John Lennon: The View interview
© Kirsty Umback/Corbis
Currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on The View's third album, guitarist and lifelong Beatlemaniac Kyle Falconer tells TG about the lasting influence of John Lennon on one of the UK's best young guitar bands.
Words: Rob Power
Has John Lennon always been a big influence on you?
"The Beatles were what made me pick up a guitar in the first place. I got 'The Beatles Number 1' [sheet music] book and it taught me how to play rhythm. When I really started getting into The Beatles when I was 13 or 14. I realised that I wanted to be a songwriter so I stopped aspiring to be a lead guitarist and concentrated more on the chords. It was a good focus, John Lennon, 'cos he's the best."
How much did you learn from Lennon's music?
"Well, we used to call that music book 'The Beatles bible' when we were younger, us in the band. We also had the gold book – it's got a big gold coin on the front and The Beatles' heads ['The Beatles Complete']. The Beatles were so versatile; they've probably played every chord you can imagine so there's nothing that you're going to search for when you've got a Beatles book. It's all right in front of you."
Lennon provided the percussion
What parts of Lennon's style are reflected in your playing?
"I learned augmented chords, and they use a lot of major 7ths and stuff like that. I use that a lot when I'm writing songs. Not a lot of people use them nowadays, but when you actually see the way that he plays it's not complicated at all. I like albums like 'Help!' and 'Rubber Soul', stuff like 'Hide Your Love Away'. I just loved the jingly-jangly guitars. The guitar playing was almost like drums. I was always wondering what the percussion was but it was just The Beatles' mixes and the way [Lennon] played."
As a frontman yourself, what did you learn from Lennon's knack of holding a crowd?
"I liked his cheeky remarks and his stance and stuff. My mum got me a copy of the acoustic guitar he plays, the Gibson J-160E, for my 14th birthday, and I remember thinking, 'I'm going to have one of those one day'. I've got one now and you can tell the difference between a real one and a fake one. I've got an Epiphone Casino as well. It's the real deal. I had to wait over a year for it."
The right education
Did the song 'Working Class Hero' have an effect on you, coming from a small town?
"In that song it made you sort of happy with where you were from, and proud because John Lennon's singing about it – that it's something to be. My favourite Lennon track is probably 'Whatever Gets You Thru the Night'. It's Beatles-esque as well with the harmony on it; you can kind of imagine Paul singing it."
How would you sum up Lennon's effect on you and The View's sound?
"It's where you get the basis from if you want to be an artist. A couple of my mates have only just started discovering The Beatles and I've been telling them for years. They've always been into the Rolling Stones, a rock 'n' roll and blues kind of thing, and they're asking me how do I come up with stuff. It's listening to The Beatles, man. It's a f***ing education."
TG209 (on sale 26 November) features John Lennon on the cover and honours the working class guitar hero's contribution to the guitar world, including interviews with 'Nowhere Boy' Aaron Johnson and 'Imagine' session guitarist Joey Molland.