So I started my speech: “This
Grummy (mumbled) is presented to yet another of our engineers Mr. John Mills for honours above and below the belt, and for not picking his nose in public. I give you John Mills.” When he got closer to his ‘Grummy,’ the look on his face changed. He
realized it was a joke, plus I don’t think that he listened to my speech either. Everyone had either sussed it out or knew anyway.
George Harrison and Terry Doran came up to me and congratulated me on the presentation and also on how we had managed to keep it secret. George asked me if I had anything else up my sleeve and I told him that I was also ‘doing up’ the ABKCO lot: they were the people who worked directly for Allan Klein. I told George that I was also doing up Malcolm Davies as he had become an ABKCO arse-kisser. Then I showed George and Terry the button badges we had made for the occasion which read: “ABKCO Brown Nose of the Year Award.”
I had been patting Malcolm on the back and ensuring that with each pat he received another badge on his back. George thought that this was hilarious as he didn’t have much love for the ABKCO lot, so he started sticking lots of badges on his denim jacket. Terry Doran started doing the same. Then one of the ABKCO guys, Terry Melish, came up to me and said “I don’t think that is very funny and I don’t think Mr. Klein will either,” to which George piped up with: “ I think it’s funny and that’s all that matters so go back to your table and enjoy yourself.” I was so proud of George for that.
I later found out that John Mills had taken his Award outside on the boat and thrown it overboard. We all laughed as it served its purpose, for the evening anyway.
It was a great party as it got all the staff together and allowed them just to be themselves, as if you were working very hard you didn’t always get the time to be social with each other. The Beatles did try to promote the idea that enjoying your job made you put in a lot more effort. Before Allan Klein’s staff came to Apple every one would just work on until the job was done be it eight, nine or ten o’clock at night. I know I did a lot of that, but when ABKCO arrived the first thing they had us all do was to sign in when we got to work, sign out at lunch time, back from lunch and sign out when we left at night time.
ABKCO were big on having meetings to discuss the running of the Company. I must admit I was one of the first staff to say that this signing in and out was not such a good idea. This was because nearly all of us worked on till the jobs were finished, and if we were dealing with other parts of the world we would need to be there at different times.
Klein didn’t like my comment and made a remark about English people putting extra time in to get overtime. I spoke up again saying that although I did work longer hours than were on my contract he could gladly look at the details of my wages and he would see that the only time any overtime was claimed for was at weekends (our time off) as we were so busy in the week we did not have time to spend on maintenance with the equipment in the Studio. His face could have sunk a thousand ships, and all the others at the meeting would nod an approval to me.
I knew that Klein was not used to people speaking back to him, he liked to rule with an iron rod, unless any of the Beatles were there, then he would try to be nice in front of them to get his ‘brownie points’.
Anyway back to John Mills: Somehow I’ll never know how he got the job working on the Roger Daltrey solo album which was written by Dave Courtney (not the heavy weight knuckles man) and produced by the late and great Adam Faith. I used to pop in now and again to make sure that Millsey wasn’t messing up as it was a very important album for Roger, being his first solo album. Dave and Adam also had a deadline to finish in order to collect their financial advance from Polydor Records.
One night about eight o’clock I was working away in the cutting room, when Adam Faith came in to see me explaining that tomorrow was their deadline at Polydor for the advance. Unfortunately, Millsey had just walked out on the session in a huff and said that he was not coming back. Adam asked if I could please help them out as they knew that I had received training as a balance engineer from Geoff Emerick. They still had one more vocal track to lay down, and they needed to mix two tracks and make a copy tape to take to Polydor in the morning so that they could get the advance cheque.