Billy English: Drummer

 BILLY ENGLISH is the drummer for Willie Nelson and the brother of Willie’s longtime drummer and friend Paul English.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s our great pleasure to welcome our special guest on this episode of The Paul Leslie Hour, Mr. Billy English. Thanks so much for joining us.

Thank you Paul. It’s an honor to speak with you today.

The pleasure is all mine. So I want to kind of go back a little bit. What was life like growing up in your house?

Lots of music. My brother, Paul, has been with Willie Nelson for 45 years. Early on he played trumpet. We had an older brother, the oldest, and uh, Oliver. He was a utility guy. He played many instruments but his primary instrument was guitar so he was a guitar teacher. There was a lot of music in our house all the time, lots of celebrations. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas we had so many cousins that play, we would, you know, it would always turned into a jam session (laughs). And also, my oldest brother would take me to jam sessions that he would have with his friends. He started me out on guitar and that was my primary instrument in the beginning because, since he was guitar teacher, he wanted to teach me theory. It was a great education for me. And he also helped Paul with trumpet and Paul took trumpet lessons. So, although Paul and I are both drummers, neither one of us started out as drums being our primary instrument (laughs). Suffice it to say, there was a lot of music around our house.


Now, your parents – were they encouraging of you all being into music?
Absolutely. They would have supported anything that, any career path we would have chosen, I’m sure. They were not professional musicians. Our dad did play, uh, guitar in church – just rhythm guitar at church. We were raised Pentecostal. We were very avid church-goers. They would have supported us no matter, uh, which career, like I said, we would had chosen.

 The music playing around the house on the radio or what have you – what kind of music was that?
A lot of it was country and gospel.

So how did you get interested in percussion?
In school. Around middle school I had a great music teacher, Mr. Pearce, at William James Junior High School in Fort Worth, Texas where I grew up. I was already playing guitar. He had several bands, a select string group. I played guitar in that. I just took up the drums, I think just because they needed someone in the percussion section and I was interested. And so when I started out in junior high school, they would alternate you. One day you would play bass drum, one day you would play orchestral snare, another day you would play auxiliary percussion, you know, triangle, shaker, so forth. And then I got more interested in it so I joined the marching band. So that’s how I got interested in drums and I only took a few private lessons so, as far as drum-wise, I’m pretty much self-taught. But that’s, that’s about the time in my life that I really became serious about drums – around middle school.


How did you become acquainted, the first time you became exposed to this gentleman, Willie Nelson?
You know what? I don’t remember the first time because I was so young, because my brother has been with him – well, consistently for the last 45 years but he has known him and been in contact with him longer than that. But I would go to some of their shows when I was just very young. Whenever I was about 20 years old, that was the first time that I ever had the opportunity and honor of playing with Willie. But no one really knew who he was. He was writing hit songs, but for other artists. And Paul was doing everything on the road. He booked the gigs, collected the money, drove the station wagon – there were six of us. That’s when I was, I was really exposed to Willie, whenever I had the, uh, opportunity to travel with him. I did play drums on a good part of the show then because Paul was collecting the money and handling so much of the business end of it. He did everything, in fact. But I don’t recall our very first meeting but I was very, very young.


How did you come to become a touring member of Willie Nelson’s band? And what is it like being a member of the band?
The way it came about was I was playing drums for an evangelist out of Fort Worth, Texas named Kenneth Copeland. He had a large band, like a huge swing bang, but all the songs, of course, had gospel lyrics and gospel messages. And, uh, he was a singer. Plus, he would bring in guest singers as well. Well, I had been working with him and traveling with him for about four years. And Paul called me one day and said that his drum tech had left, had quit – that’s the gentleman that sets up the drums for Paul – and he asked me if I would be interested in doing that for him. And I said ‘I would love to do that.’ Because Paul is considerably older than me so, uh, by the time I got old enough to know him, you know, he had already left the nest, so to speak. So this was an opportunity for me to travel on the road with my brother, ride on the same bus, set up the drums for him. It was a wonderful experience and I think, because up to that point all I had ever done, all I had ever known up to that point, was music and playing. And so I think he knew that I wouldn’t stick around forever unless I got to play some (laughs). And he was so gracious, he said, well – ‘cause I was hired, like I said, just to, just to set up the drums. So I was setting up the drums, loading the truck, and I, you know, I got roadie’s pay – and still very, very good pay – but that’s how it started. And he, to keep me around I think, he was gracious enough to say ‘Why don’t you integrate some percussion into our show?’ And Willie said it was OK to do so. And so I started playing some bongos, some triangles, some shakers, wind chimes, things of that nature. And then as it progressed, Paul, being the gracious wonderful brother that he is, he allowed me to play a few songs on drums. So we started switching off and he would play percussion on a few songs and I would play drums on a few songs. And as far as what it’s like? It’s wonderful. It’s still a hard life because we live on the bus. You know, we go to the venue early in the day and we don’t play sometimes ‘til very late. But tonight, for example, is the sixth consecutive one-nighter that we’ve done and we’ve done some fairly high mileage. A couple of, over 500 miles per night and played the next day. So, it’s not easy but it’s all worth it for that hour-and-a-half on stage that you get to play with Willie Nelson and for his adoring fans. So it’s all worth it for that and it’s wonderful to be able to travel with my brother.

You mentioned a lot of percussion instruments there. You said bongos, triangles. With all the different kinds of percussion that you play, have there been drummers or percussionists that have influenced your style?

Well, I just listen to all types of music. A lot of my favorite drummers – some of my favorite drummers are also great percussionists. Alex Acuña, for example. He’s world renowned as a percussionist but he’s also a great drummer. There are a lot of professional, uh, percussionists like that, that people aren’t aware of, that are terrific drummers. And I listen to all sorts of music as far a drummers – Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Smith, Stanton Moore. Stanton Moore is a friend of mine, just a fantastic drummer from New Orleans. But every time I listen to any, any song I’m always analyzing the rhythm section – the percussion as well as the bass part and the drum groove.


You’ve played with other musicians and other bands. Is playing with Willie Nelson – is it a different experience in terms of what is expected when you’re playing percussion?
It is. Willie is a very trusting individual and he – although the stage is his domain. He does dictate what goes on the stage. You know, that’s the one place that’s his area. He is kind enough to leave it up to our musical discrepancy to be professional enough to listen to the song and play, emotionally, what’s musically appropriate for the song. And a lot of times, with some artist, you don’t have that freedom. And if Willie does want something changed, he’s not specific, musically specific, about it. He may say ‘That sounds really good but can you simplify it a bit?’ So he is different in that way but it’s in a very good way, you know? He trust you. If you’re on that stage with him then he trusts you.

Have you recorded with Willie Nelson in the studio?
I have but it’s been awhile. Yeah, he has, uh, a studio in Spotswood, I don’t know, 30 or 35 miles outside of Austin. That’s where his golf course is and recording studio. Well, actually I recorded with him before I started working with him. I don’t remember when I got the call but Paul called me and said ‘Do you want to play on this album with us?’ and I said ‘Yeah, I’d love to.’ And it was Red Headed Stanger and it was way before Willie had his studio. It was at Autumn Sound in Garland, Texas, near Dallas. That was Willie’s – technically, his second million-seller in country music period. The first one was the Outlaw album. I believe that’s correct. But for Willie, that was his – just Willie, as an artist – that was his first platinum album. That was done, like I said, at Autumn Sound in Garland, Texas. But we have done a few recordings in his studio and at the Pedernales over the years. We just haven’t done any in the last few years.


When you’re performing, is there a Willie Nelson song that is most meaningful to you?

That is most meaningful for me? That’s a terrific question. He’s such a great writer. There are a lot of songs that he has written that the public is not aware of. Actually, my favorite Willie Nelson song we don’t do on stage but it’s a, to me, a timeless song and it’s called Will You Remember Mine?. Like I said, it’s timeless. It’s something about ‘when you hold’ – now, after they have broken up – ‘Now when you hold another’s hand will you think of mine? When you kiss another’s lips will you think of mine? Will you remember mine?’ Excuse me, which is the name of the song, Will You Remember Mine? That is actually my favorite Willie Nelson song. It really, really touches me and I feel that it’s just timeless.

 

One of the interesting things about this program for me is as I’ve been talking to, like, Mickey Raphael and your brother, Paul English, they’ve told me a lot of interesting stories about people that you’ve met on the road. You get the opportunity to meet people that most people maybe would never get to meet. Leon Russell. Ray Price. Those are some of the people I’ve heard about. Who have you met through performing with Willie Nelson that has been especially memorable for you?
Oh, another great question (laughs). If I have to narrow it down to one, actually Ray Price would definitely be near the top of my list. I’d say Merle Haggard also. Merle has always been one of my heroes. We did a tour not that long ago called Last of the Breed and it consisted of Ray Price and Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. I just thought it was just one of the greatest tours that I’ve ever had the honor to be part of. So I would probably say Merle – Merle Haggard.


This was a tough question for Mickey Raphael to answer but he had a really good story for us so I’m going to ask you the same question. What has been the most memorable story that you have from performing with Willie Nelson and the Family Band?

I think, to me, one of the most memorable stories would be when we were asked to play for Jimmy Carter whenever he was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. This is kind of on the serious side but it, it stands out in my memory. We flew to Oslo, Norway. There was Santana – there were about a half-dozen more acts – but he and Willie have had a good relationship over the years. It’s pretty common knowledge. That night that we played for Jimmy Carter receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Willie called Jimmy Cater out on the stage just before we played a note and he said ‘Here’s a song that I’d like to do for a very close friend of mine.’ And he just put his hand on Jimmy Carter’s shoulder – in fact, he hugged him – and then he turned to the mic and sang Georgia and there was not a dry eye in the house. It was a very – I mean, including myself. It was a very touching, moving moment. And we had a friend of ours that’s Norwegian and he translated the newspaper for us the next day, and it said that that was the highlight of the evening. That was quite an honor and it, it stands out in my memory still today. Thank you.


Would you believe I was going to ask you about that? Because I had seen a YouTube video of Jimmy Carter playing harmonica – I don’t know which gig this was but it was Jimmy Carter playing with Willie Nelson. This might have been in Atlanta.

