Thursday, February 15, 2007

Re-established: Purpose for this Blog

Because of recent developments, I have decided to re-establish the purpose for this blog.

The Band:
Originally called The Iveys, Badfinger was signed by The Beatles to its Apple Records label in 1968. Their first hit in 1970 was the Paul McCartney song "Come And Get It," which was soon followed by "No Matter What" (possibly the first Power Pop song in history). The group 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, made famous by Harry Nilsson in 1972 and Mariah Carey in 1994.

Six albums were released by Badfinger during their heyday between 1969 and 1974. At that time, the band consisted of Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Joey Molland and Mike Gibbins. During 1969 and prior, the group contained Ron Griffiths. From mid-1974 and off-and-on afterward, the group contained Bob Jackson. 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. Gibbins passed away in October 2005. Although Joey Molland has performed sporadically under the Badfinger name, or as "Joey Molland's Badfinger," since 1988, the venues have been relatively minor.

The Book:
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 Frances Glover Books. Since the release of this book, Joey Molland and his wife, Kathie, have denounced both the book and its author. Their gripes are based on how they are portrayed in the book, and all of their blame is directed at author Matovina. Judging by the evidence, their complaints are completely groundless. The Mollands’ essential gripes are as follows:

1) That Matovina was ill suited to write the biography. This complaint about Matovina is countered by the results. 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 favorable across the board - from Rolling Stone Magazine, Record Collector Magazine, Goldmine Magazine, Discoveries Magazine, among many, many others. For a complete list of reviews, please visit the book website reviews section at: http://www.mindspring.com/~crimson3/book-reviews.html
This basically answers the question of whether or not Matovina is a capable author.
2) The Mollands complain that the book contains errors and "lies" about them. More than 200 people were interviewed for the book. With the exception of Ham (who died very early) every legitimate band member was interviewed by Matovina, either specifically for this book or for previous projects: Tom Evans, Mike Gibbins, Ron Griffiths, Bob Jackson, and even Joey Molland and his wife. The interview list also includes producers of the band, managers of the band, the presidents and executives of Badfinger's two record labels (Apple and Warner Brothers Records) and tons of close family and friends of the group. Of these hundreds of people, nearly every retold incident that involves the Mollands is detailed by more than one witness. These incidents were chronicled through quotes by the interviewees. Corroboration through various sources is how courtrooms decide on the truth; the same applies here. Admittedly, every book ever published contains some errors, but the Mollands have supplied absolutely no evidence or clear motive why or how the book would contain “lies.”
3) Joey Molland has claimed book interviewees were either misquoted or manipulated by Matovina to make him and his wife look bad. However, many of the intervieweess have gone public since the book was published in support of what they said and the message they conveyed. Many of these participants have even made declarations to this effect, and are viewable on the author’s website. Not a single book participant has gone public and made any contrary claim. So much for misquotes and manipulation.

Ironically, after all of this criticism, it is the Mollands who appear to be unreliable sources for information regarding the band. During decades of interviews for magazines, radio and television, Joey 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 timelines, and - most of all - has inflated the importance of his wife's positive influence on the band. Interviewees were unanimous that Kathie Molland's influence was always negative, and often extremely so.

More than anything else, the Mollands’ hostility about the book and its author appear to hinge on how they are portrayed. The portrayal is the result of what witnesses say - not what the author says. Instead of dealing with the massive amount of interviewees and their quotes, they have found Matovina to be a much easier target. As evidence of this tactic, the Mollands have admitted that they have never even read the book.

In conclusion, all the above is the purpose for this blog: To dispel the groundless attacks on the book by the Mollands, and to show (using quotes and documentation) that the author reported the facts as accurately as possible. In my strong opinion, the Mollands are simply bitter because closet skeletons they wished to keep concealed were ultimately exposed to the public, and because of their displayed tendency of exerting control over all things "Badfinger," they were incensed at not being able to control the book.