Friday, November 30, 2007

Point And Counterpoint

On November 29, the following comments were attached to my article "Statements That Strain Credibility." The anonymous poster (who has since identified himself as "Eric") was lucid and touched on several subjects that are worth addressing. I have moved them to the front page so I can address them here.

"It is clear from the book that Matovina has something against Kathie Molland. He never passes up an opportunity to mention something negative about her (e.g., getting overdressed for George Harrison - geez, let's crucify her), he chose numerous photos of her which are unflattering, especially the most recent photos (and for some reason many of them show her with a beverage in her hand - what is Matovina going out of his way to insinuate?) and he ignored the fact that, ultimately, she was 100% justified in her frustration with the band's managerial situation."

I say none of this is "clear." Marianne Evans (echoing Tom Evans) is the one who complained about Kathie during the Harrison sessions, so obviously she felt the incident was noteworthy. The author relayed the information. How do you know which photos were available to the author for publication? Perhaps all he had were photos of Kathie holding beverages, or perhaps these were the only ones that could be licensed or were in public domain. Maybe she is often holding a drink when photographers are available. Maybe she's a heavy drinker. No one in the book insinuates that she drinks a lot so I never came to that conclusion, and I doubt that anyone else would either.

"Imagine standing by helplessly while your spouse's career is being sabotaged by a crooked manager. Imagine voicing your concerns and having them dismissed by people who choose to live in denial.* Wouldn't you feel like kicking a car door? Wouldn't you try to call a meeting to address the siuation? I mean, who's the real villian of this story? It's obviously Stan Polley, but the way Matovina depicts Kathie Molland, you might not be so sure that she isn't more of a villian than Polley. Clearly, Joey has a right to take issue with the way his wife is portrayed. I'm not saying either of them is a saint, but come on!"

How do you know what Pete and Kathie argued about on that day? According to the Mollands, Pete and Kathie only ever argued about Polley and management. According to everyone else, that's not true. Reportedly, Kathie argued with everyone about everything; about what songs should go on albums, how many Joey songs should be included, the use of their rehearsal room, personal relationships, etc. For all you know Kathie wanted to initiate a meeting about how long people may use the communal bathroom. You draw conclusions based bias, and that bias favors the Mollands.

Of course Stan Polley is the villain of the story. This is quite clear through the interviews of Christie, Kooper, Calello, Poses, and myriad assorted attorneys, executives and associates of Polley. Matovina presents them all, and they lay it on quite thick. Just because Polley is the "villain" isn't an excuse to whitewash other elements of the story. It is abundantly clear from any perspective you choose that Kathie was a continual disruption for the band. It's pretty obvious that the participants wanted to convey that fact, and the author presents it. To deny that she was a disruption is the "denial" you should be referring to.

"And, Bill, before you ask - no, I will not cite pages or type out quotations because 1) I don't have the book with me now, 2) I don't have the time and 3) I don't have to - we've all read the book and we all know what I'm talking about."

No big deal. I located the portions you referred to.

"Also, does Ron's quote not indicate that he was given a check by Bill Collins?? Joey never recants his claim that this money exchanged hands - he only says he is not certain where the money came from and when it was paid. This is totally understandable because he was not personally involved in the transaction. Anything else about Ron's misunderstanding of the arrangement is not Joey's fault. Furthermore, are we to assume that Joey is telling the truth when he says he had to assume Ron's share of the band's debt upon joining? You did not attempt to refute that statement, Bill. Point is, this is supposed to be an example of Joey contradicting himself, but I don't see it."

Not really contradicting himself, but being forced to explain his negative innuendo. Read again what Joey suggests in his first statement, what he insinuates that he knows about Ron Griffiths and the negative image he applies to him. Then again read his backtracking in the second statement, where he basically admits he knows nothing about the event. He's forced to admit he's "guessing" as to what happened. This is from the same person who claims to be the astronaut - the only person capable of telling the Badfinger story. What kind of accuracy would you expect from him in his authorized biography?

"*Re: denial. Pete chose to deny what everyone else knew about the band's managerial situation. Why? Not because he was a pie-in-the-sky dreamer who believed the world is a place where we should all be "allowed to love and trust everybody," but because he wanted to avoid conflict with Polley. My evidence? 1) The interview on the "Without You" cd in which Pete discusses the themes behind "Perfection" - clearly he knew that the world is an imperfect place where utopian ideals do not exist. He was not a fool. 2) The book says he was involved and interested in the business aspects of the band - he liked interacting with business-types and they respected him. Would they respect him if he was just a spacy hippie who rambled on about love and trust when it came to matters of business? I doubt it. 3) The book is clear about his desire to avoid conflict whenever possible. Could it be that his uncharacteristic blowout with Kathie Molland was triggered by his knowing that she was in the right? In short, Pete knew the score but wanted to avoid the conflict that would have resulted from addressing the problems."

