Sean Lennon: “I Was Terrified Of Being Kidnapped.”

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The son of Beatle John admits his darkest boyhood fears

Beatle’s son Sean Lennon faced the daily worry of abduction when he was growing up in the Dakota Building in New York with his parents John Lennon and Yoko Ono. “I was terrified of that scenario when I was young,” he explains. “We lived under the threat of kidnap and I had the whole bodyguard thing.”

Lennon tackles the subject on Midnight Sun, the second album by The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger, the neo-psych folk-rock duo he formed in 2009 with multi-instrumentalist and girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl. The track Poor Paul Getty relives the tale of the titular American oil heir who in 1973 was kidnapped in Rome and subsequently had his ear cut off by his captors. “It was the bogey-man story,” says Lennon. “The song isn’t jokey at all.”

Entertaining  in central London, Lennon and Kemp Muhl stress their artistic relationship has few parallels to John and Yoko’s controversial union as man and woman, musicians and philosophers. “They didn’t collaborate,” points out Lennon. “My mum refused to write with my dad, even though I think he wanted to.”

“They inspired each other but were fiercely independent,” adds Kemp Muhl. “[Sean] and I are more counterpoints to each other. Very few empowered couples work together as peers.”

Lennon also discusses his complex working relationship with mum Yoko Ono (whose last two albums he produced), his interest in West Coast ’70s psychedelic guru Father Yod and gradually emerging from his father’s lengthy shadow. “Being John’s boy was very intimidating,” he admits. “It’s taken me longer than other people to feel comfortable in my own shoes… and Char[lotte] has been a big part of that.”

Stream The GOASTT’s Midnight Sun Album

GOASTT

GOASTT

 

Hailed by Mojo magazine (on sale tomorrow) as “12 out of body transmissions that channel Bends-era Radiohead, Syd Barrett whimsy and woozy melodic weirdness”, the third album by Sean Lennon-helmed The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger (The GOASTT) is streamable in full.

 

Out this week, Midnight Sun is the brainchild of GOASTT-talkers Lennon and musician Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Melded in 2008, the two released the self-explanatory Acoustic Sessions album in 2010. The woozy yé-yé pop for freaks of La Carotte Bleue followed in 2011. But Midnight Sun is already proving the group’s richest and most immersive recording, and anyone interested in what MOJO staffer Ross Bennett describes as “Aphrodite’s Child grooves” or “interstellar guitar adventures” should listen up.

The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger are on tour in the US through May and June. See dates and venues below.

 

DATES – VENUES

Friday 5/2/14 – Vintage Vinyl, Fords, NJ

Saturday 5/3/14 – Rough Trade, Brooklyn, NY

Monday 5/5/14 – U Hall, Washington, DC (w/ Jeffrey Lewis)

Wednesday 5/7/14 – Terminal West, Atlanta, GA (w/ BRONCHO)

Thursday 5/8/14 – One Eyed Jacks, New Orleans, LA (w/ M. Ward)

Friday 5/9/14 – Club Dada, Dallas, TX (w/ BRONCHO)

Saturday 5/10/14 – ACM @ UCA Lab, Oklahoma City, OK (w/ BRONCHO)

Monday 5/12/14 – Red 7, Austin, TX (w/ BRONCHO)

Wednesday 5/14/14 – Club Congress, Tuscon, AZ (w/ Fever The Ghost)

Thursday 5/15/14 – Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ (w/ Fever The Ghost)

Friday 5/16/14 – Casbah, San Diego, CA (w/ Fever The Ghost)

Saturday 5/17/14 – El Rey, Los Angeles, CA (w/ Fever The Ghost)

Tuesday 5/20/14 – GAMH, San Francisco, CA (w/ Syd Arthur)

Thursday 5/22/14 – The Crocodile, Seattle, WA (w/ Syd Arthur)

Friday 5/23/14 – The Imperial, Vancouver, BC (w/ Syd Arthur)

Saturday 5/24/14 – Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR (w/ Syd Arthur)

Tuesday 5/27/14 – Bluebird, Denver, CO (w/ Syd Arthur)

Wednesday 5/28/14 – Waiting Room, Omaha, NE (w/ Syd Arthur)

Thursday 5/29/14 – Wooly’s, Des Moines, IA (w/ Syd Arthur)

Friday 5/30/14 – 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN (w/ Syd Arthur)

Saturday 5/31/14 – High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI (w/ Syd Arthur)

Sunday 6/1/14 – Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL (w/ Syd Arthur)

Tuesday 6/3/14 – The Hoxton, Toronto, ON (w/ Syd Arthur)

Wednesday 6/4/14 – La Sala Rossa, Montreal, QC (w/ Syd Arthur)

Thursday 6/5/14 – Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY (w/ Syd Arthur)

Friday 6/6/14 – Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, PA (w/ Syd Arthur)

Saturday 6/7/14 – Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA (w/ Syd Arthur)

Sunday 6/8/14 – Mountain Jam Festival, Hunter, NY

WORLD PREMIERE: The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger – Moth To A Flame

Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp

Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp

Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl head to the outer limits with this kaleidoscopic new track.

The GOASTT www.thegoastt.com/

On April 29th 2014, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (The GOASTT) will release Midnight Sun, a guided tour of bold, shape-shifting sonic murals and evocative lyrical panoramas. Plucking musical ingredients from all over the map, the album has a highly imaginative and distinct feel. It celebrates the unusual and the grandiose but fundamentally just rocks hard and feels good.

Like the hero in the album’s melancholy “Don’t Look Back Orpheus” who takes a journey into a dreamlike underworld, the listener embarks on an auditory voyage of soaring whimsical keyboards and crunching space-age guitars that blends original melodies with kaleidoscopic freakouts. Midnight Sun injects a surreal landscape with colorful, classic hooks.

With an infectious sense of adventure akin to Beck and Flaming Lips, and several years of touring and recording under their belt, the GOASTT takes their creative and savvy approach to psychedelia to new extremes. The ambitious songs flow cleverly together with unexpected ease to tell a vivid and provocative story.

Familiar yet compelling, visceral and vital, Midnight Sun is at once a response to the bizarre world we’ve inherited and helped to create, and a refreshing escapist daydream that, if not hopeful, is keenly insightful. The GOASTT has given us a record that is poised to be a postmodern-psychedelic classic.

The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger has been busy since their debut. The band  toured with The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala, performed at the Hollywood Bowl with Jean-Claude Vannier and released a Record Store Day vinyl EP entitled La Carotte Bleue. Muhl released an EP with her teenage folk duo Kemp & Eden, who also performed in the film Greetings From Tim Buckley. Lennon, meanwhile, released a record by his experimental duo Mystical Weapons with Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier, a film score to the indie comedy Alter Egos and produced the new album by Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band.

Awesome music, there’s magic and beauty and even mystery that bring memories… One word can make you feel. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a word can also paint an entire picture.