ABOUT THIS INTERVIEW:
At the end of the first year of sweeping Beatlemania in Britain, the Fab Four gave an entertaining and enlightening interview to Dibbs Mather during a stop in Doncaster on December 10th 1963. Mather conversed with the Beatles in their dressing room just before their performance at the Gaumont Theatre. Topics of discussion included the changes that fame had brought into their lives, and the origins of the name 'The Beatles.'
John Lennon displays his brutally-cool sense of humor, and also reads his poem 'The Neville Club' well-before the release of his first book. Lennon's collection poems and short stories 'In His Own Write' would not be published for another three months.
Meanwhile in America, on the same day as the Dibbs Mather interview, CBS-TV Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite showed a clip of an unknown group called The Beatles as an interest story on the incredible mania-like fame they were experiencing in Britain.
- Jay Spangler, www.beatlesinterviews.org
Q: "Ringo Starr, it's been suggested that boys coming from the particular area that you've come from, if you'd hadn't found an interest in music, might have found it much more difficult to get out and make a go of life. Would you comment on this?"
RINGO: "I think it's true, you know. I mean, when I was sixteen I used to walk along the road with the rest of the lads, and we'd have all our trade coats on. You know, we'd had a few knocks with other rival gangs, sort of thing. But then I got the drums, and the bloke nextdoor played a guitar. And I got a job..."
JOHN: (sings) "'Teddy Booooy!'"
RINGO: (laughs) "...and we started playing together. And another bloke from work made a bass out of an old tea chest... you know them days. This was about '58, mind you. And we played together, and then we started playing on dances and things, you know, and we took an interest in it. Then we stopped going, you know, out to sort of hanging around corners every night."
Q: "Would you say that the enormous difference which your success in this field has had, has greatly influenced you, Ringo, as far as your philosophy of life or what you want to get out of it?"
RINGO: "Oh, yeah."
Q: "George Harrison, how different is your life now as a member of the Beatles to what it was, say, even four years ago?"
GEORGE: "Everything's completely changed. We don't have a private life anymore. And we, umm, are public property now. Not that we mind."
Q: "You don't mind being such public property with no private time at all?"
GEORGE: "Well, you get accustomed to it, and after a while you just take it for granted and you just do everything automatically... like signing autographs and (laughs) waving at people."
Q: "What about homelife with your own family? Do you ever get any these days?"
GEORGE: "Yeah. Occasionally, say once every fortnight, we manage to get home. And, umm, if we're not appearing in our hometown then it's usually OK; they don't expect us to be there, and we... It's, you know, quite quiet."
Q: "Does this change the status for the family much?"
GEORGE: "Umm, not really. It makes 'em more popular (laughs) and people sort of after a while spot 'my' parents, anyway. You know, it's the same with the others. They'll say, 'There's George's dad,' whereas before they wouldn't know him from Adam. But, you know, they're just still the same as before."
Q: "What about the wealth that comes with this kind of success? Has that made a great deal of difference to the way you live... and the way your family live?"
GEORGE: "No. It hasn't made... not so far anyway... it hasn't made any difference. Except for holidays and things like that. You know, we can just get the money out of the bank and go wherever we want."
Q: "You are one of the reputive deep-thinkers in this group. How do you see it as a peak in your life? What happens to you after this is over?"
GEORGE: "Well, umm, I suppose we'll stay doing this sort of stuff for a couple of years. Whether we're... I mean, naturally we wont be able to stay at this level. But, umm, we should have another two years at least, I think."
Q: "What happens to George Harrison then?"
GEORGE: "I don't know. I'll know by the time that comes along. Probably I'll have a little business or something like that."
Q: "You don't want to go on in the profession?"
GEORGE: "Probably, yeah. I'd like to make records, you know, with other artists. I don't mean perform... I mean as a producer."
Q: "The technical side."
GEORGE: "Mmmm. But I don't know. You can't really tell at this stage."
Q: "Paul McCartney, you're one of the original Beatles. Where did the name Beatles originate?"
PAUL: "Well Dibbs, uhh, John thought of it first of all. Just as a name; just for a group, you know. We just didn't have any name. Well, oh yeah; we did have a name, but we had about ten of 'em a week, you know... and we didn't like this idea so we had to settle on one particular name. And John came up with the name Beatles one night. And he sort of explained how it was spelled with an 'E-A,' and we said, 'Oh yes, it's a joke.'"