Well, a few years back we played on the steps of his – I think it was his high school. Yeah, that, that may have been it. I don’t know. That was kind of fun, too (laughs).


What is the best thing about being Billy English?

The best thing about being Billy English – I get to, I get to travel with two of my heroes, Paul English and Willie Nelson. And I get to play music for fans almost all over the world. And I get to meet wonderful people, establish great friendships everywhere I go. It’s just an honor to play with Willie. I mean, he is a legend and I’m very fortunate to be here and I know it. It makes me smile. It makes me happy (laughs).


For my last question – our special guest has been Billy English – we have listeners all over the place, thanks to the power of the internet. What would you like to say to all the folks who are listening in?

I would just like to say thank you for supporting Willie and the Family over the years. It’s brought great pleasure and joy to all of us, the entire band, to make music that they enjoy and that we enjoy playing. So I would just like to say thank you.


Mr. English, I appreciate very much this in-depth look at what it is that you do, and your time. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you.

Well, the honor was mine, Paul. Thank you very much.


Well, have a good show tonight.
Thank you. Looking forward to it.

TRANSCRIBED BY GAYLE BRAZDA.

Paul English: Drummer

PAUL ENGLISH has been playing and traveling with Willie Nelson longer than just about anyone.  He’s more than a drummer, he’s Willie Nelson’s best friend and also handles many of the duties of the tour, including security and collecting the payment.  Paul English played on several of Willie Nelson’s albums including “The Redheaded Stranger” and “Stardust.”  He was kind enough to give us this interview.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is our great pleasure to welcome our special guest, Mr. Paul English. Thank you so much for joining us here on The Paul Leslie Hour.

Alright, Paul.


Who is Paul English?

(Laughs) I don’t know. He’s just old Paul around here. Just old Paul, that’s all.


Well, I think most stories are best from the beginning so tell us, where are you from?

Fort Worth, originally.


Fort Worth
, Texas. And what was life like growing up?

It was pretty mundane, you know. It was pretty mundane. It just, just happened. I looked around and all of a sudden, I’m 78 years old.


Well, tell us. Was there a lot of music playing around the English household?

There was a lot of music around the household. You know, my older brother he was a musician. I’m not a musician but my brother was a musician so that’s, that’s where the all the music come from.


Did you parents play a lot of records or was there a radio playing around the house a lot?

The radio was playing all the time.We listened to the radio all the time. I mean, all the time…And so I had the radio going all the time and we listened to country western all the time.


Can you remember a favorite musician growing up?

Sure, I can remember a favorite musician growing up. Willie was the number one musician around our house. I didn’t know it, but I thought he was an older man, the way he came across, you know. But we listened to his show – it was three, three and a half hours I think, and we listened to his show every day. We listened to it every day so that, that was the main thing.


How did you begin to play music?

Oh that was, that was an accident, you know. I played trumpet all my life, you know, ‘cause my brother asked me to take lessons in trumpet so I took lessons in trumpet. And I played a little bit around town but not, not anything spectacular, you know. My brother called me from, I think it was KCLU but I don’t remember the name of the radio station. It was where Willie was playing at. So they wanted me to come up there and play the drums. And I never had played the drums before. He said ‘You can do it. You just count 1-2-3-4 and count off like that and start playing..’ And so I said ‘OK, I’ll try it.’ So I just – I didn’t have a full set. I just had a snare drum. So I said ‘1-2-3-4’ you know? And I could play that, I could play the bass. That’s about all I could play, you know? Then I got a bass drum – I was sitting on a Coca-Cola case – and a chair, and that’s how I got started playing the bass drum. The bass drum and the snare drum. And then somebody got me a snare. I finally got a snare drum. After about six weeks we, you know, we got a job. And everybody said ‘Well, who we gonna get to drum?’ I didn’t think they was gonna use me ‘cause, you know, ‘cause – see what I – I was too busy at the time, you know. I could take off work. It didn’t bother me to take off work ‘cause I could make it up some other time down the line. So everybody …why didn’t we wanna use Paul ‘cause we spent all this time for nothing. So my first job was with Willie. And I think my last one’s gonna be with Willie as well.


Well, let me ask you this. What was your first impression of Willie Nelson when you met him?

He was a lot younger than I thought he was. A lot younger than I thought he was – a year younger than me. I was shocked to hear that. He sounded like an old man on the radio but he sang good.


Have there been any drummers that have influenced you over the years? Any drummers that you appreciate?

Oh, yeah. Yeah, there was, there was a drummer a long time ago, you know, that I used to listen to a lot, you know. I can’t remember his name now but I remember him. I remember him very well, I just can’t remember his name.– anyway, it wasn’t Mickey. It was something else. It’s so far back I can’t remember his name. There was another drummer but I can’t remember his name either so that goes to show you.


Do you have any favorite stories from the road, from playing with Willie Nelson?

(Long laugh). You know, I’ve got a lot of them. Just a lot of them. Yeah, there’s an awful lot of them. Yeah. I started working for him in ’66. That was, that was when I started the job – in ‘66 and we’ve been going ever since. But yeah, there was some good stories about what got me going and all that. All the stuff we had to do at that time, you know? Like collecting the money – that was, that was the main thing. Collecting money was the main thing to me.


So there was a time when it was harder or – for the act to get paid.

Oh yes. It was really a lot harder then. We never were beat completely but one time. We got beat out of it completely and that was, I think that was in Florida somewhere or something. That was where a guy wasn’t gonna pay us. He wanted to pay me $600. I said ‘Well, that’s OK.’ And then Willie said ‘No, that’s not all of it. It’s all or nothing.’ So he’s like “OK. Nothing, then.’ and he kicked us out. He had a policeman kick us out. He had his own police force right there. Sam, he didn’t get a contract. That’s how we couldn’t beat that … without a contract.


Well thankfully, Willie Nelson and the Family Band are in a lot better position right now (laughs).
Oh yeah. It’s a whole different story now. It really is.

Why do you think people love Willie Nelson so much?

(Laughs) I don’t really know. You know, I really don’t know. Maybe they lose faith … as far as I know. I know he’s a great guy. I mean, I know he’s a great guy, you know, but I don’t know what keeps him popular. I don’t know about what makes him popular. I really don’t know.


When Willie came out with the album and the song Me and Paul how did you feel about that?

(Laughs) I was really thrilled about that. That was really, really a thrill, you know? That was another thing that endeared me to him, to himself. So I guess that’s why he’s endeared everybody to himself, like what he done to me. That was in 1970.


You had the chance to perform with a lot of people as a result of working with Willie. Leon Russell – a lot of people. Who has been a favorite?

Willie Nelson’s is a favorite. Always has been, you know? There was a lot of people who were a favorite. I liked Ernest Tubb. I liked him a lot. He was a great guy, Ernest Tubb was. Yeah, he told me something one time when we were working on the band. I was working in Forth Worth at the time and he called Ray Chaney – that’s who I was working for, Ray Chaney, as a ranch hand – and he said ‘He’s a drummer.’ Well, Ray Chaney could loan me out. So he loaned me out to him and he hired up another drummer there in town. And I just worked five days with Jack, his grandma and his sister got killed and he had to go down and bury her so… Anyway, I worked for, I went to work for Ernest Tubb for a week and I said ‘Well, I’m not a very good drummer.’ And he said ‘Son, I’ll tell you something. I’ve found out in my life that you can find a good person and you can make a good drummer out of him. You can’t necessarily make a good drummer out of a bad person.’ So he told me what I had to be – that I had to be a good person. And I made it pretty good for that week. I made $25 a day. He was a good guy. A great guy.


What is it like performing with your brother, Billy English, who’s also in Willie Nelson and the Family Band?

Well, it’s great. He’s been with us now about 26 years. He’s great. Great to work with. He’s the primary drummer now. You know, I had a stroke last year and he’s the primary drummer now. I just come up to play four songs and maybe that’s it. I still try to make the money and stuff like that. It pays the bills at home so, you know …


You all have played a lot of cities and towns all across America, really. Has there been a favorite place to play?

 Oh yes. By far Red Rocks is the one I like the best. Great, great place.


What do you like about it?

It’s built in a mountain. It’s inside a mountain and it’s great, great, great acoustics, you know, inside of a mountain. I like that part of it.


When someone goes to see you guys – see all of you guys perform, what do you hope they get out of the experience?
Well I know, I know that most times when people come to see us, they don’t come to – it’s not the first time, you know. But when people do come for the first time they say ‘Well, I’ve never heard of him before and it’s nice to hear him sing.’ you know. And that’s, that’s what I get most when people are new people. But very rarely do we meet new people now. I mean, we’ve actually been on the road for so long, there’s not very many new ones left. You know, they’ve all been around for a while. We’ve got some people all over.

Do you have a favorite Willie Nelson record album that you played on?

It’s the, it’s the one with, it’s the one with Ray Price. Willie and Ray Price. I love that one.

Oh yeah, that one.

I love that one best. That’s where I played the best drums I ever played on an album, I think. Ray came over to me and said ‘Good playing!’ and I said ‘Well, I’ve been listening to you for a long time.’ He’s another one I like a lot – Ray Price. He’s a great guy.


What have you learned from your years on the road and recording with Willie Nelson?

(Laughs) I don’t know what I’ve learned. I know I’ve learned benevolence and how to be peaceful. That’s, that’s what I’ve really learned most of all and it took me about ten years to learn that but I did it.


Well, that’s one thing that some people never learn so I guess that’s, that’s really quite – quite amazing. I have two final questions for you.

Yes sir.

Alright. The first one, it’s kind of lighthearted. It’s kind of silly. What is your, your absolute favorite meal?
I don’t know. I don’t really have a favorite meal right at this point in this time. I really don’t unless it’s Belgian waffles for breakfast. That’s what I like most.
Belgian waffles.
Yeah.
We have that in common.
Yeah, I’ve eaten them for every breakfast. On this, on this tour I’ve eaten them every morning for breakfast so that’s hard to say.

Well, that sounds like that’s your favorite (laughs). My last question for our guest, the one and only Paul English. This broadcast is going out all over the place so my last question – what do you want to say to all the folks who are listening in, all the Willie Nelson fans out there?

