Memoriam for John Lennon and How Music is a Time Machine

It's the day after that memorial day - 38 years later.  I must admit, I've become more of a fan of John in the past five years than I was before - listening to his work.  I had always been a fan of Paul's work, and his post Beatles work, but John had seemed distant to me.  Not anymore.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, playing a musical instrument and guitar
Borrowed from a mutual fan
About 20 years ago, I was in Cannes at the festival hanging out on Hugh Hefner's yacht. (funny sentence that.)  

And I ran into Julian Lennon who had appeared in my film "Cannes Man" (It became my film, I was in it, but the director was fired and I was asked to finish it - and I said "well, if I can get a free trip to Cannes I will.")  So the following Cannes I was promoting it, walking up to people who had been filmed in it earlier (scenes in Cannes were shot by Dean Lent, directed by Susan Shapiro based on Seymour Cassel's (Dennis Hopper, Malkovitch) or Francesco Quinn's (Johnny Depp) relationship with celebs and I would say "Hey, I directed you in a film but we haven't met."  

The sentence is funny - because there's a story along with it, and I always had a compliment for them, even though many have never seen the film (but it is a funny film).  

In this case, on Hefner's boat, I saw Julian. We chatted, had some laughs, at some point, generous lad that he is, invited me with his pals to head back to Monte Carlo where we wound up jamming at a bar - he sang "Sweet Home Chicago" and I played in on piano.  I was trapped in Monte Carlo, no trains back to Cannes, so Julian generously offered his couch.

It was there about 6 in the morning someone shouted in my ear.  "Who the fuck are you?"  I jumped up, looked around, no one was there. Then I recognized the voice.  I looked around. "Hey dude, I'm just crashing here, I'll be gone come sunlight."  I couldn't tell this to his son - because I hadn't done any of the research at this point.  "Hey dude, yer dad woke me up last night. You gotta fix that alarm clock, okay?"

Some twenty years later, driving to see Jennifer Shaffer, as you'll hear below, I decided to try an experiment - if I knew Julian, would that help make a connection to his dad's frequency on the flipside?  Or not?

Here's an insightful interview where he refers to John as a phantom limb.

This interview with James is revealing, especially to hear that the creep who shot John had assaulted James the day earlier.  Just flat out reminds you how things work, and from hindsight, 38 years later, how tragic that moment was.

Julian founded an organization called the "White Feather Foundation."  The story behind it has a flipside element; he said that his dad once said to him, "If anything ever happens to me, I'll reach out to you from the other side via a white feather." 

While touring with his band in Australia, Julian got a phone call from the front desk of his hotel saying "There's a fellow here to see you."  He went downstairs to meet this aboriginal chief, who said "We need your help getting fresh water."  He said that he had come to ask Julian for help in getting fresh water to his people - and Julian said he'd help, and the chief gave him a white ostrich feather.  Hence the name.

Fans of "Backstage Pass to the Flipside: Talking to the Afterlife with Jennifer Shaffer" may be aware that in book two, Jennifer and I interview John.

I was driving to Jennifer's office where I film our conversations, and on the way there, I thought "Well, I wonder if it's possible to talk to John."  

So I said his name aloud.

When I got to Jennifer's office, I say "I asked a few people to come here today" and she said "Why do I get the image of John Lennon?"

I said "Well, I invited him, that's why."

I started to ask him the normal questions; "Who was there to greet you when you crossed over? Describe the process to us..." and she said "Hold on a second.  I'm flustered. I can't believe in my own mind that we are talking to John."

He said that he was greeted on the flipside by an experience.  He said he found himself walking onstage at Madison Square Garden.  I asked him who was on stage with him, or if he was solo.  He said, "Jimi Hendrix led me on stage.  And there was a band."  I asked Jennifer to describe the band, and she said "I want to say Led Zeppelin, but I know they're all still here."

