Quincy Jones is turning 85 in a little over a month and has apparently experienced a corresponding reduction of care about how folks perceive him. He’s been giving a series of interviews with various publications ahead of the big date looking back on his illustrious 67-year career and letting his truth be known. In his latest conversation with Vulture magazine, he really cuts loose, telling David Marchese how he really felt about the advent rock and roll and the subsequent British Invasion.
What’d you think when you first heard rock music?
Rock ain’t nothing but a white version of rhythm and blues, motherf*cker. You know, I met Paul McCartney when he was 21.
What were your first impressions of the Beatles?
That they were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherf*ckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it. I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and Ringo had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song. He couldn’t get it. We said, “Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.” So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, “George, can you play it back for me one more time?” So George did, and Ringo says, “That didn’t sound so bad.” And I said, “Yeah, motherf*cker because it ain’t you.” Great guy, though.
The explicative-laden interview also covers Jones’ relationship with Michael Jackson, a claim that he dated Ivanka Trump, and his final word on rap music.
A few years back there was a quote you supposedly gave — I couldn’t find the source of it, so maybe it’s apocryphal — where you dismissed rap as being a bunch of four-bar loops. Is that an opinion you stand by?
That’s true about rap, that it’s the same phrase over and over and over again. The ear has to have the melody groomed for it; you have to keep the ear candy going because the mind turns off when the music doesn’t change. Music is strange that way. You’ve got to keep the ear busy.
You may or may not agree, but the man’s musical pedigree is undeniable. It’s great to see him get his flowers while he’s still above the groun