None of the info here is revelatory. You've drawn your own conclusions based on long-established facts. I don't agree with your conclusions, but all anyone can do is speculate about what Pete really thought about Polley at any given time. Poses warned him about Polley in 1972, so I suspect he probably had deep-down suspicions regarding him. You believe those suspicions were more conscious than I believe they were. But as far as Kathie being "in the right" ... I don't think anyone has ever claimed she was wrong about Polley. The point is there were a lot of people sending alarms out about Polley, not just Kathie. And no one has ever said Pete was right about Polley either.

"Lastly (and this is obviously a touchy subject), the book never criticizes Pete for two key decisions. First, he had the power to decide to take action against Polley and did not - the band needed his vote to make a move. In doing so, he ensured that the band would continue to get screwed in spite of the fact that by the end they all knew what was going on. Could this knowledge be the source of the "guilt" that caused him to put cigarettes out on his hands?"

I have no clue what prompted the cigarette bit. That was an insane act. But if you want to speculate on the facts, how about this: Did you notice that the Apple check that Joey and Tom stopped was the first check from Apple in 2 years? McCartney had the company's assets locked up in a lawsuit until mid-1974, and when these two-years' worth of funds finally get released to Badfinger, the check is stopped. So Polley's Badfinger income was certainly limited during that time. In reaction to Joey and Tom stopping the check, Polley may have stopped the paychecks to the band. If they hadn't halted that check, what would have happened? That's some of my speculation.

"Second, Pete (God rest his soul) committed the ultimate act of selfishness rather than confront the problem and in doing so drastically reduced the odds that the band would remain a viable commerical entity, which is what they would have needed to recover from their years of mismanagement. "

As far as the band remaining a viable entity, I doubt any of them were thinking about that - not just Pete. Joey tried to keep Pete out of the band, and then quit when Pete returned. How viable did that make Badfinger? Anyway, it's unlikely the band would have ever recovered. It wasn't until after Pete's death that Polley relinquished his interest in the band, and he wouldn't have done that with Pete still alive.

"Yes, it is uncomfortable to raise these issues, but the point is that Pete was a flawed man (like we all are - but these flaws manifested to the detriment of his friends) and this is not Joey Molland's fault. Everyone looks for a scapegoat to whom they can direct their frustration at the band's demise and Joey is the most visible and obvious target. But that doesn't necessarily make it right."

I don't see anyone in the book blaming Joey for Pete's death.

(This turned into more of a "rant" than I planned - usually I would take more care in constructing an argument. But the core ideas I meant to convey are there. Also, if I sound mean-spirited, it is not intentional. I just enjoy a good debate.)
PS - I am not a Joey follower, crony, minion or whatever other terms you can think of. I have no personal interest in this aside from the fact that I am a fan of the group.


Judging by your knowledge of the band and your fervor about how the Mollands are portrayed in the book, I find this very hard to believe. There are basically three camps of Badfinger fans on the Internet: Defenders of the Mollands, defenders of the book, and people who aren't interested in the politics. If you don't fall into the last two categories then you must be in the first.

A Bit More On Kathie

For some time ahead of the actual publication of the book, both Joey and Kathie Molland were commenting in magazine articles and on the Internet about how the book would be inaccurate. They had no idea who was going to be interviewed, what information would be presented, but they supposedly had a sixth sense about it. Subsequent to the book's release their tactics have remained the same. They never address the people who commented in the book, but instead continually attack the author. The logical conclusion here is that the Mollands knew beforehand how people felt about them, and they wanted to throw the first punch by attacking the book and author ahead of the game. They continue along this track because dealing with all of the individual comments in the book would be too overwhelming for them, so they claim (truthfully or not) to have never read the book. This lets them off the hook for addressing what their peers have actually said about them.

As far as Matovina goes, again, all of the Mollands' complaints about the author (as suggested by the above person) boil down to him having some sort of agenda against them. He would have had to manipulate interviews and information to paint an inaccurate picture. However, this conspiracy theory is shot down by the fact that the interviewees of the book stand by its presentation. They do not step forward and claim they complimented the Mollands but only the negative comments were printed. They do not step forward and say they were misquoted. On the contrary, the participants who have made public statements after the book was released have only supported the book and the author. The Mollands and their defenders conveniently ignore this glaring fact.

Having read Kathie Molland's comments on the Internet for the past 10 years, I am most confident she was accurately portrayed in the book. The attitude that I have witnessed online surpasses even what was suggested by her peers in the book. So when people come along and claim the author must have had an agenda against the Mollands, or Kathie specifically, certain reasons come quickly to mind. The person is either a friend or a hardcore fan of the Mollands and they are in denial, or they haven't been following her commentaries online.

I have considered posting an article here with nothing more than online comments Kathie has made throughout the years, along with dates and sources. No accompanying commentary from me, just her words standing on their own. Perhaps this is what's needed for those who are uninitiated with her thoughts. Whether or not I pursue this will depend on my available time, as it will be a daunting task to go through 10 years' worth of postings to make the compilation.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

"...obviously she felt the incident was noteworthy. The author relayed the information."

