An Illustrated History of the Beatles' Multimedia Corporation Vol 2: The Winter of Discontent (January to March 1969)
By Axel Korinth, Ed Dieckmann, Antonio Caroselli, with Sara Schmidt

Book review and interview with authors Axel Korinth & Ed Dieckmann

By Ronnie


Right: The book cover (click for a larger view).

Well, we had to wait 2 years for A IS FOR APPLE: An Illustrated History of the Beatles' Multimedia Corporation Vol. 2: The Winter of Discontent (January to March 1969)...but it was well worth the wait! Using the same format as Vol. 1, the book is over 700 pages. This is the second installment of a series of books that tell the story of the Beatles Apple. The book only covers January to March 1969, but as any Beatles fan knows - that was a busy time for activity: the Get Back sessions, John & Paul's weddings, John & Yoko's peace campaign, the entry of Allen Klein, just to name a few. And of course each of these is well documented in the book.

Vol. 2 is pretty much the same format, with reproductions of: contracts, rare letters, newspaper articles, etc. And of course the discography is exhaustive, showing every available cover for each Apple release. On my second read of the book, I concentrated on just the footnotes because I'm such a Beatles trivia nut and there was such fascinating information there! One observation: the book seems to read easier in Vol. 2 (read the following interview and you'll see why).

Here's just a small list of what is covered: There is background on the Nagra (especially cool for all you "Get Back" bootleg fans). And...the mystery of the "Rockpeace" song is solved! I had never heard about George's proposed musical with Derek Taylor - or Tom Newman's painting ending up on the rooftop during the Beatles last performance. Speaking of which, former Quarryman Rod Davis happened to be there for the rooftop concert. I had no idea that there was an Apple "house" band. The background of Subafilms in discussed, as well as a Who TV show that never reached fruition! When I got the book, of course I first jumped to all the sections on the "Get Back" sessions, which give a great day-by-day summary, along with lists of what songs/film sections of each day ended up on: official music releases; the Let It Be film; any promos; bootlegs, etc.

The book also includes a free 7" vinyl EP of previously unreleased recordings by Slow Dog, winners of an Apple Records contest in 1969 (which is also covered in the book).

A IS FOR APPLE VOL. 2 is a must-have for Beatles aficionados, just for the wealth of information it contains all in one book! And like Vol. 1, it is presented like a work of art, in glorious colour, with much detail given to each page's layout (I used to work at a print shop and I know a quality print job when I see it!). I'm just glad that we probably won't have to wait the customary 2 years for Vol. 3! Read the following interview and you'll see why.


Right: Tom Newman's painting on the rooftop.

EC: First, congratulations on a superb sequel to Volume I of A Is For Apple! I'm already on my 3rd reading of the book! Did you approach this book differently from Vol I, and if so how?

Axel: Thank you, Ronnie. Yes, it was a different approach compared to Vol. 1. Firstly, Vol. 1 was initially written in German and it was not structured very well. Now for the second book, the writing was done in English from the beginning. Also, we have decided to have more chapters. The book is more or less chronological but not as chronological as the first one. But now that we have chapters about such complex topics like the planned NEMS takeover, the book is far more workable.

Ed: Thank you, Sir! For me, there wasn't much difference in working on Vol. 2 compared to the first one. As Axel is the writer of the main story, I am only 'called on' when there's a need for scans for a discography. He's really the writer of it all, and I just make suggestions and did the lay out for the book this time, as well as trying to get the scans together and doing other odd jobs, such as transcribing interviews, keeping the archive up-to-date, etc.

Right: Yellow Hopmarine (click image for a larger view), one of the the custom Apcor brews that is not yet available outside of Germany. Also available is Allen Klein Bitter Ale.

The only thing, despite some severe setbacks we've had with the last two volumes, is that we're getting more and more experienced in compiling these books and this speeds up the process. We seem to intuitively know what the other wants and that makes working on this project a real pleasure. And Axel brews some great beers as well!

EC: Originally, Vol. II was to cover all of 1969, correct? And, do you think you'll be able to cover the rest of 1969 in Vol. III?

