Melbourne, Australia (1964, June 14)
|Ringo Starr collapsed and was hospitalized on June 3rd with tonsilitis. Jimmy Nicol was hired as a temporary drummer so that the 1964 Australasian Tour could continue as planned. Ringo was temporarily cured, and reunited with the group in Melbourne on June 14th. Jimmy Nicol departed for London the next day.
Following this press conference at the Southern Cross Hotel, the five Beatles were also interviewed with questions from a panel of five Australian television personalities. The press conference and the TV interview are both presented below.
5-Beatles Press Conference:
M.C: "The Beatles, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and for the first time - Five Beatles - Jimmy Nicol who'll be leaving us tomorrow, who's done marvelous work during the temporary, brief, but very grave illness of Ringo Starr."
(Ringo comically slides off of seat, disappearing under the table)
Paul: (laughs) "Very grave. So grave."
(laughter as Ringo places multiple cigarettes in mouth)
M.C: "Dividing it into four parts, the first part will be pictures for about ten minutes, and then the writers. Then there'll be a break while we go out for a drink and you go out for a drink..."
M.C: "...all seperately. and then the boys come back for television. Then they go out for another drink..."
Paul: "We'll be stoned!"
John: (giggling) "Stoned out of our head!"
M.C: "Then they come back for radio."
Ringo: (loudly, to John) "I've missed you."
John: "I've missed you too. I saw your Dad on telly."
Ringo: "Oh? What was he doing?"
Ringo: "Oh, did you?"
M.C: "First question."
Q: "You've had some wild receptions. Now that you're in Melbourne, what have been the wildest?"
John: "I think it (Melbourne reception) was as wild as Adelaide, and I think that makes it equal. They're both about the wildest we've ever seen. I can't tell, because you can't tell how many people are there."
Paul: "I think Australia is pretty wild."
Ringo: "I thought it was pretty wild when I came. I came in early, you know."
Paul: "Did you?"
Paul: (comically, ignoring the audience of reporters) "How's your Mum?"
Ringo: (playing along) "She's great! How's your Dad?"
Paul: "He's fine."
Ringo: "Is he?"
Q: "Were you worried or frightened or concerned by what you saw out the front?"
John: "No. We were inside."
Paul: "We'll worry when it stops, you know."
Q: "They make so much noise at your concerts, have you ever seriously thought about miming a song and not singing anything?"
John: "That would be cheating, wouldn't it."
Q: "Can you hear yourselves sing?"
George: "Built-in deaf-aids."
Q: "Do you like press conferences?"
John: "Yes. Depending on the questions."
Q: "What's the rudest question you've been asked in Australia?"
Ringo: "The rudest was, someone said to me, 'How are you doing John.'"
John: "That's not rude."
Ringo: (jokingly) "Well, it was an insult."
John: (to Ringo) "There was an old putdown, but Paul said that one."
Paul: "Stand-in drummer!"
Q: "How did you get on when you tried to take that holiday in Hawaii?"
John: "We didn't try to take it in Hawaii, it's just that we had to go through Honolulu, George and I, to get to Tahiti and the outer islands that they have 'round there. So after we got into Tahiti we were okay. We escaped there. Once we got on the boat nobody got near us, except for one fella from Sydney who we didn't speak to. Ha-ha!"
Q: "He swam a long way."
George: "He was last seen drowning in the Pacific."
John: "He swam with us. Yes. Saying, 'Can I come on your boat?' and we said, 'No,' and he had to swim miles back."
Q: "Paul, what sort of music are you going to have at your party in Sydney?"
Ringo: (to Paul) "Are you having a party?"
Paul: "Yeah. You wanna come?"
Paul: "You're invited. Right."
Paul: "I don't know. Any kind, you know. Uhh, rock and roll. What kind of music do we like? Rhythm and blues."
Q: "You don't dig the classics at all?"
Paul: "Yes, a little bit, you know."
John: "Is that American, dig?"
Paul: "They don't exactly make a party swing, do they. Old Beethoven, he's alright, but uhh..."
John: "If you put it on fast, it always gets a laugh."
Paul: "Oh, it's a riot. But otherwise he normally sends 'em home."
Q: "Would you like to do more films?"
Paul: "We have to do at least two more 'cuz it's a contract. We'll enjoy it though, 'cuz it's a good change doing films. It's fun doing it."
John: "The best bits are where you don't have to speak and you just sort of run about, and that."
Paul: "and the worst bit's getting up at six in the morning."
John: "...trying to read the lines on the way there."
Q: "How many records have you got right now in storage?"
Ringo: (jokingly) "I've got one upstairs."
George: "Just the music for the film, I think. Which'll be one new single and an LP."
Ringo: "and an EP."
John: "No, the EP is out here."
