Many fascinating interviews were recorded in order to make American Masters: LENNONYC, but could not be included in the film because of time constraints. Below, you’ll find slightly edited outtake interviews conducted for the film. They’re introduced by Susan Lacy, series creator and former executive producer of American Masters, and a producer of LENNONYC with Michael Epstein, director/writer of LENNONYC.
The interviews include Bob Gruen, personal friend and Lennon photographer, Jim Keltner, drums on various Lennon/Ono albums, Elton John, musician, and Yoko Ono, multi-media artist and peace activist.
1 – Jack Douglas
The first interview for American Masters: LENNONYC features Jack Douglas talking about his long relationship with John Lennon including his time producing Double Fantasy. A highlight of the interview is Douglas’ account about a probable Beatles reunion for a Ringo album slated to be recorded in early 1981. According to Douglas, Lennon had told him both he and Paul McCartney had signed on to the album and each had written original songs for Ringo. Lennon’s songs, “Stepping Out” and “Nobody Told Me” instead appeared on Lennon’s posthumous album, Milk and Honey.
2 – Bob Gruen
Bob Gruen was friends with John and Yoko almost from the moment they arrived in New York City in 1971. Gruen, who has photographed Tina Turner, Joe Strummer, Green Day, and Ozzy Osborn, among dozens of other bands, has perhaps the most complete record of John’s time in New York. He took the two iconic photos of John Lennon from this period: the New York City t-shirt photo, and John in front of the Statue of Liberty.
3 – Jim Keltner
Jim Keltner is one of the world’s most beloved session drummers. A true talent, he contributed to the solo recordings of three out of the four Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Randy Newman, Arlo Guthrie, Harry Nilsson, Bonnie Raitt, Yoko Ono and many more. Over the course of a decade, Keltner and Lennon established a close friendship, playing together on six of Lennon’s albums. In this interview Keltner gives us perspective on Lennon as a person and as an artist.
4 – Elton John
After losing a friendly bet that “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” would never go to number one (it did), John Lennon played his last live show with his good friend Elton John at Madison Square Garden in November, 1974. John and Yoko always claimed that this concert was the catalyst for their reconciliation. In fact, when Sean was born a year later they ask Elton to be his godfather.
5 – Roy Cicala
Roy Cicala worked for almost 20 years as a producer and sound engineer at Record Plant Studios in New York City. Known to be one of the best in his field, Cicala worked with John and Yoko all through the 1970’s. He was there and can attest to all of the madness and all of the magic as John put his music to tape.
6 – Gary Van Scyoc of Elephant’s Memory
Elephant’s Memory was a protest band of the 1960’s and 70’s in New York City’s East Village. The group became the Plastic Ono Elephant’s Memory Band after John and Yoko arrived on the scene in 1972 and asked them to be their backing band. Gary Van Scyoc played bass.
7 – Adam Ippolito of Elephant’s Memory
Elephant’s Memory was a protest band of the 1960’s and 70’s in New York City’s East Village. The group became the Plastic Ono Elephant’s Memory Band after John and Yoko arrived on the scene in 1972 and asked them to be their backing band. Adam Ippolito played keyboard.
8 – Colin Hall of Mendips and Colin Hanton of The Quarrymen
Colin Hall, the curator at Mendips, John’s childhood home, and Colin Hanton, the original drummer for The Quarrymen talk about Liverpool, American Rock ‘N’ Roll, and John’s childhood relationship with his Aunt Mimi and his mother, Julia.
9 – Earl Slick
Earl Slick, legendary lead guitarist, originally met Lennon during David Bowie’s Young Americans sessions. In 1980, Jack Douglas brought Slick on to play guitar for Double Fantasy.
10 – Klaus Voormann
Klaus Voormann, a longtime friend of John Lennon, has played on solo projects and recordings by Lou Reed, Carly Simon, James Taylor, and Harry Nilsson amongst others. He was a session bassist for Lennon’s albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine as well as Yoko Ono’s Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band.