Well, just keep coming to see us. That’s all we can ask for. Just keep coming to see us.  Bear with us.  We’re going to be there.


Well, Mr. English, thank you so much for this interview.

Thank you very much for having me. I mean that sincerely.


TRANSCRIBED BY GAYLE BRAZDA.

Joe Nick Patoski: Willie Nelson’s Biographer

Some people can be so fascinating that they capture the hearts and imaginations of generations, and one example of a man who fits the bill would be singer-songwriter and actor Willie Nelson.  Our special guest on this episode of The Paul Leslie Hour, is a writer, Joe Nick Patoski is the author of WILLIE NELSON, an Epic Life.  Author Joe Nick Patoski wrote the biography of Willie Nelson after conducting over 100 interviews with Willie Nelson and Family.  WILLIE NELSON: An Epic Life, published by Little, Brown and Company received critical acclaim and widespread popularity among Nelson’s fans.

Steve Tyrell: Singer, Producer, Recording Artist

Steve Tyrell is one of the most respected singers of today across a number of genres.  He is a singer of the great classics from the American Songbook. His most recent album “I’ll Take Romance” (Concord Records, Release date: February 7, 2012) is a collection of amorous songs. Tyrell’s performance of the song “The Way You Look Tonight” in the film Father of the Bride, starring Steve Martin, pushed him center-stage as a singer, with live concert performances and a studio and live records. His work in the studio as a record producer has included collaborations with such diverse and legendary artists as Rod Stewart, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, Mary J Blige, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chris Botti, Dave Koz, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Burt Bacharach, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. and Regis Philbin.

 

Kathie Lee GIfford: TV Personality, Recording Artist, Singer

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Kathie Lee Gifford is best known as a morning television personality, especially her fifteen year run on the famed talk show Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee, which she co-hosted with Regis Philbin. She’s received 11 Daytime Emmy nominations and won her first Daytime Emmy in 2010 as a part of the Today show team.

For many Americans, Kathie Lee Gifford is synonymous with morning entertainment. However, she has a strong musical side…she has recorded several albums of everything from Standards to Christian music and in the early 90s she began working in musical theatre. She is also a lyricist. Kathie Lee Gifford has written songs recorded and performed by other artists as well as herself.

Lynette Carolla: Broadcast Personality

LYNETTE CAROLLA is the co-host of the show For Cryin’ Out Loud heard on the ACE Broadcasting Network.  We had spoken to Adam Carolla, his father Jim Carolla and of course Bryan Bishop.  We figured it would be great to talk with this mother, wife, broadcast personality and Bruce Springsteen fan.

As you may notice, Lynette Carolla is downright likeable.

Well, tell all the listeners out there…I asked Jim Carolla this question and he had a very philosophical answer.

Of course he did.

Who’s the real Lynette Carolla?

The real Lynette Carolla….you’re talking to her right now.  I think I’m…what is…I am doing three things right now.  I’m in the kitchen with the kids.  I just made them lunch, which, uh, was salami, string cheese, crackers, corn chips and an apple.  I just poured myself a cup of coffee and we’re about to go take our blind dog, Mollie, for a walk and then we’re going to go run some errands.  And that’s what my Saturday looks like.  And then we’re going to come home and go to bed.  They’re going to go to bed and I’m going to stay up and watch my reality TV.

ACE Broadcasting is kind of like a family business.

Yes.

You and your husband, Adam, you both have a podcast.

Yes.

And then Adam’s father has a podcast.

Yes.

What inspired you to want to have your own show?

(Laughs)  Well, it wasn’t really my idea.  What happened was that I did….I was very lucky and privileged and it was an honor that I got to be able to do a guest DJ on E Street Radio….on Sirus FM Radio because I’m a Bruce Springsteen fan.  I don’t know if you’ve heard.  But what happened was I emailed Baba Booey in New York, a friend of ours, and the producer of the Howard Stern show…I told him what a great job…I heard him on E Street Radio.  I’d just got Sirus…it was in my car.  I turned on E Street and he was doing a guest DJ on E Street.  My girlfriend, Jody’s here…Hey Jody…say hi to the Paul Leslie show.

Hi!

(Laughs)  Hello

I told him that he did such a great job as a guest DJ.  I said it would be a dream come true for me and blah, blah, blah, and then he like hooked me up with Sirus FM and long story short, I got to do an E Street Radio guest DJ and Adam’s partner at the time, Donny White  over at ACE Broadcasting said, you know, we should…well, what happened was they wanted…they were building the network and they wanted to get more female listeners so they thought, “We should have some kind of a female show on the network and so Donny’s wife, Kathy, said, “Well let’s do like a ‘mommy/parenting’ type show,” and thought that I would be good with Teresa Strasser who was working with Adam at the time and who had just had a baby.  So that’s how that came about.  I’m not a speaker, talker, comedian or whatever.  I mean, I just, it just kind of fell into my lap and then we started doing it and it was fun and I, we’re continuing doing it now and it’s now ‘For Crying Out Loud,’ is the name of the show with Stephanie Wilder Taylor who is a best- selling author…who wrote ‘Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay’ and ‘Naptime’s the New Happy Hour’ and all that.  She’s y co-host and it’s more than a “mommy” show now.  There’s more women issues and stuff like that and we cover all kinds of…we just talk about whatever’s interesting to us really.  We just continue doing it and it’s kind of growing and it’s fun but more so, behind the scenes, I help Adam.  I’m a…I’m like his glorified executive assistant I guess.  I basically do whatever needs to be done which is a ton.  I get like twenty emails a day about stuff, kind of helping back and forth as much as I can in all the different areas of Adam’s podcast.  Everything, not just his podcast but his personal stuff, his travel, every…his book…oh, everything that’s Adam, I help.  I mean, he’s got an assistant, Matt Fondiler and he’s got ‘Wish You Were Gay Jay’ who works down on his cars in the garage, but I’m with Adam all the time and things come up all the time and I help out where I can.

He’s a very, very busy guy and a very, very hard worker.  When you first met Adam Carolla, what was your first impression?

Well even he will tell you, he’s the laziest, hard-working guy he knows.  When I first met him, I was attracted to him.  I mean, he was my type.  That was my first impression, to be honest.  At the time at 25, I was working in the entertainment industry.  I was working at a syndication sales company, ‘New World Entertainment,’ andwas ran by Brandon Tartikoff.  I was 25 years old and I was kind of dating douchie kind of guys that are in the industry and then I met Adam and I told Adam that I saw the pilot that he did for ‘Love Line’ and I said it was really funny and it was really good and our company produced the pilot and I met him and I told him what a great job he did and I said, “Do you have…you saw the show, right?  You saw the pilot?”  And he said, “No…no I didn’t.”  And I said, “Really? Do you have a copy of the pilot?”  He said, “No.”  And I just thought it was very odd that this guy is a young, kind of unknown comedian who doesn’t….who doesn’t have a copy of their pilot that they did for Fox television stations, and I loved that.  I was like, “Wow!  This is a normal kind of guy.”  So, he was very sweet and he courted me.  I’ve told the story many times.  Anyways, that was my first impression of Adam, the very “non-showbizy” kind of guy and that’s what I like about him.

We always vow when we’re younger to never do this.

Yeah.

But a lot of times, we become our parents.

Right.

My mother always says, “If you’re mad you got to make it glad,” in a very certain tone and I find myself saying that to my nephews and my niece. Now that you’re a mother, do you ever catch yourself doing something and then stopping and saying.

Yeah.

“I’m my mother” (Laughs)

Yeah, all the time.  Yeah.  Yeah well my mom was an immigrant from Italy and she…I grew up in the San Fernando Valley.  I was born in Cleveland but I grew up…my family came here when I was seven.  They tried to put me in show biz and I hated it…acting and all that kind of stuff…and my mom was kind of a weird…a pushy stage mom who didn’t speak English and she also taught self defense.  She’s a third degree black belt in five martial arts and had a self defense academy and all that kind of stuff I was forced to do too so I had like a show biz kind of mom that was pushy but she spoke broken English and I was raised kind of different I guess.  My parents were older.  They were both Italian.  They were both very conservative.  They wouldn’t let me do anything.  They wouldn’t let me spend the night at a friend’s house.  So, I tell myself I’m not going to be like that but now I do get very protective over my kids.  They’re not spending the night over anybody’s house that I didn’t…you know…I’m kind of strict.  They were strict and I see myself doing that but it is what it is and in this world, I think it’s not bad to be strict.  So…

What do you think the biggest challenge facing parents is?

Well, I know that in living in LA is tough as a parent because you’ve always had the philosophy…you’ve had the hippie mom, the helicopter mom…and all that kind of stuff they talk about is true.  I mean, I run across these people all the time.  My best friend is a different kind of mom than I am and I don’t know what the challenges…there’s always a challenge…there’s nothing but one big challenge really raising kids so there’s always going to be a challenge.  I mean, for me, the biggest challenge is having twins, a boy and a girl, making sure they’re getting both their feelings…I don’t know…their attention, the love from both of us.  It’s very weird.  You start to see that one feels jealous more than the other…you hug one or you praise one more than the other, the other one’s like, “I did that too,” you know, and it’s kind of like a little competition going on.  That’s my kind of challenge and also raising kids out here in LA not having them be self-centered and expecting things and kind of being, growing up, I guess, entitled and stuff like that.  Luckily, knock on wood, my kids are not like that yet but I hope they don’t become that way and it’s hard and it’s very, very hard.  You have to really keep a tight leash and you kind of have to rule with an iron fist I guess, and that’s what I do.  So far, so good.

One of the things about having a show is that you get to invite interesting people to join in on the conversation.  You’ve had David Alan Grier on your show.  You’ve had some really interesting people.  Who have you been most excited to welcome?

