It is always wonderful, in my opinion, to find these very old articles with the late, great Mr. Harrison. He has written some wonderful music and has been important in my musical education. He lives on forever through his melodies!
Question time with George Harrison
By Roy Carr
Q: Do you miss “live” gigs?
A: I have done… I always try and play as much as I can on sessions but it’s not the same, it’s the idea of being up there not knowing what you’re doing in front of a lot of people which is the fun of it.
I hope that the Beatles will tour again, but it’s so difficult, not just to get us together to do it. I just couldn’t stand going through all the police and crowds and helicopters into the Shea Stadium and the scene that goes with it.
It’s like Dylan because I know that he’s gone through the cycle where he’s getting back into wanting to play.
Q: Certain publications gave front page news that the Beatles together with the Stones, were going to jam with Dylan at the Isle of Wight… what happened?
A: I’m sure that it was the promoters of the I.O.W. that gave the story just to help pull in more people, because Dylan would have been paid a certain amount of money so they really wanted to make a lot of bread there, you can’t blame them.
But it was all just speculation. Like I played a little with The Band, but not on stage or anything, but while they were rehearsing for that gig. I’m quite friendly with them.
Q: Do you intend to do any solo recordings like John has done with Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band, will there in fact be a George Harrison album?
A: Possibly, but not really for the reason that I want to do my own thing, mainly because I’ve got so many tunes that I’d like to get them out; then I can go on to new things.
Q: You seem a far more peaceful person than you did, say three years ago.
A: Yes I am.
Q: Do you find that a lot of the pressure is off?
A: There’s a lot of pressure off here in England, but if it was publicised that I was going to be here then I would have to be in the dressing room instead of having a drink here with you.
You see that’s the difference between doing something like this gig and the Plastic Ono and appearing as the Beatles.
Q: When I saw John, Eric, and the Ono Band In Toronto the sound that they got was similar to that of your earlier days.
A: Well, it was because they were doing the Cavern tunes… “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Money,” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy.”
Q: Another thing I noticed was that the crowd was very well behaved.
A: Generally I think pop crowds, especially the bigger they get, the more peaceful they become. To be fair to the British Press and police they did praise the kids at Hyde Park for both the Stones and Blind Faith shows.
Q: Do many of your “friends” sit-in on Beatles recording sessions?
A: We’ve done a few things, one where Brian Jones played with us, and it started to get that any friends who were around sat in.
Eric, in fact, played on a tune of mine “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” If there are any friends around then they can play.
Q: I’ve noticed, that with the last few Beatles albums that they seem to take more repeated plays before you get into them.
A: That’s good point. I’m glad you asked that because it means that it will last longer if you play it more and more and its gets better; because there’s a lot of music around that sounds really great and then you play it twice and then you’re not interested, I do it myself.
I’ve found that the Band’s new album is one of those albums that grows on you the more you hear it… it’s so nice.
Q: It’s become obvious that with each new Beatles album both the writing and performance has greatly matured.
A: Well that’s life really, you’re supposed to get better. It’s like the Stones… “Honky Tonk Woman” is musically so good even though it’s only three chords, yet it’s really so good.
Q: Apple only has very few artists on it’s books, would you like to feature more artists?
A: Actually I’d like to have about four acts on Apple who were really great and that’s it. I’d like Apple to be The Beatles, Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and Delaney & Bonnie and that’s it… who needs anything else.
Oh yes, I think Billy Preston’s very good and eventually he’ll get through to the people.
Q: It seems that some values seem to get distorted nowadays. It happens that an act can give a bad performance yet still receive a standing ovation just because they are “in,” yet many outstanding artists get overlooked.
A: Yeah, it’s like Delaney & Bonnie, they’ve been playing this stuff for a few years, but it’s only now that the audiences are getting round to them.
It’s allright playing above an audience’s head if you`re not interested in an audience; it’s better to try and play something really better than the sort of music that they are normally used to and to try and bring them with you which is the whole process of evolution, to raise the standard of everything but not to leave anybody behind.
Q: Do you find that since you’ve mixed and played with these other musicians that you view both your own and Beatle music in a different perspective?
A: No, not really, we’ve always been influenced by anything good around us, or whatever we like rubs off on us, and then the moment we write a song and the Beatles record it then it becomes a Beatles tune.
It could be that on some of our tunes we try and imitate somebody else. It’s like things in the early days. We recorded “Twist and Shout,” “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” people thought that they were our own songs and that we’d written them.
If as the Beatles we were to cover say Elvis` new record then it would be like a Beatles record. Even if we tried to copy it note for note we couldn’t: that’s why we got that sort of sound or whatever they thought was the Beatles sound.
Q: When you are at home listening to records would you pull out an old Beatles album and play it?
A: I think most people who make records go through a period where they don’t generally play their own stuff; they’ll play it when it’s new and then they are usually fed up with it by the time it’s released.
But I may play it after a year or two years, suddenly one night for some reason, like nostalgia. I may dig out something in particular just to check up because normally you think well that’s good at that time but you come back to it two years later just to try and relate with yourself.
Q: Of all the Beatles sides that you’ve made is there any particular one that you feel that if you ever played as good as that again you’d be satisfied?
A: No, I’ve never played half as good as I’d like to but there’s been total, like as a whole there are certain records that I have enjoyed and liked.
They all represent a certain time and a certain feeling and to take them out of context…