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Lennon Remembers, Part Two

Page 4 of 9

Finally, when we got near the point when Allen came in, the Eastmans panicked; yet I was still open. I liked Allen but I would have taken Eastman if he would have turned out something other than what he was.

We arranged to see Eastman and Klein together in a hotel where one of them was staying. For the four Beatles and Yoko to go and see them both. We hadn't been in there more than a few minutes when Lee Eastman was having something like an epileptic fit, and screaming at Allen, that he was "the lowest scum on earth," and calling him all sorts of names. Allen was sitting there, taking it, you know, just takin' it. Eastman was abusing him with class snobbery. What Eastman didn't know then is that Neil had been in New York and found out that Lee Eastman's real name was Lee Epstein! That's the kind of people they are. But Paul fell for that bullshit, because Eastman's got Picassos on the wall and because he's got some sort of East Coast suit; form and not substance. Now, that's McCartney. We were all still not sure and they brought in this fella, and he had a fuckin' fit.

We had thought it was one in a million but that was enough for me, soon as he started nailing Klein on his taste. Paul was getting in little digs about Allen's dress. I mean you just go and look at Paul's dress, or at his father, or anything – who the fuck does he think he is? Him talking about dress!

Man, so that was it, and we said, "fuck it!" I wouldn't let Eastman near me; I wouldn't let a fuckin' animal like that who has a mind like that near me. Who despises me, too, despises me because of what I am and what I look like.

You know, these people like Eastman and Dick James and people like that, think that I'm an idiot. They really can't see me; they think I'm some kind of guy who got struck lucky, a pal of Paul's or something. They're so fuckin' stupid they don't know.

The reason Allen knew was because he knew who I was. He wasn't going on what a pretty face I've got. Eastman blew it, and then he went on to do it again. Where did he do it? Next time he did it was in the Apple office. He kept coming to me, trying to hold his madness down, this insanity that kept coming out. He was coming up to me saying "I can't tell you how much I admire you." Gortikov [the chairman of Capitol Records] does that too; you know them, full of praise, like "I can't tell you how much I've admired your work, John."

And I'm just watchin' this and I'm thinkin' "it's happening to me," and "thank you very much," and all that [To Yoko:] What was the second fit, because I want this out. What was the second time he blew it?

Yoko: In Apple or something.

John: He did it in front of everybody.

This was supposed to be the guy who was taking over the multi-million dollar corporation, and it was going to be slick. Paul was sort of intimating that Allen's business offices on Broadway were not nice enough as if that were any fuckin' difference! Eastman was in the good section of town. "Oh, boy, man, that's where it's at!" And Eastman's office has got class! I don't care if this is fuckin' red white and blue, I don't care what Allen dresses like, he's a human being, man.

So you said "No" to Eastman, and what did Paul do?
The more we said "no," the more he said "yes." Eastman went mad and shouted and all that. I didn't know what Paul was thinking when he was in the room; I mean, his heart must have sunk.

Yoko: They didn't even want to come to a meeting with Allen.

John: Eastman at first refused to meet Allen. He said "I will not meet such a low rat." What the fuck had Klein done? He'd never done a fuckin' thing – he'd been cleared of all this income tax shit –  and even if he hadn't, what the fuck, how dare all these fuckin' wolves and sharks call him down for being what he is. How dare they insult anybody like that? They're fuckin' bastards. And Eastman is a Wasp Jew, man, and that's the worst kind of person on earth.

They refused to meet him. I said I don't talk to anybody unless I come along with Allen. They said "Come on, John, I want to meet you alone," and I said "I don't see any of you, unless Allen's with me."

Yoko: But the thing is that finally when they met, they invited Allen to the Harvard Club. Can you imagine that? Just to show, you know. . . .

John: When Eastman was finally signing the Northern Songs deal, God knows what it was, I had to jump over a fence to get Paul's signature for something which finally secured us our position, and then also Eastman lost his temper. He really started insulting me then. Eastman, he knew the game was over. This was in London: three of us had to go there to get his final approval on Paul's signature, which we got.

He's initiating all these things just to slow us down, like an immigration officer, really putting us through it. I'm sitting there, waiting, and we're thinking, "sign it you fuckin' idiot, and let's get out," but he starts insulting me; Yoko said to him "Will you please stop insulting my husband." She was saying "Don't call my husband stupid." I wasn't saying anything but "sign it and give me the signature, just put your initials on it, Epstein," I was thinking let's get out of here, and we'll wrap you up, and that's what we did.

You can't believe it, man, epileptic fits, and they expected to run the company. Allen even offered to let John Eastman be the lawyer on the deals we were making with Northern Songs, but they were screwing everything Allen did, by putting on an argument. It fucked that Northern Songs deal and all that, but we still came out with all the money. Whatever they could do they did but in the end they couldn't out-maneuver him. Klein was the only one who knew exactly what was going on. He not only knew our characters, and what the relationship between the group was, but he also knows his business, he knows who's who in the group, what you have to do to get things done, and he knew about every fuckin' contract and paper we ever had. He understood. Eastman was just making judgments and saying things to Paul based on something that he had never seen. It was a wipe-out, you can't imagine. The real story will come out, because Allen knows every detail and he remembers everything we've said.

Yoko: The first approach was, well . . . he knew I went to Sarah Lawrence. He was saying "Kafkaesque" and all of that, and talking in a very "in" way; "we're middle class, aren't we?"

But the point is that the Eastman family doesn't know John's a drop-out – I was sick and tired of that middle class thing and I married a "working class hero": And if he is a true aristocrat, he is not going to invite Allen to the Harvard Club, but would make sure that he invites Allen to somewhere Allen would enjoy.

So what was going down with Paul then?
Paul was getting more and more uptight until Paul wouldn't speak to us. He told us "You speak to my lawyer."

When did you first start having unpleasant words with Paul?
We never had unpleasant words. It never got to a talking thing, you see, it just got that Paul would say "Speak to my lawyer, I don't want to speak about business anymore" which meant, "I'm going to drag my feet and try and fuck you."

When the whole Northern thing was going on, we tried to save our fuckin' stuff [the publishing rights to most of the Lennon/McCartney songs] and he was playing hard to get, like a fuckin' chick, because he hadn't thought of it. It was a pure ego game, and I got into the ego thing, of course, but I was really fighting for our fuckin' business, and what I believed was our money. It wasn't just because I'd found Allen. I would have dropped Allen if Eastman had been something; but he was an animal, a fuckin' stupid middle-class pig, and thought he could con me with fuckin' talking about Kafka, and shit, and Picasso and DeKooning, for Christ's sake, and I shit on the fuckin' lot of them.

I don't even know who the fuck they are; I just know that it's something that somebody has got hung up on the wall that he thinks is an investment.

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