Well, I hate to say it ‘cause you just said it, but David Alan Grier, I was a nervous wreck.  I have to say.  I’m a huge DAG fan and whenever he’s on Adam’s show, he gets me going and I keep repeating and saying things that he said on the podcast to crack Adam up.  He’s like the one guy in this world that really makes Adam laugh hard with tears, and that’s very rare and so I listen to the podcast when he’s on Adam’s show and it’s just so funny to listen to it and so I’ll repeat stuff that he says at home to Adam and I just got on it and was like, “You know what?  Can we get him…you know, he’s got a little girl, “I said, “Can we get him on our show?”  He was like, “Sure.  No problem.”  He came on the show and I was…the whole morning, I was a nervous wreck because, I mean, how is this guy not a bigger star?  He should be hosting the Oscars in my opinion.  He’s frigging talented.  I mean, he sings opera, for pete’s sake.  He’s on Broadway.  The guy’s improvisational skills are just awesome…awesome, off the chart.   So he’s a talented guy.  Very talented.  And was very honored to have him on the show.  Other people?  Kevin Nealon is amazing…he’s such a funny guy.  Him and his wife, they’ve been on.  His wife is a darling, darling girl.  Mollie Ringwald…she was on.  That was fun, talking to her.  She kind of got teary-eyed.  We made her cry.  That was early in the episode.  So, yeah, I mean, and just people you really haven’t heard of: authors of books and bloggers…stuff like that.  Like we had the dad, a blogger, ‘Shake Hard (???)’, I’d never heard of them but they get like a million hits on YouTube a day, and he came with his lovely wife and they were a lot of fun and his whole family came.  So just, I mean everybody, it’s just interesting the people that come through there.  And sometimes we don’t have guests.  Stephanie andI just sit and we talk about our week, what we’re dealing with, what’s going on at home, what’s going on in our marriage, what’s going on with our kids.  We’ll talk about our first concert, our first kids…all that kind of stuff.  It’s fun.  I mean, I don’t know if anybody’s listening but it’s a good time, I guess.  (Laughs)

There’s so many different options there with the ACE Broadcasting.  I’m enamored with it.  It’s really, really interesting to have Jim’s philosophical show and your show and then Adam’s show’s always really compelling.  What do you see in the future for the ACE Broadcasting family of podcasts?

That’s a question for ‘Booker’ Mike August.  Mike August has been very involved with Adam’s network.  He’s a character Adam talks about from time to time but he is a brilliant guy.  He understands the business like nobody else; he and Adam basically and he’s been doing a lot of work behind the scenes.  Uh, the future?  I think that Adam is doing something incredible, which is, he’s basically in uncharted waters.  Nobody’s done it.  Nobody’s really put their finger on podcasting.  Now maybe they can but when Adam started they couldn’t and it was very hard, Like, how do you monetize this?  How does this work?  How do people access it?  How does the content….everything, and we’ve managed to make the machine go and I guess the future, I’m hoping, is podcasting is going to get easier and easier meaning that, when people say, “How did I miss you on the morning radio,” you can say, “Well, I got a podcast now.”  And people say, “I don’t know how to do that.”  Well, hoping that, as the future goes, it’s going to be easier and easier where people can easily get a podcast in their car as they’re driving to work and listen to Adam everyday and stream it into their car.  Stream it at work.  Stream it in their homes.  That’s what we’re hoping and you know what?  From what I hear, it’s pretty close to that.  It’s getting close and Adam was at LA Auto Show last week and Hundai’s doing stuff where they….something with the stuff…I don’t know…the technology that they’re getting in their cars.  We’re looking towards the future and Adam’s sort of like the pioneer I guess and it’s flattering.  I mean, I love… I’m a big fan.  I listen to his show every day.  I love Ball Bryan and Allison and I download it and when I download it and to see it up on ITunes, number one through five, number one, number four, every day, it’s just so satisfying to see that Adam is working hard but it’s paying off.  People are really responding.  I know that sounds cheesy, but it really is.  It’s all about the fans and the listener base.  They tell their friend and they and, you know, you can grow that listener base then you’ve really got something and obviously, Adam has done that.  He’s got the best fans and the most loyal fans on earth, I think, and he’s very grateful and I’m grateful and it feels like we’re kind of all in this together.  This is hopefully something that’s going to catch on bigger and better in the future I guess.

Well one of the great things about podcasting and the various options now for broadcasting is you’re not limited to just the LA area or the New York City area.

Right.

This question came from Georgianna Tiller and she wrote in to ask two questions of you.  One:  what do you most like to do as a family?  And two: as a parent, what do you most want your children to learn from you?

Wow!  Okay…as a family, we do a lot of laying around, watching TV together and relaxing but when Adam has time off, we hang out with the kids.  We play with the kids.  It’s all about them and one thing we like to do is we hike.  We go on hikes.  The kids are waiting for me right now to go on a hike but we take the blind dog and we go out.  We go for walks up in the Hollywood Hills.  We’ll go to the movies.  We’ll take the kids to the movies.  We love to go on a Saturday night.  We’ll take the kids out to dinner to an Italian restaurant.  We do that kind of stuff together.  What was the second question?

She says:  what do you most want your children learn from you?

Well, I want them to be good people but that’s it.  I want them to be…Adam wants them to be smart.  I want them to be good (laughs).  I just want them to be good people and to be thoughtful and add something to society.  I’d like for them, you know, to learn to follow through.  If you’re going to start something you gotta finish it whether you like it or not.  Adam’s got the football coach philosophy going with them which is a good thing.  It keeps them disciplined.  I want them to have discipline.  I think that’s important.  They both have a really good sense of humor, which is very important in our house.  Just be good people and to be Springsteen fans would be nice too.

Oh of course (Laughs).  What is the best thing about being Lynette Carolla?

The best thing about being Lynette Car…well I have to say…Jody’s laughing…well, that’s a loaded question too.  The best (laughs), uh, the best thing about…alright…the best thing about being Lynette Carolla would be to be able to get good seats to concerts (laughs).  I mean, really…I got to meet Bruce Springsteen last week alright.  That’s sort of a big plus, I would say.  Wouldn’t you say?  I mean, I would.

Yeah.

I mean, I’ve admired the guy since I was eleven years old and I got to tell him what a big fan I was and sit down and have a conversation with him, which was unbelievable and just tell him what a true fan I was so there’s that but you know, also Adam is a great guy.  Being married to Adam, you know, it ain’t easy…it’s not easy being married to Adam.  I’ll be honest.  He thinks…uh…I don’t know…he expects the best out of people so I think that a plus about being married to Adam, which I think is probably what the question really was, I think that the big plus is that Adam expects…it’s gonna sound bad…he’s not high maintenance at all but he expects…he expects better from people.  He expects them to be at their best, I guess.  That’s tough and it sounds…I know it’s coming out wrong, but he’s very big with discipline and stuff like that and I think that when I wasa bachelorette it was different.  Now that I’m married to Adam and I have kids, he keeps order and stuff like that.  Again, it’s probably sounding wrong.  He’s not a hard ass or anything or whatever, but he expects very much from people and it’s good for me and it’s good for the kids, you know, and I think it’s a good thing.  The other thing is, now I look at the world a different way and I know now it’s rubbing off on my friends.  They’re stuck in traffic and they call me like, “Really?  What…” and then they start going off on traffic or they start complaining about things because they listen to Adam…when you live with that, you start to see the world the same way and you can’t help but be a mini Adam and my friends are like, “You sound Adam.”  I’m like, “Well, Yeah…I can’t…I live with the guy.  I mean, I can’t help it.  I know what can’t Adam complain about but it’s true.”  There’s a lot of stuff you can complain about and now it’s like exemplified living with him.  So, again, it’s a good thing a little bit but it keeps things moving fast I guess (laughs).

This last question is totally open-ended.

Yeah.

Answer any way you like…what would you like to say to all our listeners?  Adam told me, he said:  “Have a dance party with your kids.”

Yeah.

So what would you answer be?

What I want to say….I want to thank everybody that supports Adam’s show and anything that’s gone out of the network.  And the future for Adam and his network, I think it’s changing a little bit.  Things are going to be a little different in the New Year, in January.  We’ve made some changes behind the scenes, obviously with the new website.  We’ve got the app and stuff like that and I have the new show, ‘For Crying Out Loud.’  For the fans who are listening and support us and Tweet us…people whogo on Amazon through Adam’s website…is if, Adam, if he could, he would give a reach-around to every person that went on Amazon through his website.  I mean, he’s just thrilled!  It just…it shows him that people really do listen to what he is saying and is respectful to what asks and they want to give him a little bit a payback so it’s free…he goes in every night.  He does a daily show every day.  Nobody’s corporation’s paying him.  It’s all being advertising and stuff like that and every little bit helps and it’s sort of a grass roots thing that wouldn’t work if we didn’t have such a strong listener base and that is something that trickles down to me that I’m grateful for, he’s grateful  for and it’s just he’s delighted.  His favorite thing to do is sit on Twitter and he personally answers people on Twitter as much as he can and especially the ones that support his show like, “I did use your tricks,’ or “I did use your sponsor,’ and that Amazon thing is insane!  I mean, people going on there and using it, bookmarking it and using it.  It’s so overwhelmingly…it’s overwhelming.  I’d just like to say…I’d like to thank everybody…everybody for their support.  I mean, everybody supporting my show, supporting Adam’s show and supporting Adam and everything he does and the New Year…January’s going to bring a lot of exciting things.  Things are coming out soon that people don’t know about and it’s going to be an exciting year and I think…I think people are going to be pleased and I want to thank everybody.

Well, Ms. Carolla, thank you very, very much.

Thank you.  Thank you.

Before we go, which Bruce Springsteen song do you want to play at the end of this interview?

Oh….(laughs)…well, you know what?  I’ll do ‘The Ties that Bind.’  It’s a good, “poppy” kick-off.  It’s the very first song on ‘The River.’  It kicks off Bruce’s double album called ‘The River.’  It came out in 1980 and it’s the very first song on that album and it’s called ‘The Ties that Bind’ and it’s one of my favorites and the lyrics I identify with.  (Laughs)

Alright.  Spoken like a true fan (laughs).

Thank you so much Paul!  I really appreciate it.  I appreciate it.  Thank you!

