"Who's The Redhead On The Roof...? (My Life With The Beatles)" by Kevin Harrington
Review and Interview with Kevin Harrington

By Ronnie


Kevin has a new book out, "Who's The Redhead On The Roof...? (My Life With The Beatles)" on Apcor Books. It was previously only available as an e-book, but the new hardcover book adds an additional chapter on his involvement with George's Bangla Desh concert.

Kevin started working for NEMS and Brian Epstein when he was only 15 (talk about a dream job!), eventually moving on to help "The Boys" as their roadie during their Apple years. So you get the details of what it was like on a daily basis setting up their equipment and being there during their recordings. These details might seem mundane to some, but to any Beatlemaniac they are ultra cool! Kevin describes they setup and layouts of the equipment, where each of them normally sat, even their tea breaks, etc. Also, Kevin gives some insight into Mal Evans, which you don't always hear alot about. For instance, Mal's humour - when he sent Kevin to the music store to get al "electric plectrum" (guitar pick) for the Beatles!

There is lots of fascinating minutia: getting chauffeured by Paul on one occasion, unknowingly scoring drugs for Lennon, being there when George quit the Beatles (and afterwards driving with Paul to John's to discuss the matter), making Yoko's bed in Abbey Road studios, etc.

Overall the book is highly enjoyable and a great look at what it was like to work for the Beatles at Apple!

EC: First let me say that your book is very entertaining and I know that I am so envious of the position you held at NEMS (at the age of 15!) and later with the Beatles at Apple! Your book first came out as an e-book, what inspired you to write your story?

Kevin Harrington: My wife Jan googled my name together with The Beatles in the mid 2000s and it came up with various sites and on each site had a different job description for me. As nobody knew what I did I decided to set the record straight. Deciding to write it was the easy part, actually writing it was hard, never having written anything longer than an email before. I knew it would have to be a very personal view of those times as looking at all the other books about The Beatles I knew nothing about the band compared to the average fan.

EC: You started at NEMS, eventually becoming Brian Epstein's personal office boy. Brian is known for his mercurial temper with his staff, did you ever show this temper to you?

Kevin Harrington: No, I never saw that side to him towards me or anyone else.

EC: For the "All You Need Is Love" broadcast in 1967, Tony Bramwell was there - did you have any part in it?

Kevin Harrington: No, I was still an office boy so the nearest I got to the broadcast was picking up the acetate from Abbey Road.

EC: You mentioned getting the see the rushes for "Magical Mystery Tour." I'm curious why you weren't included in the film itself? Was it because you still had your "regular" job at NEMS?

Kevin Harrington: Yes, that's basically it.

EC: Mal Evans was on some of the Beatles Christmas discs, given out to fans each year. Did you even get to observe any of these being recorded?

Kevin Harrington: No, those were before my time.

EC: You started with Apple in early 1968. In May 1968 the Beatles recorded demos for the "White Album" at George's place Kinfauns. Mal was there, did you get to attend?

Kevin Harrington: No, I was still an office boy only now at Apple.

Right: Kevin on Ringo's drums

EC: I love your story about being asked to clap on one song, but being too nervous! And you also sang on "Bungalow Bill". Where there any other songs you added to? I know Mal was at the session for "What's the New Mary Jane".

Kevin Harrington: I know there were other songs I added too but, and it may seem strange, I can't remember which songs.

EC: You mentioned being at the "Hey Jude" promo shoot. From your description in the book, you were back behind Ringo's riser, correct? Making sure that fans didn't steal his one set of drumsticks? So you didn't get to really "see" the filming?

Kevin Harrington: No, Mal thought it best if I look after Ringo at the back.

EC: Were you at the filming for the "Revolution" promo?

Kevin Harrington: If I remember correctly Hey Jude and Revolution were filmed on the same day, but the fans were brought in just for the Hey Jude song.

EC: When Mal took you to see the Rolling Stones at Olympic was Brian Jones still in the group? If so, did Brian seem functional at the time? (You hear all of these stories of how he was "out of it" in the studio in 1968.

