Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Logical Contradiction:
Cutting Deals with Stan Polley
This is another subject that is incredulous about Joey's version of Badfinger history, the purported "deal" he worked out with Polley in 1974 to buy Badfinger out of its contracts. I don't doubt that Joey actually spoke with Polley on this matter, or that they spoke about cutting a deal. What I doubt is that Joey understood the situation - either then or now.

First, as has been clearly stated by many Polley clients, this character routinely gathered money to himself by any means possible. He never gave/sold back contracts if he could still make money from them. Badfinger's contracts still had much more money to yield. Second, this is the same person who pulled a gun on one of his clients, and laughed and taunted other clients when they asked him to be financially reasonable. According to a witness before a Senate investigation committee, Polley worked his way up through the ranks of organized crime. He was mean, tough, and shrewd.

Now, Joey claims he worked out a deal with Polley where Badfinger would buy back its contracts from him. One problem here is that Badfinger didn't have any real money that wasn't already in Polley's bank account. What was Polley's incentive? Did Joey threaten that Badfinger would sue Polley? Polley's history of court victories indicate this would not have worried him. Besides, because of these lopsided contracts, Polley was legally safe in his operation. Did Joey threaten that the band would break up? I don't believe a single member could make a convincing case for this. No matter how you weigh it, this purported "deal" simply does not have any logical conclusions to it.

My theory is that Joey was duped by Polley; a stalling tactic meant to get the musician out of his hair. He knew he could simply agree to anything Joey suggested, and that the musician would soon be on a jet and on his way out of the country. Polley was probably laughing before Joey even made it to the end of the street. Once Joey was back in England, he would no longer be a problem for Polley, and any agreement he made would simply be ignored from that point forward.

Not to be too hard on Joey, but Polley bamboozled people who were far more worldly than any Badfinger member. Badfinger were naive, idealistic hippie kids who were dealing with a very experienced and cunning shark. I can't believe an equitable deal could have been struck between any Badfinger member and Polley. The chasm was far too wide, and Badfinger simply had nothing to offer or threaten him with.

It's funny because several times both Joey & Kathie Molland criticized Bill Collins for being "duped" by Polley. It's also funnier when I see Joey - even today - claiming in interviews that he "worked out a deal" with the devil. I suspect we have an ex-hippie running around who is still being duped by Polley.

Monday, November 28, 2005

How Many Arguments Will Stick To The Wall?

At the bottom of the October page, in the 'Comments' section, I argued with "Dexy" about the Badfinger book. This debater, although using better structure than some previous opponents, has used the same overall approach; i.e. throw everything you can against the wall and see if anything sticks. The problem with this approach is the abundance of refuted arguments that fall to the ground.

Dexy eventually supplied some answers to my questions, which are in the comments section of this article, but few of these are very applicable to the accuracy of the book.

In this case (as in many cases), the argument mainly revolves around whether or not author Dan Matovina had a bias against the Mollands and portrayed that in the book. Any proponent of "bias" is working from a presumption. The burden of proof for a presumption is squarely on the shoulders of the proponent. I don't have to prove the non-existence of bias. In the case of "bias," I look at the verified evidence and conclude there was none, or at least none that is perceivable.

Regarding the topic of missing information: This is a subject that can be forever debated without any resolution. Theoretically, a totally comprehensive book on any subject could fill several sets of encyclopedias. Obviously not every bit of information will be included in a single book. Are the things that are left out designed to deceive the readers? Conspiracy proponents will say yes. I say no. The preponderance of available, verified evidence indicates the book presents facts as they are. Interviewees who have stepped forward have said the book represented what they said, and basically represented events as they remembered them. Not a single book participant has stepped forward and said Matovina twisted facts or was pushing an agenda.

Suppose a piece of missing information was something favorable to Joey, say a charity benefit he performed for. Is this evidence for "bias?" Again, the preponderance of evidence suggests not. One might also find a charity benefit performed by Tom Evans that was not included, or a substantial contribution made by Pete Ham to a charity that was not included. A modus operandi would need to be compiled, not a single instance, to prove an omission of facts against the Mollands. But since the book has been far more informative than Joey has been about Badfinger history, the problem of omissions appears to reside in Joey's corner.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Astronaut History #1:
Joey's last conversation with Tom.