The author chose to relay this particular bit of info and, more importantly, chose how to frame it within the narrative. This goes for the entire book. Don't misinterpret this as a complaint only about Matovina himself - no matter what the subject, no matter how hard an author tries to be objective, there will always be some amount of bias in every piece of writing and it is up to the reader to assess not only the info presented, but the presenter as well. Re: the photo issue - you've got a long list of maybes there, which means we're both speculating. I realize that the burden of proof falls upon me here, but short of Matovina admitting to what I claimed, there can be no real proof of what I'm saying. I will admit that I was wrong to use the word "clear" - the only thing that's clear is that there is some room to debate on these issues.

"How do you know what Pete and Kathie argued about on that day?"

Neither of us does. All I'm saying is I can appreciate the level of frustration that one who was there must have felt. Not to say KM wasn't overbearing in other ways, but can you tell me that if they WERE arguing about management issues, KM would not have been justified in becoming that upset?

"To deny that she was a disruption is the 'denial' you should be referring to."

My take is that while Polley didn't need any help at all in coming across as a snake, there was some amount of calculated "case-building" that Matovina employed to portray KM as an antagonist. I'm not trying to totally absolve anyone here (see my "no saint" comment) and I'm not denying the fact that that he cites a lot of firsthand source material, but again it comes down to how this material is framed. I will not be able to definitively prove this claim, as I mentioned above, so we'll have to agree to disagree I guess.

"Read again what Joey suggests in his first statement, what he insinuates that he knows about Ron Griffiths and the negative image he applies to him."

I don't see that Joey insinuates anything negative about Ron.

"...he basically admits he knows nothing about the event."

Not true. Again, he admits that he doesn't know exactly HOW the deal went down, but not that he has doubt that it did in fact happen. Plus, Ron corroborates the claim that he did receive a lump sum upon leaving the group.

"This is from the same person who claims to be the astronaut - the only person capable of telling the Badfinger story."

A silly analogy, yes, but a malicious statement? I'm not so sure. Seems like a guy just trying to generate some anticipation for his (possibly?) forthcoming book. Since when is a little marketing considered a crime?

"...all anyone can do is speculate about what Pete really thought about Polley at any given time."

Agreed.

"I have no clue what prompted the cigarette bit. That was an insane act."

Pete gave us a clue - "guilt." What did he mean by that? I'm not sure and I wouldn't pretend to know. I just threw an idea out there (and in the form of a question, not a statement).

"If they hadn't halted that check, what would have happened?"

I will have to reread the related passages before responding to this.

"Anyway, it's unlikely the band would have ever recovered. It wasn't until after Pete's death that Polley relinquished his interest in the band, and he wouldn't have done that with Pete still alive."

Poses seemed to think they had some leverage when he advised them to go into meetings without Polley and to refuse to sign any more of Polley's contracts. It might not have been quick or easy to accomplish, but who knows what might have happened? Also, could Joey have quit because Pete continued his refusal to put up a united front against Polley upon returning to the band, thus indefinitely leaving the band in the same awful predicament? If the book gives some other specific reason for his leaving at this time, I apologize - I don't have the book with me.

"I don't see anyone in the book blaming Joey for Pete's death."

I meant to convey that today Joey seems to be the punching bag that many people use to take out their frustration over the band's sad demise, not that the book claims he caused Pete to take his life.

"Judging by your knowledge of the band and your fervor about how the Mollands are portrayed in the book, I find this very hard to believe."

You may choose not to believe me, but I just wanted to illustrate some of my observations and opinions, having just finished the book and having read up on the band's story a bit more online. This led me to defend the Mollands on certain points, yes, but I don't have a vested interest in any of this and don't claim to be an "insider" that knows a bunch of secrets about the band that I am not willing to share, as some have done here.

"They do not step forward and say they were misquoted. On the contrary, the participants who have made public statements after the book was released have only supported the book and the author."

If someone felt their words were completely twisted to mean something completely different than what they intended, they might speak up. But if the author subtly built up an image of KM that was not totally accurate by framing testimony from numerous sources as he saw fit, would anyone necessarily feel the need to speak up about that? Just a thought.

"...they haven't been following her commentaries online."

This is true - I have not. You know more about this saga than I do. Does this invalidate all of my arguments? I don't know, Bill. That's not for me to decide. But if you ever do publish "The Collected Postings of Kathie Molland," I would definitely be interested in reading them.

That's all for now I guess. I appreciate that you took the time to respond in a respectful and logical manner; I would not have posted at all if I hadn't noticed that you always make sure to respond in this way. Thanks.

ßill said...

If an author's bias is the result of his research, then it is appropriate. If the bias is the result of some hidden agenda, then it is inappropriate. Again, the final support for the book and author by the participants indicate the former. He presented their sentiments and they were contented. The only agenda I see is toward that goal.

" ... can you tell me that if they WERE arguing about management issues, KM would not have been justified in becoming that upset?"

