Thursday, 18 April 2013

Mal Evans

It's Paul Is Dead related, and not related. It's just something that's been on my mind for a few years. 

I have a hard time with the Beatles mythology. It paints a portrait where everything is peace and love, and the good works of the gods shine down on the people, and all was well. It's a landscape pastoral, and the sun always shines. 

Why when I read the back stories about them, and the unfettered truth about it all, I recoil in shock. And disbelief. Have I become that jaded I ask myself. Can I not see that there is good, and there is bad in everyone. Like McCartney would have me believe, but not unless it's marketed and digested off the shelves like canned peaches? 

Maybe I'm jaded. But then again, piano keys are made from Ivory. Save the elephants, if not for the sake that we don't get something like Ebony & Ivory hit our airwaves again. Then at least for the sake of the animals killed for our pleasure.

I look at the story of the life and death of Mal Evans, and think, there's something wrong with this, no? Is it only me that sees this? Or is my perspective somewhat skewed in the big picture. What I see is a person who was employed by The Beatles. And he drove them here. And he drove them there. He drove them everywhere. Up and down dark motorways in the beginning. Possibly past cavalcades of screaming fans in the middle. Out to get them a cucumber sandwich later on. He did everything for them without question. He probably saved their lives a couple times too. He probably had to, considering the frenzy that surrounded them between 1964 - 1966. When it all got bigger than life, and they were whisked from this hotel, to that venue, back to that hotel and beyond. I'm fairly sure he may have gotten them out of some very bad situations, and was sometimes, their only link to the outside world. Could you get us a newspaper Mal, if we go outside we'll be mauled to death. Sure boys, anything for you. 

So why was this man gunned down? Well we know why, as police reports stated. He was holding an air rifle, told to put it down, didn't, and then he was gone. Below is a synopsis:

On 5 January 1976, Evans was so despondent that Hughes phoned his collaborator on his book, John Hoernie, and asked him to visit them. Hoernie saw Evans "really doped-up and groggy", and Evans told Hoernie to make sure that he finished Living The Beatles' Legend. Hoernie helped Evans up to an upstairs bedroom, but during an incoherent conversation Evans picked up a 30.30 air rifle. Hoernie struggled with Evans, but Evans, being much stronger, held onto the weapon.
Hughes then phoned the police and told them that Evans was confused, had a rifle, [and was on valium.] Four policemen arrived and three of them, David D. Krempa, Robert E. Brannon and Lieutenant Higbie, went up to the bedroom.They later reported that as soon as Evans saw the three policemen he pointed a rifle at them.The officers repeatedly told Evans to put down the rifle (which they did not know at the time was an air rifle) but Evans constantly refused.The police fired six shots, of which four struck Evans, killing him instantly. Evans had previously been awarded the badge of "Honorary Sheriff of Los Angeles County", but in the Los Angeles Times, he was referred to as a “jobless former road manager for The Beatles”.

Evans was cremated on 7 January 1976, in Los Angeles. None of The Beatles attended his funeral, but Harry Nilsson and other friends attended, although Harrison arranged for Evans' family to receive £5,000, as Evans had not maintained his life insurance premiums, and was not entitled to a pension.

Okay. Charles Higbie you will find very involved in the investigation of Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy's assassin. You'll also find him making things very difficult for investigators in OPERATION ROLLOUT

An Oct. 12, 1980 article in the Los Angeles Times says:

“Operation Rollout, Dist. Atty. John Van de Kamp’s much-publicized effort to investigate police shootings, continues to meet resistance from the Los Angeles Police Department despite high-level talks in May that were supposed to have ironed out problems, according to prosecutors assigned to the program.

“At the center of the conflict is Lt. Charles Higbie, a 24-year Police Department veteran who is chief investigator for all officer-involved shootings in the department and wields great influence with Police Chief Daryl Gates.

“Members of Van de Kamp’s Special Investigations Division…complain that they receive minimal cooperation from Higbie, that he withholds information from them and is overly protective of the officers he investigates.”

I reached Garcetti by telephone last Friday. He was in New York for an exhibition of his photographs. Higbie, he says, “was one of the most powerful police officers in the LAPD,” commenting:

“As a lieutenant, that speaks volumes.” The former district attorney points out that Higbie “reported to the chief directly” and “didn’t let captains, commanders, deputy chiefs or assistant chiefs tell him what to do.”

Garcetti recalls that Higbie “acted like second-in-command at LAPD” whenever it came to “officer involved shootings or in-custody deaths.”

You can read more about Operation Rollout here:

But I guess the point of this blog isn't about getting to the bottom of Mal Evans death. It's more about, why didn't John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr take care of this guy? Even after they dissolved. It shouldn't have even been a question of their togetherness or Apple's disintegration. It's a matter of a man who did a lot for them. And asked for nothing. So he got ... nothing? Is this what this says about giving? That if you ask for nothing in return, you get nothing. And expect no less! The love you take, is equal to the love you make? Well, Mal Evans surely gave a lot of his love to The Beatles. And they surely took it. So where was his suite? His villa? Why was he divorced? Why didn't he have enough money for a house for his family? His employment to The Beatles lasted years, and he was a loyal employee. One of their most trusted, if not the most trusted employee they had. They made him manager of Apple until Allen Klein stepped in. But this isn't the point. 

