Transcript: Transcript Badfinger’s Joey Molland – the tragic demise of the band

Welcome to a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kaye. Hi Joey Molland! How are you? You’ve been lots of things lately haven’t you?

Yeah, all sorts of stuff. Yeah. Last year did about 100 shows

Amazing. If you don’t mind, I really want to go through your whole history. It’s been fascinating and you’ve come out of it the better the stronger and still making music today. You’ve got a new album out that I want to talk about. And we will certainly get to that. Can we start off telling me about the Ivy’s that you joined way back when? What was happening in your life when you got involved with that band?

I was in Liverpool. I’ve been playing around doing stuff and Gary Walker in the rain have broken up with the band before I was in the in the you know when I joined the Badfinger band or the Ivy’s as you say, so really, I was just kind of fooling around and Liverpool not really doing a lot, you know, playing a little bit here a little bit. They’re writing a few songs now and again, you know, but it was nice to get the phone call. And apparently they had this record that they’ve made with Paul McCartney. For some reason, without going into a long story. The bass player left the bass player Ron Griffis left the IVs. And somebody recommended me for the job coming in and playing with them. And at that time was Well, Tommy Evans, who was a guitar player on the Ivy’s decided he was going to play bass. And they decided to get a guitar player and somebody recommended me and I was invited to come an audition for the band.

How old were you at the time?

I was 23 years old.

And what did you been doing till that time? I mean apart from mucking around with music Well you

played in Liverpool star started when I was about 1516. I ended up in a band called the masterminds made my first record with those. It was recording of a Bob Dylan song produced by The Rolling Stones manager and Zulu golden. He had us doing this song while the Rolling Stones have been at a show in Liverpool. And they came for a drink at the club we were playing at and that was that you can First London I made the record which came out didn’t do great but it’s good okay it’s got a nice a top 40 or something like that

It was a very tight musical community there in Liverpool, wasn’t it? You all knew each other every band knew the others members. And you all hung and we’re friendly with one another won’t shoot.

Yes. Show while Yeah.

Can you describe those days in Liverpool because that’s exactly where the Beatles came out of, wasn’t it? It was

an I joined. I joined that scenes. You know, the whole cabinet thing when I was you know, maybe 1415. You know, it wasn’t a drinking club, the cabin so anybody could go. When I was 15 I was working on the docks in Liverpool and being a bee in the city in the child. Jordan my lunchtime and we’ll go to a lunchtime session. And I started to see those bands that The Beatles, The Searchers Gerry and the Pacemakers, I started to see all those bands playing. They were all so good. It was kind of scary. You know, you’re fighting for a young guy like me. As I say I was 15 and 1415 it was just great.

wave goes on day after day. Ha tone in every way. So fairly easy, because this is the base. And there are


people they rush every ie each with their own secret. So fairy costume merkezi. Always take me the place isla.

Fortunately for me, I met a guy in town at lunch one day, he showed me walking on the street. And he asked me if I was Joey Mullen. And I said, Yeah. And he said, I used to watch you play in on the street corners in Liverpool in Penny Lane and stuff, which is where I grew up in that area. Apparently my guitar player and impressed a few people in those days when I was a kid. And he asked me, Did I have a good shot? And I told him yet I did. And he said, Would you like to come and play with our band tonight? I said, Well, you know, I don’t really play that much. You know, I only know like we Chuck Berry and somebody early and don’t really know a lot. You know, because I’ve been playing by myself really little bit of abandoned school called the assassins. We lasted about six months. Anyway. He said bring it down. That will be great. Bring your guitar and come down. So I went down there that night and played. They really enjoyed it. They said it was great. And they paid me a pound, which was remarkable. I only made two pounds 15 Two pounds and 15 shillings and eight pounds a week working on the docks. So a pound for one night was and they invited me down the next night. So I play I came and played again. It was great. It all worked out really good.

Amazing. When you say you’ve been playing on street corners, were you actually busking

and oh no, no, but before that, I was actually learning to play I was landing those chokeberry songs. Learn In the biryani songs, remember everybody’s not, you know, Charles just really learned to play. And this was of course, when I was 11. I started playing when I was 11 years old. And you know, by the time I was 15, I could somewhat play. Well, that’s that really tells the story.

