PAUL McCARTNEY: We’d been discussing starting up a label for a while, but we got serious when we got back from India. John wanted to call it Maggot Music, but that was summarily voted down. By me.
JOHN LENNON: To us, the music industry didn’t work. Sure, we were doing okay, but for A band would get a record deal, then, unless they immediately hit the charts, they’d become persona non grata. There was no nurturing. No vision. No love. And no monsters.
PAUL McCARTNEY: Outside of the Grateful Dead, we were the only successful rock band that had a single zombie member. Actually, the Dead probably had more than one zombie, but nobody was sure, and they weren’t talking.
There were plenty of jazz monsters around—Miles Davis is a vampire, of course, and Thelonious Monk is an unclassifiable deity, kind of like our old friend Roy Orbison, I suppose—and the classical world was littered with swamp things, but rock ‘n’ roll, nothing. So we decided that our new baby, Apple Records, would have a roster consisting entirely of otherworldly beings. Thing is, it’s not easy to find monster musicians in Europe—England isn’t loaded with clubs that offer open mic nights for swamp things—so we had to put the word out all by ourselves. And that meant hitting the streets. And the sewers.
JOHN LENNON: Neil and I designed these leaflets alerting the monster world we were accepting demos from non-mortals of all shapes and sizes. We hung the posters all over London, and only got one single tape, and they we didn’t consider signing that group, because, well, let’s just say that “Something Fishy’s Going On” by The Raspberry Blueberry Booger Boogie Beat Extraction featuring Willie the Hydra wasn’t exactly a toe-tapper. We found out quickly that the chance of finding a solid, well-oiled all-monster band was unlikely, as your typical moleman doesn’t have the means to buy a decent guitar, or rent a decent rehearsal studio.
So we ripped down the old notices and replaced them with new posters announcing a one-day-only audition. Be you monster, human, man, woman, or child, if you were good, you’d get signed. But if you were bad, you’d get killed.
PAUL McCARTNEY: John talked a good game, but didn’t follow through. We didn’t murder anybody at the audition. But we almost got murdered ourselves.
When I found out the Prince of Darkness and his psychedelic rock quartet, Mister Master Lucifer and the Lemon Leviathan Meat Machine Aftermath, tried out for a spot on the Apple Records roster, I had to chat with The Man himself. Correctly surmising that the Devil wasn’t going to be vacationing in Chicago during my lifetime, I made a few calls and pulled a few strings, and, in April of 2007, I found myself sitting in Mephistopheles’s tasteful, well air-conditioned office down in the Sixth Ring, chatting amiably about his frustrating afternoon running through his repertoire for Lennon and McCartney.
LUCIFER: Mister Master Lucifer and the Lemon Leviathan Meat Machine Aftermath was tight, brother, really frickin’ tight. And I knew it would be, ’cause I had a shit-ton of badass motherfuckers to choose from. I had this Italian guitar dude with me who could shred some mad axe, Gaetano Vinaccia was his name. My drummer, this German cat called Theo Ludwig, was sick, totally frickin’ sick. And my bassist was another dago killer named Dom Dragonetti, and that kid was ree-donk-u-lous. As for me, well, I could sing a little somethin’ somethin’.
I didn’t tell John and Paul I was who I was. If they didn’t recognize me, they didn’t deserve to recognize me, you know what I mean? Besides, it wasn’t about me—it was about the tunes, the vibes, and the musicianship. My status as the Dark Lord shouldn’t have had a damn thing to do with whether or not they offered me a deal. If Mister Master Lucifer and the Lemon Leviathan Meat Machine Aftermath sucked, we didn’t deserve a shot.
But Mister Master Lucifer and the Lemon Leviathan Meat Machine Aftermath didn’t suck.
We did a real, honest-to-badness, ahead-of-our-time show at Apple Corps, baby. We were using lasers before there were lasers, and strobes before there were strobes, and dancing hoochie mamas before there were dancing hoochie mamas. I felt bad that McCartney’s office went up in flames—Gaetano couldn’t aim a fireball to save his life—but shit happens. It’s rock ‘n’ roll. You rock with it, and you roll with it.
Those dickwads hated us. Whoda thunk that zombies could be so uptight? So what if our songs went a few thousand decibels higher than “In My Life”? So what if Dom played a twenty-minute acoustic bass solo with his cock? So what if we sacrificed three virgins and eight swine during our encore…not that they asked for an encore, but we were gonna play our full set whether they wanted to hear it or not.
Listen, man, where did they get off telling us that our jams were quote-too-heavy-unquote? Or that quote-our-guitar-solos-went-on-too-long-unquote. Or that quote-it-wasn’t-good-for-The-Beatles-image-to-have-one-of-the-bands-on-our-new-label-burn-down-an-entire-city-block-unquote. What a pair of hypocrite asswipes.
Obviously they didn’t offer me a contract, and from my perspective, those cats had no ears. I mean, they signed Mary Hopkins and James Taylor. Can you believe that shit? Mary fucking Hopkins and James fucking Taylor. Wait’ll I get that pansy Taylor gets down here. He’ll see fire, alright, but not a single drop of fucking rain.
JOHN LENNON: After that fookin’ Lucifer bloke took the entire Apple Records staff back with him to the underworld, we abandoned the monster idea and gave the label a rest.