TRANSCRIBED BY LORI DOMINGO

Elliot Mintz: Media Consultant, Former Radio & Television Personality

“Who is Elliot Mintz?” The answer depends on who you ask…

For readers of glossy celebrity magazines or viewers of the television program TMZ or followers of websites like PopTV.com, Elliot Mintz is a Hollywood publicist and media consultant for clients past and present ranging from Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton, Don Johnson, Shauna Sands, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Bob Dylan and the estate of John Lennon as well as companies like Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino and Bijan Fragrance.

Elliot Mintz is also known in the world of broadcasting as a past radio and television personality, having interviewed over 2,000 people as a radio talk show host and later as a television correspondent and host. He went on to host “The Lost Lennon Tapes,” a syndicated weekly radio program that ran from 1988 to 1992. The Lost Lennon Tapes broadcasted previously unreleased tracks, rehearsals, composing tapes, interviews and home recordings of John Lennon whom Mintz first met in 1971.

In the world of John Lennon and his living legacy, Elliot Mintz is known as a confidante and friend of John Lennon. His memoirs of John Lennon appear in the book Memories of John Lennon, compiled by Yoko Ono available from Harper Collins.

Undoubtedly, Elliot Mintz is a man whose life has been an incredible journey.

It’s not everyday you get to welcome someone who influenced you and that is happening tonight with our special guest Elliot Mintz. Elliot Mintz started in the world of media as an underground radio personality and became known as a very major press representative whose clients have included Bob Dylan, Don Johnson, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and others. Elliot thanks so much for making the time to do this. It’s a pleasure.

Paul the pleasure is mine and it’s a delight to meet you.

Who is Elliot Mintz?

I guess it depends who you ask.

I think most stories are best from the beginning. Where were you born and what was life like growing up?

I was born February 16th, 1945 in the Bronx. Raised in New York. Lived there until I was seventeen, eighteen years old and caught a plane to LA where I’ve been ever since. My recollections of my childhood are always sketchy. I can give them to you in non sequiturs. I have one sister. My parents were deeply loving people who were married for over 40 years. I lost my father recently at age 99. My mother had passed in her seventies. I never recall the two of them having an argument. It was a kind of 1950s Norman Rockwell childhood as far as I can tell. I can picture a barbershop poles on the street corner of the neighborhood. The local pizza shop where I saw my first Wurlitzer juke box and where I probably first heard Elvis. There was a park not far from where I grew up in the apartment, two bedroom apartment. And I would like to take long walks in the park. I was a terrible student. I had an awful stutter. My stuttering resulted in me having to take speech therapy classes which is one of the reasons I speak this way. When I first decided I wanted to be a DJ, you know you always try to overcome the things you can’t do, like the people who lose their limbs and decide they want to climb Mount Everest. Well, I used to (imitates his old speaking manner) talk like that. I’m not making fun of people who stutter. So I sounded, and besides talking like that I had a New York accent because it’s the only place that I had been to – street corner. So early on I wanted to get beyond the limitations of expression and maybe expand it somewhat. My childhood was neither happy or sad. It was solitary with few friends, poor scholastic grades, lots of reading, lots of reflection, endless hours in movie theatres.

You just mentioned Elvis a second ago. What music did you fall in love with when you were young?

My parents had one of those gigantic radios in the living room, a very modest apartment in 190th Street in Manhattan, not far from the George Washington Bridge. My father lived in that apartment until the end of his life – all of his life. But there was this big mahogany device with that giant speaker in it, you know? It could’ve been a Grundig Majestic, I forgot what it was, and I grew up listening to ‘50s music. First doo-wop, which I love to this day, which I heard in high school, when people would go into the bathroom to create that great early reverb effect off the tile walls, and do the great doo-wop classics that the Five Satins and the others did. My parents came in at the end of the Frank Sinatra experience and the dawn of Doris Day and the Hit Parade and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, a very innocent time in America, and I would listen to little bits of that coming through the radio without paying a great deal of attention to it. Until I heard Elvis and that changed everything and from that point on I would listen to the basic music of the ‘50s. If you pick up any one of those classic albums of the one hundred of the top ‘50s hits from the 1950s, that’s what I was listening to and that slowly segued into, probably like most people, from Elvis to two people: Dylan and the Beatles.

You mentioned a minute ago, you said you made it out here in LA. What was it that brought you out here?

There were two major factors, Paul. One, because I was such a miserable student in school and was left behind in every grade, had to attend summer school every summer, finally got out of high school with a 66 average after, I think, five years. My IQ was about ten points lower than the national average. I’m not a smart person. I of course applied to every college that I could, was obviously rejected by all of them except for Los Angeles City College, a community college in LA. So one of the reasons I wound up here was I was invited by a school when all the others turned me down. The second reason was when I was around 16 I saw a movie called The Misfits, the last movie ever done that starred Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe before they died. The movie also included Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach. It was written by Arthur Miller who was married to Marilyn Monroe at the time. He wrote Death of a Salesman. It was about a dying breed of cowboys trying to make the transition from wrestling or roping wild mustang to sell to wealthy Texans as Christmas presents to their children, to roping wild mustang to selling them to the dealers to put in dog food containers. And there was something about the essence of The Misfits, which I’ve now seen a hundred times, it’s my favorite film – Casablanca is my second favorite – it was my first view of the West and I knew I wanted to be there in some capacity. The third was I wanted to get out of New York. So it was those three things that motivated me to get on a plane one day and come to a place I’d never been to before, knew nobody and try to get a start.

So you came out here, you don’t know anybody and from there you become a part of this Los Angeles music scene and you become a disc jockey. What lead you down that path?

Well, Los Angeles City College, fortunately, turns out to have had one of the very best broadcasting departments in America. And it was free. It was a small class, 30 or 40 students and I studied everything having to do with broadcasting. I wanted to know how to broadcast. I wanted to learn how to do the weather, how to operate a camera, how to be an engineer, how to do news, how to do everything having to do with broadcast, to work on losing the New York accent, to work on losing the stutter and I gravitated to a particular area in broadcasting which was interviewing. I found myself all-consumed with the study of how to conduct a meaningful interview and there was a little college radio station KMLA that if you opened the windows really wide and spoke very loud you could be heard to the lunch room, and the students would practice that way and I started practicing by interviewing people on KMLA. I was 18 years old. It was a preview of coming attractions. I enjoyed listening. I believe that everyone had a story to tell. I believed that most people were not willing to give up their story without some degree of an acoustic environment that suggested, “I really want to know,” and I learned my first lesson in interviewing which was “Ask the question. Shut up. Get out of the way and let the guest respond.” After a year or two at KMLA I just applied to a variety of local radio stations and was accepted by one, KPFK, which was a listener-supported station, part of a group called the Pacifica Foundation. There was a station in New York, Texas and Berkley, etc. and if people liked what they heard just sent them a check. Kind of like PBS and that kind of thing. I was 21. I was the youngest talk show host in America and I began doing nightly radio shows, interviewing the cultural icons of the time. After a year or two there I went on to do the same basic thing on seven or eight different radio stations, commercial stations, and then on to television, by talking to people. My guess is I interviewed over 2,000 people. I also took phone calls from listeners, an estimated 20,000 on-air phone calls as well, and in the process over a ten-year period I tried to learn my craft.

Throughout the course of you doing radio, when you were on the air and when you were doing these interviews, what were you trying to accomplish out of that? What did you want the listener to get out of the experience?

The essence of the person I was speaking with. I viewed myself as a conduit. The guest speaks to the audience through me. I was not there to judge or to argue or to quarrel. In those days FM radio, you could sit and talk to somebody for two or three or four hours. Today we have now reduced a sound bite to a sound bark. You’ve got about three seconds to get an answer out. I would be terrible on today’s radio. Nobody would pay any attention at all. See, Paul, I’ve always believed that if somebody has something to speak about, that touches your life, your heart, your experience, there is a valuable exchange because you get another point of view. I wasn’t that big on the exclusives. I wasn’t that big on just racking up how many famous people I could get. Some of my more memorable interviews for me personally were with anonymous people with something to say as opposed to extraordinarily famous people who had nothing to say. When I say they had nothing to say, I append that by saying that they had nothing to say through me. There are some musicians who can create these sensory perceptions through lyrics, instrumentation – music, but they don’t talk because all of their brilliance and wisdom and inspiration comes through a very tiny aperture. Just like there are some great writers who can write but can’t speak. There are a zillion great speakers who can’t carry a tune and can’t write a book. So, I wanted to probe. I wanted to explore and felt there was a camaraderie of interest here, between listener, myself and guest, and perhaps something good would be spoken and, optimistically, maybe something would be learned.

You just mentioned that many times the person you interviewed, they weren’t the most famous person. I’m very curious to know was there anyone that you always felt you could have gotten something good out of that constantly eluded you. That you couldn’t get them.

I would have loved to have spoken with Marilyn Monroe but I arrived in Los Angeles shortly after she had passed. So shy of a séance, I couldn’t have interviewed Marilyn but I always wanted to. On my wish list there were three or four unfulfilled interviews. We all have them. You’re a radio guy. You’ve got a secret list in your back pocket of the three or four people who you just, before you hang up your microphone, you’ve got to sit down and talk. We all got ‘em. We all got ‘em. For me, it was Elvis, Howard Hughes, the Pope, and Mother Theresa. Those were the four, if I could sit down and broadcast the essence of who they are, it would have been extraordinary. All for different reasons. I can’t recall anybody else who I really wanted to talk to who I didn’t get a chance to talk to.

Well on the other side of the coin, can you name maybe three or four people that you were elated to interview and when you were done, you thought “This is great.” There’s nothing better than that feeling.

