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.
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