A lot of punk rock bands are always trying to be so hard all of the time, macho brutality doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good songwriter. I think that some of the Beatles’ songs are way more punk rock than most punk songs written today. Like the song Yesterday. It’s such a bittersweet song. It’s very important for me to have a message that goes along with the writing. So...what comes to mind for me is a song like The Ballad of John & Yoko, where [Lennon] had this really nice sounding song. But the lyrics penetrate like a knife. “They’re gonna crucify me…” That’s kind of nice way — nice, I mean, in an oxymoronic sense – to put forward something you want to attack.
There are Beatles songs that are way more punk rock than anything the Circle Jerks or Bad Religion ever put out. That guitar figure at the beginning [of In My Life] introduces the song perfectly. Plus the harmonies and backup playing are terrific. John Lennon is analysing his past, all the people that came in and out of his life. He’s sort of bitter, but he’s trying to be levelheaded about it. I can imagine him singing it and having a very sly smile on his face. It’s almost like he’s sincerely bidding someone farewell - but telling them to f*** off at the same time.