Adding a little perspective here, can you imagine Linda McCartney arguing with John Lennon about Brian Epstein managing The Beatles, and then kicking in his car door if he told her to butt out? Kathie was not a member of the band. In my opinion she shouldn't have been arguing with Pete about band issues. Further, what if Kathie was wrong? Would people still defend her intrusions if she argued that the group sign further contracts with Polley? Of course not.

" ... there was some amount of calculated "case-building" that Matovina employed to portray KM as an antagonist."

So? Attorneys build cases in court when they have evidence that needs to be assembled. And although sometimes evidence may seem redundant or overkill, the redundancy proves that exceptions aren't being exploited. A trend is being shown. That is what I see in the book. I do not see one-off peculiarities being blown out of proportion. They are pieces of a puzzle being assembled.

" ... could Joey have quit because Pete continued his refusal to put up a united front against Polley ... "

Joey said he didn't want Pete back in the band because he wasn't "the same Peter" (whatever that's supposed to mean). But it is pretty clear that Joey quit - at least in part - because Pete had drawn the line with Kathie.

" ... if the author subtly built up an image of KM that was not totally accurate by framing testimony from numerous sources as he saw fit, would anyone necessarily feel the need to speak up about that?"

I would. If I felt an author intentionally did a hatchet job on someone, for some arbitrary or self-motivated reason, I most certainly would denounce him. I would tell the public that the author was dishonest and the affected party was unduly misrepresented.

"This is true - I have not. You know more about this saga than I do. Does this invalidate all of my arguments?"

No. But it is evidence that greatly supports my position.

" ... if you ever do publish "The Collected Postings of Kathie Molland," I would definitely be interested in reading them."

We'll see what time becomes available down the road.

"I would not have posted at all if I hadn't noticed that you always make sure to respond in this way. Thanks."

I try (although it is difficult with some people). Thanks for your input.

Anonymous said...

"If they hadn't halted that check, what would have happened?"

Tom and Joey did not stop the check because they did not issue the check. Apple cancelled the check after Tom and Joey expressed their concern that once Polley received the check the band would never see that money again. If anything, blame Collins for handing the check to Polley to begin with. Ultimately, blame Polley for creating a scenario in which Apple would be forced to go to court to request direction as to where the check should be sent. Or blame the entire band for signing the contracts. But, it is too simple to say that Pete died in reaction to the check being stopped. In a VERY broad sense that may be true based on the chain of events, but remember that all the other band members suffered at that time as well and they managed to get by. The key factor that led to Pete going into the red at that time was his house purchase and it would be quite a stretch to blame Tom and Joey for the end result when they made a legitimate business move (in good faith and with good reason) regarding that check.

"Adding a little perspective here, can you imagine Linda McCartney arguing with John Lennon about Brian Epstein managing The Beatles, and then kicking in his car door if he told her to butt out? Kathie was not a member of the band. In my opinion she shouldn't have been arguing with Pete about band issues. Further, what if Kathie was wrong? Would people still defend her intrusions if she argued that the group sign further contracts with Polley? Of course not."

The Beatles were not getting totally screwed by Epstein. To my knowledge, there was some skullduggery there, but not on the scale that Polley was guilty of. I think the Badfinger situation was a unique circumstance because of just how badly the band was being taken advantage of. Also, Badfinger existed in a communal sort of environment. The band and their spouses all lived together so it would only make sense that KM would be justified in having a litle more input that the average band wife/girlfriend. In short, the band members' personal and professional lives were greatly intertwined, again making this a unique circumstance. This might not validate all of KM's actions, but these things have to be taken into account. The questions you ask at the end are mostly irrelevant because she WAS right and if there had been nothing for her to complain about, we wouldn't be having this discussion now.

"Attorneys build cases in court when they have evidence that needs to be assembled...I do not see one-off peculiarities being blown out of proportion."

Like I said, with Polley, all you have to do is state the facts and it's clear he was a bad guy. With KM, in my opinion a case had to be crafted - there is a difference. We all know that in a court of law, sometimes it's easy to build a case against someone and sometimes it isn't. But when it isn't, it's still the attorney's job to build that case whether or not strong evidence exists because they are paid to represent the interests of their client. Just because a case CAN be pieced together doesn't make it the irrefutable truth.

"Joey said he didn't want Pete back in the band because he wasn't "the same Peter" (whatever that's supposed to mean). But it is pretty clear that Joey quit - at least in part - because Pete had drawn the line with Kathie."

Re: the "same Peter" comment. Yes, I reread that and it doesn't make a lot of sense because there is no context to explain exactly what Joey meant by that - I would assume that quote wasn't a "stand alone" comment and that there was some explanation given by Joey, which Matovina did not include.