So when you joined the IVs, that was it, you stopped working on the wharf and made

the IVs was the IVs was many years later. Like I say, I was 15 when I was doing that. And I’ve been playing on the corners since I was like 12, or something 1112 years old. Playing with the profiles came when I was 1516 years old, that introduced me to the Liverpool music scene really. And I started to go out to other clubs and see other bands plan. One of those places I went to was a club called the Blue Angel, which was a late night club. And you see a lot of musicians and they’re gonna girls dancing and stuff is great. I get up with the band, a band called the masterminds. And it was done. You know that Amanda were really good. They were really good band. And eventually the guitar player in that band left, he decided he didn’t want to be a guitar player in the band anymore. And he went out and got a regular job and they asked me to join and I did the profiles, then playing much and Peter have become a singer and songwriter in the profiles had become a kind of a recluse. The masterminds worked out good for me to go to London, we recorded that region sound. So anyways, the record came out she found out a great reputation in Liverpool to see you when I can’t stand to see you.

Several members of the masterminds including myself, were asked to join another band called the fruit eating birds, which was going to be the backup band for a singing duo from Liverpool called the magazine. And they’d made a record called sorrow. And I’m sure you know that song was well famous. Absolutely. Of course, the nurses were the singers from the Mazzy beats, who were also well famous, or they were a Liverpool band part of that Liverpool meshi these explosion and they asked me if I joined the band, I went in their backup band and then introduce me more to oh, I don’t know go into London, you know, playing around there go into France playing over there just getting around the world a little bit, you know, and I spent my fantasy at night it was 65 I spent about two and a half years of touring and the like, just a lot of fun man and to socialize, you know, learning to meet people I was raised in like a Catholic family, five brothers. No girls, no daughters, no sisters. And so I didn’t know anything about women, anything about girls,

you certainly would have learned faster being a musician.

Well, I started to meet them but I was so shy. I really didn’t know how to react around girls. When they start laughing I’d start getting embarrassed if I want to get out of there. It seemed like they were laughing at me. Anyway, you know how that is for guys when they first get round girls. It’s difficult. It’s difficult, you know, but the rest of it was was just a real blast playing and that’s when it really became like a rock and roll player. Like a pop the real pop musician kind of thing. I love to play rock and roll beat music. You know that’s what we’re great at in Liverpool. That’s what was different about Liverpool music I think was the beat.

Right Jimbo, you’re on tells me Y’all

sorrow was originally recorded by the McCoys as the beside to the 1965 single fever. That was the follow up to the number one hit hang on sloopy. The Mercy’s recorded this as their first single using Top UK session musicians Jimmy Page on guitar, John Paul Jones on bass and Jack Bruce on stand up bass, all big groups. That’s what we will call How would you describe that feat?

When we pay off all our favorite songs, we will play them all. Most of them were fun songs Chuck Berry, Little Richard Schumer, the black singers, Arthur Alexander, the Stax musicians, of course, you know, teenage music. We had a great time Motown came out. Then in the early 60s, we started to learn rhythm parts and really admire those players. We found out who they were James Jamison and not James Benton. And we really tried to be like, Sam, we really like tried to play like that.

It was a great time to be making music, wasn’t it? Oh,

it was incredible. Yeah, it was all real music. You know, of course, we’re no synthesizers, no drum machines. You know, the drummer played the drums, the bass player played the bass guitar player played the guitar, and the piano player played the piano or the organ. In a lot of cases. As the big groups got more popular, the manufacturers started to cater towards a little bit, you know, they made really good amplifiers, they started to get, you know, better and better the quality of follow initiative. No, another funny thing. Most of us have gone back to using the old equipment in our domain is that

it’s funny you say that because my show called a breath of fresh air. I have a fabulous sound engineer who’s based in Brazil. So I send him my files and he mixes and masters the show though it sounds really slick and professional. But he’s really super excited. He’s found a 70 sort of filter that he puts over the top of the show. Yeah, that’s exactly right. In that sound. Yeah, yeah. I’ve

just gone out and bought myself a diamond at seven, up to seven mic. It’s the best mic in the world. I think. When you sing into it, it makes you feel like you can change.

Shopping. I’m

not sure there was ever any doubt that Joey Mullen could actually sing. Stay tuned as he tells us more.

This is a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kay. It’s a beautiful day.

Thanks for hanging in. It’s the late 60s and the turn of the decade is about to bring unimaginable but short lived success for the members of our little known big group. So take us Joey Molland. Now too bad finger originally called the IVs. Why did you change the name to bad finger?

