Mr. Beaks Interviews Sir Elton John!
He's written over fifty Top 40 hits; sold out the biggest arenas in the world; performed for Queens, Princesses, Presidents and Prime Ministers; raised millions (if not billions) in the fight against AIDS; and won multiple awards.
And now Sir Elton John is seated in a room at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons, peering through blue-tinted sunglasses at a shlubby, balding, thirty-seven-year-old internet journalist. To paraphrase a lyric from one of his contemporaries, he looks very much like he would rather be anywhere else than here today.
I try to make a little small talk as I nervously place my iPhone onto the desk where Billboard's third most successful recording artist of all time sits. He'd been discussing BLAZING SADDLES with a Disney publicist as I entered, so I ask if he's a fan of the movie. Suddenly, I feel like Flounder inquiring "You guys playing cards?" in ANIMAL HOUSE. Of course he's a fan. He barely bothers to mutter "Yes." Defeated, I click record on the iPhone. The beep briefly drowns out the shrieks of "Leap to your death from the nearest window!" echoing in my head. There's no graceful segue from this. Might as well just start firing off questions, and let the gentleman go about promoting his movie.
Fifteen minutes later, we're laughing and getting on like... well, pop music icon and shlubby internet journalist, but at least we're laughing!
Like anyone who's had access to a radio over the last forty years, I'm well acquainted with the music of Elton John. He was one of the few artists who crossed over from bona fide rock-and-roll stations to soft rock formats: the former could spin "Saturday's Alright for Fighting" without shame, while the latter could indulge in the balladry of "Your Song" or "Candle in the Wind"; interestingly, both played "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long Long Time)" - which to me reinforces why it's one of the ten greatest pop songs ever recorded. In terms of quality and prolificness, his output in the 1970s is rivaled only by Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen. And his longtime collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin invites comparisons to the great composer/librettist duos of the twentieth century.
As John notes in the below interview, his career became even more multifaceted in 1993 when Tim Rice convinced him to write original songs for the looming blockbuster that was Disney's THE LION KING. Once that movie took the popular culture by storm, John was suddenly in demand for animated films and musicals. This reinvigorated him creatively, ultimately setting the stage for GNOMEO AND JULIET, an animated retelling of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy featuring contentious garden decorations and a mixture of old and new music from John (thus ensuring your children will be humming "Rocket Man" along with you on your way out of the theater).
Initial awkwardness aside (which I've surely, hopefully overstated), this was a great interview. Though many questions went unasked (primarily about his friendship/collaboration with John Lennon and underrated 2001 throwback album SONGS FROM THE WEST COAST), I was grateful to gain a little insight into John's creative process. His music has been a constant in my life. When the doldrums set in, I know temporary assuagement is a click away in "Levon", "My Father's Gun" or "Someone Saved My Life Tonight".
Here's fifteen minutes with Elton John...
Mr. Beaks: Coming down Santa Monica Boulevard, before I turned onto Doheny, I passed The Troubadour. That was a rather important venue for you early in your career.
Elton John: It was forty years ago last August.
Beaks: You've done so many different things in your career since. Do you feel like there's been any kind of design to getting where you are now?
John: It's been an amazing ride. I've been very lucky. I think when I had that success in the first five years of my career, I had the knowledge that it wouldn't last. I knew that you couldn't have a record coming in number one all the time. I knew that there would be someone else to be the big cheese. I knew that my career would settle down and find its own niche - and it did. I think the biggest thing that happened to me in my career was in 1993, when THE LION KING came around. Up to that point, I was making records and touring and doing videos - which I don't really like doing, but I did. They were fun in those days, but I don't do them anymore. But when THE LION KING happened, when Tim Rice phoned me and said, "Listen, Disney said you won't do this, but I'm asking you." Because I knew Tim, and I'd already written some songs with him, I said, "God, I'd love to do that. That would be fantastic." If I hadn't said yes to that, or he hadn't phoned me, I wouldn't be doing [GNOMEO AND JULIET] probably. Who knows what would've happened?
But because I did that, which is one of the greatest animated movies of all time, and probably the second-biggest earner of a franchise in the history of show business... I mean, I knew it was good when I saw it, but I didn't know that there would be a musical or become this juggernaut. But it opened the door to do film scoring, which I did for THE MUSE. I did THE ROAD TO EL DORADO. I did [GNOMEO AND JULIET]. I've done four Broadway musicals. THE LION KING opened another door for me, which at that time was very necessary because it gave me something else to do. You can't just carry on - well, you can - making records and just doing the same thing. I'm a bit more creative than that. I'd done a film score earlier in my career for FRIENDS (the 1971 film directed by Lewis Gilbert), and I've always loved movies. The marriage of music and movies appeals to me greatly because what of you've got in front of you; if you're doing a movie score, you're writing something to a visual thing. It's a challenge, and I love that kind of challenge. It's very different from what I normally do. It's mathematical. You're writing, for instance, one minute and three seconds worth of music; I don't have that restriction for when I'm doing my own songs. For example, on GNOMEO, I wrote four songs with Bernie, and they used two. The two they left were great songs, but you have to leave ego behind. I'm used to that now, with BILLY ELLIOT and other musicals. Some songs don't make it.
But my career has just unfolded in front of me. Of course, I have other things to do: I collect photography and I have the AIDS foundation and I have other interests. But it's been quite a remarkable ride. I was at The Troubadour last Thursday to see a British band called Plan B. He's amazing. I'm such a fan of his. I hadn't been back there in a while, and I just thought, "God, they haven't done anything to this place in forty years." And it's kind of nice that they haven't. It's a great atmosphere. I had a blast. But it took me back. And I said to Ben [Drew], who is Plan B, "You know what? This is a little magical place. And if you play well, you never know what can happen." Yeah, it's still there. And I think about it a lot. But I've always loved being a fan, too. I've always wanted to listen to new music. I've wanted to see new movies. I've wanted to be involved involved in the new. I've not wanted to dwell in the past particularly. I mean, I dwell in the past when I go onstage and play my hits, and I'm very thankful for them. But I'm a very forward thinking person.
Beaks: I like that this film is something of a gateway drug to your older music for kids. Some of the songs have been rearranged, and some of them we only hear bits and pieces. How did you decide which songs to use?
John: It actually wasn't my idea. Bernie and I were asked to write new songs for [GNOMEO AND JULIET]. I wanted to write all new songs. But in the end, Dick Cook, who was the head of Disney at that time, told us to go away and make the movie we wanted to do, because within Disney Animation they couldn't get it together. They said, "You guys won't mess it up. You go and make the British movie that you wanted to do. But I want an Elton John soundtrack. I want the old catalogue in it." Luckily enough, one of my best friends is James Newton Howard. He's one of the best scorers there are in this town, and he was in my band! So he knew. And I said, "James, you've got a job!"
And James has done a great job. Even though there are certain scenes, like "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" with the lawnmowers and "Bennie and the Jets" with the computer... they're very funny. He's arranged some of the songs and the melodies so beautifully that it doesn't become overbearing. I'm very grateful for that, because otherwise it would be an Elton John Movie. I don't think it is. It's GNOMEO AND JULIET with my music. But, hey, if it gets my music out to another audience, then that's fantastic. But I'm kind of lucky about that. Every five years, new kids come along and watch THE LION KING, so they kind of know who I am. God knows what THE LION KING has done for me. It really has been a pivotal cornerstone in my life.
Beaks: You talk about writing to images. Your music has always been cinematic without being put to images. But watching this movie, I wondered if you'd now consider using some of your classic albums to tell a story. Like maybe doing a western to TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION.
John: (Pause) I do a song from MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER onstage. I did a tour with my old percussion guy Ray Cooper; I did it before Christmas, and I'm going back to do some more dates soon. But we do "Indian Sunset" from MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER. Nobody knows that song, especially in Europe. It's an obscure album track, but it gets a standing ovation every night. And I said to Ray, "That's a movie in a six-minute song."
Bernie's lyrics on TUMBLEWEED are so of a kind of Americana, aren't they? It's amazing to think that an eighteen-year-old British boy could write those lyrics. I thoroughly agree with you. Someone just said, "Your music has been used in different guises in films." Like "Amoreena" was used in DOG DAY AFTERNOON. And obviously "Tiny Dancer" in ALMOST FAMOUS. Also "My Father's Gun" in ELIZABETHTOWN.
Beaks: That's one of my favorite songs.
John: Well, Cameron's a fan. Cameron's a music man, so he knows. But when I saw DOG DAY AFTERNOON, I didn't even know "Amoreena" was in the film. I just went to see it, and thought, "Oh, my god!" And that's the only piece of music in the film!
So I know what you're saying, and, yes, there are so many things you could do. But I'm so busy doing new things that I can't seem to resurrect the old things. There's such a wealth of material that we have. But I'd rather be creative and do new stuff. And when I'm dead and gone, maybe people can resurrect it and do that.
Beaks: (Laughing) Well, it's just a thought.
John: It's a great idea. And don't think we haven't thought about it. It would be wonderful to do that. Watching something like TRUE GRIT: I think you could hear a couple of [TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION] songs in that. It's like, "Hm, that would've been nice."
Beaks: Do you have any particular favorite uses of your music in films?
John: I think "Amoreena" is a nice one. And also "Tiny Dancer." I hadn't been doing that song for a long time, and then Cameron singlehandedly resurrected that song and made it popular everywhere in the world. [ALMOST FAMOUS] wasn't a big box office success, but that scene got played so many times on television and YouTube and whatever that it really helped.
Beaks: You talked a bit about the difference between writing music for theater or film and recording an album. Do they require you to use different songwriting muscles?
John: When you're writing an album, you have a blank canvas. When you're writing something like GNOMEO AND JULIET, you know the scene and characters you're writing for. If you have a musical... to write a musical is far easier because you have a beginning and an end. Usually, the way I write a musical is having all the songs to start with. I write from the beginning, finish at the end - and obviously some get chopped up, and some move around. But you have a beginning and an end, and characters and scenes and emotions to play with.
When I get a lyric from Bernie for THE UNION [John's terrific new LP recorded with Leon Russell], I can just go carte blanche with it. You are restricted in a way in what you write, but in a way it's very helpful; you know exactly what you're writing for. I love it. When you're a kid and you read Charles Dickens... it's so descriptive, the characters. You imagine what they look like. And when you actually saw them in a movie or on TV, you went "Oh, yeah, that's exactly how I saw it." When you're writing for the stage or a movie, and you're writing for a character, and the song really works, you think, "Yes, I've nailed it!" It really gives you a head start. When you're doing an album, the hardest thing to do is put it in sequence. You just have a mixture of songs. But when you're doing a movie or especially a musical, you know what you've got; you know the beginning and the end. You've got a really good starting block. That's a huge help. It's a different way of writing, and I love it.
Beaks: You've said that songs and melodies come very quickly to you, and that if you don't get the song figured out in fairly short order you discard it and move on. Does that apply as well to writing for movies or musicals, or do you perhaps try to hold on to a tricky melody a little while longer.
John: It's exactly the same. The lyricist is never in the room. Bernie has never been in the room. Tim Rice has never been in the room. Lee Hall has never been in the room. And it's that same enjoyment creating something to someone's great lyrics, and then playing it for them and see their face and them saying, "Yes, that's great!" I've never lost that thrill. That's why I like to write that way. Even now after writing with Taupin for forty-four years, when I get him in the room and I play him something like "When Love is Dying" off of THE UNION, he goes, "Oh, that's exactly what I wanted!" It's still thrilling for me. It never gets old. I think that's a huge plus in my career. I've been a team player, and I've been someone who doesn't collaborate. I mean, I collaborate, but I don't. It's two people with separate canvases trying to make the same thing come into one canvas. It's brilliant. I love it.
Beaks: Has there ever been a time when Bernie or Tim said, "Hm, I really didn't expect you to take it there. I didn't expect that melody"?
John: Bernie, to his credit, has never, ever said that he didn't like anything. There must've been times where he thought, "Mm, that wasn't what I thought it was going to be." But when I take something and hit it out of the ballpark, like "Your Song". When I did that very early on in my career... it never fails to excite you. People say, "Oh, that's even better than what I thought it was going to be!" Or little things like "American Triangle" off SONGS FROM THE WEST COAST. Things you know you have to write a special melody because it's a special lyric... that's the excitement I have for songwriting. I've never lost it. And I don't write every day, so I'm not getting old and fed up with it. Every new lyric is a new story and a new adventure.
Beaks: (Getting a polite heave-ho from the publicist) I had a follow up, but I guess that's it!
John: (Laughing) The vultures fly in!
GNOMEO AND JULIET hits theaters February 11, 2011. THE UNION is currently available at the retailer of your choice. I hope this interview compels you to check out TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION or SONGS FROM THE WEST COAST. And maybe next time I'll get his thoughts on Biz Markie's sparkling rendition of "Bennie and the Jets".
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Feb. 10, 2011, 1:45 a.m. CST
...Great singer. Be fun to hear him compose a score for a Pixar film.
Feb. 10, 2011, 1:52 a.m. CST
by Tigger Tales
Feb. 10, 2011, 2:20 a.m. CST
But damn, you didn't ask about his appearance on the Muppet Show! That's one of my favorite Muppet Shows ever. Anyway, good interview, looking forward to the movie, and congrats to Sir Elton and his partner on their new fatherhood.
Feb. 10, 2011, 2:33 a.m. CST
I was wondering if you could do something about the direction that the wind is blowing in outside my goddamn window
Elton, a living legend. You have to admire a man who's still going strong at his age and putting himself out there, rather than simply retiring to a life of luxury.<p> Stay tuned because next week on 'Mr Beaks Interviews' we have David Bowie, in which we'll be talking about his film work and 'that' codpiece.
Feb. 10, 2011, 3:14 a.m. CST
Feb. 10, 2011, 3:24 a.m. CST
I would rather hear about the muppet show as well, Even His adversion to videos, His marrage, His likes and dislikes. He is a Living Legend and I am a bit of a fan.
Feb. 10, 2011, 4:28 a.m. CST
tx for this interview
Feb. 10, 2011, 6:20 a.m. CST
Where's the bucket of confetti?
Feb. 10, 2011, 6:24 a.m. CST
He doesn't write the lyrics.
Feb. 10, 2011, 6:39 a.m. CST
...what the hell is this interview doing on a site that purports to showcase 'cool' news? (grumble...grumble)
Feb. 10, 2011, 7:15 a.m. CST
"hold me close now Tony Danza..."
Feb. 10, 2011, 7:21 a.m. CST
by Six Demon Bag
rather than phoning it in with standards albums (sir rod--im looking disapprovingly at you!), he's cranking originals out. and NIKITA is an underrated 80s gem--i don't care who its about.
Isn't it kinda tacky to mention how the interviewee was a bit of an unengaging dick before the interview? I mean, surely that's not *particularly* rare, and he's probably at the tail end of a long day of this shit. The deal is that you get in, get something good for your site, he gets publicity, and you leave. Nobody said he had to enjoy it.
Feb. 10, 2011, 7:44 a.m. CST
by Six Demon Bag
plus hes talking to beaks about the cashgrab animated film that killed his soul.
Feb. 10, 2011, 7:56 a.m. CST
I mean, it DOES make sense is all I'm saying.
Feb. 10, 2011, 8 a.m. CST
I never know quite what to expect from Elton, the screaming 'tantrums and tiara's' queen or the thoughtful music-man. Luckily in this interview you got the latter (although the former is mighty entertaining) and gave a great insight into what's made him tick since '93. I had no idea that Lion King was quite such a pivotal moment for him. As you mentioned, this is the last musician to play live with John Lennon back in '74 (at the Garden I believe). Elton was already well on his way to being a musical legend. Great interview, hope you get the chance to quiz him again in the future, as it certainly comes across that he warmed significantly to some indightful questions.
Feb. 10, 2011, 8:01 a.m. CST
Agreed, although 'I Guess That's Why They Always Call it the Blues' always puts a lump in my throat.
Feb. 10, 2011, 8:05 a.m. CST
the interview we just read, was in fact, and created by publicists for the film, the real interview went as follows: "Beaks:Hi Elton, Gnomeo and Juliet, lets cut to the chase, when is the best rape scene? <Interview ended by publicist> "
Feb. 10, 2011, 8:23 a.m. CST
I only liked Elton's music in the 70's, but I don't care how his music is now. He's nothing special anymore. Sorry guys.
Feb. 10, 2011, 9:03 a.m. CST
I liked your intro for this Q&A. I like your use of contrast (pop icon and schlubby Internet journalist), and I liked how you tied things together at the end (laughing like, well, pop icon and schlubby Internet journalist, but at least we were laughing). I also liked the details (barely muttered "yes"). I felt like I was in the room with you!
Feb. 10, 2011, 9:44 a.m. CST
With "Bennie and the Jets" when I was in high school. Unbelievable that he is still relevant forty years later. What an incredible talent. Nothing but respect for the man.
Feb. 10, 2011, 10:27 a.m. CST
Feb. 10, 2011, 11:09 a.m. CST
Guy comes over to fix my Twilight Zone pinball. Benny and the Jets happens to be playing on tv. Guy barely speaks English and in a high pitched Puertorican accent proclaims- "I lohhve Beeny an da Jess!!!". Then he asks for water- "pleess.. water..". Then he passes right out on the floor. Don't know maybe he was dehydrated but he got up before I called an ambulance and fixed the machine. Oh and Tommy on blu-ray sounds better than anything ever released in history. Just astounding really. The 1st 5 channel track ever done. My question would be- what was it like working with the Who?
Feb. 10, 2011, 11:12 a.m. CST
challenged like yourself should know this inherent
Feb. 10, 2011, 11:27 a.m. CST
Elton haven't made a good album since "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy". "The Tumble Weed Connection", "Madman Across the Water", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Captain Fantastic" were some of the best albums he ever did. Everything else he did after that, I just don't care anymore. His Disney music is overrated.
Feb. 10, 2011, 11:43 a.m. CST
Feb. 10, 2011, 11:44 a.m. CST
argue with that
Feb. 10, 2011, 12:16 p.m. CST
Feb. 10, 2011, 12:41 p.m. CST
I am a fan. I knew GNOMEO AND JULIET had music 'by' Elton John, but I didn't know he was an active participant. I thought it was sort of a ACROSS THE UNIVERSE kind of thing. Neat.
Feb. 10, 2011, 2:03 p.m. CST
I was talking to a friend trying to remember the name of that guy who used to post on AintitCool until he fucked it up. I couldn't remember what his name was for the life of me... Bake, Broke, Back, Peck? BEAKS! That's what that sack of shit was called.
Feb. 10, 2011, 2:36 p.m. CST
I think it's just vaguely unprofessional to be giving out the pre-interview, "barely muttered" bits. Isn't that all off the record?
Feb. 10, 2011, 2:43 p.m. CST
Certainly wasn't my intention to paint Elton as a dick. He was a perfect gentleman, really. This is just my neurotic take on what he was thinking as I entered the room. My fear was that he read my nervousness as fanboy energy, and that I was about to do a Chris Farley Show interview with him. Fortunately, I got over my nerves and managed to conduct a proper Q&A.
Feb. 10, 2011, 3:03 p.m. CST
As a longtime Elton fan, I'm insanely jealous that you got to have a one-on-one interview with the man. Great job, btw - it's amazing how many interviews he conducts with mainstream hosts who ask the same inane question lines: "Princess Diana", "John Lennon", "Versaci", "drug addiction", his sexual preferences, etc. It's all old news - he's a very forward-looking artist with lots of new work to explore, for cryin' out loud. His recent works have been some of the best in years: "Songs From the West Coast" and "The Captain and the Kid" in particular. "The Union" - his latest and co-featuring Leon Russell is a great collaboration. As for "Gnomeo and Juliet", the single "Hello, Hello" is a disposable, but particularly catchy pop tune.
Feb. 10, 2011, 3:42 p.m. CST
Yeah. Elton John is TRULY geek news. You've got to be fuckin' kidding me. This site is on the downward spiral FAST. It's becoming the "Access Hollywood" of the internet.
Hey Beaks, fair enough. He just comes off *vaguely* as a dick in the "pre-interview" portion of the, err... interview. Not that I imagine these gauntlet of interviews really bring out the best in people.