Kevin Harrington: Yes he was there and as far as I could tell everything seemed fine from my position in the control room, but we didn't stay long.

EC: Speaking of the Stones, did you happen to attend their "Rock and Roll Circus" in December of 1968 (where John performed)?

Kevin Harrington: No that was a Stones thing.

Right: Kevin as John Lennon's music stand

EC: I watched "Let It Be" again last night and one of my favorite scenes is where you are holding the lyrics for "Dig A Pony" for John. You know that probably means you probably had the closest seat of anybody at ANY Beatles live show (at least for one song)?!

Kevin Harrington: I think if John hadn't asked me to hold the lyrics, I would have stayed in the background and not have been noticed by the world so the questions about my role may not have arisen and I may never have written the book.

EC: While holding the lyrics you were even laughing when George (and then John) did funny poses during "Dig A Pony". Were you nervous at all during your screen time on this song?

Kevin Harrington: By this time I had been working for "The Boy's" long enough to be relaxed about anything they asked me to do but I won't lie, it did feel strange kneeling on a roof in front of John while he's singing, knowing I was being filmed.

Right: Yoko's bed in Abbey Road studios

EC: Online I found the picture of Yoko's bed in Abbey Road studios (which you had to make in addition to your regular duties!) Does it bring back any memories?

Kevin Harrington: The only memory is that it seemed weird to be making a bed up after setting up the equipment. But ours is not to reason why.

EC: After the Bangla Desh concert did you have any contact with any of the Beatles? Or with Mal Evans?

Kevin Harrington: I meet Paul a couple of times, once at Air Studios when Jim Gordon was doing a session and about 4 years later at Abbey Road when I was working for Steve Harley, as for Mal, no I was kept busy on the road.

EC: In the years after the Beatles you worked with: Derek and the Dominoes, Wishbone Ash, Ted Nugent, Motörhead, etc. Will there perhaps be a sequel book about your time on the road?

Kevin Harrington: I have a manuscript of 40,000 words which is the sum total of 3 weeks getting all of it out of my head on tape and my wife typing it out.

I am not a writer and the effort of doing it by myself is to daunting. it took me over 8 years to get this part of the book published. My lack of writing skills made the task much harder and that's the reason why it's written as it is, is because I wrote the story as I would tell it over a few drinks.

EC: Speaking of Motörhead, with the recent death of Lemmy Kilmister, do any memorable moments come to mind when you think about your time with Motörhead?

Kevin Harrington: I had so many memorable times with Lemmy and Motörhead from the very first gig at the Isle of Man TT weekend.

Let me tell you how that first gig went and the aftermath. The gig and night went great with no problems until I had to settle up the hotel bill in the morning. The hotel manager mentioned the fire in Mr. Kilmister's room and said he wanted the damaged paid. He explained it was a fire that burnt the bed sheets so naturally I asked to see the damage. He led me to the laundry room and picked up first a bed cover with a 1m hole with burnt edges, then he held a blanket with a smaller hole with burnt edges and finally a sheet was held up with a smaller hole in it. I signed for the damage. Walking back to reception the manager, in his morning suit, asked which one of the group wore a leather jacket jeans and white footwear. I told him they all do and asked why. He said one of his chamber maids had found one of the group in the house keeping room urinating in the sink. He said he didn't mind so much except it was his youngest employee.

That was the beginning of 9 months with Lemmy.

EC: When you hear a Beatles song on the radio, do you ever flashback to the time you were there at the recording?

Kevin Harrington: Any time I hear a Beatles tune I always go back there for a moment or two, then forget about it till the next reminder.

EC: Have you been asked in the past to speak at any Beatles conventions? And now that the book is out, do you plan on doing so?

Kevin Harrington: I have been invited to one which I said yes I would like to attend, but I have not heard back from them.

To get your copy of "Who's The Redhead On The Roof...? (My Life With The Beatles)" by Kevin Harrington, go to the Apcor Books website