See page 268 - this is where Joey gives a fuller explanation for quitting. The managerial status quo was to be maintained, nothing would change, the band would continue to be robbed and mishandled, and the Mollands were willing to confront the rest of the band about it, which created internal strife. Frankly, I would assert that Joey quit because he (and, yes, his wife too) had drawn the line with Pete. Lastly, doesn't Matovina's account of the meeting in which Pete stated "I don't want Kathie managing the band" make it seem that Pete was overreacting? The Mollands were trying to straighten out confusion re: Warner Bros, confusion which was mostly caused by the guy that Pete insisted on supporting, and the news KM got from WB was positive news for the band! And this caused Pete to flip out? Yes, I know there were other factors leading up to this, but it indicates that Pete wasn't thinking straight because he was letting his grudge against KM from previous incidents cloud his judgment about the business at hand.


"But it is evidence that greatly supports my position."


Bill, we can go back and forth all day about this stuff because the book provides ammo to support both sides of the argument and because so much is open to speculation. You have made some good points and I would hope that you would say I have made some as well. Overall, I admit that my lack of knowledge about things not in the book is a factor, but don't forget that this blog is about the book itself, and I'm arguing almost entirely based on my impressions of the book.

ßill said...

Regarding "the check," you can't really blame Collins for honoring the group's contract by forwarding the check to Polley. You can't blame Pete for buying a house based on anticipated income from his salary checks - everybody who buys a home does this. Yes, you can blame the group for signing with Polley, and Polley can obviously be blamed. But also remember, neither Joey nor Tom conferred with Pete or Mike when they made their unilateral decision to have the check quashed. And that decision appears to have had a detrimental effect on Pete's livelihood. You have defended Kathie (a group member's wife) for meddling in the band's affairs because of this communal "all-for-one" situation, but then you justify Joey and Tom making money decisions on their own without agreement or even knowledge of the other actual group members. This is not being consistent.

"... To my knowledge, there was some skullduggery there, but not on the scale that Polley was guilty of."

Just out of curiosity, how much money do you believe Polley unlawfully took from Badfinger? The number crunching I have done falls far short of Joey's multi-million dollar claims (which he changes frequently). And although I will concede your point about Badfinger having a communal situation that differed from The Beatles, that still does not justify everyone getting into the act. Perhaps the roadies and their wives should have also been arguing their positions as well, since they all lived together? The people whose names appear on the contracts is where you draw the line, and that includes the band members and Collins. No one else.

"... it's still the attorney's job to build that case whether or not strong evidence exists..."

My opinion is the evidence is strong.

" ... I reread that and it doesn't make a lot of sense because there is no context ... "

It seems I read that full interview somewhere, or one very much like it, and it still didn't make any sense. Joey claimed Pete agreed to dump Polley and that he wouldn't be stubborn anymore, and then supposedly Joey made his claim about not wanting him back because that wasn't the "real Pete." Joey's argument seems to be that he wanted Pete to agree on management, but he didn't want Pete to be agreeable. That's ridiculous. My suspicion is Joey was pissed because of what Pete said about Kathie, and Joey wanted to become Badfinger's self-declared "leader" with Pete's ouster. When that didn't happen, Joey quit. This at least makes more sense than Joey's tap dancing.

" ... I would assert that Joey quit because he (and, yes, his wife too) had drawn the line with Pete... "

It depends on your perspective. Pete was the one who brought the issue to the foreground first, so I'd say the line was drawn by him. I know he never agreed to allow Kathie being involved in the band's affairs.

"Lastly, doesn't Matovina's account of the meeting in which Pete stated "I don't want Kathie managing the band" make it seem that Pete was overreacting?"

No. And this is exactly my point about building a case. Yes, Pete would be overreacting if this was a one-off incident. But it wasn't. It was the cumulation of her interference that boiled over into his outburst. This is the "case building" the book succeeds in presenting - the trend. So while some critics complain that there appears to be dogpiling on Kathie, in reality the interviewees are expressing what was an ongoing frustration with this person. It was a frustration that often caused tempers to fly.

" ... The Mollands were trying to straighten out confusion re: Warner Bros, confusion which was mostly caused by the guy that Pete insisted on supporting, and the news KM got from WB was positive news for the band!"

And her "news" was completely wrong. Ed Silver was preparing to sue Badfinger for the missing escrow money, and this is obviously the info that had come down to the band. But the Mollands denied it and said everything was OK, so they created confusion when the band might have been able to sort out the WB issue at an early stage.

"Bill, we can go back and forth all day about this stuff because the book provides ammo to support both sides of the argument and because so much is open to speculation. You have made some good points and I would hope that you would say I have made some as well."

Your opinion and your presentation are respectable, and some of your points are worthy of consideration. But I wholeheartedly disagree with the main thrust of your argument, that a false case was made against either of the Mollands. The interviewees complained about the Mollands. The interviewees endorsed the outcome of the book. The Mollands are simply unpopular people, but their supporters have difficulty accepting this. They instead erect a weak conspiracy theory about the author in order to refute the mountains of complaints.

"Overall, I admit that my lack of knowledge about things not in the book is a factor, but don't forget that this blog is about the book itself, and I'm arguing almost entirely based on my impressions of the book."