There were some anonymous people at the time, like a man named Jack Gariss, who is one of the creators of a device called the bioscope. He taught me more about meditation than anybody who I ever met and I’ve been meditating for 30 years. Jack was an anonymous person when we met but was one of my favorite interview subjects. He would be an example of somebody where people could say “Jack who?,” but if they listened to the broadcast it could change their lives. In terms of the ones where you did the interview and you drove home that night, and felt that something meaningful had occurred, the first time I spoke to Yoko. The first time I spoke to John. The first interview I did with Bob Dylan. Then I have to scratch my head. Those are three that jump off the page at me but there were writers like Norman Mailer and Ray Bradbury. There were mystical people like Baba Ram Dass and Alan Watts. There were iconic figures like Salvador Dali. There were an endless list of musicians, actors. Sitting in Jack Lemmon’s trailer when I was 18 years old. Him agreeing to talk to a kid from school knowing that it would only be heard at L.A. City College after he had been nominated for Days of Wine and Roses. An afternoon that I spent with John Wayne. A day I spent with Groucho Marx. You don’t have the time or the tape, Paul (laughs) and I don’t have the recollection to go through all of them. But each name that I just mentioned, when I drove home – and sometimes on the way home I would put the tape recorder on play so I could listen to how it sounded before I would get to the station – and there were moments that just propelled me. Partially, being in awe of the person or persons that I spoke with, partially because they said something that I would never anticipated that they would say, and primarily because I felt such good fortune to have had that opportunity.

On the note of Yoko Ono, you mentioned her as one of the interviews that you felt was especially meaningful. If my memory is correct, you interviewed her around the book Grapefruit came out. Is that correct?

I’m so bad with numbers. I can’t do the time table so Grapefruit had already been written. I had read Grapefruit. I recall that she had released an album called Approximately Infinite Universe which I listened to and I found I was transfixed by it. Approximately Infinite Universe, Grapefruit as well as Yoko’s involvement in bed-ins and the rest of it – she captured me. There was something about the essence of what was coming through. Whenever I heard her public pronouncements – I was aware of her long before we spoke – but she sounded like a completely original woman. There is a term, it has legal meanings and it has philosophical meanings, it’s called derivative. Some people believe that all work is derivative, something that preceded it. I don’t know if that would apply to the space program, but people say it does apply to rock ‘n roll that was an out growth of rhythm and blues. I mean there are definitely progressions with Yoko. I’m going to pour you another glass in a second, I’ll finish talking about Yoko. I heard her say things that I had never heard expressed before and I really needed to speak with her. I really needed to hear more and the first interview that we did, it was a phoner. I was on a local station, she was in New York. We spoke on the telephone for an hour. When I got off of the phone, I just knew that I had met somebody unlike anyone I had ever spoken to before. In that sense I probably shared the experience that John did when he first had his encounter. Refresh your glass…Cabernet Sauvignon by Essex.

What am I drinking now?

You’re having Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Esser from a California label. I’m drinking a glass of Macon-Villages Chardonnay. This here is the 2009 Louis Jadot. It’s basically the house wine. I have a bottle of this every day. You’re on red, I’m on white, but all roads lead to the same path.

I suppose ironically, I’m wearing all white and you’re wearing red.

That observation had escaped my attention.

There’s a book, I’m quite fond of this book, it’s called Memories of John Lennon and it was compiled by Yoko Ono, and in it you mentioned that when people ask you what John Lennon was like, that they already know. That line really struck me when you read it. Were you nervous to meet him? I mean, think about it like this, here’s a Beatle and one of the most influential artists of all time. What’s going through your head?

Well I met John on the radio, again, on the telephone. I interviewed him first on the evening of his birthday – live. So, we quote “met,” but we met verbally. It was different. You know we met on the telephone. We talked on the phone. Talking to somebody on the phone creates a completely different experience. You’re not fixated upon meeting somebody who looks exactly like they looked in the photographs that you had seen of them or the movie or whatever it was. So speaking to him was as natural as natural could be. He was a gracious and accommodating interview subject. He had some experience in this area. He also felt so real and if one listens to that first interview – the Mintz-Lennon interview, there were many that would follow – it was like talking to an old friend for me. Now of course, I knew who he was. I think the only thing he knew about me was that he had listened to the Yoko Ono interview that I had done, weeks or months before. He was also aware of the fact that Yoko and I had struck up a telephone friendship where we would talk to each other on the phone after the interview. So he had some insider knowledge as to who this dude Elliot was but we never spoke until we spoke on the radio live. That was completely comfortable. It resulted in a telephone friendship with John as well, where for weeks and months following the first John Lennon interview, John would call me or I would call John, or Yoko would call me or I would call Yoko, or the three of us would, virtually every day for weeks or months. Hundreds of hours of conversations. You know, people do the same thing. They just call it Facebook, right? Before my time, I think it was called pen pals. For John, Yoko and I it was just the telephone exchange. One day, the two of them drove across the United States from New York to California. They didn’t actually do the driving. Somebody drove them, in an old car. John called and said, “We’re here and we would like to meet you.” I admit that when I got into my car to drive to a little community about give or take fifty miles from where we’re sitting, Paul – a place called Ojai – and John described the car he was in, which I keep calling an old Rambler or station wagon. People have asked for greater identification about the vehicle, but that’s all I remember. And I pulled up along side their car, in what I recall to be the middle of the field, and turned the engine off and got out, and the door opened and Yoko came out first and John followed right afterwards. John said to Yoko, “Go on. Give him a hug.” Yoko is not a demonstrably affectionate woman who just gives hugs and kisses to people and it was a hesitating hug and a hello, and John put out his hand and I shook it, and I looked at that face. This was during the ‘working class hero’ look with very long hair and, of course, the wire-rimmed glasses. He looked like John Lennon. He looked as familiar to me as my closest friends, my parents. I had known him for years. There was no nervousness. There was no hesitation. There was no reservation. Now, if we had not had the telephone relationship prior to the meeting in the field, I may have been a little hesitant and maybe he would have been a little guarded but after a minute or two he said, “So look, we’re going to this house we rented. Just follow us.” And I followed them to a house that they were renting and we spent the day together. And Paul, from that point on, in all those years, eight years, in all those hundreds of hours of conversation, all those visits back and forth – John and Yoko would come to my house and I would visit them at the Dakota when we would travel – I always knew that I was talking to John Lennon but I never attached that to anything having to do with Beatlemania or I Want to Hold Your Hand or any of that stuff. When we were having conversations it was just two dudes talking, debating, discovering. The only time that it was different was when we were in public, if we went out to a restaurant and I saw the way everybody else reacted to him, and how he just needed to react to everybody else, that the vibe was slightly different, but the times shared with them privately were as comfortable as me sitting here and talking with you.

I was thinking about you a few weeks ago. I was at the John Lennon Art Gallery in Atlanta at the Weston Hotel. At first, I think spent probably so long looking at all the stuff that they started wondering what my motives were. I looked at the artwork and then I started looking at something altogether different. I started looking at the people who were coming and how they were reacting and also, who was coming in. You know, young people. You have become kind of, like Yoko, the voice of John Lennon in this era and it has to be a tremendous responsibility. I thought about that also when I was reading your recollections in the Memories book. What is that responsibility like?

Well, let me immediately say that I totally divorce myself of the perception that I am the voice of John Lennon. I insist upon that. (Laughs) Nobody speaks for John and I go out of my way, because people have asked me frequently “What would John say about the war today?” and “How would John have felt about George Bush?” or those things, and I always preface it by saying, “I do not speak for John.” Never have, never could. I only wish he could be here to speak for himself. But in terms of me discussing the relationship between John and Yoko, we were family. My responsibility is to historical accuracy. I am not a John Lennon or Yoko Ono sycophant. I was never the house propagandist. I’m not here to advance any kind of myth about him or Yoko, and John has his frailties as we all did, and I never thought of him as a saint. He was a really good guy who did his best to make this world a little better during the time that he was given to do it. Now, as long as I stay focused on that I’m OK with it but I’m no spokesperson for John Lennon.

On that note, I wanted to talk a little bit about The Lost Lennon Tapes, which was a syndicated radio program. It, I believe, gathered six to seven million listeners during it’s peak?

I’m told that those were the numbers. I don’t know who was out there counting them but I heard that.

What are some of your most vibrant memories from the Lost Lennon Tapes?

That’s a good question, Paul. Nobody has ever asked me that before. I’m going to do a quick mind scan to see if one comes up. I’m pouring myself a glass of Chard. There were hundreds of hours of this broadcast that I did called The Lost Lennon Tapes followed by an additional number of hours called The Beatle Years. I did them for a radio syndication company called Westwood One Radio and they were heard on hundreds of radio stations once a week. They were one-hour broadcasts. It involved the airing of previously unheard John Lennon material. Rehearsal tapes, demo tapes, spoken arts, partial interviews, at-home recordings where they just left the machine on. This was a time – I’m not good at the numbers but I think it was 25 years ago – where Yoko had these hundreds and hundreds of hours of material on John and I represented Westwood One. And I arranged a dinner between a man named Norm Pattiz, who created the, was the CEO of Westwood One, and Yoko. We went out to dinner. Yoko had the material, Norm had all of these radio stations, and over dinner it was suggested that perhaps there would be some value in playing the stuff on the radio. By the time we got to dessert and a discussion about a host, somebody floated my name, one of the two. I said, “I accept.” and it began. My joy was in listening to the composing tapes, in listening to these hours and hours of John with an acoustic guitar or at a piano, figuring out – I’m not a musician so I don’t know what the phrase is – the right chords or the right keys on the piano, experimenting with the lyrics, you know, with a little tape recorder, a little Sony, on the piano, and listening to the evolution of songs that would later become known to all of us. So the first time that I would listen to a composing tape of Strawberry Fields Forever or whatever the song might be, it was an accurate representation and reproduction of John’s creative process and I loved that. Years later, John would wear a little button on his lapel that read “I prefer it in mono”. I like listening to recordings. I mention this without any ego attached to it whatsoever – before The Lost Lennon Tapes, I can’t recall boxed sets or collections that involved alternate takes, bonus tracks, all the stuff that’s now a staple for 5,000 musicians. I think it occurred with some jazz artists but I don’t recall it with rock people. If somebody has information that contradicts that, I would love to hear from them. It was new and it was daring and different to let people hear material before it was 100% ready with the makeup on it. I preferred it in mono. I preferred it in its primitive stages. I loved being the fly on the wall, listening to this experience evolve and I think that’s what accounted for the popularity of the radio series.

Your passion for it, in part.

And others that would feel the same way.

Right, sure.

Let me refresh your glass.

Thank you, sir. Of the songs that John Lennon wrote – and this may be a question you’re tired of answering – what would you say is your favorite composition?

