On American Conspiracies, John Lennon, motorcycle gangs, Baja, Mexico ... and he's never had a cell phone
BY TOM MURRO
THE CELEBRITY MAGNET
Jesse "The Body" Ventura's latest book, American Conspiracies, was released just a few days ago. Ventura, a former governor of Minnesota, actor and retired professional wrestler is in between seasons of his television show, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, which can be seen on TruTV.
We met last Thursday after his book signing at Bookends in Ridgewood, N.J.I touched upon many topics and kept the conversation light. We even had a few laughs. I found Mr.Ventura to be a very interesting and quite an accomplished guy, despite his chainsaw voice and unusual views.
NJNR: Let's talk about your book American Conspiracies. You wrote this book with Dick Russell and I understand you both worked together previously on another book?
JV: Yes, my previous book is ‘Don't Start The Revolution Without Me.' Dick is a very good man and good at doing research and that's probably my weakness. Dick also wrote a book called "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and that's how we met after he gave me a copy of his book in 2003.
NJNR: How much time did you spend on research?
JV: We spent about six months. It didn't come together easy. When you are doing this it's like taking a jigsaw puzzle and taking all the pieces and throwing it on the floor. You start by picking up one piece, which is information. Then you eventually start piecing together all these little bits of information. Now, can you complete the whole jigsaw puzzle? No, you can't do that. But you can put together enough information and get enough clues and pieces to the puzzle to where you can then look at it. It may have a big whole in it but you can look at it and clearly understand what the big picture is.
NJNR: Have you seen the movie Conspiracy Theory? Where they think the main character played by Mel Gibson is crazy and in the end he wasn't as crazy as people thought.
JV: Yeah, well that's kind of how it is when you write about these conspiracies because mainstream media is gonna put out that you're crazy. They say, "How can anyone believe these things?" I say, how can you not?
NJNR: Why do you think John Lennon was killed?
JV: That's interesting because John Lennon was making a huge comeback and he was the voice of The Left. And if you remember right, Ron Reagan had just been elected. The interesting thing about Lennon's death, Malcolm X's death and Martin Luther King's death is they were all under heavy surveillance by the CIA when they were shot and killed. I couldn't believe how much the CIA was following Lennon and had him under surveillance, because I don't know why they felt he was a threat to the country? I mean c'mon, the singer for the Beatles is a threat to the country (laughing).
NJNR: If you had to pick between the Beatles and Led Zeppelin who would you pick?
JV: Led Zeppelin of course! Led Zeppelin is my favorite band of all time and the Rolling Stones are a close second.
NJNR: Do you think Oliver Stone's depiction of the movie on the assassination of JFK was accurate or just Hollywood fluff?
JV: Oliver Stone's movie was a hell of a lot more accurate than the Warren Commission.
NJNR: So, I understand you spend quite a bit of time in Baja, Mexico!
JV: Yeah, I spend half the year down there. Have you ever been to Minnesota in the winter? After about 25 Minnesota winters you have to surrender (laughing).
NJNR: Do you do any surfing?
JV: Yeah, I golf, surf and scuba dive. I wake up in the morning with nothing to do and before I go to bed I'm half done (laughing). It's a great laid-back lifestyle.
NJNR: I heard that you originally moved there to help your wife's Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
JV: Well, yeah, and that's why I didn't seek re-election either. And I didn't make that public because the media attacked me enough and I felt it was private and they didn't need to know about it. Living in Mexico has made her healthier, much better and I'll tell you this point blank ... my wife means more to me than holding any public office.
NJNR: How long have you guys been married?
JV: 35 years this July.
NJNR: Congratulations! How have you kept the marriage going so long?
JV: Thank you. I would tell people that the best thing for marriage is to communicate, because to hold things in ... letting them build up causes problems. Communication is definitely the key to a sustained marriage.
NJNR: I understand your daughter was married not too long ago? Any chance of you becoming a grandfather anytime soon?
