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The Scene
Alleyway outside Sonar Club, 21 July 1998
Vancouver BC, Canada

The Cast
Sean Lennon
Lennon Handler-Bodyguard/Tour Manager of Sean
Grant Lawrence-Nardwuar's Camera Man
Fans in Alley

Nardwuar: Who are you?
Sean Lennon: I am Zaphod Beeblebrox.

You are Sean Lennon!
Then... you know... my true identity.(laughs)

Sean, you are touring with Rufus Wainwright, aren't you?

He didn't play with you in Montreal though, did he? What happened there? He is from Montreal, right?
Yeah, well I think that he had another show that he had already previously committed to doing.

Now did you know that, like, Montreal was, like, that famous place where your parents had that famous hideout and there actually was a hotel there, a little museum in Montreal?
Well I wouldn't call it a hideout but I was aware of the... "activities" that were...

Partooken in in there-
Partooken in in....

Sean Lennon!Now that's in Montreal but now we're here in Vancouver. But in your last tour with Ima, you didn't make it to Vancouver, did you?
That's right! (laughs)

I don't know! You will have to ask the promoter!

Vancouver is very famous, you know. We are the hometown of Michael J. Fox.
I know. Well you shouldn't take it personally because I didn't book the shows. In fact, I really reprimanded the promoter for that, and he vowed never to do it again, and this is, you know, why I am here now.

Well, Michael J. Fox, Michael J. Fox - he has some sort of bizarre fixation with Julian Lennon, doesn't he, Sean?
(laughs) I didn't know about this!

Yeah, like Sean Lennon, Sean Lennon, you are Sean Lennon, and there is Julian Lennon of course, and Julian Lennon and Michael J. Fox have this weird thing going on. Sorry about referring to you in the third person -- I just have to squeeze myself thinking it actually is you--but, like he was in Michael J. Fox, Michael J. Fox was in a Julian Lennon video, and Michael J. Fox and Julian Lennon were together in Rolling Stone magazine.
So what are you trying to imply?

Well, who do you hang out with? Who do you hang out with? Like, you know, Julian Lennon, he parties with Mickey...

Rourke! Julian parties with Mickey Rourke. And who do you party with? You party with the...
Stooges? (laughs)

The Muffs! You party with the Muffs! Do you remember that in Seattle, Washington?
Yeah. That's right. I have partied with them.

There was a picture of you in Rolling Stone magazine with the Muffs.
Yes, that's right.

And because the Muffs were in Rolling Stone magazine with you, Sean Lennon, they got to get on the Beatle Phone, you know that Beatle Phone were you phone for information? So, like, people phone the Beatle Phone and it was like, "Hey, check out page twenty-three of the new Rolling Stone. There is Sean Lennon's picture with some rockers." And it was the Muffs.
[Lennon Handler interrupts and asks some unintelligible question.]

No, I am not. But I do know the Muffs, and they are very excited that they got to be on the Beatle Phone because they were in a photo with you, Sean Lennon.
Thanks for that information.
Lennon Handler: Ask him a question about his new album.

Did you end up smoking up with the Muffs at all there?
Uh, I don't recall, which probably means that I did.

Because it was at Moe, you know, Moe, Moe, the club Moe in Seattle?
Yes, I remember the place.

Sean, what's the songwriting process like for you?
Um, it starts with the guitar and ends with the vocals and the lyrics.

Do you just, like, torch a bull and go for it?
You mean... figuratively speaking? Or do I literally set fire to a bull?

Well, you know, like the spleef. You torch a bull and just go for it-
Oh, torch the bull! Oh, I see what you mean! Actually, I tend to torch the bull after I milk the cow.

Is your mom into the pipe? Like, was that tolerated when you were growing up, you know, marijuana and stuff like that? Was your mom into the pipe, Sean Lennon?
She was never into the pipe, nor the crack pipe, nor the marijuana pipe.

What was it like growing up? I mean, was masturbation frowned upon in your household?
No. No, it never was. In fact, um, I, I don't think, I don't think I grew up with any Christian morality imposed on me at all because I actually went to a Jewish school.

Because your mom has that song called "What A Mess." Do you know what that's about?

Is that about spilling your seed at all, Sean Lennon?
No! I don't think so!

What about it being about masturbation being dirty?
Lennon Handler: Can I get in here for one sec!

What's wrong?
Lennon Handler: Pardon?

Can we continue, Sean? What's happening here?
(to Lennon Handler) No, I'm okay with these questions. It's fine. It doesn't bother me.

Thanks, Sean! Thanks. Thanks. Sorry, it's-
He's just a curious boy but, I mean, you know-

Well, I mean,
How many more questions do you have?

Oh, just a few. We're just whipping through this. Whipping through. We're just whipping through this.
Lennon Handler: We are getting low on time.

Were you, were you at all nervous that your mom was on the cover nude of the Two Virgins? Like, growing up, she allowed marijuana and stuff in the household-
No. I thought that was really cool, actually. Why?

