I view everything as a creative challenge. Sometimes a problem ends up being a blessing because it takes you somewhere you wouldn't have gone if you were strictly left to your own devices. I knew that the Lennon suite would end the record, so I wanted to find kind of a last note, a way to tie it all up. So I tired a number of different songs before deciding on "Give Peace a Chance." We were trying "It's Only Love" and then the engineer thought it would be cool to end on the final line from "The End." But "Give Peace a Chance" was more centered to my own view of Lennon as more of a spiritual guru.
When he died, it was like losing our savior. Every time they do an overview of Lennon and his life, I still get choked up. I never really quite processed that someone could just walk up and take him out. Especially someone so iconic that meant so much to so many people, almost like taking out one of our spiritual leaders. And Lennon was so far beyond a political leader, because he represented a philosophy to create a more peaceful planet. And he was an artist. So that's why I thought "Give Peace a Chance" would be a cool way to end the record. I'm used to leaving people in more altered state anyway on my records, so that kind of fits into my "New Age" persona too.
How has your specific fanbase reaction been to the album?
I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but so far folks have had a really amazing response. Everyone seems to kind of get it, which is really cool and doesn't always happen. They get the fact that this is the Beatles, but it's really not what you expect it to be. It's not a cheesy kind of, "we're in Safeway" kind of music. So far what I've heard from fans has been really positive.
Back in 1998, part of this was motivated by my manager's input at that time, I did a record called Songs From an English Garden. It was the last record I owed to my record label at the time. My manager didn't want me to give them any more of my publishing. They had all my publishing wrapped up, and he was really anti that. So he said, "Why don't you give them an album of covers?" So that's where that record came from.