I have a problem with this, even with Harrison. It's just ... not enough. Yes Harrison gave the family money. And yes he gave Evans a songwriting credit on the RINGO album. Which reportedly is something McCartney promised, but never lived up to that promise going back to Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. If Evans story is true with this, he truly got burned. And that house and mortgage was never forthcoming. But yes Mal, keep getting us our tea. And I'd like a sandwich please. Yes boys. Anything for you. And when the parade was all over, and there was no more tea to get, where would Mal Evans go? Why did he not have a permanent job with one of them? Or some of them? Why was he ever "without". And he was without a lot. By the end he was without a family. And a wife. And in the very end, he was only full of air against bullets. And he wouldn't win. 

Why does this story not say to Beatles fans, cool music, but what shitty people they were? Honestly. It doesn't speak well of people caring about one another at all. And when they were done with Mal Evans, they were truly done. Was he that expendable? Regardless if he was going to release his memoirs. Regardless if he was their caretaker of artifacts and Beatle legends. Regardless of his access to all 4 of them, and the stories he could tell, but never told. Were he alive today, he'd be the single greatest story teller of the Beatles mythology going. He kept a diary. He was with them seemingly 24/7. I'm surprised every Beatle home did not have a Mal Room in it. There's many 5th Beatles. Mal is in contention to being at least Beatle No.5.4, after George Martin, Brian Epstein, Paul McCartney and then ... Mal. Neil Aspinall would be Beatle 5.5. And yeah. I added an extra Paul in there, because they told you all along there were two of him. (See how I made this truly PID related) ;)

Anyway. The story of Mal Evans truly bothers me in their mythology. He's the servant of the gods, beaten down, made to serve, forever on bended knee. I mean, I make it sound atrocious, and he seemed quite a happy man doing such things. At the same time, the gods should have rewarded him for his faith and loyalty to them. Unless of course, they were like God in the Old Testament. Burning people up if he didn't ask for an offering today. Or they did it the wrong way. Maybe Mal did something wrong, and was never going to get the love he made back? It's like the story of Job. Man that guy got burned by God. On a bet with the Devil no less. Mal Evans is like Job. Except he never got chance to get that reward for being so faithful. Is that his fault? When everything is taken away from him after giving his all to it? Did this man not deserve to have his faith restored at the last minute by some miracle? Some intervention? Did Mal Evans not deserve to have a happy home?

Does anyone else have a problem with the humanity in this story? Does it not strike you a little sad? A man is celebrated for a song about a 5 year old boy, though looking at the lyrics, the song has very little to do with that 5 year old boy's situation. Or the advice you'd even give to a child. But it makes for great sell, doesn't it? This song was written for a tiny little boy who was going through the awful breakup of his mummy and daddy. Daddy actually let mummy find out about his special friend quite cruelly. And then daddy told his best friend to tell mummy they were splitting up. But the friend refused. (If I was Pete Shotton, I would have refused too.) Na Na Na Na Na Na. This song has nothing to do with that situation for the little boy. But Beatles fans LOVE to say how much Paul cared for Julian in this situation. And how much closer he was to John. And they make up these glorious fantasies in their heads about Julian possibly sitting on Paul's knee as he sings him this 7 minute opus saying, I wrote this for you kid. And Julian looks up and says, "so I should go out and get her". And Paul says, "as long as she's of age kid, as long as she's of age. Now singalong with me."

It's really the stuff of fantasy. Or Disney. In reality though, that song has so little to do with a little boy, it's amazing it's even mentioned he had any inspiration for the song. But that's how mythology works. And that's how the gods seem to shower down blessings, when in truth, they are as self-serving and oblivious to the sufferings of mankind as that old God in the Testament who was silly enough to put a tree in a garden knowing curiousity was a trait inherent in humans. He should know. He made them. 

So rest in peace Mal Evans. There's at least one of us here on Planet Earth who is wondering why you did it. Did you get anything for it, except for a bullet to the body? Does your ghost grow restless in its urn as McCartney slams an injunction on your beloved ex-wife for selling items you had kept from your days of employment? Were you saving that as a nest egg one day? Did you think your employers would mind if you took a little of this, and maybe a piece of that, because it seems they ignored giving you much in the first place? Were you constantly finding a way of creating your non-existent pension? The one that was never offered? Were you hoping Ringo would release an album one day, and maybe someone would give you credit there? Would the royalties from it, pay you back what you felt you were owed? What did you do it for Mal? What was it for?

The goodness in your heart I imagine. Maybe you're Don Quixote for real. Maybe your faith in humanity was greater than its true worth. I would hate to think that. But I cannot find where you did wrong. You're an example of how others do wrong, if you ask me. 

