Sean Lennon

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Sean Lennon
Sean Lennon Saint Asbury Park NJ 09272013 LHCollins 400.jpg
Sean Lennon playing at The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey, with his band, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, in September 2013
Background information
Birth name Sean Taro Ono Lennon
Born (1975-10-09) October 9, 1975 (age 39)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Rock and roll, experimental rock, folk rock, alternative rock, indie rock
Occupations Musician, composer, voice actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, piano, drums, synthesizer, omnichord
Years active 1991–present
Labels Grand Royal Records, Capitol, Chimera Music
Associated acts Cibo Matto, Dopo Yume, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, Mark Ronson, Rufus Wainwright, The Plastic Ono Band, The Flaming Lips
Website www.seanonolennon.com

Sean Taro Ono Lennon (Japanese name Tarō Ono (小野 太郎 Ono Tarō?); born October 9, 1975) is an American musician and composer. He is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, making him the half-brother of Julian Lennon and Kyoko Chan Cox. His godfather is Elton John.

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Lennon at Union Hall in Brooklyn in 2011

Sean Lennon was born in New York City on October 9, 1975, his father's 35th birthday. He is of English and Irish descent on his father's side, and Japanese descent on his mother's side. Julian Lennon is his half-brother and Kyoko Chan Cox is his half-sister. Elton John is his godfather.[1] After Sean's birth, John became a house husband, caring for his young son until John's murder on December 8, 1980. Sean attended kindergarten in Tokyo,[2] and was educated at the exclusive private boarding school Institut Le Rosey in Rolle, Switzerland, and earlier at New York's private Ethical Culture Fieldston School and Dalton School. He attended Columbia University for three semesters before dropping out to focus on his music career.

In January 1984, when Steve Jobs was visiting Manhattan, he attended a party that Yoko was throwing for him, and Jobs gave him one of the very first Macintosh computers.[3]

His parents kick-started his musical career: his debut into the music world came at age five, when he recited a story on his mother's 1981 album, Season of Glass. From childhood into his teen years, Lennon continued to collaborate with his mother, contributing vocals and receiving production credit on her solo albums It's Alright (I See Rainbows), Starpeace and Onobox. At 16 Lennon co-wrote the song "All I Ever Wanted" with Lenny Kravitz for his 1991 album Mama Said. By 1995 Lennon had formed the band IMA (with Sam Koppelman and Timo Ellis) to play alongside his mother on her album Rising. Lennon also made appearances in film, featured in the cast of Michael Jackson's 1988 Moonwalker and portraying a teenager experiencing visions of various M. C. Escher prints in Sony's 1990 promotional short-film Infinite Escher.

Professional career[edit]

Cibo Matto and Into The Sun[edit]

Lennon performing at The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey in September 2013

In 1996, Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto were invited by Ono to remix the song "Talking to the Universe" for a Rising remix EP Rising Mixes. They met Lennon and invited him to join them on tour as a bass player. This eventually led to Lennon's contributing to their side-project Butter 08 and to his becoming a member of the group. He continued to play with them on tour, joining them on television and providing bass guitar and vocals on their EP Super Relax. Through his association with Cibo Matto, Lennon was approached by Adam Yauch (of Beastie Boys), who expressed an interest in his music and persuaded him to sign a record contract with Grand Royal Records. Regarding Grand Royal, Lennon has said:

I think I found the only label on the planet who doesn't care who my parents are and what my name is. It's a good feeling to know that I wouldn't have gotten the offer if they wouldn't have liked my songs. That's pretty rare in the music business![citation needed]

Lennon's solo début Into the Sun, was released in 1998. A music video for "Home", a single from the album, was directed by Spike Jonze and enjoyed extended airplay on MTV. The album was produced by fellow Cibo Matto member Yuka Honda, who Lennon claimed was his inspiration for the album. They struck up a personal relationship as well as a creative one.

