When your parents are John Lennon and Yoko Ono, you?ve got quite an artistic heritage to live up to, and Sean Lennon has handled his career with decided aplomb. His first album, the eclectic Into the Sun, came out in 1998; then, not feeling any rush to put out a follow-up, he worked and toured with a variety of artists, ranging from Cibo Matto to Ben Lee to Rufus Wainwright.
Last year, he finally released his second album, Friendly Fire, inspired by a romantic break-up and the end of a friendship. And the story wasn?t told only with songs. He also produced short films for each song (which appear on the accompanying DVD). The result is a thoughtful and compelling work from an artist who’s already looking forward to his next venture. Goldmine caught up with Lennon during his recent tour:
Goldmine: I remember reading your father saying you listened to ?Hound Dog? as a child. What other kinds of music did you listen to when you grew up?
Sean Lennon: Well, I like all classic rock stuff because those were the records my dad played ? Elvis, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers. I was also into all the new wave stuff, and mod stuff, like the Specials. The first record I bought was actually ?Fascination? by the Human League. I also bought Madness, ?Our House.? I love the Blondie record, Autoamerican. There was the while hip-hop thing happening, too, which was definitely something I was into. And I was into the Clash.
GM: When did you become interested in being a musician yourself?
SL: I was pretty musical from an early age. I really don?t consider myself more of a musician than an artist; I feel that I?m just somebody that wants to express myself in different ways, you know? That is the way I was brought up. My mom was a songwriter and a painter and a sculptor, so my parents kind of blurred the lines between different media.
GM: What was your first experience with a band?
SL: I guess it was with my mom’s record (Rising, in 1995]. That was also the first tour I did. My mom was my greatest influence as a child, and as an artist she?s my greatest influence. I was always a huge fan of her music, and I actually was the one who said, ?Let?s make a record in the old-school way like you made Plastic Ono Band. Let?s just get my friends together and jam some live Plastic Ono-style stuff onto a tape machine.? I wanted to do something to let her freak out again. She?d been making pop records for so long, and they?re great as well; I think all her records are really brilliant ? every single one actually ? but I wanted her to rock out. And she got into it. It was amazing how much energy she had, and still has. We do shows now, and she just still f**king rocks so hard, it?s amazing. So I felt very privileged to be part of the ?renaissance of Yoko? thing, to have been in some way a catalyst for it. It?s definitely something I?m really proud of.