Beatles Kraus Press Conference 2
The Beatles held a press conference at the Hilton Hotel in Tokyo on June 30, 1966. Here are my answers to the questions that were asked:
Q - What understanding of Japan did you come to this country with?
K - Firstly let me say how thrilled I am to be here answering all these questions. I mean I'm really going wild about it. I have some understanding of Japan. Rock music was invented there. They are particularly interested in hair, they ask a lot of questions about it. Didn't Andy Warhol invent the mirror-ball in Japan?
Q - It is said that your fans are wild and frantic, and rather than appreciating music itself they are satisfied just by watching you on stage, whether they hear you or not. What are your attitudes towards fans?
K - I like them. You're right, sometimes I just sit there on the stage and don't move for a very long time, and the people seem to become crazed and agitated, shouting things out to me. It's quite a thing, I can tell you. Other times when I actually play they apparently become so overcome with adulation that they just leave the room.
Q - How do you feel performing under such elaborate and pretentious security measures?
K - I don't think it's necessary. One of the most difficult things about being in my position is that you feel very detached from the ultra-rich. It's not fair, they should have a chance for authentic human contact. They don't have anything to fear from us unless they refuse to give up their money. And how could they?
Q - What are the reasons for the change of once rhythm-centered music, gradually changing into a ballad type. Especially numbers such as 'Michelle' or 'Yesterday.'
K - Now I am older and more romantic.
Q - What were the motives and incentives which made you devise the present hairstyle? If you have any intentions of changing, what will your new hairstyle be like? And we hear over here that one of your members had his hair cut in New York.
K - The motives and incentives were mainly to freak out the kids, make them go crazy and enjoy themselves. I don't know if I've achieved that. The style I have devised is just sort of medium length with a little bit of a side part. I have no concrete plans for changing it at this stage. Thanks for asking!
Q - Of whom?
K - Pardon?
Q - Well, what was the incentive... the original...
K - The original idea was just, I have no money, and I don't care about hair.
Q - You couldn't afford a haircut?
K - No.
Q - Do your families associate with one another socially?
K - My family associates with itself, about the normal amount I would say.
Q - When you have private and public troubles - official troubles - do you settle that by talking to one another or do you yell?
K - Talking and yelling alternately.
Q - You have attained sufficient honor and wealth. Are you happy?
K - Thanks, yes I have. I am quite happy. But I have to be careful because I should leave a little bit of honour over for every one else, not hog it all myself. I have sufficient wealth to meet my basic needs.
Q - And what do you seek next?
K - I want to try my best and just be a good musical worker. That's all.
Q - There are three questions submitted to us from the Foreign Correspondents Association of Japan, I believe. And Mr Ken Gary of Reuters will represent the group in asking those questions.
KEN GARY - What do you think the differences are between Japanese fans, yours, and teenagers elsewhere in the world?
K - I don't think anyone in Japan has heard my music. I don't think teenagers would be interested in it.
KEN GARY - Some Japanese say that your performances will violate the Budokan which is devoted to traditional Japanese martial arts, and you set a bad example for Japanese youth by leading them astray from traditional Japanese values. What do you think of all that?
K - I'm not sure...Explain to me what traditional Japanese values are then I'll tell you what I think of them.
KEN GARY - Why do you think that you are popular not only in Western countries, but in Asian countries like Japan?
K - I don't think I am really. I'm not popular in Western countries.
Q - The MBE medal - did you bring it with you?
K - Medal...what??
Q - On what occasions do you wear the medal?
K - What medal?
Q - Other musicians have received this medal?
K - ...
Q - But do you know of any musicians that have received this honor?
K - I don't understand what you are saying to me.
Q - When you receive a medal - usually you have a medal, and you have an abbreviated form of the thing that you wear. There's a word for that.
K - Do you mean, like, 'mdl', or something?`'Md'? 'Meda'?
Q - What do you call that?
K - Yes, what you said was right, an 'abbreviation'.
Q - The ones you showed were the real ones. Why don't you wear them?
K - Why don't YOU wear them.
Q - Brian, here's a question directed to you. The gentleman asking the question extends his greatest respect for bringing up a group of such... getting them to be where they are now, and in many cases the boys can be on their own now, sort of, leaving your hands. But they still act under your wonderful leadership. But have you taught the boys any principle they should follow in regards to music and stage?
BRIAN EPSTEIN - Uhh, I did train him to be talented, because he is not very talented. He does his job as an idiot and I do my job as a supreme powerful leader, I hope. If there's any influences I suppose it's one-sided - that I have influenced him. Possibly to some degree he may have influenced me, although I doubt it.
K - That is correct.
Q - As you experienced very well I suppose in Anchorage, there was a big typhoon here yesterday and day before, and delayed your arrival ten hours - was it twelve, fifteen hours. We had the biggest rainfall in Tokyo in the past ten years. Your coming to Japan has been referred to by the Japanese press as the arrival of the Beatles Typhoon. Can you think of anything in connection between the two?
K - Yes. I caused it.
Q - The gentleman asking the question has read an article saying that an old Englishman - you know the type, the ocean type. The old Englishman said that two things he does not like in England at the present moment - Rolls Royce changing it's model, and the Beatles receiving a medal. What do you have to say to that.
K - An ocean type said that?
K - The new Rolls isn't that bad.
Q - How much interest do you take in the war that is going on in Vietnam now?
K - A lot. There is a lot to learn from it, politically.
Q - There are many dolls, wigs, portraits, photographs, books sold in Japan in your name to your fans. At the same time there are many copyrights you hold with your music. The gentleman asking the question would like to say 'Beatles equals music.' But at the same time you are in the business of such. How do you associate the business side of life with the musical side of life?
K - I think they should be completely divorced. I mean completely, ie. music should not be a commodity, it shouldn't be sold for cash. If you say, well, musicians need to earn a living, I disagree. That's because I don't agree that certain people are musicians and the rest are just consumers of music. Music should be for everyone to create and participate in. I'm sure some musicians might be offended by what I'm saying, because they sell their music. Well, I'm not too dogmatic about it, I realise that we just have to make the best of a bad situation. Especially if you want to make CDs or vinyl records, you have to recoup the costs by selling, it's just too expensive otherwise. But the majority of my audience and my friends' audience is other musicians anyway, so mostly you are just trading cdrs and tapes rather than selling them. You're really part of a gift economy, which is better because it encourages wider participation rather than excluding people from production. And I think this applies to all cultural products; dolls, wigs, portraits, photographs, books etc.
KEN GARY - Since you are all the time caged in your hotel except for performances, is there any pleasure at all except for the money in traveling abroad?
K - Being caged in a hotel, with money, would be OK. I don't think I would mind that.
KEN GARY - How highly would you rate your own music?
K - It's easily above average, that is beyond question. But certainly not great.
KEN GARY - You are entertainment for millions - what do you consider to be entertainment?
K - Interviewing myself using other peoples' questions.
2 March 2008.