Badfinger - Goldmine
Bruce Nichols and Joey - October 1981


Badfinger - By Bruce A. Nichols
Goldmine Oct. 1981
Joey Molland Interview

Goldmine:
Joey, Iīd like to ask you about your early influences. What kind of music did you listen to when you
were a kid?

Joey:
I started out listening to Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, some Bo Diddley, and a lot of early Motown
stuff

Goldmine:
Any rockabilly?

Oh, yeah. Buddy Holly, of course, and . . Itīs a long time now

Goldmine:
Tell us about some of the early bands you were in, pre Badfinger.

Joey:
I used to play in Liverpool. I started when I was about 11 or 12, and I had a little band in school
called The Assassins. A little later on, when I was about 17, I was with a group called The
Masterminds.

Goldmine:
Were there any recordings released from either band?

Joey:
We used to do a couple of Bob Dylan tunes in The Masterminds. She Belongs To Me is
the one I remember most īcause we did a single of it. It was the first record I ever made, and Andrew
Oldmanīwho was managing The Stones at that time, came to Liverpool and he saw us. He liked
us and took us down to London, and that was when we made our first record.

Goldmine:
What label was that released on?

Joey:
Ah, that was on Immediate.

Goldmine:
Were there any bands after The Masterminds?

Joey:
Yeah! Do you know the group called The Merseybeats?

Goldmine:
Oh yeah!

Joey:
In about 63 or 64 or maybe a little later than that even, they broke up and the singers in the band
went solo. They became The Merseys, and I played with them for about 18 months.

Goldmine:
Were there any records made with that band?

Joey:
Yeah! We did a couple of singles in England, one called Sorrow, which David Bowie covered about
ten years later, I think. The there were a couple of other singles that didnīt really happen.

Goldmine:
What label was Sorrow on?

Joey:
I believe that was Polydor.

Goldmine:
Do you remember the first songs you wrote?

Joey:
My first songs were on an album I did for a group I was in called Gary Walker and the Rain.

Goldmine:
What year was that?

Joey:
That was in 68. One of the songs was called Magazine Woman, which was about a pin-up.

Goldmine:
Oh yeah?

Joey:
Yeah, then there was another one called Francis Philanderer. I think we just called it Francis. We just
wrote a few for that album.

Goldmine:
I know that you werenīt in The Iveys, but I was wondering if you were aware of the collector value
of Maybe Tomorrow?

Joey:
Oh yeah! I think I got a copy of that over in England. Thatīs the one with the leaves and that on
the cover.

Goldmine:
What year did you join Badfinger?

Joey:
I joined them in late 69, about November. What happened was they had edone Come and Get It
with McCartney, and the bass-player at that time, Ron Griffiths . . . I donīt know what happened,
but he freaked out in some way, and he left the group right after they made the record. So Tommy
Evans who played the rhythm guitar in the band, started playing bass. He wanted to play bass, and
they started looking around for a guitar player, and somebody recommended me for the job.
I went down and met them and they asked me to join the band.

Goldmine:
So you came in for the No Dice album then, right?

Joey:
Yeah! Right.

Goldmine:
Any favourites on the album No Dice?

Joey:
I really like I Donīt Mind. I thought it was a really nice tune. One of the things I like about the album
is taht it sounded a bit more like the group. I imagine that weīll get into this later on, but I
thought we tended to lose that sound as a band, and we got more into a production scene

Goldmine:
I read that you got the name Badfinger from an old 78 called Badfinger Boogie. Who did that?

Joey:
I donīt know who the record was by, but thatīs where it cane from . .. yeah, from an old record, I
thought it was Badfinger Blues, actually. The band was looking for a new name, īcause The Iveys
was a little too sweet. So we were looking for a bit of an old name. Everybody was thinking of names
. Lennon thought of calling the band Prix.

Goldmine:
Letīs move on to the Straight Up album. There are lots of great songs on that. Suitcase which was
produced by George Harrison, is one of your songs. Can you tell us about working with him and
and what he did for that album

Joey:
It was interesting. It wasnīt quite what I imagined it would be. You know, I kinda liked the Beatles
they were sort of heroes for me. When I found out, obviously, that they were just regular people.
They all had solid ideas of the way things should be. At that time I was just starting to develop my
own ideas of the way I would have liked it to have been. We never got on really well.

Goldmine:
What did he contribute to the production on Suitcase or Day After Day?

Joey:
Wel, George slowed a lot of the songs down, like the song, ah . . Name of the Game. He slowed that
down to about half its speed. He was also responsible for the enormous over-dubbing situation,
the backing vocals. He was working with Spector at that time.