The purpose of this blog is to defend the book against the Mollands' unfounded claims, so it's not solely about what is found between the covers. I often present outside information here, depending on the topic at hand. So yes, my defense of the book is tethered to outside information. Perhaps in the early part of next year I will have this Kathie Quotes article assembled for you.

Anonymous said...

"...neither Joey nor Tom conferred with Pete or Mike when they made their unilateral decision..."

First of all, it can't be called a unilateral move if two-fifths of the group are in agreement. And let's look at the other three-fifths: Bill was basically a pawn in this situation and later said he was relieved that the check was stopped. Mike was not involved and the book does not include any commentary from him on the subject. (Sidebar: Matovina writes that Mike was usually excluded from "Joey's business decisions." Why not include Tom's name? Or perhaps Pete's? Or, better yet, take out Joey's name altogether here, since it seems Mike was frequently not a part of the business side of things due to general disinterest. To me, this sentence smacks of a desire to portray Joey as the rogue of the band, intent on usurping authority from others whenever possible.) Pete was, crucially, not in Badfinger at the time the decision was made. This is important because it raises the question of whether or not Joey and Tom were obligated to consult with Pete on the matter. Legally, they were not. Ethically, that's debatable. I would argue that when Pete made the decision to extract himself from the situation he lost the right to expect to be consulted, especially in a situation (involving a check that had to be stopped before it cleared) where time was of the essence. Who knows how much time they had or if Pete was even available to be contacted? To argue that Pete should have been consulted is to argue that he should have been able to have his cake (that is, quit the band) and eat it too (still be a part of band decisions).

So, Badfinger was really a four-member team at that point and three of the members were in favor of stopping the check and Mike's opinion remains unknown - how could this be considered unilateral? (Sidebar: there is also the possibility that Pete would have also agreed to ask that the check be stopped if he had been consulted.)

"...you justify Joey and Tom making money decisions on their own without agreement or even knowledge of the other actual group members. This is not being consistent."

I obviously disagree with the consistency comment, for the reasons I just described.

"Just out of curiosity, how much money do you believe Polley unlawfully took from Badfinger?"

I don't have a figure, but there are three things to think about. 1) The money Polley took "unlawfully." 2) The money Polley earned lawfully, but still unethically, by taking advantage of the band. 3) The potential future earnings that Polley essentially robbed the band of by destroying Badfinger. By now, don't you think that the combined amount would be in the millions? I certainly do.

"The people whose names appear on the contracts is where you draw the line, and that includes the band members and Collins. No one else."

The book describes two developments regarding KM's involvment. First, her direct personal involvment, which was considered an annoyance by certain people, especially Pete. Then, there is KM's influence on Joey. The book touches on the fact that "good-times Joey" became more business-oriented once KM was in the picture. This change was not well received, but Joey WAS a full-fledged band member and had every right to take part in band decisions. That he was influenced by KM irritated some, but you can't condemn Joey for growing up a little bit, especially when their suspicions about Polley were proven right.

"And her "news" was completely wrong."

This was unknown to the band at the time. For all Pete knew, the news was accurate. Also, the book indicates that, while Warner Music was preparing to sue, Warner Records was going forward with plans to release the record. The reason for this discepancy between the two divisions of WB is unclear, but since Joey said KM called Warner Records, it makes sense that they would have told her everything was OK. So the confusion was "created" by WB, not the Mollands, who (unknowingly) merely relayed the confusing info.

"The Mollands are simply unpopular people...so yes, my defense of the book is tethered to outside information."

This pertains to the main thrust of my argument - that Matovina does have something against the Mollands. Matovina has been involved with the band for decades, right? He manages the Ham estate, if I'm not mistaken? The Mollands have been at odds with the Ham/Evans contingent for many years, right? Therefore, he is not exactly an objective outsider.

If I may sum up my "thesis": The book shows a bias against the Mollands, Kathie in particular. My argument is NOT that this bias is totally unjustified, although I obviously contend that the Mollands have been unfairly blamed for certain things. My argument IS that, since the book was written by an "insider" who is actually employed by the estate of one of the key players in the story, one could not even expect that the book would be totally objective. This is not a criticism of Matovina, but rather, a statement of fact. (I anticipate you will quote the previous sentence and state your disagreement.) I loved the book, I am glad it exists, and I think Matovina did a great job of chronicling the events. But I stand by my original claim that an anti-Molland bias, which borders on an "agenda," can be seen on the pages.

Eric said...

PS - I'll finally put a name on these comments. Bill, you may change the "anonymous" tag on my previous comments if you wish.

ßill said...

Considering Pete may not have been very reachable at that time, and he had recently quit (I forgot about that timeframe), that let's them off the hook somewhat. But Mike and Bill still should have been consulted - despite what Bill may have said later. As far as the author saying Mike was often left out of "Joey's business decisions," I suspect Matovina was referring to Joey's and Mike's projects in the 1980s where Joey ran the bands. Either that or there were things going on in the 1970s that are not made clear in the book. I don't know. I'll jot that down as a question for Matovina should I ever interview him.