Q: "Since then, it's come to represent a large section of the young population-- called the 'Beatle People.' Do you people regard yourself as leaders of this particular group?"
PAUL: "No, we're not leaders of any sort of group. The thing is-- people always say, 'Well, you started great trends and things,' but in actual fact all that we've done is gone along with the trends. And if, in going along with it, we sort of encourage other people to go along with a couple of our ideas, you know; all very well. But we haven't tried consciously to start anything like a trend, you know."
Q: "Now, you were very much younger when this enormous success started, and you're riding the summit of it now. Do you see it as a peak... a mountain... interfering with the flow of your life?"
PAUL: "I don't really know what you mean by 'very much younger.' It was only a year ago."
Q: "But you've been working since '58, haven't you?"
PAUL: "Well, yeah... not working, you know. I mean, strictly speaking we've been out of work since '58 and we've been doing this as a hobby. 'Cuz we've only been doing it as semi-pros. I left school and went right into it. And we were only sort of picking up a few quid a week, you know. It really wasn't work. I think the main thing is now that, as we've got ourselves a bit of security... we don't really have to worry, at the moment anyway, what we're gonna do after it. So we don't."
Q: "None of you are really concerned with going on in this field as a profession?"
PAUL: "Yeah, of course we are. I think all of us really, if it suddenly flopped, then we would do something in this profession. But what we mean by Ringo and George's answers, that we don't really want to do... like the conventional answer is, 'I'd like to do ballads and films and straight-acting,' which is so corny. Because half the people who say that can't act or ballad or film. So, umm, we probably wouldn't want to do that unless we thought we could do it. We're having a bash at a film next year, and if we find that any of us can act, say, one out of us may become actors. But we haven't got any great hopes of being actors at the moment."
Q: "It's said, John Lennon, that you have the most 'Goon-type' humor of the four Beatles."
JOHN: "Who said that?"
Q: "I think I read it in one of the newspapers."
JOHN: "You know what the newspapers are like."
Q: "I don't know. What are they like?"
Q: (laughs) "This is going wrong... I want to get a nice 'Personality' bit."
JOHN: "I haven't got a nice personality."
Q: (laughs) "Is this evidence of Goon-type humor?"
JOHN: "No, I don't think I really have Goon-type humor. That's just an expression people use."
Q: "What has the success you've enjoyed with the Beatles meant to you personally?"
JOHN: "More money than I had before. That's the good bit."
Q: "Is it going to make any difference to your life the way you live it after, say, this calms down... the enormous excitement you're generating at the moment?"
JOHN: "I don't know, you know. Really."
Q: "Do you think your career as a comic might open up to you?"
JOHN: "No. (laughs) I don't stand a chance being a comic."
Q: "Why not?"
JOHN: "I'm not funny enough."
Q: "Umm, you were interested in poetry in school."
JOHN: "Who said?"
Q: "It's printed in a book compiled by the Beatles and entitled, 'The Beatles.'"
JOHN: (laughs) "I haven't read that book. We don't normally write those things."
Q: "Written any good comic poems lately?"
(interviewer hands John a piece of paper containing one of Lennon's poems. The other Beatles giggle)
Q: (laughs) "I just happened to have it here by sheerest coincidence."
JOHN: "'Dressed in my brown...' Oh no, I've lost it. Hold on. I can't read it, you see. I've only just written it. (giggles) Well, that's how it starts, actually!"
JOHN: (reads) "Dressed in my teenold brown sweater I easily micked with crown at Neville Club, a seemy hole. Soon all but soon people accoustic me saying such thing as 'where the charge man?'"
JOHN: "I'm turning it over--"
(reads) "All too soon I noticed boys and girls sitting in a hubbeled lump; smoking Hernia and taking Odeon, and getting very high. Some were only 4 foot 3 high, but he had Indian Hump which he grew in his sleep.'
JOHN: "But things like that just help me keep sane."
Q: "Is this business enough to drive you insane?"
JOHN: "No, I'm quite normal really. If you read in the Beatle books... it says I'm quite normal."
Source: Transcribed by www.beatlesinterviews.org from audio recording of the interview