Goldmine:
Did you ever work with Lennon or McCartney?

Joey:
I never met McCartney. We did work with Lennon on the Imagine album

Goldmine:
You played acoustic guitars on that, right?

Joey:
Thatīs right, yeah. Weīd gotten back from America, I think, about that day. Maybe weīd been on
tour. So we got a phone call, ah . . from Mal Evans, who was working with John at the time. He
called us up and he said, ah . . , “Would you like to do a session for John Lennon?” and we said, “
Well, you know . . OK.” It was great, it was such a buzz. We went down there, he came out and
sang the songs. We did Jealous Guy and Soldier. We had a great time.

Goldmine:
Would you care to comment on his death? Is there any thing you would like to say?

Joey:
I donīt know. Itīs unbelieveable. It just freaked me out. It just blew me away. I got the feeling that
it was a very dark thing that happened, ya know? It was intense. I remember for about four or five
days afterward it seemed like the whole of America was down. Everybody, the newscasters
on the telly, the sports players. ya know, just everybody was down about John Lennon dying, ya
know. It was a hell of a loss for us.

Goldmine:
Letīs talk about the Straight Up album. I really like Iīd Die Babe. Itīs an excellent pop song.

Joey:
Yeah! When we did Iīd Die Babe, George was really excited about it.. George was really involved
in that. Do you know the guitar lines in that? The lead lines were Georgeīs idea He really worked
on that song with us. Yeah he was really excited about it.

Goldmine:
Any favourites on that album?

Joey:
I like Take It All, that was great. I thought Peteīs songs at that time were really strong. Plus I like
my own stuff . . . like Suitcase ande Sweet Tuesday Morning. I thought that was a pretty song.
That was the first song Iīd written like that. It was just a sort of acoustic little love song . . A Lot
of people still ask me about that song.

Goldmine:
You also co-wrote Flying with Tom, right?

Joey:
Yeah . . . what that was . . . is that I had this idea . . . at that time we were having tours of America
on the buses, around the country. I just started writing the song on the bus. I had this idea, and
Tommy was writing a song at the time called Money. What we did was that when we were doing
the album, we put the two songs togethet. I think Tommy wrote the second verse. I wrote the
first and the last verses, then wrote the chorus.

Goldmine:
Was Leon Russell on any of the tracks?

Joey:
Yeah! He played piano on Sometimes, and he played guitar on Suitcase. Thereīs a guitar lick that
comesin on the second verse. That was Leonīs idea. Leon really liked that song. I remember when
we were doing The Bangla Desh concert.

Goldmine:
Yeah. That was my next question. Go on!

Joey:
Leon came over to us and he mentioned how much he liked that song Suitcase. He really loved it
And I think we had Gary Wright in there playing the piano on something. Leon played piano on
Day After Day.

Goldmine:
What was it like working with all those people during Bangla Desh

Joey:
Well, it was great. It was the same people who did the All Things Must Pass album, so we all kinda
knew each other. So it was just like getting the band back together. We went to New York
and we rehearsed at the Steinway. It was a rehearseal room that they had there. We got in on a
Sunday, we started working on a Monday with Billy Preston, George, Ringo and Badfinger. Then
in a couple of days some singers came, then Jim Keltner came, and Eric Clapton came . . and
slowly but surely the whole band was there . . . it was just great.

Goldmine:
Were there any Badfinger tunes performed at the show?

Joey:
No.

Goldmine:
Can we talk a little about the Ass album? On the U.S. release, the list all the songs written by
Badfinger, but it doesnīt specifically say who wrote what. I have the album here, and I tell you
the tunes, could you tell me who wrote each?

Joey:
OK

Goldmine:
Apple of My Eye?

Joey:
Peter.

Goldmine:
Get Away. I imagine thatīs yours, right?

Joey:
Thatīs mine yeah! . . . . . . . ( They go through the whole album . . . .)

Joey:
I wrote a lot of songs on that album, didnīt I?

Goldmine:
Yeah! A lot of fine songs. I Can Love You is a great song.

Goldmine:

Joey:
Yeah! I tried to get Rod Stewart to do that.I thought he could have done that great.He wouldnīt do
it īcause it was already on our album. He wonīt do anything thatīs been recorded before, unless itīs
an old standard of Sam Cookeīs or something

Goldmine:
Get Away is an excellent rocker!

Joey:
I played piano on Get Away. That was the first time Iīd ever done that.

Goldmine:
Why do you think Assdidnīt have the commercial success that Straight Up had?

