my mom was a complete freak about the Beatles. If you look at the footage closely, I am certain you can see her in the nosebleeds of Shea Stadium screaming her head off during their legendary concert there in 1965. My cousin Lucille is also quick to tell the story about how she and my other cousin Joanne were right beside her in front of my grandparents TV set when the Fabs played Ed Sullivan back in '64. She had every Beatles album and subsequent solo release, all of which now sit proudly in my own vinyl collection. Every time Let It Be, Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine would be featured on WPIX, you know that Mom and I were watching. She is the only reason why I'm as big of a fan of John, Paul, George and Ringo as I am today. And while she was certainly more of a Paul girl, Mom also had a great love for John, and I remember her always saying how she wished that one day I could become friends with Sean, because we were around the same age.
Although I've met him a few times over the years hanging out in downtown NYC and, just last night, was invited to chill out in the backyard of his apartment to do an interview for an upcoming feature on Jambase.com as well as a cover story for what we hope to be the final print issue of IRT in 2010, I wouldn't exactly say these instances constitute a declaration of BFF status. However, knowing how much Sean's family meant to my family all of these years, being able to sit at his patio and have a conversation with him--something from what he says he hardly does with journalists--is an experience I will never soon forget and stands as one of the great highlights of my writing career.
Not only as a major fan of the music, activism and art created by his mom and dad, I am also a big fan of the amazing stuff Sean himself has crafted as an artist in his own right (if you haven't already, seek out his 2006 album Friendly Fire, one of the 5 best releases of the 00s), and I consider it to be quite an honor that young Lennon not only granted us this rare interview, one of the only ones he is doing this year in print in order to promote his amazing soundtrack to his friend (and frontman of former IRT feature stars Dopo Yume) Jordan Galland's film Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead, but also expressed interest to comission some of his own artwork for the cover and the inside of this forthcoming issue of IRT in concert with the interview.
In the 30-odd minutes I spent at his pad, we waxed philisophic about such wide-ranging topics as his promising new record label he started out of his home, Chimera Music (www.chimeramusic.com), the paparazzi, the state of NYC's avant-garde community, Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen, his comment about Bruce Springsteen at Glastonbury, he and Yoko's recent guest spot on The View (see video below) and his thoughts on the passing of Michael Jackson, whom he worked with on Jackson's 1988 film, Moonwalker, and even exchanged memories of childhood trips to the Museum and the Zoo, among other things.
Sean, if you are reading this, I can't express how much your time and hospitality meant to me as someone who holds the music of both yourself and your parents so close to my heart. Thanks again, man.
And somewhere up in heaven, I am definitely certain that my mom is beaming with joy over the fact that I at least partially fulfilled her wish. -Ed.
Sean and Yoko on The View: