yoko ono interviewed by jody denberg

Yoko Ono and Jody Denberg celebrating Yoko’s birthday, Feb. 18th 2019. Photo by Bob Gruen.

To conduct a comprehensive dialogue…with Yoko Ono would take months…and where would the story begin or end? Like one of her drawings, Yoko Ono’s story evolves and morphs, seemingly reflecting the atmosphere it is surrounded by at any given time.

I am thankful that AIU has chosen to archive the transcripts of my interviews with Yoko Ono, a series of conversations that began in September of 1984.

Having grown up in New York City in the 1970s I was lucky enough to witness John & Yoko’s political activism in my hometown, and sadly watched as the immigration fiasco tried to remove John Lennon from the U.S. and threatened their will to live happily in America. At least that part of the J&Y saga ended happily. Like most fans I had a million questions for Yoko Ono – and when I got the opportunity to begin asking them Yoko NEVER flinched from responding in a candid, completely honest fashion. In fact, although we did not meet until 1992, I saw Yoko’s triumphant Beacon Theater concert in 1986, and, actually we were in the same room twelve years earlier on November 28, 1974: I attended Elton John’s Madison Square Garden concert that John Lennon made a guest appearance at, an evening that to this day Yoko cites as a turning point in their relationship.

The first time we did actually meet at the Dakota’s Studio One offices I gave Yoko my ticket stub for that fateful 1974 concert. She was taken aback and asked if I was sure I didn’t want to keep it. When I insisted she said she would frame it and give it to Sean because without that night Sean might not exist. Yoko has never forgotten that ticket stub gesture…

At Yoko Ono’s 86th birthday party. Photo by Anne Terada.

And I will never forget my treasured moments with Yoko, one of the great visionaries of our time. I will not forget her concert at the Japan Society which provided some of the tracks for her album Blueprint For A Sunrise. I will not forget her appearance at the Houston opening of her touring retrospective Yes Yoko Ono – an appearance at which she wore a shirt I had designed for her with a Texas theme. And I will NEVER EVER forget my brief spin on the dancefloor with Yoko at her 70th birthday party. Thanks for the memories so far Yoko; I hope there are many more to come…

Jody Denberg
Austin, Texas

1992 – Onobox