Paul: "Fifteen songs. Say, eighteen songs at a rough guess that'll be released shortly."
Q: "Does it worry you not being able to just walk out of the door and go for a walk or go shopping when you feel like it?"
John: "Well, we did that till we were about seventeen. We've had seventeen years of being able to walk to the shops. We've only had two years of not being able to walk to them."
George: "They're too crowded, anyway, aren't they."
Q: "What's your favorite drink?"
Paul: "Scotch and coke."
John: (to Ringo) "You've changed."
John: "Did you get that in hospital?"
John: "What kind of hospital is that?"
Ringo: "They gave me a bottle of scotch to pep me up while I was away. I don't know, he's just a fab doc."
John: "Fab gear doc."
Q: "Is this tour a money success so far? Are you having any trouble selling some of your tickets?"
John: "We don't sell the tickets, and we get paid whether there's nobody there or not. The seats that are not... are usually people that are ill."
Q: "How are you feeling, Ringo?"
Ringo: (pathetic voice) "I'm fine..."
Ringo: "No, I'm great. I feel good. How are you?"
Q: "Do you think your tonsilitis might change the groups sound?"
Ringo: "I don't think so. No. Only for a few days when I don't sing... if you can call it singing."
Q: "How much time have you got that you can call your own?"
Ringo: "About ten minutes."
Q: "What do you do in that ten minutes?"
John: "Uhh, watch TV."
Q: "What do you look at on television? The Beatles?"
John: "If they're on."
Paul: "If they're on, yeah. Anything. Whatever happens to be on. I watch the welsh television at home. Love it. Yeah, The Flower Pot Men. Good stuff."
Ringo: "He even watches the time card. Must be an English show."
Q: "How much fan mail do you read?"
John: "As much as we get to us. Alot of it they send straight to the fan club."
Q: "How much do you get a week as a group?"
George: "We never counted it."
Q: "Do you see any that comes to you here?"
John: "We do. We're carrying it around in polythene bags at the moment."
Q: "Do you get a weekly allowance?"
Paul: "Of money? Yes."
Q: "How much is it?"
John: (comical voice) "Not telling!"
Paul: "Well, whatever we can get."
John: "We don't spend hardly anything 'cuz, you know, what can you spend on in a room?"
Q: "Have you got any feelings at all about being fashion leaders? Do you select your own clothes, or does somebody guide you... Mister Epstein or somebody?"
John: (giggling) "No. Look at him. You're joking."
Ringo: "We pick our own."
Paul: "Actually, he copies ours. Alright, Brian!"
Q: "Have you been out with any Australian girls?"
Paul: "Well, we haven't been out, I'm afraid. We try very hard! (winks to the camera) Anyone watching in."
Q: "How do you find your police escorts?"
John: "They usually find us."
Ringo: (to John) "That was a good one."
John: "Did ya like it?"
Ringo: "I enjoyed that."
John: "Would you like it for the next press conference?"
Ringo: "Could you write it down please?"
John: (searches for pencil) "Alright."
Q: "If you hadn't been Beatles, would you have stood out in the rain in Sydney to greet another group?"
Paul: "Well, we wouldn't have been in Sydney."
Q: "But would you have had this attitude towards pop singing groups?"
Paul: "We always used to, ourselves. I meaen, I used to go to all the concerts and shout my head off."
Paul: "Hooligan. (laughs) I used to get excited when I saw all the people I liked. It's a good feeling. I felt exactly the same as all the people who come to our shows I think."
Q: "How much time do you think you've got left as a top singing group?"
John: "We haven't a clue, you know. If we knew, we'd take our bets on it."
5-Beatle Television Interview:
Q: "In view of the fact that you've had so much experience now with crowd hysteria, are you still at a loss to put your finger on the reason why?"
Beatles: (in unison) "Yes."
Q: "Do you find the crowds nerve-wracking? Was there any moments at all that you were worried about today?"
Ringo: "Well, I was rather worried when I was laying on the floor."
Q: "At what stage were you laying on the floor?"
Ringo: "Trying to get into the hotel."
(reporters begin talking at once)
Ringo: (comically, to the camera) "There's two people asking me questions now. Excuse me while I sort it out."
Paul and John: (laugh)
Q: "You were really worried, were you not? You were jammed into the front enterance of the hotel, and you were starting to get a little panicky."
Ringo: "I was starting to get a little panicky. But the police did a great job. (raises fist) They're standing over there, you see."
Q: "Boys, it's true that you have not had a chance to move out of your hotels since you arrived in Australia. You're virually locked up. Why is this? Don't you want to go out, in other words?"
Paul: "It's not particularly that."
John: "We don't expect to go out, you know, on a tour. If we get out it's just a pop. A bit of a look, I'd say."
