Yoko Ono will make a special appearance at ArthurFest on Monday, September 5. [more info here] The concert will comprise performances of Onos songs with her son Sean and their band, as well as some surprises that will require your willing participation in events that could change your life, the life of the person next to you and the person next to him/her. That change could spill over the fences at Barnsdall Park, into Los Angeles and the rest of the planet, representing an opportunity for open-minded well-wishers to be a central, revolutionary part of history. L.A. WEEKLY: Last year you allowed Basement Jaxx and other DJ types to remix several of your songs, including Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him, which, amid the debate about gay marriage, became Every Man Has a Man Who Loves Him. But sampling and remixing are nothing new for you, are they? YOKO ONO: Sampling I did very early, like on Plastic Ono Band. In the process of making it in the studio, Id say, Well, dont you have this or that sound? [Laughs.] On these new mixes, I just turned it over. This is like big-time delegating to the people who wanted to do this. I really respected and appreciated that they wanted to do it, and so the least I could do was to say, Well, please do it the way you want it. Visual art and music are kind of the same thing for you? Totally. Especially my lyrics, like Greenfield Morning on Plastic Ono Band. I pushed the baby carriage whenever I hear that, I get these brilliant green colors, you know. Theres a part of my brain that is connected with visual and auditory at the same time. Possibly dating from when you met John and started hanging out with the rockers, you didnt turn your back on more abstract musical statements, but you obviously got interested in more direct means of expression. Definitely. I really think that it saved me from becoming totally intellectual and sort of stuck in the complex mind or something like that... When I went into rock, I said, Oh, this is what you can do. Its fine to use very simple harmonies, because youre actually communicating with your heart, not with your head. I thought it was a much healthier direction than being in an ivory tower and just communicating with each other, you know? [Laughs.] So I loved that, and I think I was reborn. The more theory-bound you get in your art You cant move! Youre stuck! The idea, then, that you were going to communicate with large numbers of people mustve seemed positively avant-garde. The avant-garde world was getting so stale to me, it was no more avant-garde, because it was an establishment of itself, and theres a hierarchy, etc. etc. In short, you discovered the power of making music that appeals to the body? Exactly. We forget the body I mean, we are the body. In the avant-garde world, I was crucified for using too much body. I was too sexual or too, I dont know, too emotional, too dramatic or something. Going into rock was a worthy tradeoff, though, because suddenly you had a huge audience. No, I didnt. I had a huge group of people who hated me instead of a small group of people who hated me. [Laughs.] But its better for you now, because youve got a younger audience that doesnt care about their older sisters hang-up about whether you broke up the Beatles or some nonsense like that. See, thats another thing. You know, in short, I didnt break up the Beatles, so thats that. As my late friend Jac Zinder once said, Yoko Ono didnt break up the Beatles, but so what if she did? [Laughs.] Thank you. You continue to inspire. I wonder where your fervor comes from. What drives you? You know, when Clear Channel said they wouldnt play Imagine on the radio, I immediately put that in a full-page ad in The New York Times. Imagine all the people living life in peace. My rebellious and emotional side of me just comes out like that. I have to be very careful in a way, too. I keep saying that to myself. I have to make sure that I can be doing it without totally destroying myself, by making me become less free. In the end, Im a person in this society, and this society can ostracize me. Like what happened to John when he was just being himself and they tried to kick him out of America, or something like that. You know what I mean. Doesnt a terrible kind of isolation accompany celebrity? I think that the circumference of loneliness is equal to the circumference of awareness. You get used to it. When I became 70, something happened in my brain, like wow, great! I found out that I still learn things every day. Like in tens, not in one or two. And each time I learn something I think, what would I have done if I died when I was 60? I would have not known all this.Terrible things happen each year, in some ways I mean, not very notable terrible things, just one of those things. Somebody sues me or something which is kind of routine in my life so I thought, If I hadnt lived this long, I would not have encountered this experience. Its almost like its a new play, right? I havent seen this before, and now Im seeing it. So it was like, not a pleasure, of course it wasnt a pleasure, it was, hmmm, okay, Ill see this through, you know. Thats how I felt. Now I understand how, when people say they went through a near-death experience, from then on they had a totally different take on life. In the end, what would you like to have achieved? Im this is like a competition, its a race between the people whore trying to destroy the globe and the people trying to better and heal the globe. In the Bible they say, In the beginning there was the Word the word is very powerful and the word was God. Well, I think the word was Love. Because Love is simulating what God said, by having sexual intercourse and creating babies. Thats what happens on the universal level. So were simulating, all the time, the memory of having been gods and goddesses. Same with baseball and all the ball-playing, because the ball was the planet, and we were gods who played with the planet. Im thinking we have to cover the Earth with love, and to do that its a race between us covering the world with love and the people who are covering the world with the results of hate. Its a race, you know. And I really think that were gonna win. And one of the things that were gonna do is just show each other how much we love each other. Perhaps its like youve said, that we have to do something, otherwise were just paralyzed, frozen. I want to tell you something: I really trust in the survival instinct of the human race. And I really think its such a pity if we have to destroy this beautiful culture civilization that weve created in 2,000 or 3,000 years. And you know, I love it. I love life, I love what weve created as a human race, and I love this planet, I love the universe, and every day Im very thankful that Im still alive.
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