Well, Sean, what about your secret past? Are you a secret metallite? You know, "We went from LA Guns to Enuff Z'nuff, and then we partied with-


-on the back of their bus. Yeah, you want it. by Danger Danger! Do you have a secret metal past? Were you into Loudness or anything like that?
Yeah, definitely. I'm into, um, I like Slayer. Do you like Slayer?

Did you hang around with a lot of dorks when you were growing up, you know, a lot of "interesting" people? Like, now, you know, you hang around the Barenaked Ladies. What's the deal on that? Remember the Barenaked Ladies, the Canadian band, the Barenaked Ladies? They had that song called "Be Your Yoko Ono"-

You were hanging around them for a little while, weren't you?
Not really. I met them once at a club in New York, but I remember who you are talking about. In fact, I saw them on TV just two days ago. Did you know they have a new album out?

Yes, I do. Who rescued you from the Barenaked Ladies? What do you think is the turning point there, Sean?
Rescued me?

I mean, now you're hanging with the Beastie Boys, Sean Lennon?
Nobody rescued me from the Barenaked Ladies! They didn't accost me or anything! What are you trying to-

I just meant, when did your musical tastes change, because now you're on the Grand Royal team and the first Grand Royal--magazine goes for two hundred dollars.
Are you trying to say that at one point I was in the Barenaked Ladies but now I'm into the Beasties?Partooken in in...

Well, like, what was it like having Michael Jackson, speaking about masturbation, you know, hang out with you when you were younger?
Michael Jackson. Listen.

That must have been a traumatic experience.
Look, I resent any accusations that you might be implying about Michael Jackson because he is a really good guy.

I was wondering there, Sean Lennon, when you were growing up, do you remember going through your parents' record collection and kind of going, "Wow, cool! There's like a Dead Boys record in here! Wow, cool! There's some punk in here!" Like, it wasn't all just Clapton, you know. Was there any kind of cool record-
Actually the only tape I remember of my dad's is the Specials. Do you remember them?

Yeah, the Specials. So there wasn't too much classic rock, then?
No, there was a lot of classic rock but, I mean, the only cassette tape - there was a lot of classic rock on vinyl, but the only cassette tape I remember is the Specials.

What do you think about stuff in the sense of, like, the new avant garde? What do you think your mom thinks of the new avant garde? Did you have to fight to get the Melvins to be an opener? Because the Melvins opened for you guys at the Ima tour.
I know they did!

But, like, your mom fired Bun E. Carlos and Rick Nielsen. She fired Cheap Trick from the Double Fantasy album!
She did!?

Yeah, she said, "Get out of the studio!" So how can you trust somebody who gets rid of - you like Cheap Trick, don't you, Sean?
Yeah, I like Cheap Trick. I mean, you know, my mom.... I don't think you should judge somebody based on their liking Cheap Trick or not, you know.

Well, how about the Tater Totz? Is your mom down with the Tater Totz? Because you met the Tater Totz, didn't you? You know, the guy Bill, from the Tater Totz?
Bill Bartell? Yeah!

Like he got the Melvins the opening gig for Ima.
Did he?

What records have you played on, Sean Lennon? Like, you've played on the Yoko covers record.. Now, what have you played on? You haven't played on-
[Sean Lennon disconnects Nardwuar's microphone from Camcorder]

Now, we're disconnecting the mic here because Sean Lennon disconnected the mic. Now, can we get Sean Lennon to reconnect the mic, reconnect the mic if that is possible please?

Please, Sean Lennon, can we please have back the mic?

Okay, well then, let's, let's, I'm just going to continue. Can you actually - can you actually - where are you going? Hold on. We're not finished here yet!
Lennon Handler: We're, uh, pretty done. We're pretty done.

Um, ah, what uh-
Lennon Handler: He's got a schedule to keep.

What is your mom's "rollerdex" like, Sean? What is your mom's "rollerdex" like? She uses a Palm Pilot.
Fan in Alley 1: Why do you keep asking him about his mom? Jesus.

Because your new song, your new song called "Queue" - you have a new song called "Queue" inspired by Brian Wilson Could your mom have flipped through the "rollerdex" and found Brian Wilson's phone number and called Brian Wilson and gone, "Listen to this! Listen to this!" right now, if she wanted to? I mean, it must have been amazing!
Yeah, she probably could.

Like, when you were growing up, like, did you ever hear your mom on the phone and go, "Holy shit, she just told Madonna to fuck off! This is amazing!" Like, I mean-
No, my mom never told Madonna to fuck off. You have a lot of fantasies.

Did you ever dress up in your parents' costumes and go trick or treating on Hallowe'en at all?
In my parents' costumes?

Yeah, like some rare items and gone trick or treating, like, "Screw my past. I'm going to go partying!"
Yes, sometimes I would take the really famous stuff that my dad would wear and dress up as the Beatles and I would go trick or treating as Paul McCartney.

Sean Lennon, how was this tour? Because people were yelling, I heard in Toronto, people were yelling for "Imagine." I mean, that's pathetic: people were yelling for "Imagine."
That's not true, actually. I was speaking figuratively when I said sometimes people, you know, they want me to play Beatles songs and I just tell them to fuck off.

