The Peculiar Truth about the Beatles’ Roadie
- 1962: Liverpool native Malcolm Evans was 27 years old, married, and working as a telephone engineer. He and his new bride had an infant son.
- Evans — better known as Mal — became a fan of the Cavern Club’s house band, the Beatles.
- To make extra cash, Evans moonlighted as the club’s bouncer. Though he wore glasses, Mal was 6’6” tall, an imposing height.
- The Beatles hired him as their personal bodyguard and roadie.
- 1963: The group became worldwide sensations, and Mal’s life changed dramatically.
- He and fellow road manager Neil Aspinall traveled with the group to America and around the globe.
- They had to ward off the band’s adoring fans everywhere.
- Mal felt as though he was part of the Beatles’ extended family.
- He appeared briefly in the movies A Hard Days Night and Help!
- After a disastrous appearance in the Philippines in which the Beatles inadvertently insulted President Marcos’ wife, Evans was beaten while trying to protect the Beatles. Local officials ordered him off the band’s airplane before departure, and he feared he might be imprisoned or die. Instead, all of the money earned from the Philippines shows had to be handed over, and then the group left without further incident.
- When the Beatles stopped touring one month after that, Mal Evans remained as the band’s personal assistant.
- He traveled with Paul McCartney on private trips across Europe. He and George Harrison visited the US. Evans went to India in advance of the group’s stay at an ashram. Wherever the Beatles went, Mal was usually there.
- That included the recording studio. He fetched them whatever they needed, from the important to the mundane.
- Mal made some minor creative contributions. He sang background on a few tunes and banged on an anvil on Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.
- In the documentaries Let It Be and Get Back, Mal can be seen on the rooftop during the live performance dealing with local police.
- By the late 60s, Allen Klein took over as the Beatles’ manager and fired Mal. George, Paul, and Ringo had him rehired. But he never received a pay raise.
- Evans recommended that Apple Records, the Beatles’ label, sign a band he liked called Badfinger. He received producer credit for their album.
- After the Beatles broke up, Evans moved to Los Angeles, separated from his wife, and began producing other minor artists, to limited success.
- During the Christmas holidays of 1975, Mal’s wife asked for a divorce. That sent him into a depression that led to drugs and alcohol.
- January 1976: Los Angeles police responded to a call from Mal’s friend who worried about his condition. Four officers arrived at Mal’s apartment to discover him on drugs. He aimed a weapon at them.
- Mal held an air rifle, essentially a high-powered pellet gun.
- The police shot and killed him.
- Mal Evans died at age 40.
- None of the Beatles attended his memorial service.
- Evans was cremated in America. His ashes were sent to England.
- However, the ashes got lost in the mail.
- To which John Lennon quipped, “They should look in the dead letter file.”
Dan is the author of over a dozen novels. His latest is Tight Five.
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