Meeting Julian Lennon
by Gerard Berney

20 October 1998

Special Thanks to Gerard and his brother Steve!

Photograph Smile

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I had the opportunity to meet and have 2 photos with Julian Lennon when he arrived in Perth on Friday 16 Oct 1998. He was wearing yellow shades and his hair was in a pony tail. He was accompanied by his girlfriend who took the photo for me. Also present was American producer Bob Rose and guitarist Matt Backer.

After having photos with Julian, he happily autographed my CD sleeves for Valotte to Photograph Smile. Whilst he autographed my sleeves, I expressed how much his music meant to me and how I grew up with his music through my teen years in the 1980's. When we were done, I said to Julian, "Peace, love man", and he smiled and laughed.

Later that night, I also had the chance to talk to Matt Backer for about 10 minutes. He is from America. I asked him who else he has played for and he said Joe Cocker for his last album in 1997. I asked him what happened to Justin Clayton and Matt said he (Justin) recently scored a recording contract with a US label. Also, Matt doesn't know if he'll join Julian's world tour band for 1999.

That same night I scored a second photo with Julian because my wife wanted a photo with him as well. This time, he wasn't wearing any sunglasses. After having our photo with him, I asked Julian if he accepted solicited demo tapes. He asked Bob Rose if it was ok and he said "Yes". So I gave him my 3 song demo tape.

Julian is such a lovely human being. He is so giving. Whenever he talks to someone, he looks deep into their eyes and acknowledges them. He is so down to earth.

On Sunday 18 October, Julian, along with Matt, performed 4 songs at 78 Records in Perth's CBD to promote "Photograph Smile." Accompanied by a backing tape containing all keyboards, drums and bass sounds, Julian and Matt performed:

1- Day After Day
2- I Should Have Known
3- I Don't Wanna Know
4- Saltwater

Julian was on acoustic guitar and Matt was on electric guitar. Matt left the stage for Julian who performed Saltwater alone. 15 minutes later, Julian signed autographs for his fans. We estimate about 300 people at the gig, which was quite a turnout. Julian was so pleased to see so many people there.

Even though there were a lot of people at the concert and signing session, I waved to Matt who recognized me from our previous meetings, and he came up to talk to me, which was very nice of him. I gave him my musical resume and he then passed it on to Bob Rose.

Just like his dad, Julian smokes.

As for the Telethon, Julian performed the same 4 songs he played at the record store concert, with a backing band who weren't actually playing guitars, bass or keyboards. I suppose it looks better to have these people there on show even though they are not really playing.

Julian had a stint on the panel reading out donations for the Telethon.

As you know, he very kindly donated $100,000 Australian dollars to the Telethon. His announcement of this, before playing "Saltwater," was an unexpected surprise not only to the audience but to his manager and record company execs also. There was applause for about 1 minute after Julian said this. He said something like the kids are our future and we need to help and care for them. Wow! What a caring guy! In an interview for the local TV news he said when you got your health, you're happy and emotionally content and well to do, you should give something to help those in need, if you can afford to.

Well, I can't wait to see him in concert next year after seeing him perform a FREE promotional concert and meeting him twice! He is definitely the most important musician I have ever met in my life and I'm so happy and fortunate I did.