Regarding missing money: Without Polley's presence there would have been no WB contracts. Badfinger would have remained at Apple, and who knows how much they would have earned there. From the sources cited in the book, they earned a small percentage and were looking at less because Allen Klein wasn't interested in resigning them. And judging by the internal band frictions, I don't think the main Badfinger unit would have survived much past 1975 in any regard. Courts spend a lot of time noodling with such projected income in lawsuit settlements; there's no telling what any one judge would decide.

You cannot include #2. Regardless of what anyone defines as an "ethical" amount of money, the band read the contracts and agreed to give Polley a generous portion of profits. There is no defense for knowingly walking into a wall. Polley's contracts gave him 15-20% more than most managers in his position, and the band agreed to that. So my estimation, and liberally applying the other two of your categories, perhaps $2 million was lost for the whole band. However, I think a more accurate figure would be $1 million (before taxes and expenses) was actually absconded.

On business matters: It is Kathie's direct personal involvement that I am speaking about. If she was able to influence Joey and his vote behind the scenes, then fine. If the Maharishi or even The Three Stooges were influencing Joey's decisions behind the scenes, then fine. Joey was an equal member and contributor to the band, one who's signature was on the contracts. If he believed someone's advice was worthy of consideration, then he could accept it and even pass the advice along. But that's not a free pass for having non participants walk into meetings and start arguing with the other band members (unless the other members invited the third party in). It is quite clear that the other members weren't inviting Kathie in for her advice.

"This was unknown to the band at the time. For all Pete knew, the news was accurate. Also, the book indicates that, while Warner Music was preparing to sue, Warner Records was going forward with plans to release the record. The reason for this discepancy between the two divisions of WB is unclear, but since Joey said KM called Warner Records, it makes sense that they would have told her everything was OK. So the confusion was "created" by WB, not the Mollands, who (unknowingly) merely relayed the confusing info."

All I can say is "wow!" Without solicitation from either the band or WB, Kathie calls the wrong people and forwards bum information to the band (again unsolicited) and this is somehow WB's fault? Who's to say she didn't call a janitor for her info? I do know she called someone in the company's London office, which is a bad move right there. The group's WB contracts were managed in the U.S., and my impression is the Record division in Los Angeles was aware of the Publishing problems. At any rate, your above reasoning is more than perplexing.

"Matovina has been involved with the band for decades, right?"

I don't know what his involvement has been at different times.

"He manages the Ham estate, if I'm not mistaken?"

He represents them in some fashion. I think that came along after the book was published - and again, more evidence that the interviewed parties were approving.

"The Mollands have been at odds with the Ham/Evans contingent for many years, right?"

Despite what they claim, I think the Mollands are at odds with everyone most of the time. The Mollands have claimed they were all schmoozy with the estates, Mike Gibbins and Bill Collins before the book was published. This has proven to be false and is detailed in the book. It's simply more conspiracy building on their part.

Regarding your summary, I already stated my opinion about warranted and unwarranted bias. I say it is warranted based on the facts, you say it is not. I believe your inference that Matovina was employed by the Ham Estate prior to the book is false.

ßill said...

OK, thanks "Eric." I cannot edit anything placed in the "comments" section; I can only add or delete the entire posts, so I can't change the tags. But I appreciate you utilizing a name (real or not) because it differentiates you from potential other "anonymous" posters.

Eric said...

You may be right about the estimated figures, and I agree that the band has only itself to blame for signing the contracts. I included the "ethical" comment because if someone were to very liberally estimate the bands overall "losses," they might include the difference between Polley's contract and a more standard contract that moreso favored the band. That's all. Admittedly, this inclusion would be highly speculative.

"Badfinger would have remained at Apple, and who knows how much they would have earned there. From the sources cited in the book, they earned a small percentage and were looking at less because Allen Klein wasn't interested in resigning them. And judging by the internal band frictions, I don't think the main Badfinger unit would have survived much past 1975 in any regard."

More speculation, and you make solid points. I would tend to give the band the benefit of the doubt. They had a "name" and tons of talent to go with it and I think they had a good chance to do well going forward. Even if there were lineup changes, I would bet that any Ham/Evans project would have gone over well. Pure speculation, of course, but I don't think it's outlandish. We'll never know.

"If she was able to influence Joey and his vote behind the scenes, then fine."

This DID occur. That was my point. As a reader, the two factors of KM's direct input and KM's indirect input via Joey can naturally appear to run together a bit, but if Joey himself brought an issue to the table, regardless of who influenced him (as you stated), he was justified in doing so, and this cannot be lumped together with Kathie's more inappropriate direct input to form an impression against Kathie.

"All I can say is "wow!" Without solicitation from either the band..."