As noted on the sidebar, Joey claims that he is the only person capable of telling the Badfinger story because he is the only "astronaut" who was there. For decades Joey has told his story many times, and he hasn't yet provided a good description of the moon. One result of Joey's stories was the confusion noted by Bill DeYoung of Goldmine Magazine in 1997: "For although the high points of the Badfinger story have long been common knowledge, they've always read like some kind of impressionist road map, open forever to individual interpretation and with lots of blank spaces and grey areas left to be filled in."

DeYoung's confusion was probably due in part to Joey's sloppy details, but also due to some intentional revisions on Joey's part. One recent revision from Joey concerns his comments regarding his last conversation with Tom Evans.

In the following quote, Joey says he and Tom argued about money being held in escrow. Joey blames Tom for the holdup, "your lawyers." Joey also says that "nobody can agree that that's what the deal is." This is in reference to an agreement in splitting publishing royalities:

"Tommy said 'We've got to sort this money thing out.' I said to him, 'We can't sort it out. I've spent every penny I've had, three times in my life, and come back to England to try to sort it out with your lawyers. And we can't do it. Nobody can agree that that's what the deal is.'" (DISCoveries Magazine, 1991)

In 1982 and 1983, Tom clearly stated what was bothering him: "He's suing me for the Apple money from 'Without You.' They're all trying to sue me now, They want the money from 'Without You.'" Despite Tom's misuse of the word "sue," he was obviously upset about the royalty division of the song "Without You," the band's top money earner. Joey, Mike, and Bill Collins were seeking a greater percentage of that song than what Tom considered to be fair. If not for this one song, Tom would have benefitted from the division the others sought. So this first quote from Joey appears to be fairly accurate.

However, in the later quotes, Joey backtracks. He now says he and Tom did not discuss royalty divisions, or even talk about "Without You" at all:

"...For your information, when Tommy and I talked that last night we talked not about the money itself and who should get what but about how we could get the money out of the courts' hands and into ours. We disagreed how we could get it." (8-30-2004, from Randy Justesen's Guestbook)
And this: "I saw an article in something called Red Route, I think, where they used some passages from Matovina's writings about what Tommy and I talked, discussed, argued about on the phone the night of his suicide. I can assure you all that the "Without You" royalties were not." (12-3-2003, from Randy Justesen's Guestbook)

Why is Joey now recanting? Well, perhaps he doesn't want people to know that the night before Tom killed himself that he argued with him about the royalties from "Without You." For Joey to admit they argued about Tom's song would make him look mercenary (if not villainous because of Tom's pending death).

Astronaut or not, Joey can't change his mind about his lunar descriptions and expect to be believed.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Thanks Owen. Here's My Response...

I hope you don't mind but I moved your comments to the main board, as they are deserving of several answers:

Bill - you may want to watch the Katz documentary again, - Mike Gibbins can't remember the name of the drummer that he replaced in the Iveys -but you don't seem to hold that against him. Joey never played in the Iveys, but for some reason you feel it is inexcusable for him to get Ron Griffith's name wrong. Why aren't you holding Mike up to the same standards? Don't get me wrong - I have alot of respect for Mike - I never had the chance to meet him, I wish I would have.You say you have never met Joey, and that you don't want to. That is hardly forming your own opinion. I guess you let other people make up your mind for you? Will this post get edited from your blog? The one I left on Kevin's sure got deleted in a hurry.

Owen, thanks for the comments. I'd have to locate the filed-away Katz tape as I have long since gone DVD.

Anyway, I do remember Mike having a couple slip-ups as well (you'll note I did not put the entire "Dai Griffiths" blame on Joey either, but also on editing). Perhaps one big difference here is that the Katz documentary was "authorized" by Joey, who also claims to be the only "astronaut" capable of telling the Badfinger story. Mike never made such a claim. So yes, my standard for Joey is definitely higher than that for Mike. If Joey is the only self-proclaimed capable astronaut, he'd better be accurate in describing the moon.

No, I don't want to meet any musicians, actors or athletes (although I almost approached Joe Montana once in a moment of weakness). I admire artists for their artistry - not their personalities. And yes, the experiences of other people - and evidence - is sufficient for me to make up my mind. Especially if the witnesses are numerous, consistent, and in agreement. This is what is found in the "Without You" book. I also believe fans that know their favorite artist personally are more forgiving of blemishes than the artist's peers would be. This also is what is found in the "Without You" book; peers, professionals, and family evaluating the actions of each other - not fans. You'll note that there are many Michael Jackson fans who would walk through fire to defend him. The same with O.J. Simpson. They will say, "Hey, I've met him many, many times, and he's always been gracious to me. I can't believe he would do anything bad."