Feb. 10, 2011, 5:31 p.m. CST
by Mr Soze
Thats how it goes right???
Feb. 10, 2011, 7:09 p.m. CST
I hope he doesn't visit this site and read any talkbacks... ha ha haha.
Feb. 10, 2011, 7:11 p.m. CST
is probably one of the best tribute songs ever, so I can't really blame him for recycling it for Princess Diana, but I always felt bad about that.
Feb. 10, 2011, 10:15 p.m. CST
Could not be more excited about that. Also, his Disney stuff holds a special place in my heart. Lion King was the first movie I ever saw and I still have my cassette tape of the soundtrack today.
Feb. 10, 2011, 10:19 p.m. CST
Is that he never knew her but still managed to write such an incredible tribute.
Feb. 11, 2011, 3:53 a.m. CST
wish the interviewer had asked him about Disney's plans to turn his Broadway hit AIDA into a movie. the stage show was so cinematic...it seems a natural.
Feb. 11, 2011, 5:50 a.m. CST
by Rex Carsalot
I've finally had enough. It wasn't even that bad here this time, and not as bad as I'm sure it will get - but the bottom line is that as much as I enjoy talking with a lot of you, many more of you are ridiculously stunted little girly 'phobes, and I'm sick of hearing your ever entitled comment about anything even remotely gay. It's 2011, boys. Grow up. In the meantime, I'm sure there's another fan site that won't require 800 uses of fag and gay before. Bye!
Feb. 11, 2011, 6:52 a.m. CST
Yep, it's one of my absolute favorite EJ albums. Very under-rated, and I can't figure why. Every song is brilliant!
Feb. 11, 2011, 8:34 a.m. CST
Cause he suck's on the organ.
Feb. 11, 2011, 10:23 a.m. CST
Not into the gayness, however I will say that his earlier works were great. Just like almost every single musician on earth, the best material was the earlier stuff. In the 80s Elton really went into a downward spiral from a standpoint of solid music. This happened to Billy Joel as well... his and Elton's path to lameness lines up almost exactly. IMO
Feb. 11, 2011, 10:26 a.m. CST
and he is still near the top of my hit list.
Feb. 11, 2011, 10:58 a.m. CST
It's like South Park here, you see. Guys rag on each other, because they're guys. And they have every right to do so. This is still a free country, and happily, AICN is one of the few websites that actually agrees with the idea of free speech. The hosts here keep a light and judicious hand on the censorship button, which is one reason I like this site so much. BTW, nobody here is calling YOU a name or flinging labels at you, and I'm sure you're unfortunately aware that there are plenty of choices in that particular arsenal, so if anything, people here show a remarkable level of restraint.
Feb. 11, 2011, 11:03 a.m. CST
In my opinion. Haven't liked anything he's put out since Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which is awesome. As for his lifestyle, whatever, but should a 62-year-old man be adopting a baby? I'd be a bit startled if a 62-year-old WOMAN adopted a baby. Well, anyway, hope the kid will be all right. He'll have money, unless Elton declares bankruptcy again.
Feb. 11, 2011, 11:23 a.m. CST
Well said, mate.
Feb. 11, 2011, 11:52 a.m. CST
So sayeth Hank Kingsley - Hey Now!
Feb. 11, 2011, 12:51 p.m. CST
What, no love for Gnomeo and Juliet?
Feb. 11, 2011, 2:02 p.m. CST
Didn't make any sense at first, then I read he did music for the film. Hmm. Oh, that's right, zzzzzzz.......
Feb. 11, 2011, 11:30 p.m. CST
by Onin Solstice
I love Tumbleweed Conncetion. Best Elton album ever. Where to Now St. Peter gets a hundred replays on my ipod, Talking Old Soldier makes me feel like I'm in a bar, Amoreena is gets in your head a like a tumor and Come Down in Time makes me feel like I just got dumped every time I hear it. I'd kill to see a film musical based on that album.
Feb. 12, 2011, 12:25 a.m. CST
slightly overrated but still a very good artist from probably the greatest decade of white music. at least he's not Billy Joel. we'll probably have tone deaf retards posting who love Candle in the Wind and Piano Man
Feb. 12, 2011, 6:31 a.m. CST
it really is an excellent album.
