The following is from The Montreal Gazette


The following is from The Montreal Gazette's "The Lively Arts" newspaper section, dated May 31, 1969, located on page 45...



For six years now, everything the Beatles have done has been front-page news in one journal or other around the world. A new song, a new record, a new movie, a new book, a new baby, a new swami, a new drug, a new wife -- every incident has been carefully, and exhaustively recorded.

And, true to form, the public has played its traditional role, forever asking, as headline followed headline: What next?

No other group, no four people, have been so much in the news, have had so much influence on so many people, over such a long period of time as have John, Paul, Ringo and George.

That is power -- the power to say what you think and do what you want, knowing that the world will watch and listen, and sometimes imitate.

One Beatle -- John Lennon -- is especially aware of that power, and he has chosen to make maximum use of it. Together with Yoko Ono, his wife, he has devoted the past four months to spreading a single message: Peace.

His methods, though unorthodox, are certainly effective: John, Yoko and Peace have made the headlines from Gibraltar to Montreal.

The reports are varied -- some snide, some fawning -- but here, in an exclusive interview with Herbert Aronoff and David Bist, are the words the way they were spoken: PEACE AND LOVE

John: Our talk is peace talk and our message is peace and we've been on the campaign for a few months and our product seems to be getting underway and we're talking to anybody who's interested in peace, which is most people, when we say that peace is all our responsibility -- everyone of us -- and we can't just blame the government or the Americans or the Germans for what they did -- it's all our responsibility. The people make the government, they can get rid of 'em without fightin' them. They can just get rid of 'em -- it's easy.

Gazette: You talk about peace as a product. Does that mean you are going about in the traditional advertising way?

John: Well, we seem to be.

Yoko: Definitely. Because you know the Blue Meanies, the ones that are selling evil, poisonous stuff, violence, etc. are advertising as much as possible, so, if we are going to sell peace, we have to at least push it as much as they are doing...peace talk has got to be as loud as Marilyn Monroe, or whatever.

John: The Blue Meanies are anybody who doesn't want peace, you know, and, surprisingly enough, there's quite a lot of people -- and most of them are in power -- who don't want peace, because war is big business, you know, and they don't think it's economically viable to have peace -- it's all down to that.

Yoko: We can make peace a big business.

Gazette: Do you think it's a money-making proposition?

Yoko: Sure, because there is no destructive element in it. Destruction is such as waste.

Gazette: Have you seen any signs of success?

Yoko: It's getting to be alright. At least people are starting to talk peace, and that's a start.

John: You've got to get them interested in the product and then go from there. You've got to start somewhere.

Gazette: I understand that everything you've been doing in the past few months has been filmed. Is this correct?

John: A lot of it, yeah.

Gazette: Are you tying all this in with the campaign?

John: Yes

Yoko: Everything is tied in, you know. Our whole life is...

John: I'm going to drink this coffee for peace right now.

Yoko: Instead of making a big theatrical production -- well this is a big theatrical production -- but instead of making a special arty effort we decided to just say that anything we are doing is for peace, just daily things.

Gazette: How do you go about instituting peace?

John: First of all, stop war.

Gazette: Why hasn't this kind of campaign happened before?

Yoko: Because people weren't aware enough.

Gazette: What has changed them?

Yoko: Looking at history, you will see that it hasn't just been a progression, but expansion, with new ideas being added on, and consciousness has expanded.

Gazette: Two or three years ago, were you yourselves concerned about this in the same way.

Yoko: There was an expression of consciousness between us too, you know.

Gazette: And you feel that everyone can go through this same evolution?

John: Everybody's infinite, everybody's Hitler and everybody's Christ, so it's within us all. We had leanings towards peace -- like All You Need Is Love, you know. That was not the start, but it led towards what I'm doing now. And so we're saying: "Look, here we are, two people in love. We want to share our love with the world. Despite what you think, we are normal people in extraordinary circumstances and while we can still function and have the same emotions and wants and needs and frustrations as other people, can you identify with us? If you can, we want peace -- and we believe you do too, whoever's listening."

Gazette: Then you don't believe the world will destroy itself?

John: It will if you think it will, but -- well, this morning on TV a professor from Harvard who had done a test on some kids -- this is very good -- he didn't tell the teachers what the test was, and the test was that he picked at random some kids out of a class and said "Over a period of years, these kids will become exceptional." The teachers believed it and the kids believed it. The kids didn't have any complexes. It was just a matter of believing and it happened.

So we're saying: "If the world believes it, it'll get it. If we believe it, we'll get it. And if we believe we're all going to blow up, we'll blow up."

Yoko: Everybody is somebody, and what you're doing is going to affect us directly. If you cough in a corner of the world, that's going to affect the whole world -- and that's not just poetic reality, it's scientific reality. So we're all responsible.

