James Taylor is in a reflective mood these days — and with his new album, American Standard, set for release on Feb. 28, the legendary singer/songwriter was the focus of a new feature by the Guardian on Monday.
In the piece, conducted by journalist Jenny Stevens, Taylor opens up quite a bit, revealing some raw details from the course of his life and career.
Of particular note is a section in which Taylor discusses his interactions with the Beatles in the late 1960s, as Taylor was working on his 1968 solo debut record, which was helmed by Peter Asher and Apple Records and brought the aspiring musician into contact with John, Paul, George and Ringo as they worked on the White Album.
Discussing his battles with opiate addiction, Taylor admitted to being a “bad influence” on the English musicians:
“Well, I was a bad influence to be around the Beatles at that time, too.” Why? “Because I gave John opiates.” Did you introduce him to them? “I don’t know,” he says. Lennon, by many accounts, picked up a heroin habit in 1968 that contributed to an unhealable rift in the band.”
Regarding Mitchell, who suffered a brain aneurysm in 2015 and is still recovering, the Guardian piece includes this passage from Taylor indicating that Joni may be working on a musical comeback:
“We’ve continued to have a friendship and, well, I recently sort of re-engaged with Joni, and that’s been wonderful. She came to a show of mine recently, at the Hollywood Bowl, which was an unusual thing for her to do.” But she’s recovering, she’s coming back – which is an amazing thing to be able to do – and I wonder what she has to tell us about that.” When you say “coming back” does he mean she’s making music? “Yes, I think she’s coming back musically … It’s amazing to see her come back to the surface.”
It would be pretty incredible if Joni Mitchell does, indeed, “come back musically,” as Taylor puts it in the passage above. Here’s hoping it happens.
Read the entirety of the Guardian piece for even more of this intimate, raw conversation with James Taylor.