Yoko Ono

john sinclair in 2003


Who is John Sinclair?

An excerpt from "John Lennon" by Ray Coleman: "John Sinclair, a left-wing writer had been jailed for possessing two joints of marijuana in 1969, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono attended a benefit rally at Ann Arbor in 1971, Michigan which resulted in Sinclair being freed on bail within three days after serving two years of his sentence.

The left-wing personalities, e.g. Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, were a part of the Village life for John Lennon: "I'd just arrived in New York and all these people, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, David Peel, they were right on the corner when I was going out for a walk in the Village. It was that kind of community. I loved it."


From The Wire / Jan. 2003: John Sinclair interviewed

Yoko Ono & John Lennon / Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins

JS: "Is this one of John and Yoko's inventions? Is that Two Virgins? Ah, OK. Boy, it's been 30 years since I listened to this."

The Wire: "You dedicated a chapter to it in your book of street/prison writings, Guitar Army."

JS: "I just thought that them appearing naked on the front was the greatest fucking thing anybody had ever done with an album. Especially Lennon. It was like Jesus Christ taking off his robe and having a joint, it was just exhilarating."

The Wire: "Were you an admirer of Yoko Ono as well?"

JS: "I was into Yoko Ono before she knew Lennon. Most people didn't know who she was, to them she was just some weird older Japanese chick who was taking him away from The Beatles."

The Wire: "They supported your cause while you were in prison."

JS: "Very much, they came and played at my rally and I got out of prison three days later. Jerry Rubin suggested that they come to Ann Arbor. They came and played and it just turned my whole thing completely around, because we had been fighting for two and half years to get me out of prison and convince the authorities that my cause was just. These guys came to play for me and I was released. From the minute they announced that John Lennon was coming to Ann Arbor to play for John Sinclair, the whole complexion of the opposition changed."

The Wire: "Lennon was also treated very badly by the US authorities wasn't he?"

JS: "Very badly, and what we learned in retrospect was that it was because of his association with us. The whole scrutiny of Lennon by government came as a result of him coming to Ann Arbor. We met several times afterwards. We were going to do a big tour together in 72 that was based on this model of a freedom rally we had. It would have involved all kinds of different music, together with community and national activists speaking like Bobby Seale, poets like Allen Ginsberg, folk singers like Phil Ochs, black artists like Archie Shepp and Stevie Wonder; and Lennon loved this. With this tour we wanted to follow Nixon around when he was up for re-election in 72 and haunt him. It would end up outside of San Diego with this three day free rock festival. Although we never did this, they changed the Republican convention from San Diego to Miami. We were very flattered by that. That's when they started putting the pressure on Lennon, and eventually they drove him half crazy with that shit."

arrow Leni Sinclair's photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono / Second photo

 

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