Gazette: So that each one of us should in some way be a missionary.

Yoko: Alright, missionary if you want to put it that way. Also, the fact is that we're stuck with each other, that we're married -- whether you like it or not -- in the same world. And, you know, the most dangerous thing is that the aware people -- the so-called aware people in this world, the longhaired ones -- they are the snobs. They don't realize that. They think that the Establishment is like part of our family. They're like retarded children maybe, and if the hippies get together and think they're IT and the squares are nowhere -- that snobbism is going to destroy the world, because squares are a part of our family. They're people, too. If we are the aware ones, we should extend a hand to the squares and say: "Listen, we're with you", instead of sticking  your tongue out is very dangerous. It's a childish game but it will lead to violence. Instead of doing that you could go to a neighbors kitchen, knock on the door and say: "May I help you clean your house today?" a square mother would understand what you are doing -- instead of saying "Man, we're high and we're groovy and you don't dig us, you don't understand." That's dangerous, too, you know. I think the hippies should be aware of things. If they don't want to talk to the Establishment, how do they expect the Establishment to talk to them? So the hippies and the yippies just create another establishment. Let's not be snobs.

Gazette: Do you see any specific problems you want to work on in that respect?

Yoko: Yes. Instead of marching, all the hippies could take a bath or something or go to houses and ask them if they need a babysitter. And if they still want to march, they can take children on each arm and march that way.

    (John departs for areas of the suite unknown to us)

Gazette: Yoko, how do you stand up to this extraordinary routine?

Yoko: Well, my life has always been extraordinary.

Gazette: But you weren't always so much in the public eye.

Yoko: Because what I was doing was so far out. The kinds of things I was doing was like climbing into a bag, or standing in Trafalgar Square with a bag on. They were extraordinary things, you know. It was too far out for the public to catch on.

Gazette: But now it seems to be working. Do you think that is a result of your own campaign?

Yoko: Well, I think I was a snob, in a sense, as an artist, and I was always thinking in terms of doing something far out. Now, I'm coming to the point where I think that because it's for peace and everything, I should do something, not in terms of far-outness, but easy to understand, just to communicate the idea of peace. And that's not compromise. Obviously, the fact that I'm with John, who's a big famous figure, helps.

    (John returns.)

Gazette: What do you think about militant females?

Yoko: I think we are going to see a feminine age -- and I don't mean that the females will all be leaders. I mean that even men will have feminine tendencies, in the sense that instead of being more militant they will become more mother-like, liking people for what they are.

Gazette: How does this affect equality for females?

Yoko: I get furious about this problem. Women are the Negroes of the world, you know. Men condition them to think that they have to be very moral people. Why?

John: Bad karma, baby.

Yoko: See? That makes me furious, too. You have pretty bad karma.

John: I know, I'm working it off.

Yoko: Maybe in your next life, you'll come back as a Negro woman...

John: Thank-you.

Yoko: But I think the problem is mainly due to a hypocritical men. Men are terribly hypocritical.

John: That's like blaming the government. It's like what we were saying about the government. You're saying: "Men did it, men did this to us; men did that." You know, women are people and it's up to them to get out there and sell!

Gazette: But there obviously are people who need help.

John: Yes, but example is the best help.

Gazette: If we can get back to the peace theme for a moment: There have been people who have been working for peace in the past. Why haven't they been successful?

Yoko: They were a bit too serious, maybe. And we're pretty serious about it, but at the same time, we're funny. That's the main difference.

Gazette: John, has this campaign involved the rest of the Beatles as well?

John: They're involved because they're in the Beatles, you know, and because they're individuals, I think the next heaviest peacenik, or as heavy as me, is George. But he was saying back home: "I don't how John does it, how he's back on tour." So for George, this isn't the best way, but he's continually working for peace, organizing and talking to different groups like the Hare Krishnas. And Ringo too, but Ringo's not going to come out here and do this because it's not his gig. They're all peaceniks -- Paul too -- they're just different from me.

Gazette: Is it affecting your music as a group?

John: Well, we don't sit there and say: "Let's make some peace chords." But I happen to be writing songs about peace. Whether they will go on Beatle records or some other records, it really doesn't matter as long as they get out and communicate.

Gazette: What about a book?

John: I have one I did with Yoko that's coming out as soon as we can -- it's already been turned down by some dummies in England, so we're going to try and sell it in the States.

Gazette: One of the reason's you can't get into the States is the old marijuana charge.

John: Well, that's the reason they give, but that's just games.

Gazette: Is there anything you want to say about the whole drug scene?  At one time, it was very important to a lot of people. Do you feel it should still have that importance?

John: I think it is important on an individual basis. The Beatles put there name on the Legalize Marijuana thing and that's o.k., but peace is more important than marijuana.

Copyright by The Montreal Gazette, May 31, 1969. All rights reserved.


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