Axel: I think the initial plan was to cover 1969 and 1970. At some point we realized that we have enough pages finished to release another book. So that's how Vol. 2 came about. It wasn't planned like that but then there's no way we could have covered everything in one book.

Ed: Well, for a start I will be using an even smaller font to get more text in from now on (insert smiley here). Once Axel starts, he just doesn't stop and we've said this before, since we don't have an editor, we pretty well want to include just about every bit of information we think may be interesting. As these books should be the final word on everything (connected to) Apple, we might as well go the whole stretch. But on the other hand we don't want to end up with a 20 Volume set of books, either. We're doing our best is all I can say!

EC: I find it curious that for the recent documentary, "The Beatles, Hippies And Hell's Angels" didn't take you up on your offer to assist?

Axel: Well, that was their decision. I do think that we would have been able to connect them with some more interesting Apple people. Also, there were some bad mistakes in the film. But it was OK overall.

Ed: I didn't mind that so much. Film making is a whole different discipline from compiling books, so I guess being asked to work on something like this demands a totally different approach which may not have been up our alley so to say, and besides we need all the time we can spare to get anything done at all. These books take up a lot of hours, as you will understand. I, too, liked the documentary, though! Pity though that the production company seems to have dissolved right after the movie was finished. We would like to have asked them where that copy of King Of Fuh which was being shown played on a record player came from, because it definitely wasn't an ordinary copy! (Read all about this in Vol. 3!).

EC: It is so important that your team is documenting Apple, since so many of these folks are dying off (Magic Alex, Jackie Lomax, just to name a few)! Have you already completed interviews for the upcoming volumes?

Axel: Oh yes, there are many interviews completed for future volumes. But time is always our worst enemy. We were about to interview Sid Maurer only the other day when he suddenly died. He did the artwork for Modern Jazz Quartet's Space LP and was involved in other projects. It's so sad that we will never learn his side of the story.

Ed: It is such a shame all these people are literally dropping like flies. That's only natural I guess, most of the people involved are in their 70s or older and sadly that's the way it goes. It sometimes makes you want to wish we started this whole project 10-20 years earlier.

EC: What were the surprises that you uncovered for this book?

Right: Scenes from Timothy Travel

Axel: Too many to mention. I think there's some sort of surprise on every page of the book. But for me, the most fascinating aspects are probably Rock Peace and Timothy Travel.

Ed: The biggest surprise to me was that the guy who did the artwork for the front cover did a Voormann on us! (Talk your way out of that one, Ronnie!) :)

EC: How long did it take you to notice my "Voormann"? You didn't notice me on the first volume on the bus?!

Axel: Seriously, I haven't noticed you on Vol. 1 at all! Someone who shall remain omnibus pointed out that you are driver. Haha!

EC: Just kidding, I wasn't on the bus on Vol. I.

Ed: We are thinking of sacking our cover art guy, the cheek!!!!

EC: As with the last book, Vol. II is a virtual treasure trove of trivia. On my second read, I just read only the footnotes because there was such fascinating information there! (the background of the Nagra; George's musical with Derek Taylor; the Bubble Puppy connection to Apple; that Brian Epstein actually met with Allen Klein; the Apple "house" band; Tom Newman's painting on the rooftop; the mystery of Rockpeace"; former Quarrymen Rod Davis being there for the rooftop concert, etc). How did you divide up the research? Was one person in charge of trivia/timelines and another in charge of discographies, etc.?

Axel: Yes, that's basically the way we are working. Ed usually compiles the discographies and takes care of our archives. I'm doing the main writing and I conduct most interviews. Funny that you mention the footnotes. I'm a big fan of footnotes. Only reading the footnotes in Mark's Tune In is fascinating in itself!

Right: Summertime acetate by Thorsten Knublauch.

Ed: Working on a project like this, we come across tidbits of information that are too good not to publish, even if we run the risk of getting off to a tangent where the connection with Apple is so minimal that it shouldn't really be included. But we always decide to include stuff like this as it's usually very interesting for Beatles fans anyway and we suspect most Apple lovers are Beatles fans as well. Take for instance the scan of the Summertime acetate that Thorsten Knublauch did so well. It's only very marginally connected to the Get Back Sessions chapter, but too good not to publish.

