Terry Jones is beloved by comedy fans everywhere as a member of the ground breaking troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He’s also an acclaimed writer, director, poet and historian. He brought in a few of his favorite tunes to share in his Guest DJ set, from Paul Simon to Tony Pastor. Terry's latest film project, Absolutely Anything starring Simon Pegg, will be out next year.
Banner Image Credit: Larry Hirshowitz
1. John Lennon - "Imagine"
2. Tony Pastor - "Five Salted Peanuts"
3. Dr. Hook - "Soup Stone"
4. Paul Simon - "Something So Right"
5. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - "Serenade No. 10 in B-Flat Major for 13 Wind Instruments"
Eric J. Lawrence: Hi, I am Eric J. Lawrence and I am here with Terry Jones, beloved by comedy fans everywhere, as a member of the groundbreaking troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He’s also an acclaimed writer, director, poet and historian. Today, he joins us to discuss some of his favorite music as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project.
Terry, thank you so much for coming down.
Terry Jones: Hello, how are you, Eric?
EJL: I am terrific. Very happy to have you here. What’s the first song you’ve got for us?
TJ: Well, it’s “Imagine” by John Lennon. And there’s a story that goes with this. I was listening to “Imagine” over the weekend and I was getting into it. I even played it on the piano and that was the same week John Lennon was shot. He was shot on a Monday. And it’s just a powerful memory of that loss.
EJL: The Monty Python group kind of came into their own right about the same time as when the Beatles were really hitting their stride, as well. Did you guys know each other?
TJ: Yes, George Harrison funded Life of Brian. He formed Handmade Films for that. And Ringo Starr was on the show, one of the TV shows. He came in at the end and we did the "It's" man.
EJL: OK. Well here it is, John Lennon with the classic “Imagine”.
Song: John Lennon – “Imagine”
EJL: That was John Lennon with his classic single “Imagine,” as selected by our guest Terry Jones. What’s the next song you’ve got for us?
TJ: “Five Salted Peanutes” by Tony Pastor and his orchestra.
We had a record in our house in Colwyn Bay and one side was “Five Salted Peanuts” and the other side it had “Bell Bottom Blues.”
(sings “Five Salted Peanuts”) It just expresses the tragedy of life.
EJL: So, this was something you discovered at home as a kid?
TJ: Yeah, I left Colwyn Bay when I was four, so it was pre-four. I’d put it on and I’d hear it and I’d listen, fascinated by it.
EJL: Well, here’s Tony Pastor and his Orchestra with “Five Salted Peanuts.”
Song: Tony Pastor – “Five Salted Peanuts”
EJL: That was Tony Pastor and his Orchestra with “Five Salted Peanuts,” as selected by our guest, Terry Jones. What’s the next song you’ve got for us?
TJ: “The Wonderful Stone Soup” by Dr. Hook. This captures the optimism of imagination and I think that it’s a brilliant song.
“The Wonderful Soup Stone” by Dr. Hook echoes my life really.
Song: Dr. Hook – “The Wonderful Soup Stone”
EJL: That was the Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show with “The Wonderful Soup Stone”, as selected by our guest, Terry Jones.
Terry, what’s the next song you’ve got for us?
TJ: Well, it’s Paul Simon, “Something So Right.” “Something So Right” just fit in with my life then and I just love it.
EJL: These songs that you have picked so far that we have discussed so far are all fairly sentimental, emotional, songs from “Imagine,” to “The Wonderful Soup Stone,” telling sort of a poignant story and “Something So Right” as well. Is there something that people involved with comedy sometimes need a release in some sort of other form with their art?
TJ: Yeah, I think so. I don’t realize they’re sentimental songs, really. Yes, I have feelings and I like to feel things.
EJL: In Paul Simon’s work, I think he has a clever play to his lyrics. What particular aspects of Paul’s work sort of appealed to you?
TJ: Well, I think it appeals to me that he has wit and I like the tune really, a lot.
Song: Paul Simon – “Something So Right”
EJL: That was Paul Simon with “Something so Right,” as selected by our guest, Monty Python’s Terry Jones. What’s the last track you’ve got for us?
TJ: “Serenade No. 10 in B-Flat Major for 13 Wind Instruments”, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
I just think it is such a spiritual piece and the adagio is wonderful. I would like to die to this music (laughter).
EJL: It’s also referred to, the entire piece, as the Gran Partita as well and it’s certainly one of the most prominent pieces in Mozart’s canon.
How does classical music play into your music appreciation?
TJ: I like chamber music, really. Four instruments playing together.
EJL: What about like other forms like opera. Are you an opera aficionado?
TJ: I have written an opera, “Evil Machines,” which we performed in Portugal. It starts off with the vacuum cleaners and the biggest vacuum cleaner in the world (laughter).
I’ve written two things for the Lloyd Opera House: “Doctor Dog,” which is a story about a wonderful doctor whose patients all love him and the general medical council says he has got to close down because he’s a dog (Laughter).
So the patients all go up in arms about it and calamity to get him reinstated.
And I did another thing, “The Owl and the Pussycat Went to Sea,” and that was performed on a barge for the Royal Opera House.
EJL: Well, here’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his timeless “Serenade No. 10 in B-Flat Major for 13 Wind Instruments.”
Song: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – “Serenade No. 10 in B-Flat Major for 13 Wind Instruments”
EJL: That was Mozart with the Gran Partita, as selected by our guest, Terry Jones.
Terry, I want to thank you so much for coming down and sharing your selections with us.
TJ: Great, thank you.