Quincy Jones’ glorious and rambling interview with journalist David Marchese for Vulture is the gift that keeps on giving.
Jones, who at almost 85 years old, seems to have given up social graces and is more than willing to drop dimes, nickels and quarters offer unsolicited opinions, and basically just tell everybody’s business.
From his thoughts on hip-hop to dating Ivanka Trump to his outing who was having sex with whom (and what), Uncle Q has some profanity-laced stories to tell. It’s classic ornery old man conversation at its best. We can only imagine the “Dad, what did you say now?!” texts from his daughters Kidada and Rashida.
The Vulture interview is good and long, but chock-full of juicy tidbits and insights into the illustrious musician’s 66 year career.
Below are eight highlights that will surely have social media in a tizzy for a while.
1. The Beatles were Trash
“What were your first impressions of the Beatles?
That they were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it.”
Jones did not hold back on the boys who were the leaders of the “British Invasion” in the U.S. music market during the 1960s. Though they continue to be the best-selling band in history, having sold 178 million physical albums worldwide, Jones is still not impressed with their musicality or in his opinion, lack there of.
2. Marlon Brando had sex with James Baldwin, Richard Pryor, and Everyone Else
“Maybe not the cha-cha.
[Marlon] used to go cha-cha dancing with us. He could dance his ass off. He was the most charming motherfucker you ever met. He’d fuck anything. Anything! He’d fuck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye.
He slept with them? How do you know that?
[Frowns.] Come on, man. He did not give a fuck! You like Brazilian music?”
For die-hard fans of Richard Pryor, it’s not news that he had a sexually fluid identity. He alluded to it in is stand-up routines and in his 1995 memoir Pryor Convictions he talked about having a brief, but amazing sexual affair with a transgender woman who still had male genitalia. Brando had been open about his sexual encounters with men for decades and talked about it in Gary Carey’s 1976 biography The Only Contender. Both the Pryor and Brando books came out pre-social media, which may be why so many people are taking the old news of their sexually fluidity as news. But Pryor and Brando together? THAT is new news, with Pryor’s last ex-wife confirming the Pryor/Brando hook-up to TMZ.
3. Quincy Jones Dated Ivanka Trump 12 Years Ago
“What’s stirred everything up? Is it all about Trumpism?
It’s Trump and uneducated rednecks. Trump is just telling them what they want to hear. I used to hang out with him. He’s a crazy motherfucker. Limited mentally — a megalomaniac, narcissistic. I can’t stand him. I used to date Ivanka, you know.
Yes, sir. Twelve years ago. Tommy Hilfiger, who was working with my daughter Kidada said, “Ivanka wants to have dinner with you.” I said, “No problem. She’s a fine motherfucker.” She had the most beautiful legs I ever saw in my life. Wrong father, though.”
Alrighty then! If this is true, Jones dated Trump not long before she met her now-husband Jared Kushner. It also means she was about 25 and he was 73. Maybe Ivanka likes older guys? No rebuttal yet from the Trump camp.
4. Cyndi Lauper was a pain in the butt while recording ‘We are the World’
“There’s a small anecdote in your memoir about how the rock musicians who’d been asked to sing on “We Are the World” were griping about the song. Is there more to that story?
It wasn’t the rockers. It was Cyndi Lauper. She had a manager come over to me and say, “The rockers don’t like the song.” I know how that shit works. We went to see Springsteen, Hall & Oates, Billy Joel, and all those cats and they said, “We love the song.” So I said [to Lauper], “Okay, you can just get your shit over with and leave.” And she was fucking up every take because her necklace or bracelet was rattling in the microphone. It was just her that had a problem.”
“We are the World” was a monster hit penned by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson in 1985 with proceeds from the song going to aid for African countries ravished by famine. Huge celebrities like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen were just of a few of the dozens of celebrities who lent their voices to the project. There are undoubtedly countless stories from the recording session, but Uncle Q decided to share the one about Cyndi Lauper’s damn bracelet.
5. He Knows Who Killed JFK
“What’s something you wish you didn’t know?
Who killed Kennedy.
Who did it?
[Chicago mobster Sam] Giancana. The connection was there between Sinatra and the Mafia and Kennedy. Joe Kennedy — he was a bad man — he came to Frank to have him talk to Giancana about getting votes.”
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Case closed.
6. T-Pain is Not a Favorite of Jones
“What’s the last mistake you learned from?
My last record [2010’s Q: Soul Bossa Nostra]. I was not in favor of doing it, but the rappers wanted to record something as a tribute to me, where they’d do versions of songs that I’d done over my career. I said to them, “Look, you got to make the music better than we did on the originals.” That didn’t happen. T-Pain, man, he didn’t pay attention to the details.”
Jones is not a huge fan of rap in general, but he did say that he digs Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar. He called them both grounded. But T-Pain, nope, nada, no way, no how. Come with some musicality and groundedness, rappers!
7. Jones is a Really Confident Guy
“What’s something you’ve worked on that should’ve been bigger?
What the fuck are you talking about? I’ve never had that problem. They were all big.”
This man has won 27 Grammys and an Emmy, he’s not really checking for anyone who’s talking about things he did they think should have or could have been “bigger.”
8. Modern Pop Music is Awful
“Is there innovation happening in modern pop music?
Hell no. It’s just loops, beats, rhymes and hooks. What is there for me to learn from that? There ain’t no fucking songs. The song is the power; the singer is the messenger. The greatest singer in the world cannot save a bad song. I learned that 50 years ago, and it’s the single greatest lesson I ever learned as a producer. If you don’t have a great song, it doesn’t matter what else you put around it.”
In addition to spilling all the tea, Jones also dropped a few gems about today’s music industry. He is a music aficionado who not only knows about the structure, practice, and writing of music, but also the invaluable “you can’t teach someone this” part of creativity and drive. If you’re trying to dive into the music biz, Uncle Q is definitely someone to spend some quality time with these days. Just remember not to tell any of your business.
Check out the whole interview on Vulture.