Q: "John, if you hadn't been a Beatle, or if the Beatles hadn't been successful, what career would you have chosen?"
John: "I'd probably would have been in prison."
Ringo: "Well, I was an engineer for four years. I'd probably still be there, slogging away."
Q: "You wouldn't have turned to writing, John, would you?"
John: "Uhh, no."
Ringo: "I wouldn't have written John."
Q: "Does the mass reaction from a crowd, like you had here in Melbourne today, really worry you? Do you regard it as social misbehavior, or..."
John and Ringo: "No."
John: "We love it, you know. It's good."
Q: "Do you think you started this (haircut) fashion, or was this fashion already coming in and you adopted it?"
John: "It wasn't a... It's not especially a fashion."
Paul: "We don't really know."
Ringo: "It's a few years older than us, actually. Julius Caesar had it."
John: "Yeah. He had one, didn't he."
Ringo: "Remember him? Little fella, with the lions."
Q: "What about on tour, do you have to get a haircut at all?"
John: "Uhh, no. We never HAVE to."
George: "If we like, guys, we can."
John: "Usually it's a bit noisy around the ears, and things."
Q: "Are you interested in sport, at all?"
Ringo: "That's a sport?"
Ringo: "The way WE swim?"
Q: "Can we ask you to amplify the point, how this hysteria generates? Nobody seems to be able to put their finger on a reason why. It seems to be a combination of things. What do you believe it is?"
John: "In an audience at any rock and roll concert, there's always... when we first started nobody really knew us... There's always a section that screams to everybody, and then if the others like it as well, they'll join in, you see."
Q: "Do these people who scream upset you, because it's impossible to even hear you sing?"
John: "They can hear quite alot. They can hear more than most people."
Ringo: "It always seems to be reporters that can't hear anything."
Paul: (laughs) "Yeah, you definitely got to be tuned-in to it, you know."
Q: "Have you heard Ella Fitzgerald's version of 'Can't Buy Me Love'?"
Paul and John: "Yes!"
John: "and we're flattered. We think it's great."
Q: "Do you like Ella Fitzgerald and her kind of music?"
Paul and John: "Yes."
Paul: "But I think we like it more because we wrote it."
Q: "Out of John and Paul, who writes the music and who writes the lyrics?"
John: "We both write both, you know. It depends who's humming and who's writing at the time."
Q: "Can you read music?"
John and Paul: "No."
Q: "How do you follow it?"
John: "Uhh, you memorize it, or tape it. If you can't remember, it's usually not very good or it's complicated, you know."
Q: "John, your book (In His Own Write) has just gone on sale. What's your favorite part of the book?"
John: "Uhh, Act One, Scene Three."
Q: "Some of your critics have said the book is a little sick. Do you agree?"
John: "Well, if the people who read it are sick, it's sick. You know, it depends on your mind. You can read it and feel sick, or what you like, you know."
Q: "Do you enjoy sick humor?"
John: "Some of it's good, some of it's just stupid."
Q: "Did it take you long to write the book, John?"
John: "Most of it was written last year, and some of it is bits and pieces I've collected over the years."
Q: "Do you believe that you fellas started the Mersey Beat?"
Ringo: "There's no such thing."
John: "We call it rock and roll. It was the press that started Mersey Beat, because it was just a 'handle' to write on - you know, call it."
Q: "George, how many guitars do you own?"
George: "Oh, I don't know. About twelve, I think."
Q: "You seem, on stage, to pay a great deal of attention to the sound that you're making."
George: (smirking) "That's just... checking to see if I'm out of tune."
Q: "Are you ever?"
Q: (to Jimmy) "What do you intend to do when you go back to Britain? Do you have any engagements lined up?"
Jimmy: "Umm well, I'll just stop in Australia first."
Q: "Have you had any firm offer here in Australia, Jimmy?"
Jimmy: "I haven't had any firm offer, as yet."
Q: "Are you in the market for one?"
Jimmy: "Yes, I think."
Q: "As a drummer with a group?"
Jimmy: "Not with a group. No."
Q: What do you intend to do with all your money?"
John: "Who? Us? Spend it!"
Q: "Ringo, if there is any comparison as far as audience reaction to you fellas, I suppose it would surround Elvis Presley. He changed his style of presentation, he sings alot of ballads now. Do you think you'll do the same?"
Ringo: "No. I don't think so. We may do. I don't sing, you know. Ask one of the others."
Paul: "No, I don't think we will."
Q: "Paul, what is the song that you think the audience likes best? What was the one that drew the biggest reaction in Adelaide?"
Paul: "Umm, You can't tell."
John: "'Long Tall Sally' probably."
Paul: "I would have said that, but we had already announced it was the last song."
Source: Original raw videotape of the press conference, and original film footage of the TV interview