Well, Joey asked her to call (and, joking aside, let's assume that he asked her to call a person of some authority, not a janitor). Therefore, she didn't act without solicitation. Would you being arguing this point so strongly if Joey happened to be the one to pick up the phone? And the book is clear that different divisions of WB were not totally on the same page - why is it KM's fault that she got bad info? I don't see what is so perplexing about my reasoning here.

So I can give a complete response, I will have to reread some things I have read about Matovina, his history with the group and the estates before getting into that again.

ßill said...

Regarding estimated figures and the possible longevity of the band in the 1970s, I agree we're both guessing and it could go either way. But the Mollands' financial estimates, which have varied between $3 million and $9 million, are most certainly unrealistic.

Some of the interviewees complained about Kathie influencing Joey behind the scenes, or they said Pete saw it that way. That might have been frustrating for them but there's nothing really irregular about it. I'm sure that happens all the time. I ask for my wife's advice about certain things and weigh it, and I know this occurs in most rock bands. It was the direct involvement by her that was inappropriate.

Yes, if Joey wanted to investigate the rumor then he should have pursued it himself - or the band could have as a united front. It wasn't the role of a group member's wife to start calling WB executives. If I was on the other end of the line I would have hustled her off the phone. As a WB representative, I'd say "You are not contracted with us. It is unethical and possibly illegal for me to discuss this situation with you. If you put one of the contracted individuals on the line, I will discuss it with them."

You also ask why I say it's Kathie's fault? Because she called the wrong person and she didn't realize it, and then she relayed the misinformation as fact. On top of this, no one in the band (excluding Joey) was interested in her doing any research on their behalf anyway. The really amusing part about all of this is the Mollands still to this day refer to this episode as some sort of triumph on their part - as though Kathie actually got correct information. They don't seem to have a clue.

As far as Matovina's prior involvement with the band, all I am aware of preceding the book are his Trouser Press and Hoopla articles from the 1970s. It appears he had some lingering association with Joey and Tom afterward but I have no idea to what extent. That's about all he's mentioned in the interviews that I've read.

Eric said...

Just a couple final comments...

"It wasn't the role of a group member's wife to start calling WB executives."

Probably so, but it was merely a fact-checking type of call. It's not like she was trying to negotiate on behalf of the band or something.

"If I was on the other end of the line I would have hustled her off the phone."

Good point. However, the fact that this didn't happen indicates that WB was comfortable and confident relaying this tidbit of info to her. In other words, it probably wasn't viewed by WB as a momentous conversation, but rather as a confirmation of an established fact. Again, that the info proved to be wrong is not KM's fault, in my opinion. Yes, Joey probably could have called himself, but it seems the end result would have been the same, so how can KM be condemned for her role? (Now, if the Mollands still tout this incident as a "triumph," I really can't defend that.)

"I don't know what his involvement has been at different times."

I may have been off base...I don't have an exact timeline of all of Matovina's activities as journalist, biographer, consultant, producer of posthumous releases, or estate agent, but it's possible that everything that could be considered actual "employment" by the Ham or Evans estates came after the book. So clearly I can't argue with no evidence that the unfair bias I see is the result of Matovina being literally employed by either estate at the time the book was written. However, he was certainly heavily involved by way of his research for the book and this fact, perhaps combined with the Mollands' refusal to participate or endorse the book, probably led to the issues I believe are apparent. How much the Mollands brought upon themselves with their post-Badfinger antics, I can't say, not having followed the saga over the years.

This has been fun. Your knowledge of and desire to discuss the band prove how much you care about the one thing that's most important - the music. I will check back periodically to see if you've found time to compile the KM quotes. Until then, happy holidays and best wishes for '08.

ßill said...

"...indicates that WB was comfortable and confident relaying this tidbit of info to her."

Again, without knowing who she spoke to, it would be presumptuous to say WB was officially OK with confiding in her. For example, gossip from a WB secretary in a remote accounting office wouldn't represent company policy.

You can have the last word on the rest since we're basically retreading old ground now. We simply disagree about what constitutes bias, if it exists in this case, and whether or not it is justified (assuming it exists).

Happy Holidays to you, too. Thanks for stopping in and presenting your case in such a professional manner. That was a breath of fresh air.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I really think you should pursue
the Kathie comments section. I was
perfectly happy with their side of
the story, until I started listening
to a lot of what she's said, and on
her words and explanations alone, I've got to say I'm always left with more questions than answers.
Last I heard, she was going to
phone a car company, to see if they
would use Joey's band's version of
Come and Get It instead of the one
they're currently using. On what
premise? Pay them, and use their
version because her husband knew
3 of the 4 guys who played on it?

ßill said...

I didn't know Joey's band recorded "Come And Get It."

It will require a lot of time to compile the article because I'll need to plow through a ton of old archives. Maybe early in the coming year.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I notice Kevin's site
has been empty for quite a
while. What's the deal? Did
he run out of truthful things
to say?

ßill said...

I have no idea. I don't know Kevin and wouldn't know how to reach him to ask him about his blog. I took his blog off my links last summer because nothing was happening there. If it picks up I'll probably add it again.