Feb. 12, 2011, 8:39 a.m. CST
Feb. 12, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST
most of the people who do these interviews are fucking parasitic morons who only take such jobs (like publicists) to get close to celebrities in a vain attempt to prop up their constantly failing self-esteem. People like Elton John or any creative person, for the most part, just want to be talked to like a human being and all you gotta do is get them talking about what they're excited about, which journalists like you guys are great at doing, and they're off and actually happy to give the interview. It's like someone else said, these people do the same fucking Entertainment Tonight 'Mary Hart' type interviews ENDLESSLY and the only reason they don't spit in the face of annoying fucking publicity hounds or self-serious interviewers like Diane Sawyer is because they can't. He probably took one look at you, obviously had no idea who you are, and expected more of the same and knew that he could be a douche and probably very few people would find out about it. When you actually asked intelligent questions and seemed to know what you were talking about, he let his guard down a bit. The comment at the end of the interview about 'vultures' is telling, too. Another funny thing is that a lot of interviews on this site (I have my problems with this site, but they way you guys conduct interviews is definitely not one of them) would be at home in Rolling Stone, but without all the hyperbolic bullshit that sounds like, "Elton and I get into his Prius... I notice his short legs barely touch the pedals but, Elton being Elton, he gently presses the ignition, gives his right leg a hearty thrust and we're off... down Sunset, the land of high hopes and dashed dreams... of Norma Desmond, Axel Rose, John Belushi and... Elton John. I cheerfully ask about his memories of this place and it's met by... a long pause. He turns onto La Cienega and cheerful little hybrid turns into a growling monster... we turn into oncoming traffic and... I'm dead...." They they'll take 10 minutes describing how the person gripped the steering wheel, how they wash their hands, all kinds of minute bullshit. I understand why such details are in those pieces, but the tone is always WAY too fucking serious for my taste. As a side note, I really don't like Oprah, but it is kinda funny to watch celebs who would scoff at certain questions from other interviewers HAVE to answer politely with her because she's more famous than them. But it's essentially the same kind of publicity-style journalism in the end.
Feb. 12, 2011, 10:22 a.m. CST
by Righteous Brother
than he does over here in the UK. It's better now, but generally we hate people like Elton John and Phil Collins.
Feb. 12, 2011, 1:24 p.m. CST
"Gnomeo and Juliet" gives you ANOTHER reason to hate him!
Feb. 12, 2011, 2:55 p.m. CST
...about anything related to Elton John. This is lame even for AICN.
Feb. 13, 2011, 12:50 p.m. CST
Feb. 13, 2011, 12:50 p.m. CST
Feb. 13, 2011, 5:27 p.m. CST
why do i come to AICN again? I'll tell you why,NOT to read an interview with a prick like EJ,fuck me this site is outstanding at times
Feb. 14, 2011, 6:22 p.m. CST
Say what you want about his style, his politics or even your taste for his style of music (personally, I'm on board with all three, but that's just me). But no matter how you slice it, you can't deny the *immense musical talent that lives there. Unbelievable.
Feb. 14, 2011, 10:10 p.m. CST
feralangel :Theres a difference between free speach and abusing said freedom by being a homophobic bigot (just making a point , not talking about you personally) . This website is full of Nazi talkbackers, I can't blame gay people for avoiding AICN like the plauge. <BR><BR> I'm with the "WTF?!" people reading this bacause it apears this interview is here more for the prestige of getting a big star to interview , not the geek value, which is repeatedly happening on this site. That said loads of peeps here have love for the guy so I guess they enjoyed it. <BR><BR>Personally , I still haven't forgiven him for kicking Samantha Morton out of his house for accidently breaking a vase , he's such a nasty old man , and you simply don't kick Samantha Morton out of your house ... She's fucking hilarious , and imo her tallent and film related work shits on his.
Feb. 15, 2011, 10:22 a.m. CST
In the 80's he married his sound engineer Renate Blauel.
Feb. 17, 2011, 7:45 p.m. CST
His string of 70's albums in particular have never been matched. The sheer stunning beauty of Tumbleweed Connection, Yellow Brick Road, Don't Shoot Me...my God...even today, they cannot be bested
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