He would go on to tour (often backed by Cibo Matto) supporting Into the Sun. During this period he appeared on radio programs such as The Howard Stern Show and KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. He later recalled promoting the album as a bitter experience due to the media focus on his family rather than his own music. In 1999, Lennon's EP Half Horse, Half Musician was released featuring new tracks such as "Heart & Lung" and "Happiness" as well as remixes of songs from Into The Sun. Along with Half Horse Half Musician, 1999 saw the release of Cibo Matto's second album Stereo Type A. Lennon stepped out of his traditional role as the group's bass player, this time playing a much wider range of instruments (such as drums, guitars and synthesizers). Despite being well received, Stereo Type A was the final Cibo Matto album and the group disbanded.

In 2000, Lennon contributed vocals to Del tha Funkee Homosapien (a single stanza on the Deltron 3030 track 'Memory Loss'), Handsome Boy Modeling School and Jurassic 5. In 2001 on national television, Lennon performed several classics by the Beatles, "This Boy", "Across the Universe" and "Julia" alongside Robert Schwartzman, Rufus Wainwright and Moby for Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music. In the following years Lennon faded out of the spotlight. However, he collaborated with various bands and artists as a session musician and producer.

Return and Friendly Fire[edit]

Lennon performing April 29, 2007

After the demise of Grand Royal Records in 2001, Lennon signed with Capitol Records, yet no solo material surfaced until February 2006, when "Dead Meat" was released as the first single from his new album, Friendly Fire. A promotional trailer for the CD/DVD package of Friendly Fire was leaked online in early 2006. The trailer featured scenes from the film version of the album, a DVD of music videos comprised into a film. The videos were actually screen tests for Coin Locker Babies, another project on which Lennon is working which became a cinematic counterpart to his new album.[4]

Friendly Fire was released in October 2006. The theme of the album is love and betrayal, and it is dedicated to the memory of a close friend who died. The night the album was released, Lennon made his first major television appearance in five years, performing "Dead Meat" live on the Late Show with David Letterman. Lennon has since appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Sharon Osbourne Show. When questioned about the eight-year gap between solo albums in interviews, Lennon said that he did not feel like a solo artist during those years and that he wanted to experience music anonymously without the spotlight on him.

Since the release of Friendly Fire, Lennon has toured extensively around the world and while in France, he remixed his song "Parachute" in collaboration with French artist -M-. The remix is entitled "L'éclipse"[5] and was featured as a bonus track on the French release of Friendly Fire.

While reestablishing himself as a solo artist, Lennon continued his work as a session musician and producer, lending his talent to the likes of Dopo Yume, Albert Hammond, Jr. (of The Strokes) and model/singer Irina Lăzăreanu.[6] In October 2007, Lennon joined Mark Ronson in the BBC Electric Proms where he sang "Sail on, Sailor", as well as "We Can Work It Out" alongside Daniel Merriweather, and Tawiah.

Along with girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, Lennon started a record label, Chimera Music, and entered the field of film scores in 2009 with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead, directed by long-time friend and school mate Jordan Galland[7] In the same year, Lennon produced a second album on Chimera for his mother, "Between My Head and the Sky," by Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. Lennon has again collaborated with friend Jordan Galland, as he contributed the score to Jordan Gallands 2012 film Alter Egos, and he appears as the character "Electric Death."[8]

Lennon and Kemp Muhl performing live at The Living Room

With the release of new material and subsequent touring Lennon launched a website featuring music, videos and a forum for his fans. Various members of the forum have created a fan-made cover album entitled Truth Mask Replica.

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger[edit]

Kemp Muhl and Lennon premiered the band The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger[9] during a live performance at Radio City on Valentine's Day, 2008. The duo, commonly referred to as 'The GOASTT', host their music on MySpace and perform under the aliases of Amatla and Zargifon. The GOASTT released their debut single, "Jardin Du Luxembourg", on July 6, 2010, and their debut album, "Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Acoustic Sessions)," on October 26, 2010, both on Chimera, their own label. In conjunction with the debut, they performed six songs during an hour-long interview on WNYC[10] and four songs for a Tiny Desk Concert on NPR.[11] Lennon has also collaborated with Kemp Muhl with a new group called "Kemp and Eden" which premiered at The Living Room in the spring of 2012.