From the Beatle period or as an individual artist?

How about one of each?

OK. As a Beatle, I loved In Your Life. “There are places I remember.” That song grabbed me. In conversations with John, when I would ask him those questions on air, because when we were not on air doing interviews we rarely, if ever, talked about the Beatles. John had a great sense of pride about that song. He also felt really, really good about Strawberry Fields. He also had really, really positive feelings about I Am the Walrus. Those were the three that we talked about when I asked him what his faves were. There were lots that he acknowledged as being well-written compositions and many that he acknowledged as being extraordinary compositions between himself and Paul, because, as most people know, a lot of these songs were Paul’s songs, a lot were John’s songs, a number were collaborations, but when they were teenagers they had an agreement that every Beatles song would be titled a Lennon-McCartney composition. Although, obviously, there are songs like Yesterday that was purely a Paul McCartney composition and obviously a work of genius. But rather than dividing who wrote who about what, etc., In My Life, Strawberry Fields and I Am the Walrus are my three favorite Beatles songs. In terms of his individual work, Imagine is our collective. We’re sitting here tonight in January of 2011, and I note that every time the ball drops in Times Square to bring in a new year, they play two songs to the crowd of the million and the viewers of the hundred million around the world, and somebody plays on the loudspeakers first Imagine, then Frank Sinatra sings New York, New York. Imagine was the wish, the hope, the prayer, the vision. It is the song that is most, in my opinion, indicative of the feelings and passions, beliefs, hopes, wishes, dreams, of John. Conversely, I really took to a song called God. He represents my feelings and represented his but what touched me so much about it was the reprobatory nature of the way he expressed his sentiments. Watching the Wheels, Beautiful Boy – dozens and dozens and dozens of others. I was a little old for the Beatle experience. Keep in mind that my teenage years was influenced by Elvis. But by the time I was in my twenties it wasn’t about the Beatles, it was about John and Yoko and, a generation later, for the children to follow it, would be Michael Jackson. I felt that John did his best work after the Beatles. His collaboration with Yoko, who helped to teach him how to imagine, the power of imagining, struck a responsive chord in my heart.

You mentioned a moment ago, Imagine. My mother is someone who most people think of as being a traditionalist and a Christian type, and something that she said about ImagineI’ll never forget her saying this to me. She said, “Imagine is what everybody really feels but maybe doesn’t admit.”

What an interesting quote from your mom.

Aside from that, this I thought was kind of an unusual question. John also had a fine taste in music and he covered a lot of songs that I thought were awesome versions like Ain’t That a Shame and so many. Was a cover that you thought, “Well done”?

Absolutely. Without question, without reservation, instantly, with all due respect to Ben E. King, with all due respect. When I hear John Lennon singing Stand by Me it puts the universe in perspective. It was the best cover of that song, just like Ray Charles’s cover of Eleanor Rigby was the best cover of that song. Stand By Me by John Lennon was it for me. And if one visits the rock and roll album, the one that was produced by Phil Spector, and listens to John’s covers – I know a lot of people are dismissive of that and they kind of feel that why should John Lennon cover other people’s songs when he was such a genius? His genius was recognizing the value of reminding people of these experiences that they may have missed. That was part of his genius. He wasn’t some kind of creative hog – ‘if it isn’t about me and if it isn’t one of mine, why should I do somebody else’s?’ Those songs, the ‘50s song from the rock and roll album, were the songs that he grew up listening to in Liverpool, via the BBC, that led him down the long and winding road.

I wondered if you were going to say Angel Baby.

Well, I happen to have a particular love for that song. I think that Angel Baby – Paul, in some ways, just based upon what you shared with me a few moments ago, I probably share a lot of your mom’s beliefs. Your mom was a devout Christian? So she would acknowledge that angels are messengers of God. They are sent here for that purpose.

I would think so.

I don’t mean to misrepresent your mother’s feelings but I think that that would be the natural extrapolation.

Right.

Well I believe in angels and I believe that they are messengers of God, and I don’t remember how old I was when I first heard Angel Baby. It had to have been, it was in the 1950s when the song came out or maybe later. I was just a kid. But when I heard it, it sounded like a choir from heaven. The song is like a psalm and if you can clear it through YouTube, or whatever you have to do these days to get the angels to sing to people, run it. I listened to it in the past eight or nine months on an old Wurlitzer jukebox, which is the way it should be listened to. It’s sacred.

It’s absolutely a mesmerizing song.

Yes. Especially if you hear it in mono, on vinyl, on a 45 RPM that’s not been digitally enhanced, on an old jukebox or an old turntable with the tone arm, it’s just like heaven being here with you. It’s interesting, John and I never discussed that song and I attended a number of those “Rock and Roll” sessions, those Spector sessions. I don’t know how I would have reacted being in the room listening to John singing Angel Baby. So, yeah – Angel Baby, Stand By Me – a toss-up. Make one the A side, one the B side.

One note on that. Rosie – the woman who wrote that song – she said that John’s version was her absolute favorite.

Did she?

Yeah, which, I can see it. He really embodied it when he sang it.

For the record, Rosie and the Originals’ original version – my favorite version.

Oh, likewise.

However, John did right by her.

Yoko Ono, she’s somebody – her art had been scrutinized by a lot of people but I’m impressed that she always releases her art and her music. I think a lot of great artists are releasing their work – yes, for their audience but also to turn themselves on. What motivates her?

Again, without speaking for Yoko because she does that most eloquently on her own, my observation is Yoko attempts always to be true to her own heart. She doesn’t sit around with a bunch of consultants to discuss ‘What material should I do? What should I wear? What stylist should I use?’ etc., to try and sell the most records or get the most recognition or any of that stuff. Yoko is an original and her allegiance is to her art. Always has been from day one to day two. Here’s what’s changed, Paul. The rest of the world caught up with her. I’m not sure of the next statistic I’m about to give to you but I think, I think, I think that if you went to billboard and looked up ‘dance singles’ during the past five years, you would find that ‘dance singles by Yoko Ono’ have achieved the #1, 2 or 3 position at least a half a dozen times in the past five years. She is a lady in her 70s.

Well, on the note of Yoko Ono, I’d like to tell you and all the listeners about an experience that I had in Athens, Georgia. I saw Sean Lennon perform. I can tell you it was one of the most moving concerts I have ever seen in my life. I remember sitting there and I was sitting next to a guy who is a friend of mine – he’s an attorney – and he didn’t get it, and you know, that’s cool. And I didn’t hear him when he was talking to me. He would talk to me, he would say things and I was fixated on this concert. What do you think about Sean Lennon?

I’m going to answer the question but first let me ask you a question. The concert that you saw, was that before he and Charlotte formed Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger? Was he just performing solo?

Yes, it was right after Friendly Fire. An incredible album and incredible video accompaniments that go with it. I’m incredibly impressed with his work. It was a beautiful concert. It was at The Melting Point, a very, very intimate venue. I was blown away by the songs.

I commend people’s attention to Friendly Fire. It’s a package of two discs. One disc is just music and another other disc is what I’m going to call a video, but it’s not just your traditional video. It’s shot like a movie. I think it was shot in 35mm. It has a story line to it. It’s exquisite. Bijou Phillips is in it. Lindsay Lohan is in it. I make a brief cameo appearance but you have to look really fast and really hard to see me in it. Friendly Fire was, in my opinion, Sean’s primal scream. It was an intensely emotional time for him and a complex time. In recent years, he has been travelling the world with his girlfriend and fellow musician, and they have a little group – it’s them. That’s the whole group and the group is called ‘Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger’. And people can look that up or just go on SeanLennon.com and they’ll be led to videos and the rest of it. I saw them perform in L.A. about a month ago and they’ll be back here in two weeks. It showcases their collective genius in composition and presentation. It’s a stripped-down, metaphorical, mystical, psychedelic, ‘eternal presence’ exchange between the audience and performers. It harkens back to the days when you would go to a concert, not expecting to see your rock and roll hero, but expecting to be touched, excited, intrigued and leave in a state of personal reflection. It might be the most unique musical act currently touring the world. I love Sean. I met him when he was a week old. He’s 35 now. He’s the son I never had you know. He’s an inspiration to me. I cannot say enough about his generosity of spirit, his creative abilities, his absolute brilliance, his humor, consideration, reverence. Love Sean. I love Sean. He was here last month. You know what we did, Paul? Just before the night of the concert, he was only in L.A. for a day or two. He and Charlotte came up to the house. We set up a couple of cameras. I sat and I talked with him for an hour and a half in front of the fireplace that you’re probably hearing in the background, and we reminisced a little bit about our 35-year journey together. And looking at him and remembering him from the years that he would come out in the summers, when he was seven, eight, nine, ten years old, and he would stay with me in Laurel Canyon in my old house. When I would go to New York to attend his birthday parties. Our adventures on the road. Awards ceremonies. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours and nights in this room where we’re sitting, where we’re having our recording/telephone conversation. If you ever have an opportunity to meet and interact with Sean, that’s a true gift. But considering the pedigree, it should not come as a surprise.

Well, you’ve talked about a lot of these people and I have a pretty good idea of who your answer will be but in your life, what person have you that met most inspired you?

I think Jack Gariss.

Jack Gariss?

Yeah. Right now, people who are listening to this are scratching their heads and saying, ‘Who?” When I was 21 or 22 on KPFK radio, I met this man who was the man who turned me on to meditation and metaphysics. He had the most lasting, meaningful impact. Hundreds of people who I met who touched me and influenced me for different reasons, for different reasons. Sometimes God places some people before you for specific purpose, to evoke a special response, to open a new door, and I could give you a litany of them. A guy named Jack Gariss, who taught me about meditation, probably impacted me more than anyone I have ever met.

I was looking on your YouTube channel – you can check out YouTube.com/Elliot Mintz videos – for your future it said: “Trying to figure that out” What do you see in the future for your life?

