Times interview with Dhani Harrison 

                        A REALLY nice interview with George's son. (I don't 
                        think this has been posted by anyone here yet, so here 

                        Here comes the son
                        by Nigel Williamson
                        George Harrison's son Dhani has always been his own man, 
                        but after the former Beatle's death he decided his 
                        priority was to ensure his father's musical legacy

                        “IT’S HORRIBLE to lose your dad. But day by day I miss 
                        him more as a mate,” Dhani Harrison says. “He was my 
                        best friend in the whole world.” 
                        He’s sitting in an elegant mews house in Knightsbridge, 
                        which serves as the offices of George Harrison’s musical 
                        estate, of which he is now the sole beneficiary. The 
                        walls are decorated with gold and platinum discs for 
                        multimillion-selling records by the Beatles and from 
                        Harrison’s solo career. “He left me everything,” Dhani 
                        explains. Which makes him a very wealthy young man 

                        He’s sharp, engaging, self-possessed and courteously 
                        polite with the definite look of his father around the 
                        eyes. At 24 he’s acutely aware of the privileges and 
                        drawbacks of being the son of a celebrity and seems to 
                        have an unusually level-headed approach to it all — 
                        although he admits that having a Beatle as a father was 
                        in many ways not easy. “We stuck together because my dad 
                        realised the s*** that he’d dropped me in by my being 
                        born. It has never helped me being George Harrison’s son 
                        and in school and university it was twice as hard. You 
                        tend to get persecuted in some way or misconstrued.” 

                        He isn’t whingeing; merely expressing frustration at the 
                        difficulties of establishing his own way in the world 
                        when he has such a famous name. He works as part of a 
                        design collective but subsumes his identity in the team. 
                        When he got a design job with MacLaren, everybody 
                        thought it was because his dad, a noted Formula One fan, 
                        had put in a word. “But I got it because I went and 
                        showed them my portfolio and they hired me not knowing 
                        who I was.” 

                        Dhani’s fierce determination not to trade on the family 
                        connection is admirable. “I’ve never once used my name 
                        to get in anywhere,” he claims. “I hate that.” Then he 
                        reddens as he remembers a sold-out Friday night at the 
                        Reading Festival when he was desperate to see the Foo 
                        Fighters. “Well, perhaps once,” he laughs. 

                        He’s clearly keen to get on with his life and make his 
                        own way, whether it’s ultimately as a designer or a 
                        musician. Yet before he does, there’s a little piece of 
                        his father’s unfinished business. The first anniversary 
                        of George Harrison’s death this month sees the release 
                        of Brainwashed, his final album and first solo studio 
                        recording since 1987’s Cloud Nine. Dhani worked on the 
                        songs with his father before he died and has spent the 
                        past year assembling and co-producing the record with 
                        Jeff Lynne, a long-time Harrison collaborator who played 
                        in the Traveling Wilburys. Dhani’s design company 
                        produced the artwork. 

                        Given the circumstances, you might not have expected 
                        much from the record. Harrison’s long absence from 
                        recording suggested he had lost interest and posthumous 
                        collections scraped together from the odds-and-sods on 
                        the cutting room floor are almost invariably 

                        Yet Brainwashed is surprisingly impressive. There are 11 
                        original Harrison songs plus a cover of The Devil and 
                        the Deep Blue Sea. Strongly melodic and with frequently 
                        poignant lyrics, it’s a record that deserves to stand 
                        alongside his best solo work. 

                        Several songs had been hanging around for years as 
                        demos, some dating back to the late 1980s. “My dad never 
                        had any interest in releasing them,” Dhani admits. “He 
                        worked very slowly and he spent most of his time 
                        gardening. To get him in the studio was very hard. He 
                        wasn’t doing it for anybody else. He didn’t care about 
                        the music industry.” 

                        Then two years before he died Harrison started to think 
                        about making an album again — with Dhani’s 
                        encouragement. Father and son began working on the 
                        songs, recording in a number of different locations, 
                        including LA, Australia and Switzerland. “We’d be by 
                        ourselves a lot of the time and it was like a cottage 
                        industry. I’d be pressing the play and stop buttons. I 
                        did it because he needed a buddy and we were friends. He 
                        was just playing around. But when my dad played around 
                        he was very serious.” 

                        They continued to work on the record “right up until the 
                        end” when the family left Switzerland for America, where 
                        Harrison died. Until now, he has refused to discuss his 
                        father’s last days. But, he says, he wants people to 
                        understand the context of Harrison’s final recordings. 
                        His spiritual beliefs and study of Indian philosophies 
                        held him in good stead during the final difficult 
                        months, Dhani says. “He was happy and doing his singing. 
                        He never felt sorry for himself or went into depression. 
                        He was working and doing what he could.” 

                        And, as his son points out, this was the man who more 
                        than 30 years ago wrote All Things Must Pass. “That 
                        meant he knew and was ready for it. We took the view ‘be 
                        here now’ and made the most of our time.” 

                        After Harrison died, Dhani felt he had to complete the 
                        record. “I don’t think my dad cared if he released it. 
                        But I cared because in my opinion the record was so 
                        good. He never said I should finish it but I always knew 
                        I’d have to eventually.” He describes the songs his 
                        father left as “posh demos”. But they had discussed what 
                        still needed doing and in addition Harrison left notes 
                        that contained instructions such as ‘put little plinky 
                        bit here’ or ‘wobble on guitar on track four’. 

                        Dhani then took the songs to Jeff Lynne in LA, where 
                        they spent several months in the studio producing the 
                        final record. “We worked through it methodically and 
                        filled in where needed. But we never committed fraud on 
                        the recordings. It was all my dad and we worked 
                        according to his rules and values. It just took us a bit 
                        longer because he wasn’t there to ask if it was right or 

                        He may not have been there in the flesh but Dhani is 
                        convinced that in some sense his father was present in 
                        the studio. “Little things happened every day that were 
                        weird. You can hear a crow cawing at the end of Rising 
                        Sun. There was this bird sitting on the window outside 
                        trying to get in.” The spirit of his father? “Well 
                        little things like that happened every day and his 
                        spirit was very much there. How could it not be? We were 
                        evoking him by thinking about him and playing his music 
                        all day every day for months. There must be some 
                        vibration or presence through that. I’m sure he had an 
                        input to the record after he died.” 

                        Dhani was moved by the outpouring of emotion on his 
                        father’s death but disturbed by the behaviour of the 
                        media when news of his father’s sickness became public. 
                        “There was a £250,000 bounty for a picture of my dad 
                        dying of cancer. There were people hovering over our 
                        house in helicopters. People pretending to be your 
                        friend one day and outside your house the next day with 
                        a zoom lens. That desire to be in someone else’s life 
                        when it’s none of your business is wrong,” he says. 

                        He is his father’s son in so many ways. He shares 
                        George’s passion for motor racing and hangs out with 
                        many of his dad’s friends. The evening before we met, he 
                        had spent with Harrison’s Monty Python mates, Terry 
                        Gilliam and Michael Palin. 

                        “I can’t even begin to describe how I miss him. He 
                        always supported me in everything I did. He was a very 
                        wise man and I realised at an early age I could learn a 
                        lot from him. He always gave me the right answer.” 

                        Dhani pauses to regain his composure. “But above all he 
                        was a very easy-going guy and all he wanted was to be my 
                        best friend. I’m an only child and so he shared 
                        everything with me. Of course he was very young to die 
                        and I was very young to lose a father. But there was 
                        nothing left unsaid between us.”