Three days before he was gunned down, John Lennon complained about his critics — saying they were just interested in “dead heroes” — and talked optimistically about his family and future, musing that he had “plenty of time” to accomplish some of his life goals.
Lennon’s final interview was released by Rolling Stone yesterday, the 30th anniversary of the musician’s death. The issue using the full interview will be on magazine stands tomorrow. While brief excerpts of Jonathan Cott’s interview with Lennon were released for a 1980 Rolling Stone cover story days after Lennon’s death, this is the first time the entire interview has been published.
“His words are totally joyous and vibrant and hopeful and subversive and fearless,” Cott said on Tuesday.
Lennon saves some of his harshest words for critics who were perennially disappointed with Lennon’s path, in both music and in his life, after leaving the Beatles.
“These critics with the illusions they’ve created about artists — it’s like idol worship,” he said. “They only like people when they’re on their way up ... I cannot be on the way up again.”
“What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean,” he said. “I’m not interesting in being a dead [expletive] hero ... So forget ’em, forget ’em.”
The interview was originally planned for a cover story for Lennon and Ono’s upcoming album Double Fantasy, but in the rush to put out a story after Lennon was shot dead by Mark David Chapman, only snippets were used.
Cott said he never went back to the three hours worth of tapes until a few months ago when he was cleaning out his closet.
Cott said he was struck by how much Lennon was thinking about his life and mortality.
“There were a lot of strange consideration of where he was and what he felt like sort of in the middle of his journey,” Cott said.