JV: Nope. And I don't want to get any older than I have to be (laughing). I know my wife is looking forward to it but I don't really care to be honest.
NJNR: What are your thoughts on the Minnesota Independence party backing Mayor Bloomberg for president in 2012?
JV: He's a bright man. He's done an outstanding job here in N.Y. to the best of my knowledge. I mean New Yorkers would know better than me. Whenever I come here it seems he's done a great job with the city. If he runs as a true independent he gets my full support because I don't vote for Democrats or Republicans. I refuse to vote for them and I encourage everyone else in this country to do the same. The problem with these two political parties is that they put the party before the country. The same goes for Linda McMahon.
NJNR: Is there anything in your new book that you didn't cover and later wished that you did?
JV: The only thing I wish I also covered was the murder of John Lennon. I mean he was under heavy surveillance by the CIA – couldn't that have saved his life?
NJNR: I guess, unless they were in on it.
JV: Exactly (laughing).
NJNR: It must be hard to be protected if they are in on it (laughing).
JV: Well you said that not me (both laughing).
NJNR: Yeah, well, just speculation.
JV: Sure, but its a very educated speculation when you look at the facts.
NJNR: I read somewhere that you were a gang member earlier in life as part of the Mongols?
JV: No, I was not!
NJNR: Was that a rumor?
JV: No, it's true but we are not a gang ... we are a motorcycle club. It says MC on my colors.
NJNR: I apologize Governor, that's how I read it somewhere. I guess you can't believe everything you read.
JV: That was way back after I just got out of the Navy and I was rebelling after doing two tours in Southeast Asia. I was riding Harleys and became interested. I can honestly say that I am a full patch member of the Mongols and I don't hide it. I ran into a Mongol in L.A. and told him I was riding again but haven't paid my dues in a long time. And when I ride I wear my colors, does the club have any problem with that? He looked at me and said you're a Mongol - you wear your colors anywhere you want. Then I asked him, how would it be if I came back out here and came to a Mongol party. He said you would be treated like a god! While I was the Governor I received a letter from them that said in our wildest dreams we never thought that a Mongol could become a governor. You know how the Mongols started don't ya? The Hells Angels wouldn't let the Mexicans in so they started their own club. I could ride through East L.A. and never be bothered.
NJNR: So then after that you became a pro wrestler? Why did you decide to do that?
JV: I couldn't sing or dance (laughing). I enjoyed theater in college and sports, too. So this allowed me to have both together.
NJNR: Would you ever consider putting any of your feather boas up for a charity auction?
JV: I already auctioned all of them off over the years. I don't have any left. They didn't cost much and I bought most of them in N.Y. I mean, what am I gonna do wear one to church? (laughing)
NJNR: So you met the Dali Lama and asked him if he had ever seen the movie "Caddieshack." Why?
JV: Yeah, what was I going to do, ask him the meaning of life? I mean how many times do you think he's been asked that? (laughing) I wanted to ask him something original and he's a great guy with a great sense of humor and I found that out after talking to him for 45 minutes. It actually made Newsweek magazine!" (Laughing)
NJNR: Do you have any advice for a 60-year-old former pro wrestler that has decided to get back in the ring? I think you know who I mean (laughing).
JV: Um ... I think it's insane ... ah, advice? I have no advice ... when I retired I'm probably the only one who actually did when he said he would and never went back again. To me you have to look at it in reality, it's a young man's game. Father Time catches up to every athlete – Micheal Jordan, Muhammed Ali – and when your time is up ... move on, move on, it's time. And for a guy to crawl back in the ring at that age I think it's really pretty pathetic.
NJNR: I guess my last question would be ... with all the things you have done in your lifetime, what would you want your legacy to be? What would you want on your tombstone?
JV: If I tell you, you're going to laugh. I want my tombstone to read: Here lies Jesse Ventura. He never owned a cell phone (laughing). It's now my life's mission to never own one.