Sunday, June 24, 2007

Joey's Badfinger Biography?
"You don't know me, what's on my mind
You can't show me, what I can't find"
Lyrics from "I Don't Mind"
I have never been one to criticize Joey Molland for any delay in his claimed projects. But I believe the time has come, on the heels of yet another bizarre book announcement, to finally address the unrealized declarations of Joey and Kathie Molland. And this is especially timely with the 10-year anniversary of the release of "Without You: The Tragic Story Of Badfinger."

On May 7, 2007, City At Night Magazine published an interview with Joey. In that article Joey states that his autobiography, “When I Was A Boy,” is set to be released by a major publisher (actually "Golden Treasures," heard of that one?). However, the reporter paraphrases Joey by saying this book has been delayed: "…delayed because of an auto accident which threatened the life of Joey’s and Kathie’s son, Joe. He reports the welcome news that Joe has made a great, hard-fought recovery and is back full force, playing guitar and writing music, which Joey is now producing." Let me see if I have this straight: Kathie announced in January 2006 that Joe Jr. had made a full recovery, from a car accident that occurred in 2005. Yet the book is still delayed in May 2007 due to this accident? This makes absolutely no sense, especially since the book was supposedly finished in 2003. This is just the latest of the weird travails in the story of Joey's Badfinger books.

Murray Silver
Joey may have toyed with book ideas as early as the 1980s, but he never made them public. His first publicized book idea dates from the early 1990s, and was mentioned by him in 2004 when answering why he didn't participate in the book Matovina was writing. Joey: "I told (Dan Matovina) I was looking into having a biography done by a biographer well known at that time for his work on the Jerry Lee Lewis bio, "Great Balls of Fire". I thought that would be the way to go for a first class book on our band. His name is Murray Silver." Whether or not Joey ever spoke with Silver is unclear, but the author's essential contribution to "Great Balls Of Fire" was to organize the information provided by Myra Lewis, the teen bride of Jerry Lee. Silver has since published at least two books; one about the Ghosts Of Savannah (complete with a speaking tour) and his recent spiritual Elvis endeavor. A review of this most recent book, titled “When Elvis Meets the Dalai Lama,” sounds right up Joey’s alley: "…this book is a mess of memories that are wildly fantastical and probably falsely recalled. I've actually spoken to some of the parties mentioned in the book, such was my curiosity, and they laugh off the tales as ‘another one of Murray's bids for attention.’" The reviewer also eludes to Silver’s penchant for UFOs, ghosts, and a conspiracy theory that Elvis was murdered. Silver is difficult to contact for comment, reportedly he's in hiding due to the black helicopters that are hunting for him.

John Einarson
The next possible Joey author was Einarson in 1995. More than any other candidate, Einarson is the most accomplished writer with impressive credentials. He and Joey agreed to the idea, and he later interviewed Joey for a piece in Mojo Magazine. According to an email posted at the book website, Einarson wrote to Matovina: "Frankly, after reading your book, I'm very glad I didn't pursue the project as you have done a wonderful job and I may have ended up leaning on the Mollands' rather skewed version of history a bit too much." Einarson also said his conversations with Joey were revealing, in that: "He wasn't very flattering about you (Matovina), I must say, but obviously that was tempered by his concern about how he would be portrayed and he had much to hide." Interesting that Einarson concluded that Joey had “much to hide.” At any rate, Einarson, who deals strictly with large publishing houses, found little interest among them for a Badfinger biography, so he said he passed on the project. His complete commentary can be found in the book review section at the official book website.

Keith Queensen
The next contender for Joey, starting around 1998, was Queensen, a wrongful-injury lawyer and Badfinger fan from the Minneapolis area. Queensen announced that he wanted to conduct interviews with many people for his tentatively titled book "Badfinger: For Love or Money," but ultimately barely got past Joey and Kathie. "I've found it especially interesting to talk to Kathie… When you think about it, her personal story is really pretty incredible. Here's this Midwestern girl growing up in the suburbs of Minneapolis during the 1960s who all of a sudden finds herself living in an old, medieval castle with a British rock band, hanging out with the Beatles!" A story following Kathie moving to a castle and hanging out with the Beatles? Extremely peripheral and fanciful, Queensen was obviously confused about what constitutes a biography of a rock band. But unsurprising since he considered Kathie a “principal” within Badfinger: "I am personally saddened by the intensity of the negative feeling between the various Badfinger "camps" (for example, Mike referring to Kathie Molland as the "anti-christ") and hope that some day the principals in the Badfinger story will be friends again..." Queensen never realized his hopes, and passed away in 2004.

Michael Cimino
Next comes Cimino, a webmaster who operates a periodical called "Cottage Views." Cimino (or "Chimino" according to Kathie) first announced his project in 1999, and then suggested it would be completed in 1999, and later said in 2001 that "I would have finished it already but too many cocktails, er, I mean, distractions got in the way." As of 2007, there is no sign of this book. Cimino has been a long-winded critic of the Without You book, reviewing it in 1998 with: " elevating guitarist Pete Ham, who tragically committed suicide in 1974, to near-saintly status, the importance of the band's collective clout is dismissed..." One might assume that this "biographer" has since learned that Ham died in 1975. Part of Cimino's irk may be grounded in jealousy, considering himself to be Badfinger's biographer. In a comment posted on VH1’s website, the day after its "Behind The Music" episode on Badfinger aired, Cimino lambasted the network: "…Did these oversights occur because Mr. Matovina was creative consoltant to the show? If so, that puts Mr. Matovina on the same level as Stan Polley because Mr. Matovina has an interest in the Ham demo discs and receives a royalty from them...
p.s. how come I wasn't contacted for your show?"

Perhaps they'll contact him next time around - assuming he does something relevant in the meantime.

Billy James
Last comes James, an author with proper credentials. James has been a mystery since he was first mentioned around 2001. He does not post on guestbooks or make announcements on websites, thereby keeping a rather low profile. Joey announced in December 2003: "'When I was a boy' is in fact finished as a story. I delivered the book to Billy James in August, 2003. I am at present re-writing the manuscript into a more narrative form as I think it will be a more enjoyable and comprehensible read. I've completed around 70 pages, Hand written, Legal Pad size, and have about 100/150 pages to go." It is the James book that is allegedly delayed now - four years later - due to a car accident that ocurred two years ago. A person answering the phone at Golden Treasures (the "major publisher" which operates out of someone's home) said this month that the book won't be out until at least 2008.

As I said in the opening, I have withheld criticism of the Mollands for faulty book announcements up till now because the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. But when they go awry again and again and again, after announcement after anouncement after announcement, and then claim ancient events are slowing current projects, it becomes comical. This has been going on continuously for more than 10 years now, and there is no end in sight.

My conclusion: Some authors are never contacted (Silver), legitimate authors don't know what to do with the wild and unsupported Molland claims (Einarson), lesser authors just run with whatever the Mollands tell them (Queensen), and they end up with nonsensical mulch that publishers will not touch (Cimino).

Sorry, Badfinger fans, but don't lose any sleep waiting for another Badfinger biography.