EC: I laughed out loud when I saw the covers for the proposed "toothbrush" albums! How did that thing even get past the "idea" stage?

Axel: No idea. But we can be grateful that this idea was dropped.

Ed: I wonder about that many times. The Beatles Movie Medley comes to mind, as well........

Right: The infamous proposed "Toothbrush" album.

EC: Equally bizarre is the Timothy Travel TV puppet series! Did you actually get to see the pilot episode?

Axel: Yes, we've seen the pilot. Compared to other puppet animation series like The Thunderbirds it's really bad. The soundtrack written by Doris Troy and the Apple House Band's Chris Hadfield is actually excellent.

Ed: Yes, that was an experience in itself. It's really quite awful, but the music was very, very interesting, very much unlike Doris Troy but one wishes this project had been finished in one way or another so we could have had the music. It's such a pity that stuff like this is rotting away in some vault. That of course goes for a lot of other Apple-related stuff as well, of course.

EC: I also loved getting the background on George's "Electronic Sounds" Zapple album. I actually have an original copy with Bernie Krause's name "silvered out"! I imagine there will be more on that album in Vol. III?

Axel: Yes, the full discography will be in Vol. 3. I think Ed even has a copy signed for him by George Harrison himself, right?

Ed: Yes I do, and that will definitely be shown in Vol. 3. An underrated album, I would say, even if it's not the best Apple album around. It certainly is the best Zapple album around, in my humble opinion! I was amazed at how pissed of Bernie Krause still was after decades about how he felt he was treated by George!

Axel: No, the best Zapple album is a never released one. Zapple 05: Charles Bukowski's LP. One of my favorite writers and his Zapple LP is probably amongst his best readings ever. I wish this one would have been released in 1969!

Ed: Of course I have to disagree here. I'd rather hear George plonking away on a Moog than Bukowski and his drunk ramblings. I can do much better when I've had a couple of Axel's beers....

Axel: Actually, Buke's burping is not so much different from George's Moog noises. I understand that Barry Miles initially wanted to mash up George's Electronic Sounds with Charles Bukowski's Alcoholic Sounds but Allen Klein nixed that idea. No, that's not true.

Right: A colourful letter by George regarding Brute Force.

EC: I loved how your presented the "Get Back" sessions, with concise day-by-day listings of what was filmed/recorded each day and what release each was found on (both legit and bootleg)!

Axel: I must confess that I love those day-by-day listings as well. It was also fascinating to find the original versions of the songs the Beatles covered throughout the January sessions.

Ed: I especially liked working on finding the scans of all the labels of the originals the Beatles covered. Even if we didn't succeed in finding all of them, we found I think around 95% of them, which is not bad, I would say. I think they liven up the GB Sessions chapters.

EC: While I'm still enjoying Vol. II, I can't wait for Vol. III! Do you think you'll be able to unearth any facts on the alleged October 1969 meeting of the Beatles?

Axel: I'm sure we will.

Ed: I'm sure we won't. Just kidding.

Having said that, when we started out with the whole A Is For Apple project I could never have dreamed we would get to speak and correspond with so many Apple-related people, most of whom were fantastic and very much willing to cooperate with us, and to get to read so many documents, hear sound recordings and see footage never seen before, so who knows? But especially the tape that is said to exist of this meeting seems to be guarded very well by the few people who own a copy, so it'll take a lot of hard work and luck to unearth it.

EC: Will you continue the tradition of offering a record with each new volume?

Ed: Basically, yes. We'd like to give our readers something extra, and the positive feedback suggests people appreciate the extra disc(s).

Axel: And I might well add that a couple of people have asked for a CD release of those rare acetates and stuff. We're currently compiling an album containing most of the Apcor singles with a lot of additional stuff. I guess there will be an announcement very soon.

EC: Since you said that you are now more experienced with the book process - does that mean we can expect Volume III in 2018?!

Ed: We don't want to pin ourselves down with regards to a release date yet. We're just trying to keep ahead of Mark Lewisohn!

Axel: Actually, I'm quite positive that we will release Vol. 3 in 2018.