We all love a thrillingly un-PR-trained A-list interview – the more unvarnished the better. Why bother doing an interview if you’re just going to rant on about your latest film and how great your co-stars were? It’s like when your favourite band plays their new stuff at a festival: we know it has to happen, it’s an occupational hazard, but get back to the stuff you know we’re really interested in. That’s where Quincy Jones comes in.
There’s a reason Miriam Margoyles is a repeat guest on The Graham Norton Show: her stories are completely unfiltered (to say the least). When the host asked how she got her role in the show Call The Midwife, she replied: “I went down on a lot of people to get that role.” I didn’t much care for Robert Pattinson until I read that he just tells complete lies to interviewers. My respect for him grew.
Just as you think the days of real celebrity ‘we’ll be talking about this for weeks’ interviews were over, the king returns to his throne. When a celeb really lets loose in an interview, I like to call it “going full Quincy”. A few years years ago, the legendary producer and polymath revealed his true thoughts on a little known Scouse band called The Beatles: ‘They were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it.”
Tell us how you really feel, Quincy. You can’t fault the guy for being honest. Plus, I’m sure my friend Dave would be thrilled to know that in the eyes of Quincy Jones, he’s a better bass player than… Paul McCartney.
Reading this, whether you like it or not, is like a cool breeze cutting through the usual arse-kissing we’re subjected to with other artists. Some of them surely don’t get on. It’s up there with female celebrities saying they just stay in shape by running around after their kids, and older stars banging on about how they love ageing and have never felt better. You don’t have any knees left! Getting older is shit! Just admit it!
This week Quincy – well – did a Quincy again, and accused Elvis Presley of being a racist, stating he would never work with him. “I was writing for [orchestra leader] Tommy Dorsey, oh God, back then in the ’50s. And Elvis came in, and Tommy said: ‘I don’t want to play with him.’ He was a racist mother — I’m going to shut up now.’ Dear reader, he didn’t shut up, and continued: ‘“But every time I saw Elvis, he was being coached by [‘Don’t Be Cruel’ songwriter] Otis Blackwell, telling him how to sing.” Elvis’ estate has been contacted for comment. As, I imagine, have many estates over the years.
In another interview gave an interview to GQ three years ago, he claimed to have 22 girlfriends (imagine the admin). In the same week – the week in which he made the Beatles bombshell – he spoke to NY Mag and offered such gems as calling “bullshit” on Michael Jackson‘s claims that his plastic surgery was due to a medical condition. He said: “He had a problem with his looks because his father told him he was ugly and abused him. What do you expect?’ He also claimed he knew that mob boss Sam Giancana had killed JFK.
Among the many slivers of gold were revelations about his relationship with Ivanka Trump. of all people: “12 years ago. Tommy Hilfiger, who was working with my daughter Kidada said, ‘Ivanka wants to have dinner with you.’ I said, ‘No problem. She’s a fine motherfucker.’ She had the most beautiful legs I ever saw in my life. Wrong father, though.’
Quincy’s daughters reportedly had to take him to one side and explain to him that these comments go global very quickly these days, and to try and tone it down in interviews. Apparently they called him LLQJ: loose-lipped Quincy Jones. The 88-year-old has showed no signs of playing the game. I’m sure we all welcome it: bring back celebrity feuds, bring back total honesty, next time I read a celebrity profile in a magazine and they ask someone what it was like working with their co-star, I just want to hear: “Oh, God – he was awful. Not funny, smelt weird and showed up late. What a prick.” You’d go and see that film, wouldn’t you?