Vpro interview transcript, 1994

Interviewer: Why Not?

John: Because I didn’t wanna be there doing press at all….I had to leave three quarters of the way into it…I didn’t want to go and Flea was like ‘well you have to’ because him and Anthony would have gone but they made me go with Anthony and I was just…….I was just losing my mind. I feel that when you speak about things you’re diarrheaing all over them…you just ruin whatever you’re talking about and I felt like I was diarrheaing all over what was important to me…and I hated being told I was a rock star.
…So Anthony felt like he couldn’t joke around coz I was getting so serious because I was so angry about the whole press thing and the whole rock star thing and then he would have looked like he didn’t have any integrity if he would have just started off so it was a really bad combination…..and he was scared to say anything like he usually did which was his thing and so it was just awful

Interviewer: So he was trying to compensate for……..?

John: No he just imitated me (interviewer laughs) He would just imitate me so then if I say like ‘then go blah blah blah’ and then he says ‘whip out your cock and show it to my mother’….you know…it doesn’t go together

Interviewer: Ah…..I see (laughs)
John: If you’re a musician you’re either gonna become a cool person or you’re gonna become a good nothing….you’re gonna know how to be nothing and really understand it or you’re gonna be a bad nothing and just a piece of shit….there’s not really any in between if you’re a rock star…..one or the other

Interviewer: So what did you think when you heard the news of Kurt Cobain’s death?

John: I cried, I don’t know why….I don’t like his music or anything….you know it’s awful about his baby I just……I don’t want to talk about that…..I just don’t think he has very many guts……I just don’t see why he wouldn’t want to see his daughter grow up…you know…that he wouldn’t be excited enough about that to not think of himself……people just start thinking of themselves too much. I don’t think it’s so much that they become conscious of the world of video and the world of this and that and a world of fame, they just think of themselves and no matter who you are and whether you’re a rock star or a garbage man, if you’re thinking of yourself all the time you’re not gonna be very good at what you do. With a baby you can tell them funny jokes when they’re two and they’ll love it, you can teach them about how everyone’s an idiot and they’ll love it…..but you know…..it doesn’t occur to a lot of people how intense that is…..how beautiful it is (When he says this you can see a longing in his voice and expression) Everything I…..like my record is dedicated to Clara…..she’s the smartest person I’ve ever met (shows a clip of Clara playing with a massive cuddly toy of Ernie from sesame street which John bought for her)

Interviewer: What I was thinking about when I heard of Kurt Cobain’s death (John starts acting a little odd) coz you’ve experienced River Phoenix’s death and Hillel’s death, there’s a self-destructive thing that happens to people in this business or something……

John: Everybody dies………I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I think it’s more of a shame that he was born and then he died coz he didn’t like this life and he didn’t like this place and he’s in a better place now………I don’t think death is a big deal, I don’t care if I die right now….doesn’t mean I’m self-destructive, I really love life and I think thats the only way to love life.
It starts to separate the boys from the men when you see who’s got that inside of them and who doesn’t …..that’s when somebody becomes a good musician and the other person doesn’t it’s coz one is all concerned with the future and the past and one is just right here, right now, excited and calm…….and sad and doesn’t give a fuck….some people are sad and like ‘Oh no this leads to death!’
Interviewer: I still wanna ask you about that….about what I just said, that self-destructiveness because I once talked about Forrest right after he did that big show in Holland and he climbed up some….I don’t know….very high thing, almost fell and he survived…..it’s very crazy…..

John: Yeah I know, he was wearing my clothes

Interviewer: He was wearing your clothes?

John: That whole tour (interviewer laughs)

Then it shows a clip of Bob Forrest performing on stage and also being interviewed about death and he says how he’s not afraid of dieing. Then he says ‘Lets take for instance the real rock n’ rollers, would you like to end up like Paul McCartney? I’d rather be dead than be Paul McCartney I’ll tell you that or Phil Collins or any of that’. He said he idolised people like Keith Richards and wanted to be like them. At 13 all he wanted to do was shoot heroin.

Back to John interview

John: Ok, so you want me to say something soulful? Drugs. I’m a junkie and I love shooting up and that means I’m self-destructive and………is that good enough?

Interviewer: I don’t know, did you feel it was a true statement?

John: Yeah

At this point John sings a very beautiful song, he’s a little clumsy on the guitar and his voice is out of tune but it all seems to flow somehow.

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