If you had to cover a song, like a Yoko Ono song perhaps, what about "Don't Worry, 'Kye-Oko'"?

Yeah, like, crawling into a bag and doing "Don't Worry, 'Kye-Oko'"-
You're trying to kind of incite me to get angry at you, aren't you?
Fan in Alley 1: Yeah, no kidding.

Why is that?
Because you "Kye-Oko" as if she was a... coyote or something.

No, I didn't know how to pronounce it. I am terrible with pronunciations. Nardwuar the Human Servi-ette, I am kind of hard with pronouncing stuff, Sean Lennon. Sorry, is Keoko still around? Is she still alive? What's the story on that?

Have you ever crawled in the bag at all, Sean Lennon?
Sometimes I have been known to get in a bag at different points in time.

Do you have many relatives in Japan?
Yeah, I do.

Like how many?
Um, like five.

Have you ever met Pete Best at all before, Sean Lennon?

And, winding up here, Sean Lennon-
He's winding up! (laughs)

Thanks for speaking to me, Nardwuar the-
You sound like you're pretty wound up already.

-Human Serviette. Thanks for speaking to me, Nardwuar the Human Serviette. As we are winding up here, can you please insert the-

-microphone cord there?

Because I feel you are too silly.

Well, thank you very much, Sean Lennon. That is very nice of you. Um, so do you think Mike Diamond, would have Mike Diamond signed, do you think he would have signed the Beatles?
Um (laughs) God, I don't know. That's a deep question!

Because do you realize the Beatles ruined rock 'n' roll-
Fan in Alley 1: No!

-because - Hold on! - in 1967, they put out the great album, Sergeant Peppers, and everybody tried to copy it and nobody could match it so all these fans - it was really bad.
No, I know what you mean.

The Beastie Boys ruined the toque. They started wearing the toque, and everybody else is wearing the toque.
I know what you mean.

So, like, you are associated with two people who are-
(speaking to fans in alley) What he is trying to say is that when somebody does something really great,everybody else tries to copy them badly, and therefore it ruins rock 'n' roll because, because, you know, all the bad imitations. That's what you're trying to say, right? Like Led Zeppelin or Van Halen - they were great but they inspired so many mediocre bands that all of a sudden they flooded the market with mediocrity and therefore indirectly, without knowing it, even though they intended to make good music, actually were ruining the scene by inspiring so many bad artists. Is that cool with you?

Yes, exactly! And the Beastie Boys did exactly the same thing, Sean Lennon.
What did they do? What did the Beastie Boys do? They ruined to toque! You know, they started wearing the toques. The Beastie Boys were wearing toques and then everybody else-

I didn't know that term the "toque".

Wool hat, wool hat, wool hat. Beastie Boys started wearing wool hats and then everybody else was wearing wool hats. Is there anything else you would like to add, Sean Lennon?
Lennon Handler: Nard, you got about a minute. You got about a minute.

Well, thanks for speaking, thanks for speaking, Sean, thanks for speaking me, Nardwuar the Human Serviette here, Sean. If you could do one last thing, could you please insertthe microphone there? It would really be the thrill of my life if you could you please insert tthe microphone into that little red thing there, Sean Lennon. It would be so cool of you-
Fans in Alley : Don't do it! No!

Could we do it together? Both our hands in unity reaching out - oh, you don't want to touch me. I have a bit of rash - oh, it's in! Okay, Sean Lennon, thanks for speaking to me, Nardwuar the Human Serviette. The mic is now back in here. Now, Sean Lennon, keep on rocking in the free world-
Is this for public access?

No, it is not. Nobody will have this. Sean Lennon, keep on rocking in the-
Then what is it, um, on? What is it.. for?

It is for "home use".
Wow! (laughs) I believe you somehow.

Thank you very much, Sean Lennon. Sean Lennon, what is a better rock 'n' roll movie-
Lennon Handler: Nard, that's enough c'mon--

What is a better rock 'n' roll movie- The Magical Mystery Tour, or Head. What is a better rock 'n' roll movie,
I haven't seen Head yet. I haven't seen Head yet.

(Lennon Handler puts his face in front of camera and goes "Wooooo")

And Sean Lennon, doot doola - wait a second here! Sean Lennon?
Fan in Alley 1 : No!

Doot doola - we have to - just, just---

(Lennon Handler turns off Nardwuar's video camera-then Nardwuar turns it back on.)

Sean Lennon, doot doola doot - I didn't get the word - doot doola doot doo
Doot doo.

Thank you, Sean. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Lennon Handler: Thanks Nard.
Fan in Alley 1: Why did you do that for?

Do you guys have something to say?
Fan in Alley 1: You're a dickhead.
Fan in Alley 2: Thanks a lot!

Grant Lawrence: Attack him!
Fan in Alley 1: You're a dickhead! Now we can't get to talk to him.

Oh, he'll come out.
Fan in Alley 1: He's gone.

You should do an interview yourself.
Fan in Alley 2: I don't want to piss him off.
Fan in Alley 1: We just want to be his friend. We don't want to ask him about the Beatles.

Back to the pull-down!