Rest in peace. 



    1. As far as I can see, the great crime Mal Evans committed ...
      was keeping a diary.

  2. For that matter, their treatment of Pete Best was pretty shabby, as well, though of course, Pete is still with us, having outlived several ex-Beatles (the exact number remaining uncertain).

  3. When you work for a corporation, company, business, whatever - even , as in this case, you work for the four most important men who ever lived, when that corporation, company, entity you work for " goes out of business", closes shop, etc. you are out of a job. Maybe you have a pension with them, maybe you don't. You could be one of their top employees - even the CEO but when it's over, it's over. Mal was the bouncer at the cavern club - probably a low paying job - then he was offered the opportunity of a lifetime and took it. Living the Beatles legend. Mickey Mantle made a LOT more money signing autographs in later life then he ever did playing baseball. If Mal hadn't been killed, he'd probably be very well off from writing books about his days with The Beatles.Bottomj line - Mal and The Beatles weren't "the best of friends" - he was their employee.And was probably very well paid at the time too.

    1. He was not well paid. He didn't even have his own house by 1967. And if one believes his diary entries that he hoped contributing to "Fixing a Hole" and its royalty returns would GET him that house, which failed to materialise, it tells you exactly why years later he was divorced from his wife, and they did not have enough money to pay for his funeral expenses. He was not well paid.

    2. Besides, the Beatles never "went out of business". They are not out of business now.

      Beatles music and memorabilia continue to sell even today, even though the Beatles themselves stopped performing as a group in 1970.

      All of the ex-Beatles inevitably used their Beatles histories to jump-start their new careers.

    3. It reminds me of Alistair Taylor, and why exactly he was written out of Beatles history. I'm not sure why. But he was. Must have done something wrong.

  4. Yay! Thanks for getting to this one! MMm. You make some very good points. I actually was watching, "Give My Regards to Broadstreet" last Thursday and I got to thinking about all that stuff that was going on with the stolen copy of the Sgt. Pepper album. That 1882 scene was *really* interesting (the rest of the movie is mind-blowingly, horrifyingly, boring as can be expected, but packed in the middle is this scene).

    I was thinking about the "friend", the "helper" guy who stole the glowing box and then shoved the boat off-shore- to everyone's doom. Eventually even his own. (Not Paul, though, he just got to witness it all) Then, in "real life" Paul is chasing that guy who stole the master tape, and then he eventually find him in a closet...forgives him- it's all good. I was also thinking about how it seemed from a couple of the Phoney videos that Mal was in possession of a bit of Sgt. Pepper memorabilia.

    Mmm. I don't *exactly* have a point here...yet. Just thanking you for keeping me thinking on this one. I agree- how he was treated was a tragedy...but then, I come to wonder, too, "Why?" What did he do that cast him from Paul's world (well, truly, Paul was ALWAYS a dick to him) and from the others (well, except for the Instant Karma take with John, him playing tambourine). Eh. Wasn't there something about how Paul sued his wife for memorabilia or something?

    1. Yeah McCartney slapped an injunction on her preventing her from selling memorabilia she had acquired. I think it was handwritten lyrics on a sheet of notepaper or something.

  5. Excellent write-up, doc. And I wholeheartedly agree with your view. Mal's story is very sad, and it seems he was under-appreciated and one is left wondering WHY.

    I have also wondered if his keeping notes, and/or "knowing too much" was his great crime, as you say...

    The circumstances surrounding his death seem equally as strange, if not more so. Did the person who called the police know it was only an air rifle? Why weren't they informed, if so? What happened to his manuscript? I think that's one of the biggest, most obvious and baffling mysteries. One of the greatest first-hand accounts of the beatles' career just disappears?

    The blurb in the newspaper makes perfect sense. No mystery there. Just more media complicity in covering up a wrongful shooting by police, by painting the victim in the least flattering light possible. They do this ALL THE TIME, which you can easily note, if you pay attention.

    The injunction by McCartney against the widow is odd, though. I was kind of angry when I first heard of that-- as at first glance it really does seem to make paul look like a greedy, thankless heel. However, as I thought about it, I found myself wondering if it was because Paul knows some stuff we don't. Maybe it was meant as a punishment against the widow, because of something she did to Mal? Just a thought....

    1. Exactly. The media actually paints it like the person DESERVED to be killed, maimed or shot or whatever fate befell them. That is most certainly the case with Mal Evans. I'm surprised they didn't try and ascribe him to be a junkie of some sort.

      Mal's story is just .... weird.

      But I also think Mal's story is central to this. The key to the door of the mysteries, is with Mal.

  6. Anytime someone says, "If something happens to me, make sure my book gets published," and they're dead a few hours later, you know something was wrong far beyond being underpaid. I agree with you about the backstories for many Beatles songs, too, particularly those written after 1966, and behind some of Wings' music. They never make a lick of sense.

    1. Digging deeper into Mal's story only suggests all one will find is discrepancy after discrepancy.