Activism and beliefs[edit]

On October 19, 2011, Lennon was asked by Josh Sigurdson over Twitter what his opinion on the Occupy Wall Street protests was. He replied: "I'm heading down there this weekend", as he did. On October 22, 2011, Lennon showed up on Wall Street with Rufus Wainwright and Josh Fox. The three played music throughout the day to protesters and others joined in. Lennon has not yet spoken to the media or press about the event.[12][13]

On August 28, 2012, Lennon's opposition to hydraulic fracking was published as an editorial, "Destroying Precious Land for Gas," by The New York Times.[14] Of Artists Against Fracking, in 2014 he said,

we can make more people aware of the damage fracking poses to our water supply, global warming and climate change. Methane is 100 times more powerful of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and most people don't realize how climate change will be triggered by a globalized fracking industry.[15]

Asked by the Dallas Observer for his view of religion and spirituality, Lennon said,

I'm not against religion, because I think it serves a purpose in our society and it can be helpful to certain groups of people. But, for me, religion is mythology. ... I do think we all have a spirit, and I think there's a lot more to life and human consciousness than science can explain. But I prefer looking to science for answers because it can be tested and vigorously logical.[15]

On October 16, 2013 Lennon, along with Spacehog and Liv Tyler, played "Live on Earth" – an Internet-only performance – to benefit the David Lynch Foundation which funds the teaching of Transcendental Meditation.[16][17] Of his own practice of Transcendental Meditation, in 2014 Lennon said: "for me, it's like a scientific method to calm my brain down and making my frontal lobe more active. It's an exercise, really. It helps me to have about 10 percent more conscious thinking."[15]

Discography[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

With Albert Hammond, Jr.[edit]

With Cibo Matto[edit]

With the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger[edit]

With Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band[edit]

With Mystical Weapons[edit]

Film scores[edit]

Producer[edit]

Other contributions[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Elton John Celebrates His Friend John Lennon and Gets a Visit from Yoko and Godson Sean". People. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Dekel, Jonathan (October 8, 2010). "Sean Lennon on Singing John's Songs, Making Music and Yoko Ono's Legacy". Spinner. 
  3. ^ Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-4516-4853-9. 
  4. ^ Parish, Matt (2007). "Taking Friendly Fire with Sean Lennon". The Music Box. Retrieved May 23, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Sean Lennon & -M- en duo". L'eclipse. 2007. Archived from the original on May 22, 2007. Retrieved May 23, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Irina Lazareanu: Way More Than Karl Lagerfeld's Muse". , The New York Observer
  7. ^ Goldstein, Greg. “Lennon to Score Undead”, Hollywood Reporter, February 21, 2008.
  8. ^ "The Insiders: Sean Lennon + Jordan Galland - Nylon Magazine". Nylonmag.com. March 1, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  9. ^ The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger. Chimeramusic.com. Retrieved on September 3, 2011.
  10. ^ Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger: Odd Charm. NPR. Retrieved on September 3, 2011.
  11. ^ The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger: Tiny Desk Concert. NPR. Retrieved on September 3, 2011.
  12. ^ Sean Lennon Performs At Occupy Wall Street With Rufus Wainwright
  13. ^ Rufus Wainwright and Sean Lennon – Cover Madonna at Occupy Wall Street
  14. ^ Lennon, Sean (August 27, 2012). "Destroying Precious Land to Drill for Gas". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ a b c Dearmore, Kelly. "Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger's Sean Lennon: 'Once You Frack, You Can't Go Back.'". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Spacehog, Liv Tyler, Sean Lennon Play David Lynch Foundation Stageit Show LIVE ON EARTH for Transcendental Meditation
  17. ^ Spacehog & Friends: Liv Tyler, Sean Lennon, Charlotte Kemp Muhl – A special live stream benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation
  18. ^ Liang, Ursula (March 11, 2008). "Now Screening | Mariacarla Boscono in "The Stranger"". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 

External links[edit]