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FROM THIS EPISODE

yoko_cover.jpgKCRW DJ Garth Trinidad sits down with Yoko Ono to talk about her new recordings and the various collaborators on her new stage show, which comes to the Orpheum Theater (and is Presented by KCRW) tonight and tomorrow. Ono tells Garth that she and Lady Gaga speak the same language and she’s been intrigued by the wide variety of artists that want to work with her. Other performers on the bill include Iggy Pop, Mike Watt, Nels Cline, Perry Farrell, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon.

Transcript
Garth:
It is my great pleasure to welcome to the airwaves, the one-and-only, the fabulous, the inspiring – I think would be the proper word — Miss Yoko Ono. Thank you so much for coming to spend some time with us. We really appreciate having you here.

Yoko:
Well, thank you for the great introduction.

Garth:
I just wanted to make mention that you’re going to be performing a couple of nights at the Orpheum in Los Angeles and its looking like it’s going to be a really incredible show and I’m going to try to go to the one on Saturday night.

Yoko:
I’m looking forward to it too, because so many incredible friends are going to be there with me. And you never know, you know?  It’s like a gamble in a way, but also it’s a beautiful gamble because I know how they are and it could go anyway really.

Garth:
You know speaking of inspiration and collaboration, I think I want to start with the solo record called “Yes I’m A Witch” where you worked with all these wonderful different producers. How did you go about reaching out to them, getting them in the studio to create this great work? There are some stellar songs on that record.

Yoko:
I was very lucky because its not like I reached out to them…I think that they were people who were into my songs and just sort of came to me, saying “Could I do this one?” You know that kind of thing.

Garth:
So lets say Peaches knocked on your door and just said, “Yoko, I got to do this track with you…”

Yoko:
Well, it seemed like that. I mean, I didn’t get a direct call but I heard that she wants to do it. Oh great, she wants to do it, oh fine. You know, it was like that.

Garth:
I just thought it was a great record. I think I fell back in love with you. Because I remember you as a child, I got that record and I was like, Wow! Yoko Ono is making great music right now. I played a lot of it on the radio, a lot of the DJs here supported that record and then of course the Plastic Ono Band Project came back. I wanted to talk about the origins…

Yoko:
You were not born yet when we did the Plastic Ono Band, come on.

Garth:
I was born in ‘74. But I remember you as a child. I remember growing up.

Yoko:
‘74, oh dear, OK, that’s after how many days and decades, OK.

Garth:
Can we go back and talk about for those that might not know, especially the younger audience that think the Plastic Ono Band is a new thing. I wanted to talk about possibly the origins of how that started.

Yoko:
Well, it was so funny because before I got together with John there were so many things that were happening already to me. There was one of the letters that said, “Please come to Berlin and do a show”. So I had this great idea about having four plastic stands. And inside of the stands I would have one tape recorder, one–I don’t know, not computer but you know one of those little things like an electric piano kind of thing and I said and the four will be my band, but they’re all just machinery and I thought that was cool. When I got together with John I told him about that I was going to go to Berlin and do this. And he just said, (he was quick, was very quick you know) there was this plastic tube a plastic little thing that had a toothbrush in it and he just took the toothbrush and put it…He finally found four different kind plastic things and he put it on a little sort of, a kind of base and said, “Like this?”
And so immediately He said, so let’s call our band the Plastic Ono Band. The Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band. I said OK, but I didn’t realize how great that was actually at the time. He got into it so much that he said we have to take a photo of this, you know. So there’s a photo of the Plastic Ono band, just plastic stands.
The idea of the Plastic Ono Band was that I was doing music in New York, whenever there was a call, usually a university or college or something…and I would go there but I wouldn’t take a band with me. I didn’t have a band and then I would say, on stage I would say, OK you, you and you–why don’t you come on the stage and let’s make music. It was like that.
And I thought that was a kind of ad lib great way of making music. So I told that to John too. OK, well Plastic Ono Band is going to be like that. We did a few shows. One was in Cambridge, they also wanted me to come…they were calling and calling and John said OK, just tell them that you’re going to bring your band. I said “I’m going to bring my band”. I didn’t know what that meant. Well John was the band. We just went to Cambridge and did a show.

Garth:
That’s phenomenal. Yoko Ono is my special guest everybody. Here on KCRW. Listen Up!

Garth:
Yoko Ono on KCRW everybody. So the shows, this weekend at the Orpheum, you got a whole lot of people that are going to be stopping by to make music with you. Can we talk a little bit about some of those folks, what you like about them and why you wanted to include them?

Yoko:
They are all very close friends of mine and I respect them a lot. Thurston and Kim, they are a great couple but they are also very far-out intelligent — music rebels. So you know, they are going to be there. Iggy Pop — he is so New York so it is like bringing two New Yorkers together. Perry Ferrell is another incredible rebel. It is almost like every that is coming with me are sort of rebels on their own right and also very close in spirit to me. Lady Gaga…. [Laughs]

Garth:Yeah, I wanted to know how you met her and did you get together with her?

Yoko:
I didn’t meet her.  It was very strange — I got a message from somebody that Lady Gaga in one of her interviews said that one day she would love to do a performance with [Yoko]. And I said, ‘What? Lady Gaga wants to work with me?’ I just had an incredible feeling about her because we kind of talk the same language in a way. I have respect for her — she’s so big and everything so I never thought she wanted to perform with me. She actually met my son in Tokyo and they just had a good talk. Sean was saying, ‘Mom, she’s cool! She’s great! When are you going to get this together and work with her? Well I think we should ask her to.’ And of course she said yes.  So, it’s great.

Garth:
It’s beautiful. I am just happy you are making music and doing your thing. I actually really enjoy how you sing and what your vocal style is — it’s just wild and free and beautiful and lovely and I appreciate it. It is very evocative, very emotional and very sensual — I just dig it. [Laughs]

Yoko:
Thank you. It’s so funny because most people would say, ‘Why would you do that? Are you trying to upset people?’ But you see, basically, this whole world is still this kind of male society and men want women to be quiet and diligent and pretty. So they like us to make pretty music, sing in a pretty voice. Now the thing is, when I was a very little girl my mother use to say, ‘Don’t go to the end of the house where there is this servants’ room where they will be talking about things you shouldn’t know.’ [Garth laughs] So of course you’re going to go quietly to check it out — which I did. So the servants one day were chatting about one of the aunt’s having a baby in a hospital. I was so frightened because she was going like [birthing noises] and my god — it scared me too. And I’ll never forget that because I thought, ‘If women could make that kind of noise…but we could never express it. Or we have to pretend that we never do. We created the human race — think about it. So if we had the power to create the human race — we have that strength, that power — but we have to hide it all the time. Although, we don’t have any power, we’re just…women.  And that’s just crazy!  So I just wanted to bring out what we are really.

Garth:
Well, you do that and you do it well and thank you very much for doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, Yoko Ono is performing this weekend Friday and Saturday at the Orpheum in Los Angeles, stay tuned we have some tickets to give away. Yoko, thank you very much. You are an incredible person and we just appreciate having you here.

Yoko:
Thank you.

Between My Head & the Sky

Yoko Ono & Plastic Ono Band

[PLAYLIST GOES HERE]

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