“I traveled to Liverpool in 1965, and I ended up getting held hostage on a ship. It’s a crazy story, but I managed to escape. I was all over the Liverpool newspapers. There was so much interest in me, being that I was this kid from American kid and all.
“I went over there because I wanted to be a part of what was going on with the music in the mid-‘60s. Rubber Soul came out the day I escaped, and I bought it that same day – in Liverpool. I thought that was pretty cool. I ended up getting deported too.
“Some years later, I’m working at the Record Plant. I was an engineer on the cusp, so I was assisting while cutting demos for Billy Joel and Labelle and some other people. I did a lot of editing. One of my jobs was to transfer these two-tracks that John Lennon cut in England to multi-tracks so he could do overdubs in New York. These would be 16-track. I was hearing a lot of the songs before anybody else was, which was a thrill. I was a massive fan of his.
“About a week into this, John walked into the room. He was looking for a place to get away from everything. He wanted to just sit. On the other side of the console was a couch, so he sat there, and all I could see were his shoes and his cigarette smoke.
“After about 10 minutes, I got up the courage to tell him that I’d been to Liverpool. His head popped up. ‘You’ve been to Liverpool?’ he said. ‘Why on earth would you go there? It’s a dirty, terrible place. Where are you from?’ I said, ‘I’m from New York.’ And then I told him the story, how I went over because I loved the music and I wanted to get involved with it, how I ended up getting deported. He just looked at me and said, ‘You weren’t that crazy Yank, were you? That was in all the papers!’
“He got really excited to meet me. It was amazing. He invited me into the tracking rooms, he gave me a ride home in his limo. Pretty soon, I was working on the record as an assistant. We became friends.”