Joey:
What had happened there was we did the album ourselves. We produced it ourselves first and we
cut a bunch of songs, and went back to Apple with them all. They didnīt like the mix of it. So they
had Chris Thomas re-mix it, and it was so far between the single Baby Blue being out and Day After
Day, then the next album came out, Ass, and it was such a long time. Plus at the time we were
having a scene with Apple. We were gonna sign with Warner Brothers, so we donīt know
whether Apple did a lot of promotion on it. So we didnīt have the success that we did with the
previous record. The Apple contract ran out in 73.

Goldmine:
Why didnīt you re-sign with them?

Joey:
Thatīs what I was just getting to. We wanted to re-sign with Apple, but the manager we had in
New York was shopping īround to see what kind of money he could get from other places, and
we got offered a lot of money. Warner Brothers gave us a fortune. We wanted to re-sign with Apple,
but I think at the time they were having all those problems right then, ya know. I donīt think they
wanted to get involved with anymore recording, so they didnīt pick us up. Iīm sure it was for reasons
like that, because at the time we were selling a lot of records, making a lot of money for them.

Goldmine:
On For Love Or Money, why was the title left off the album?

Joey:
Because the album that we wanted to do was like a postcard album. It was too expensive. and Warners
wouldnīt go along with it. It was like a double album cover, and the front of it was just a single
leaf and it would have had six postcards on it, with the band logo, and they would have been
detachable, so people could have mailed them to their friends. So they didnīt want to do it. We found
ourselves with an album coming out in two weeks and no album cover. So we quickly went
down, outside London, and they hired John Kosh, and we went outside, we got some horses, went
for a bit, and he took a photo.

Goldmine:
Were there any albums released with the postcard album, or with the title For Love Or Money?

Joey:
No, it was never put together. We found some really beautiful postcards from a friend of ours,
Mike Dowd, who used to work for Album Graphics, in London, and he had a bunch of really nice
old postcards, a couple of those fat lady ones, and some really nice deco kinda postcards. It was a
really nice scene, but it didnīt come together. Perhaps weīll do it in the future.

Goldmine:
Give it Up is an excellent song on that album. It has a very intense ending.

Joey:
Iīd almost forgotten about that.

Goldmine:
Who did the guitar work on the end of that?

Joey:
I did the guitar work on that. I did a lot of the lead guitar work on most of the songs, and yet, somehow,
it was thought that Pete was the lead guitar player.

Goldmine:
I noticed after seing the band that you and Pete switched off and on, playing the leads. Could you
describe your style, to give some idea, some indication, of the difference between yourīs and Peteīs
playing?

Joey:
My style is a little looser, a little more scrappy kind of style than Peterīs. Peterīs style was more
contained, methodical. He was a little bit more . . . .

Goldmine:
Melodic?

Joey:
Yeah! A little more melodic. Hew taught me a lot about melody, and I taught him a little about the
blues, īcause I used to play a lot of blues and R&B.

Goldmine:
I know this may be a dark subject to you, but if we could, Iīd like to talk about your relationship
with Pete, during the Wish You Were Here album. I heard you were having management problems
at the time.

Joey:
It was OK. It was honest.It got a little bit hectic because I was trying to get the band to leave the
managers. After we did the album, I came out here to have a break with my wife, and we saw an
attorney, and he gave us the goods. I went back to London, and I was trying to convince the band
that we should try and get away from these guys, and get it together. Peter was really adament.
He didnīt believe we were getting ripped off like we were.

Goldmine:
What exactly was happening at that time. I heard that Wish You Were Here was up to number 60
in the charts the all of a sudden it was pulled off.

Joey:
What happened was that when we signed with Warner Brothers, we got $600.000 that was put
into an escrow account, and every time we made an album, they gave us $225.000 in cash and
$100.000 out of the escrow account. Part of the $100.000 was publishing money and part was
recording money. So one day, the head of Warner Publishing, in town here, Ed Silver, got out of bed
and decided heīd check on the 600 grand, and see if everything was OK. And he couldnīt find it. So
they immediately pulled the album, right there, and initiated a lawsuit against Badfinger, īcause
they couldnīt get to the manager, Stan Polley, althought they knew he was handling the money.
They had to go through the band to do it. So they pulled the record and stopped it, killed it dead,
actually. It was doing really well. It was selling like 25.000 a week, which at the time was a lot
of records. By the way, Kathie, my old lady, was instrumental in the investigation, and she
spoke to the attorneys and everything. Sheīs been there, behind the scenes, all these years, doing a
a lot for us.

Goldmine:
When was the last time you saw Peter, before his death?

Joey:
That was about late 74, I guess.