As far as deleting your comments - no way! I welcome your point of view and am delighted to discuss my position. The only comments I am deleting are spam. Thanks again.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hiding Embarrassment Or Revising History?
Generally speaking, authobiographies (whether written by the subject or ghostwritten) and authorized biographies tend to treat the subject delicately. This is understandable, and is why I have never been a fan of such books. Usually, these "authorized" books tend gloss over embarrassments and justify poor decisions or selfish motivations (note the Nixon memoirs where the subject shifts blame away from himself for anything Watergate-ish). Can some people chronicle their own history and still be objective and honest? I'm sure some people have managed it, but it all depends on the character of the individual.

So what about an authorized Molland biography?

A popular Badfinger guestbook has recently gone belly up. Operated by a fan and friend of Mr. and Mrs. Molland, it was this guestbook where Joey Molland and his wife would periodically offer comments. In my opinion, this guestbook was altered last week to hide a recent post offered by Joey (in late October) which was a rather caustic attack on author Dan Matovina. Molland put up a post about his experience at the Bangla Desh DVD launching event in Los Angeles, which appeared to be more of an excuse to vent some rage online at Matovina.

In response to Joey's post, I noted some inconsistency in his complaint. Joey then responded to clarify some points, but they still did not make much sense. At any rate, I suspect Molland had second thoughts about his original comments and asked Randy to delete the post, and thus caused the guestbook to go completely down in an attempt to camoflage the deletion.

This is similar to what has happened in the past. Joey Molland's wife made a comment on an "official" Badfinger guestbook where she called many Badfinger fans "termites." This occured sometime around 1999. There was a strong negative reaction to this, and not-to-amazingly the guestbook was pulled down within days. At the time, Mrs. Molland admitted she requested this to happen. When it was reinstituted, the "termites" mention was absent.

What does this M.O. reveal? Well, the Mollands might have a tendency to say things they later regret, but will not admit. There is nothing sinister about this. However, it appears they have the embarrassment deleted. Is there anything particularly wrong with this? In a way, yes.

1) If something embarrassing is said by Mr. or Mrs. Molland and they do not apologize for or defend the comment, then they are not being accountable. Deleting a statement does not erase it from memory, and it does nothing more than display hesitancy about how the comment plays in the public-relations arena.

2) If someone's priority is public relations and NOT accountability, what does this say about accuracy and integrity? If someone displays a tendency to hide embarrassing comments or actions by omitting the evidence, how will this transpose into a book?

Joey Molland has at least one book in the oven, and perhaps as many as three (it's difficult to ascertain the latest numbers). If the Mollands pursue book accuracy in the same manner they pursue guestbook accountability, what can Badfinger fans expect? Will there be omissions and gaps in the Badfinger timeline?

Judging by the Molland-authorized Gary Katz documentary, and through compiling Joey's magazine interviews, this already appears to be the case. There are suspicious gaps and confused timelines that often appear to be calculated. If these foggy recollections are an attempt to cover up those darned closet skeletons, then a whitewash is in the works. Again, this is another argument in favor of an unauthorized biography - and one is already available.

When and if any Molland-authorized books ever hit the shelves, the readers may scrutinize those areas of Badfinger history that Molland has repeatedly glossed over. Hopefully there will not be gaps, and hopefully there will not be fabrications to fill in those gaps.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Purpose Of This Blog

The purpose of this blog is to dispel the weak criticisms of one of the best rock biographies ever compiled. It is also a chance to escape the one-sided editing that can be found on some Badfinger fan sites.

For those uninitiated, Badfinger was possibly the first Power Pop band in history. Their 1970 hit single "No Matter What" was perhaps the first song to reach the airwaves that brought all the Power Pop ingredients together; a relatively short, melodically catchy, rock guitar-based song with smooth lead vocals and background harmonies. This catchy formula would be repeated many times by Badfinger throughout its history.

Badfinger (originally The Iveys) was signed by The Beatles to its Apple Records label in 1968. Their first Top 40 hit in 1970 was the Paul McCartney song "Come And Get It," which was soon followed by "No Matter What." They achieved more success with the singles "Day After Day" and "Baby Blue" in 1972; the last three were all written by band member singer/guitarist Pete Ham. Another Badfinger success was "Without You," a song written by Ham and bandmate Tom Evans that reached immense international stature when covered by Harry Nilsson in 1972 and Mariah Carey in 1995.

