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.


Doug said...

Something I had mentioned years ago but that still bothers me is the Katz 'Official' documentary. I bought the VHS version back in 1997 about four or five months before I had the opportunity to read Dan's book in January of 1998.

IIRC that documentary was fairly dismissive of Tom Evans. When it did focus on Tom it cast him in a pretty negative light.

To say that one gets a more complete picture of Tom Evans in Dan Matovina's biography would be an understatement.

That being said the Katz video is a great resource for photos and live performances of the band.

ßill said...

That being said the Katz video is a great resource for photos and live performances of the band.

It's difficult for me to critique the Katz video because of the media. I do appreciate seeing the music videos and I realize that a 60-minute(?) documentary could not touch as many bases as a book.

Having said this, I believe Katz' ambitions were too wide and his sources were too thin. The whole documentary is based around the recollections of four people? It appeared to be more storytelling than biographical. And the fact that an official documentary refers to Ron Griffiths as "Dai Griffiths" is really inexcusable. Even if it was just a slip of the tongue on Joey's part, it should have been edited out. It displayed a lack of knowledge on Katz' part to miss that (not to mention Joey's part), or it was just sloppily thrown together.

I forget how Tom Evans was portrayed in the piece (I haven't watched the video in many years) but it wouldn;t surprise me that he was generally dismissed.

Owen Kelley said...

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.

ßill said...

Owen, thanks for the comments. I'd have to locate the filed-away Katz tape as I have long since gone DVD. Check the main board again, as I will answer the remainder of your questions there.

Anonymous said...

There are some of us who feel
Tom didn't actually do that much
in the original band.
If you asked Mike or Joey
about him in the 80's, when he
was still around, it would have
brought a whole new meaning to the
term "negative light".