Goldmine:
How did he seem at the time?

Joey:
He seemed OK, ya see, we did a your in England, it was OK, but I said I was leaving the band at the
end of the tour, īcause we werenīt going anywhere at all. There wasnīt anything being done
about the mangers. Like I said, my wife had come out to Los Angeles, and checked it all out with
attorneys, and we were in a very strong position, to get away from the mangement, and keep the
Warner Brothers contract, and be free and clear to carry on with our career, and it wasnīt going to
happen. So when I said I was leaving at the end of the tour, no matter what happens. And I left, I
think, November 2, the day the tour ended. So that was the last time, really, that I saw him.

Goldmine:
Peterīs death was a great loss.

Joey:
It was. He was a great writer, and a great guitar player, and a great singer. I think singing was his
main thing.

Goldmine:
Do you know if he left anything in the can, any unreleased recordings?

Joey:
I know he did an album for Warner Brothers after I left. That wasnīt released. Rockīn Roll Contract
, the one thatīs on our new album, was originally on that album. Tommy wrote that at that
time, īcause he was in the same kinda frame of mind that I was.

Goldmine:
How did Natural Gas form?

Joey:
Well, to tell you the truth, when I left Badfinger, I was hoping to get some money, or some kinda
settlement. I just wanted to lay off for a while, just get my head clear; īcause it got so screwed up,
with Polley and the whole Badfinger scene, and I just wanted to stay out of it. So what happened
was that I didnīt get any money, and Pete had died, and I went back to England for the funeral, in
May. And while I was over there I met Jerry Shirley and Mark Clark, and we had a little jam together
, and then put a band together.

Goldmine:
Did you tour with that group at all?

Joey:
Yeah! We did a tour in ī76 with Peter Frampton.

Goldmine:
So when did you and Tommy decide to reform the group?

Joey:
During the period after Iīd left Natural Gas, nothing was really coming together. I was just sitting
around and stuff. Then one day I met a couple of guys from Chicago, Joe Tansin and Kenny Harck
a guitar player and drummer. So I started playing with them, and I thought maybe Tommy might
like to play bass in this band. I thought heīd fit in real well, īcause Tommy and I were always real
close in the band. So I called him up, and we sent him some tapes, the songs that we had, and he
sent us songs that heīd written, to see if it still was a compatible scene. And sure enough it was OK.
And that was when he came over and we got it together, and the deal with Elektra for the
Airwaves album.

Goldmine:
On the album Airwaves thereīs a song you wrote called The Dreamer. Is the first verse about Pete?

Joey:
Yeah! Itīs related.

Goldmine:
OK. Letīs get on with the present, the new album Say No More. There are some great rockers on
that; itīs up-tempo.

Joey:
Yeah! We wanted to do an album that sounded like the group, like when we go on stage and play.
We didnīt want to find ourselves in the position that we were in before. We did this album with that
in mind, and we got a couple of young guys, the drummer, Richard Bryans, a fabulous guitar
player, Glen Sherba and of course, Tony Kaye.

Goldmine:
My favorite song is No More

Joey:
That started out as an instrumental. I wrote the song in L.A., and when we got down to Miami, we
started jamming on it, and everybody was getting off on it so much. So I wrote some lyrics for it.
We were trying to get that released as a single.

Goldmine:
When did you and Tony meet?

Joey:
Iīve known Tony on and off for years now. When we were doing Airwaves, we needed some piano
work and we had Nicky Hopkins in, and we had Tony come in, too. So when we took that
band on tour in ī79, we asked Tony if heīd like to come along, and heīs been with us ever since.
You gotta see the band. We rock like mad. Itīs like No Dice, sort of. I think people who come to see
us donīt want to hear a Day After Day type of Badfinger. I think they want something a little
more rockinī.

Goldmine:
Do you have any advice for the up and coming artist who might benefit from your past experiences?

Joey:
I donīt have any short snippets of advice. Theyīre usually long bits.

Goldmine:
Well, go ahead.

Joey:
Well, they have to carefully weigh their art against their career. Sometimes youīve got to compromise
your art a little, to get ahead in your career. If you should do that, I donīt think you should
worry about it īcause you can always, once youīve made that forward move, get back into the art
of it. I made a few of these mistakes myself. I got kinda artsy-fartsy for a while, and maybe said
and did some things I shouldnīt have done. Thatīs one of the things that Iīve learned over the years.
You have to trust yourself. You kinda have to listen to your feelings. When you get the
contracts, read them. Go for what you want. If youīre a ceative person, donīt sell your creativity
short. Those are some of the things that Iīve learned, anyway.


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