Quincy Jones is 84 and he just doesn't give a damn. In a new and comprehensive interview with Vulture, the music legend let it all hang out.
Jones told Vulture that all he's always been truthful and at this point in his life, he's not scared of anything. Then he proceeded to prove that, in no uncertain terms. He took on icons as diverse as The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, and Richard Pryor.
In answer to interviewer David Marchese's question about Jones' first impression of the Beatles, he unloaded, and it was so frank it was hilarious.
"[They] were the worst musicians in the world," Jones said. "They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it."
Jones wasn't done. "I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin," he told Vulture, "and Ringo had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song. He couldn’t get it. We said, 'Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.' So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up."
Ringo Starr asked to hear a playback when he finished his break and said it didn't sound bad. Jones' response? "Yeah, motherfucker because it ain’t you."
Starr is, however, a "great guy," Jones said.
Regarding Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones was equally blunt. "I hate to get into this publicly," he reportedly said, "but Michael stole a lot of stuff."
He mentioned a song by Donna Summer and the mega-hit "Billie Jean." According to Jones, "The notes don’t lie, man. He was as Machiavellian as they come."
Ouch. Asked to elaborate, Jones said Jackson was "greedy." As far as Jackson's famous love for altering his appearance, Jones said, "I used to kill him about the plastic surgery, man. He’d always justify it and say it was because of some disease he had. Bullshit."
Jones may have reserved his biggest revelation for one of the greatest actors ever, Marlon Brando, and comedy icon Richard Pryor—though he dropped the tidbit as if it was an afterthought.
"Brando used to go cha-cha dancing with us," Jones told Vulture, "He could dance his ass off. He was the most charming motherfucker you ever met."
Brando, Jones said, would "fuck anything. Anything! He’d fuck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye."
If you think Jones was just being catty, well, no. Pryor's wife confirmed to TMZ that the late comic was bisexual. She also pointed out it was the drug-addled 1970s, and if someone snorted enough coke, they'd "fuck a radiator and send it flowers in the morning."
Jones reveals much more in the interview, which is definitely worth the read.
Especially if you want to clear away mental images of movie stars screwing mailboxes and radiators.