I have all of these pages. I have the Facebook thing and the Twitter thing and the MySpace thing and, basically, I’m just holding all of those pages to avoid the people who pretend to be me and say and do outrageous and embarrassing things. By the way, virtually everything on the internet about me at the moment is either embarrassing, inaccurate, pointless, or having nothing to do with who I am. So it will be very easy for people to ascertain that, I’m in the final stages of completing a web site – a little late to the rodeo – and that will be the place where, for those who care, that’s who I am. I have visited the YouTube thing and I have Googled my name, and I sometimes feel a total disconnect with that guy who I see on the screen with the electric blue tie and the spray tan and all that stuff. You know, there is a difference between who we are and what we do and there’s probably more of a significant difference about how we are perceived. That’s the runaway train of the internet. In answer your question about the future, I consult Tarot card readers and I consult people who have certain gifts of peering over the horizon and sharing with me what they see. And in these interactions and interchanges, some of the spoken visions resonate in my heart with my own dreams. It’s been told to me, and what I feel is that I’m in the third act of my life right now. As we sit here this evening, I’m 65 years old. I’m closer to the end than the beginning. And this is act three. And the broadcasting years, and the media consultant years – they came, they went. They were everything. They were everything. When I wrote that ‘Whatever your perceptions of John Lennon were, they were all true.” what I was trying to explain was any vision anybody may have had about what Elliot’s life was like as a broadcaster, those 2,000 interviews, or what would follow with media consultation – those are probably trueto them but my truth is yet to be manifest. If I were writing the script, and I don’t believe I am – I do believe in predestination. I believe in God’s will. I believe that the script has been written. And what I see on the dust cover on the book jacket is a life outside of Hollywood, a life away from show business, a life that would be more rural than urban, a life that would include the natural elements that elude us in big cities – horses, oceans. I could see myself teaching some classes in media in a small college, for those who would be I interested. Or doing something on the internet where I could talk to people about media issues if they wished to. What I primarily want to do is take all the information that I’ve learned in 40 years of broadcasting and media consultation, and make myself available on a pro bono basis to various causes and charities that I believe in. When John and Yoko did the bed interviews, John said what they were trying to do was to send out advertisements for peace, and they wanted to use the same devices that Wall Street used to sell toothpaste. Well, I know a thing or two about influencing public opinion and media. Instead of applying that to another actor or another actress, another show business personality, I’d like to apply that knowledge to those people who are trying to make this a better world. I see that in my future. I’d like to do a lot more horseback riding. I’d like to meditate more. I’d like to sleep later. I’d like to dream. I’d like to travel to places that I’ve not been before just for me, not because I’m tagging along with a client. I would like to explore the mystic more than I have. I’d like to revisit some classic literature that I read too early in my life. I’d like to get married. I’d like to stay healthy. I’d like to be able to be in a position to encourage others to pursue their dreams and not abandon any vision because somebody told them they couldn’t do it. And when it’s time, I would like to pass gracefully, with gratitude. That’s what I see in my future. There was I think a 15th century German mystic named Meister Eckhart who once wrote, quote “Man plans. God laughs.” So what I just put down on your tape recorder computer machine device is Elliot’s vision for Elliot. I quickly admonish myself, you can’t always get what you want.

When you look back on your life – full of great people, stories and events – what is the best thing about being Elliot Mintz?

Hmm. Paul, that’s another question I’ve never been asked. You’re really good. So rather than give a knee-jerk response, let me reflect upon it for a second. There’s nothing wrong with a little fireplace white noise. (Pause) Look, I have received far more than I’ve given. I am just so grateful to have been put in someplace during this incarnation where I could act as a filter or a conduit to others as a result of people that I’ve met. So the best thing about having been Elliot Mintz is that I’ve been given that chance. Just been given that chance, that I met some extraordinary people and that I have passed along the information that they have bestowed upon me. So, I am the CEO of the Cosmic Messenger Service. It’s a kind of a more ethereal version of FedEx. I accepted the responsibility. I hope I’ve lived up to the tenets of the job description, and I’ve lived to see the sparkle in the eyes of those who, at one time, believed that they couldn’t and then, ultimately, we allowed that they could.

This is a kind of a 180 but a second ago you mentioned that you hoped to get married. I’ve always wondered this and I don’t know why I’ve wondered this. What do you look for in a woman? You mentioned Marilyn Monroe earlier. Are you a Marilyn Monroe kind of guy or an Audrey Hepburn kind of guy?

(Laughs) Actually, I’m more of a Mother Theresa kind of guy. She would not have been a possibility (laughs), she had taken a vow. I’m somewhere between a Marilyn Monroe kind of a guy and an Audrey Hepburn kind of a guy. The ideal comic woman for me was always a cowgirl. Recently, they had the rodeo competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. Seven days, 30,000 people showed up. Well, you should have seen some of those girls roping steers. Let me tell you, Paul that would make the heart jump a beat or two. To be more specific, years ago I attended a film festival and I don’t remember if it was in Germany or Cannes. I was representing Melanie Griffith at the time. She had been nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a movie called Working Girl. She’s a marvelous actress and I’ve known her for many, many years. She was married to Don Johnson. She’s currently married to, and has been for many years, to Antonio Banderas. Tangentially, her mother is Tippi Hedron who starred in The Birds, the Alfred Hitchcock film. Anyway, Melanie and I were at a film festival to promote Working Girl and she had done 30 or 40 interviews throughout the day. The last interview that she did, a woman walks into the room where every reporter has five minutes to ask their questions for the country they represent, and the reporter said to Melanie, “Look you’re very, very hot right now and you’re an Academy Award nominee. You receive so many scripts and you’re offered fabulous sums to do it. What is the criteria that you use to decide who you want to play? What kind of woman do you look for in a script?” And Melanie responded as follows. She said, “I look for strong women with open hearts who will back up what they say they’re going to do.” The reporter thanked her. Left the room. Melanie and I were both exhausted. I went back to my room in the hotel and I reflected during the night about her answer to that question. And the following day I had breakfast with her and I said, “You know, you taught me a great Zen object lesson last night and that was, simply, that the same thing you look for in a woman in a script for you to portray in a movie, are the same qualities that I look for in a woman to share a life with. I look for, and love, strong women with open hearts who back up what they say they’re going to do. Now, those three elements with a touch of the cowgirl sounds pretty good to me. My home number is (laughs) … sorry, just being silly.

Well, go ahead – give them the number. (Laughing)

No, no, no.

My two final questions for Elliot Mintz. Some of the best restaurants in the world are here in California, or so they say. I feel you can find out a lot about a person by this question. What is your all-time favorite meal? (Laughs) So we’ve gone from women to meals.

Great question. You know, it’s not the meal it’s who you share it with. Not only who you share it with but when you share it. I can give you a list of the top-ten restaurants in Beverly Hills – or around the world. I’ve dined in many of them. When I was in my teens or twenties, I took a young lady, the first girl who I ever loved, to a place called Du-Par’s – it was an all-night coffee shop on Ventura Boulevard – and it was late at night and we had cheeseburgers, fries, chocolate shakes, apple pie with some vanilla on the side. All these years later, I can still taste. I went the next 30, 35 years without ever tasting meat. I live off of fish and chicken. That changed a month ago. I had my first bite of meat after, I think, 35 years. But that night at Du-Par’s may remain my most memorable meal. It was … the times, it was … the lady. And man, those fries were as crispy as the kind that you used to be able to get in New York.

My final question is very appropriate here. Yoko Ono was just talking about John Lennon and she said he would have loved Facebook and Twitter. In a lot of ways I think sometimes people focus on the bad side of these things but there’s a good side to it too. It connects us all. We’re able to share messages. We’re able to see that people across the country and people across the world are not that different. This broadcast is going out all over the world. My final question is: what would you, Mr. Elliot Mintz, like to say to all of those people listening in?

Hmm. Be true to your own tweets. Do your best to express them to people in person. Never feel a need to limit your expression and understand, with all of the great promise of the social network and sites and wizardry of computers, that they can never kiss you, hold you, or caress you. That words can only go so far. In answer to your question, Paul – turn off the machines and be with someone.

Well, Elliot. Thank you so much for doing this.

Thank you so much. Might I add – and I don’t want to sound patronizing or anything like that but I’ve done a couple of hundred of these – you’re damn good at what you do. Really, really, really good and I want to encourage you to continue to engage in this form of inquiry with as many people as you can and share it with as many people as you are able to do so, because you have the divine gift of posting questions, getting out of the way, listening, and giving somebody an opportunity to reveal themselves. This one’s been a pleasure.

TRANSCRIBED BY GAYLE BRAZDA & PAUL LESLIE

Abe Laboriel, Jr.: Percussionist

Abe Laboriel, Jr. is the drummer for Paul McCartney. Abe Laboriel, Jr. is the son of the legendary bassist Abraham Laboriel, Sr. Abe Laboriel, Jr. toured with guitarist Steve Vai then he went on to tour with k. d. lang when recording artist Sting saw him perform and asked Laboriel to join his touring band. Abe Laboriel, Jr. has worked with the likes of Sheryl Crowe, Fiona Apple, Eric Clapton, Jewel, Vanessa Carlton, Steve Lukather, Chris Isaak, Johnny Hallyday, Natalie Cole, and many others. Over the past decade, Abe Laboriel, Jr. has been touring and recording with Paul McCartney starting with the 2001 McCartney album “Driving Rain,” followed by “Back in the US,” “Back in the World,” “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard,” “Memory Almost Full” and the most recent live Paul McCartney album “Good Evening New York City.”

Paul “Wix” Wickens: Keyboardist, Musical Director for Paul McCartney

Paul “Wix” Wickens has been Paul McCartney’s keyboard player and musical director for many years. He joined Paul McCartney’s band in 1989. He’s appeared on most studio albums since then and all of the live Paul McCartney albums. Most recently, Paul “Wix” Wickens appeared on the live album “Good Evening New York City” from the Hear Music label. He also appeared on the studio album “Memory Almost Full.” Paul “Wix” Wickens is more than just a keyboard player. He is also a composer and producer. Paul “Wix” Wickens also plays accordion, some guitar, some bass guitar, harmonica and lends his vocal talents. He has performed and recorded with many artists in addition to Paul McCartney: Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Bon Jovi, Bob Dylan, Nik Kershaw, Edie Brickell, Tim Finn, John Kilzer, David Gilmour, and Bill Payne…too many artists to list.