OTR – Ken Mansfield
Ken Mansfield has had more experiences in his lifetime than most people even dream about. He is a Grammy award winning record producer, a songwriter, a music industry executive, and an author. He has left a huge footprint in the music industry over his lifetime and his list of artists that he has worked with reminds me of looking through a best-of album over the last few decades. As his website states:
“Ken found himself propelled into the center of a rock and roll whirlwind when the Beatles asked him to be the US Manager of their Apple Record label as well as acting as their personal liaison between the UK and the US. When the Beatles breakup seemed inevitable he moved on to become a Vice President at MGM Records and then President of a CBS label.”Ken has written a number of books including, “The Beatles, The Bible and Bodega Bay,” which is the only book ever approved by the Beatles outside of their own Anthology. I even found an interesting tidbit about him on Wikipedia:
“In his position as an Apple executive and personal liaison for the Beatles between the UK and US, Mansfield was among a handful of eyewitnesses to join The Beatles as they performed their legendary last-ever gig on the rooftop of their London headquarters on January 30, 1969, which was captured in the Academy Award-winning documentary, Let It Be. Mansfield is easy to recognize as he was the only one on the roof that day wearing a white coat.” [I’ve attached that pic below]Jeremy: Tell us something odd/unique about you. Ken: I grew up along the Nez Perce Indian reservations in the northern Idaho panhandle. A very austere beginning existence – it was amazing to look back on where I started from when I was in London, New York and Hollywood and the top of the music business. I grew up in a church where the Pastor never smiled and the only thing I knew for sure was that I was going to mess up and go to hell. At 17 I left home and going to church behind. Jeremy: What about your experience with the Beatles would be surprising to most people? Ken: How nice they were, how easy to work with and hang with. Inside the isolated walls of their lives it was very common and normal. They treated me great and I not only worked for them but with them and we became pals. I didn’t realize at the time how historical this was going to be. I think if I had known that it would have made me nervous. Jeremy: Do you think people are born leaders or develop into leaders? Ken: I think it is for the most part like talent and that the ability to lead is a gift. We can all learn to play the guitar or study to become a doctor but there are certain people who have that special knack to lead and rise to the top. Most great leaders never meant to lead – one day they noticed that a lot of people were following them and they took it from there. Jeremy: How can people put themselves into a position to influence culture? Ken: I think if that is your goal then it will probably never happen. Find your gift, dedicate yourself to it and everything else will follow, including people. Jeremy: Why are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Ken: I tried it the other way – to the extreme and that didn’t pan out very good in the long run. God sent someone into my life to reveal the Truth when I was at my lowest point in my life and I will never turn back. Jeremy: What do you do personally to fuel your spiritual life? Ken: The key for me is the simple mechanics of beginning my day in the Word, devotions and worship. I believe I need to get the good stuff inside first before the world’s daily junk comes at me. It has to try to get through God’s mercy and grace which is the greatest firewall ever. Jeremy: What is your hope for the future of the Church in America? Ken: Get back to the heart of worship…stop trying to water down what Jesus taught. Jeremy: Should we abandon the use of the word “Christian” for a better term? If so, what? Ken: My dictionary defines Christian as: “noun: a person who is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.” Also the informal definition is quite nice too: “having or showing qualities associated with Christians, esp. those of decency, kindness, and fairness.” I like that. I read about the origin of the name in my Chronological Bible and it seemed fairly simple how the term came about and I find it interesting that it has prevailed over the centuries. In spite of its secular bad rap, I like it because it doesn’t evade the fact of Who we are basing our lives on. I am sure there are terms more acceptable to the PC contingency but once again I like the first part of the word. Jeremy: What blogs/websites do you regularly check? Ken: I am so busy writing and touring that I don’t typically find time. Jeremy: Which books have shaped your thinking? Ken: Same Kind of Difference As Me, Messy Spirituality, Jon Courson’s writings, as well as both ends of the spiritual spectrum ie: David Jeremiah to Donald Miller Jeremy: What music moves you? Ken: Classical, Contemporary Christian, cutting edge alternative. One Eskimo, The Weepies, the classics from my era, and cool jazz Jeremy: Any other thoughts or advice? Ken: Reach out – time is running out. Click here to read more Off the Record interviews.
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