Question: There are a lot of experts around the world trying to promote global peace. Why do you feel you can succeed where they have failed?
John: It's like saying, "Why bother keeping Christianity alive because Jesus was killed." You see, we don't think people have really tried advertising before. I mean, when somebody brings out a new product - let's pretend peace is new, as we've never had it - they start advertisng. Now whatever gimmickry is happening during the advert, it's the drink or the car that people will go out and buy in the end.
Question: How do you answer accusations that the kind of thing you are doing is bordering on naiveté?
John: If anybody thinks our campaign is naive, then that's okay, let them do something else, and if we like the idea maybe we'll join in! But other wise we'll carry on. We're artists - not politicians, not newspapermen, and not anything. We do things the way that suits us best. Publicity is our game, and because of the Beatles that's the trade I've learned.
Question: I remember you saying you thought we'd have peace by the year 2000. Do you still believe that?
John: I'd sooner say 1970. You see, I believe in positive thinking. I think we'll get it as soon as people realize that they have the power, and it doesn't solely belong to Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Wilson, or Mr. Nixon. The people are the power, and they can have whatever they want. And if it's a case of people not knowing what to do, then let's advertise and let them know they have a real option.
Question: But what can they do?
John: They've got the vote haven't they? I mean, the youth will be the establishment soon, so there's no point in breaking it down, because we'll have to build it back up again. That's all we're saying.
Question: Are there any circumstances in which you personally could support a war?
John: No. I don't believe in killing, whatever the reason.
Question: What is the possibilty that your manner of clothing and hairstyle will tend to alienate more people than it would ever convince to come over to your side?
John: Yes, I understand that. Many people say to me, "Why don't you get a butch haircut and a nice suit." [Laughter] But that's what the politicians do! I just try and be as natural as I can under the circumstances. We both do.
Question: John, you are now endowed with more influence over young people in the young people in the world than all the bishops, rabbis, and priests put together. Do you ever feel any sense of fright at the power you have?
John: It's a very abstract power though. Say we wanted to plug a certain product that wasn't peace, and I contacted the press people I know and tried to get it over, there's a good chance it wouldn't work. So I haven't really got a power I can get hold of.
Question: Do you believe in God?
John: Yes, I believe he's like a vast powerhouse, but he's neither good nor bad nor left, right, black, or white. And that we can all tap into that supreme source of power and make of it what we will. With electricity, you can kill people in an electric chair or you can light the room. I think God is.
Yoko: Also, we talk about having a great belief in youth, but you know youth includes everybody that is mentally or spiritually youthful.
Question: It has been said that Jesus made the mistake of trying to save the whole world as one man. Is this why don't believe in leadership?
John: I just believe that farther figures are the big mistake of all the generations before us, and we can't rely solely on Nixon or Jesus or whoever we tend to rely on. It's just a lack of responsiblity on our part to expect someone to do it for us. The Beatles were never leaders, you know but people imagined we were, and now they're finding out the truth.
Question: Could you give us your personal definition of peace?
John: Peace? Just no violence, and everybody grooving, if you don't mind us using the word. Of course we all have violence within us, but we must learnn to channel it. We have a hard time making people think we mean what we say in Britain. It's like telling your parents, "Look, I want my hair long." We consider this like our Cavern period now. We haven't really gotten out of Liverpool with this campaign yet, and we've got to break London and America. It's like that. I don't care how long it takes or what obstacles there are. We won't ever stop, you know.
Question: Is there one particular incident that got you started on this peace campaign?
John: It just built up over a number of years actually, but the thing that really struck it off was a letter we got from a guy called Peter Watkins who made a film called The War Game. It was a very long letter stating just what's happening - how the media is really controlled, how it's all run, and everything else that people really know deep down. He said, "People in your position have a responsibility to use the media for world peace." And we sat on the letter for about three weeks thinking, "Well, we're doing our best. All you need is love, man." That letter just sort of sparked it all off. It was like getting your induction papers for peace!
Question: Are you still as involved in eastern philosophy as you once were, John?
John: If I'm involved in anything, it's Yoko's version of Zen Buddhism. All the philosophies have good basis, and all the religions are right. But just haven't the time or capability of reading through two million years of philosophy. Because to me the only answer is "yes" and "now".
Question: How about meditation?
John: Occasionally I use it. I'm not really very good at getting up in the morning and doing my exercises, you know. Meditation is a mental exercise. It works all right, it definitely does all they say.
Yoko: And our mantra is "peace" thankfully.
Question: Do you think the peace movement could be a solution for the problems that a lot of young people are having today with drugs?
John: Everybody seems to need something, the way society is, because of the pressures. I know the only time I took drugs was when were without hope. If we can sustain that, then we won't need drugs, liquor, or anything.
Question: But could you have ever achieved that hope without the success of the Beatles behind you?
John: The Beatles made it four years ago, stopped touring, had all the money and fame they wanted, and found out they had nothing. And then we started on our various LSD trips, the Maharishi, and all the other mad things we did. It's the old line about money, power and fame not being the answer. We didn't lack hope just because we were famous though. I mean, Marilyn Monroe and all those other people had all the things the Beatles had but were still very unhappy. John and Yoko have the same problems, of the position we're in or the money we have. We have exactly the same paranoias as everybody else, the same petty thoughts - everything goes just the same for us. We have no super answers that came through the Beatles or their power. The Beatles in that respect are irrelevant to what I'm talking about.
Question: As a result of the Beatles, though, you are in a better position to go around the world and see these things that other people cannot.
John: Ah yes. But Yoko wasn't a Beatle, but she had hope and was doing things for peace without being in a bloody pop group! Yoko and I were in different bags originally, but we both had a very positive side. I was singing "All You Need Is Love," and she was protesting in Trafalgar Square in a black bag. When we met we only had one thing in common: we were in love. But love is just a gift, and it doesn't answer everything. It's like a precious plant that you have to nurture and look after. What goes with love, we thought, was peace. We were planning on getting married, then not getting married, thinking what we're going to do and how we're going to do it. So we finally said, "All right, all right, what can we do together?" Yoko can't really come and play with the Beatles and sing about peace, and I'm certainly not going to stand around in Trafalgar Square in a bag, because I'm too frightened. Anyway, we went through every possible way of doing things until we came up with the bed event. You see, we knew we were going to get press, so we had two choices - hiding from the press and having them around us as we were having our honeymoon or just saying, "Okay, we give in. Ask any questions you want, for seven days and all the time we'll just keep pluging peace," and that's how it all got started.
Yoko: I think we were really meant to meet, you know. I didn't realize it at first because I was such a thoroughly conceited artist. I thought I was doing brilliantly as far as my protest were concerned. But then we met and started to fill each other with our ideas. I've always thought that it's better to work on your own, but's it's not.
John: Two heads are definitely better than one!