Right now everything is totally right with the world. (Or, as the NME puts it with customary wit, What would happen if Beatle WAG and screaming performance artist Yoko Ono covered Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’?)
There is beauty in everything, if you look deep enough. Even in a Katy Perry song.
I’m well aware that this mash-up was probably intended as a parody, that there are other versions of the same footage of Yoko ‘covering’ other well-known songs. I don’t care what the intentions are, not when they result in such beauty. I don’t believe you’ll ever hear this song the same way again.
When you’re on stage performing, what do you think about? “Performing. I’m just into it so much that there’s no thinking. I’m there totally.”
Does it bother you what reactions you get? “When am I going to be bothered by it, before, after or when I’m doing it? Just joking. I think that there’s a point where you can’t be bothered with it or you can’t do it. How are you going to guess or imagine who’s going to think what?”
Yeah, I agree but that’s interesting because it kind of comes round to motivation again. A lot of people make music to get a reaction. I guess one of the reasons to make music is communication, in which case reaction is important. “Of course reaction is important but you’re not motivated to… you think of communication but you communicate in the soul of a person. I always think that if I go on stage, I think of me as presenting this communication of gods and goddesses within you. I just communicate with that, the real spirit and the real soul within you. It’s fine if everything that is said later or at the time, what your mind is thinking, the cynicism that you have is not your real soul.”
You’re something of an icon to a lot of people I know in the counter culture. It’s funny, if I’ve had the conversation about Yoko once, I’ve had it a thousand times because people know I like you. I’ll say ‘well, I like Yoko but you’re not the only other person I know that does.’ Why do you think that is? “Because there’s a very big opposition still to me, I think, in terms of the big picture. In that sense I’m an underdog and I have been an outsider. I always think of myself as an outsider and there’s a power in being an outsider, there’s wisdom that you gain by being an outsider and that you can bring into the main world, the main society. The main society always benefits from what the outsider can bring to them.”
(excerpted from the full transcript of the Yoko Ono interview, originally conducted conducted at the artist’s living room in the Dakota, New York, 2002)