Editor’s Note: This interview is taken from a Z Review series called Juxatposeurs in which celebrities connected by common themes interviewed each other and explored their thoughts in an interdisciplinary, intersectional mash-up attempting to shine new light on our society and our culture. Sadly, Billy Preston died less than a month after this interview was recorded.
Preston: So, Zack…is it alright if I call you Zack? Cool. Anyway, when I was prepping for this interview, I noticed a lot of similarities in our stories. I met the Beatles early on, but really only spent time with them during their final gig. Seems like you had the same dynamic with your folks. Do you feel like you missed out?
Moussaoui: It’s hard to say. I mean, I loved working with those guys. They were dedicated. But it was also a very heavy scene. I think you can dig that, right? They were about to do their best work, but they were about to break up as well. I guess I can thank Allah that we didn’t have Yoko to deal with. Can you imagine the fights on the plane?
Preston: (Laughing) Oh, man. I could tell you some stories!
Moussaoui: But you and I also have some real differences. I mean, you kind of kept on with the Beatles by appearing in that awful film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Once I left, I was done.
Preston: I definitely regret that film, but I don’t regret getting the chance to meet George Burns. Man, that old dude was a trip! What about you? You didn’t think about trying to get involved again?
Moussaoui: Kind of tough when you are serving six consecutive life sentences!
Preston: Oh, right. Forgot about that.
Moussaoui: But, you know, we had the same kind of dynamics that you saw with the Beatles. It always made me laugh how wrong the public had the personalities of the guys. Like, Atta, he’s always “the quiet one.” But, as Allah is my witness, that guy could talk your ear off if you got a few beers in him at a strip club! And I will never know how Marwan al-Shehi became known as “the funny one.” Man, that guy was the Islamic king of dad jokes. “How do you make holy water? You boil the hell out of it!” I mean, come on Marwan.
Preston: I had the same kind of experience with The Beatles, so that’s kind of fascinating to me. Sorry, but I have to ask. Is the Ringo thing true?
Preston: Oh, come on. Tell us.
Moussaoui: Okay, okay. It’s true. The guys who didn’t kill anybody with a box cutter or fly the plane itself…we called them Ringos. I know, I know. It’s wrong. And let me say that I totally respect Ringo as a drummer. Also, I have to admit that I have always had a soft spot for Caveman. That film always made me laugh so hard. I can’t pretend that’s not at least partially because Barbara Bach was so easy on the eyes, though!
Preston: Poor Ringo. He did have to spend so much time just sitting there watching everybody else work.
Moussaoui: Well, you know what Churchill said. “He also serves who stands and waits.”
Preston: So true. What questions do you have for me?
Moussaoui: Yeah, just one. What keyboard were you playing on “Get Back”?
Preston: That’s just a 1968 Fender Rhodes, man!
Moussaoui: Such a sweet tone.
Preston: Thanks, Zack.