I asked him what song they performed. Jennifer made a face and said "Excuse me?"  She said "He's showing me a pair of shoes. Blue shoes."

I laughed. (Later, I looked up "Blue Suede Shoes" and saw that both Jimi and John had recorded versions of it (John's with Yoko, live.))

 I asked"So why did you play an old Carl Perkins tune?" (Not knowing he'd recorded it earlier). He said "I figured it was a song everyone in the band knew."

I asked him "When did you realize that you were no longer alive, and on the flipside?"  He said it was "seeing young girls in the audience jump up and down, but suddenly they didn't look real, they looked alien.  And then I heard Yoko's voice..." (That would be the voice of her screaming for help back at the scene of the event.)  

He also said that he'd known Yoko in other lifetimes, and described one of them. "We found each other again."

He said a number of things about his life and journey after that moment.  As we learned, people on the flipside consider the day you cross over as a "birthday of sorts" - like a birth into this new realm (for that particular lifetime) so it's John's 38th birthday (yesterday.)

I was driving around Santa Monica and had a desire to stop at McCabe's Guitar shop.  It's a guitar shop with an ocean of guitars on the walls, beautiful tone, beautifully tuned, and you can take any of them down and play.  

So I pulled one off the wall and played and sang "Rocky Raccoon" in John's honor, facing a wall, and turned around to find I had an audience of two.  We talked about John's influence on music, on life, and about the idea that music never dies, nor does it age.  

"Funny how just playing a song takes a person back to the moment when they first learned that song." 

Music is a time machine.

I had the impression I should tell these fellows - "think of Music Every Day - it's the MED in medicine."  Don't quite know where that thought came from, but I said it. "Play music every day. It's the Music Every Day of medicine."

Earlier in the day, as I was waking up (not realizing it was the anniversary of John passing, but fully aware that I'd been "chatting" with him the past few weeks, snippets of things with Jennifer Shaffer) and I turned my cell on and there was someone who'd posted this tribute to him:

Tribute John Lennon - Imagine - Strawberry Fields in Central Park from Luthier on Vimeo.

And I started to write something about this amazing song...  "Imagine."

And while I was typing, I realized - wait a second... this song, the lyrics fit what the flipside is described as by thousands of people.  "A place without any hierarchy," and everyone has a "sense of brotherhood" and "unconditional love."

He may as well have been singing it from the Flipside.

I'm not trying to sell a book here, or sell anyone on the idea that I can talk to John, or even that Jennifer and I together can talk to him.  What we hear consistenly in these reports is that "anyone can talk to anyone."  The trick is to be open to the answer.  Anyone can do it - just ask your beloved some questions you don't know the answer to. When you "hear the answer before you can form the question you'll know you're connected." (A quote from Michael Newton on the flipside in book one of "Backstage Pass to the Flipside." Later, I asked John what he wanted to add to an interview I was doing with someone else and he told Jennifer "No more guns.")

My post on facebook about "Imagine:"

"Imagine that our loved ones are not gone. 
Imagine that they're still accessible and have the desire to stay in touch with us. 
Imagine that we all have the ability to communicate with them, we just need to alter our frequency. 
Imagine they're a butterfly who has not left, but transformed from a chrysalis. 

Imagine they're "back home" where there is "no country," "no religion," "no hunger" no guns, everyone living life in peace. 
A life that's different but more connected, filled with unconditional love. 

"Imagine the possibility of an afterlife is true, then you won't spend any more time arguing about it." (Quote from the late Harry Dean Stanton in "Backstage Pass to the Flipside" Book One) 

John described accurately what thousands claim about the flipside, not life "after," but life as it continues
I did not realize it until I began to type this tribute. Imagine that.

(But I do now.  And I've passed it along to you.)

This insight courtesy Luana Anders, Jennifer Shaffer, who insist we continue to speak with our loved ones no longer playing the role of caterpillars in the play we're currently performing...

  #johnlennon #notgonejustnothere

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