Six albums were released by Badfinger during its heyday between 1969 and 1974. At that time, the band consisted of Pete Ham, bassist Tom Evans, guitarist Joey Molland and drummer Mike Gibbins. Criminally poor management and band infighting caused the group to sputter in 1974, and by April of 1975 Ham committed suicide. After Molland and Evans conducted a brief resurgence between 1979 and 1981, the band dissolved again. Evans committed suicide in 1983. Mike Gibbins also recently passed away in October 2005 (due to natural causes).

In 1997, a biography of the band was published called "Without You: The Tragic Story of Badfinger." It was written by Dan Matovina and published by Francis Glover Books. Since the release of this book (and actually a little before its release) Molland denounced both the book and its author. Following suit, many of Molland's most diehard fans also jumped on the bandwagon to criticize the book and author. And because many of these Molland fans also operate Badfinger guestbooks, discussion of the book has been lopsided in favor of the critics - allowing criticisms to flourish while editing or silencing anyone supporting the book.

Without going too deeply into Molland's criticisms, he has basically stated that Matovina was ill suited to write the biography and that the book contains errors and "lies" about him and his wife. His first complaint about Matovina is a judgment call, but the results speak for themself. Matovina, a record producer who now is a representative for the Ham Estate, released a book that has garnered widespread acclaim among book critics. The book was voted the #2 Best Rock Biography of 1997 in a poll of book critics in Great Britain. Reviews of the book have been tremendously favorable across the board - from Rolling Stone Magazine, Record Collector Magazine, Goldmine Magazine and Discoveries Magazine, among many, many others. For a complete list of reviews, please visit the book website reviews section at:
This basically answers the question of whether or not Matovina was a capable author.

Molland's other complaint about errors and "lies" is even easier to address. More than 200 people were interviewed for the book, including Badfinger members, producers of the band, managers of the band, the presidents and executives of Badfinger's two record labels, Apple Records and Warner Brothers Records, and tons of family and friends of the group. In fact, the list of non participants who were sought for interviews is so short that it barely covers a paragraph in the Prologue. But the book participants (which includes an array of influential and notable names in the music industry) is so long that it covers two pages just to list them all.
Of these hundreds of people, nearly every incident which involves Joey Molland and his wife are detailed by more than one witness. Many of these witnesses often did not even apparently know each other, but the details were still consistent. These incidents were chronicled through quotes by the interviewees. Molland has claimed these interviewees were either misquoted or manipulated by Matovina to make him and his wife look poorly, but many of these intervieweess have since gone public to support what they said and the message they conveyed in the book. Not a single book participant has gone public and made any contrary claim.

Without the possibility of collusion of the author and/or the interviewees, or even a clear motive for Molland's assertions, his claims of "lies" can be easily dismissed. As far as errors, every book ever published most likely contains errors. But these appear to be in short supply here considering the multiple attributions supplied and documentation Matovina reproduces for the book. On the contrary, it is Molland who appears to be an unreliable source for information regarding the band. During decades of interviews for magazines, he has denied lawsuits that took place, denied concert tours that took place, changed his recollections of conversations that took place, intentionally or unintentionally misrepresented Badfinger contracts, has confused his timelines, and - most of all - has inflated the importance of his wife's positive influence on the band. Interviewees were unanimous that Mrs. Molland's influence was always negative, and often extremely so.

More than anything else, Molland's hostility about the book and its author appear to hinge on how he and his wife are portrayed. Perhaps because he is incapable of dealing with the massive amount of interviewees who were quoted making the charges, Molland has found Matovina a much easier solitary target. Further, Molland and his wife have admitted that they haven't even read the book, which reduces the credibility of their arguments to near zero.

I have always supported this book for myriad of reasons, and I believe anyone who is a fan of non-fiction will feel the same. It is tirelessly researched, packed with copies of documents and contracts, and goes well beyond what is merely satisfactory to verify facts.

So for those of you who may visit a Badfinger guestbook and read criticism of the book or author, and find little in response to it, please recognize the source and possible editing. These are mostly Molland fan sites that are eager to please the musician. They will parrot Molland's complaints without adding anything of real substance to the argument.

For those of you who feel capable of deciding for yourself, please read the book.