Well, they told me this the IVs initially what a big group is from Swansea. Eventually, of course, Tommy Evans joins them with us from Liverpool. But they stained they were a big group. When they went to London and started to try and be a songwriting band, they turned into like a pop band. And they really miss playing that rock and roll beat music. And so they wanted to remind themselves of that. And so they wanted a name that suggested that they didn’t think the Ivy’s did that show that they thought they thought they thought I was in the band by now and Neil Aspinall who was one of the Beatle roadies, as you’ll recall if you know your history the last one all said what about bad thing? And he told us it was an old blues record Riad Badfinger boogie. And it turned out that he made that off it was actually bad finger movie was the working title for John Lennon. Playing for the demo of I think a little help from my friends. The son from Sergeant Pepper and John played piano on it. And he goofed up a couple of times. So they called it bad peekaboo.

Tried oh my god ha

That’s where the name came from. But it happened in that short period after I joined the band. And then we went in and started to record the low Dasha Alba.

So you were a hit from the get go when you became known as bad finger, weren’t you? And you became the first band to be signed to Apple Records, which of course was the label founded by the Beatles in 1968. How did that come about?

Well, Badfinger was already shined to Apple. And then there’s a story there. The manager of the Ivy’s was a guy named Bill Collins. He was an older guy from Liverpool played the piano musician played jazz piano in the old days before the pop boom, he happened to be acquainted with Paul McCartney’s dad through that music scene back then because well McCartney is done played jazz as well. Years go by now. Bill Cosby comes Ivy’s manager. And he uses that slight connection with Paul McCartney, his dad to get into Abbey Road Studios. And talk to Paul briefly a false a really nice sociable guy, you know, in that kind of circumstance. And Bill Collins tells Paul about the Ivy’s this fan that he’s managing and they’re songwriters. And he had a chat with him and he and he gave us a ball. Well, the songs were kind of three, they were early songs, if you understand the expression tweet. Okay. And so Paul, you know, he wasn’t knocked out, but he liked it enough to say, maybe if you can give us some more songs, some tapes, you know, so Bill eventually gave him three tapes of songs. And they decided that they were going to sign the IBM to Apple publishing the music company that formed and then shortly after that, they formed Apple Records. And they shined the eye views to that their first record came out on that, which was a bunch of their own songs. Big single maybe tomorrow that Toby Evans wrote they had an album come out called maybe tomorrow

listen to see the gray and sadness see the people go the way Gernot up me in love it

no one’s alive

didn’t do a lot. Unfortunately, maybe it was a bit of a hit initially, I think. But nowhere else really. And so it came to patch. The bass player did an interview. This is a year later. So you know 1969 about what it was like working with the Beatles. And Ron said, Well, it hasn’t done as much good. You know, we haven’t had much success. So you know, it really hasn’t really helped us dot books, you know. So apparently, Paul McCartney read this article, and it kind of annoyed him. And he had a song we’d written for Ringo his new movie, the magic Christian. And the song was called coming get it and he took it right round to the Ivy’s and he told them that if they land the song just like like it was on his demo and his demos been released so you can you can have a listen to it. The Irish land that sounds like that. He would come round that fall when we take them to Abbey Road producer he would make that their next angle. And it will be their first record he told them because he didn’t want anybody says what happened with the Beatles didn’t do what you show it Yeah, so we did that very generously, and they record the song and of course they have it in the camp if you want it again make your mind

you want it anytime

must be

learned money if you want it you better hurry cause

if you want it, he is calm and edit. Mind. Now, this is when wrong did the bass player left the band, you know, we had a girl they had expected a baby. And he decided he wanted to go home and kind of settle down and be with his family raised his children and all that. And so he went, and the IV started looking for a replacement. Come in. That’s what I came with. Yeah, they decided they were going to look for a guitar player of somebody recommended me a full name Billy Kinsley. And there’s a bit of a story there. He was in the magazines. He was one of the distinguished in the magazines, that I joined their backup and a few years before this. So he recommended me for the job. And I went down an audition, and they gave me the job.

So the IVs that later became Badfinger was already really happening with a hit with come and get it by the time

what happened was, the record was in the camp hadn’t come out yet. So when it came out, I was in the band, and they actually put me on the cover. So I was in the band law lawyer played on the record. Yeah,

the former bass player must have been kicking himself.

Imagine you was when that record became such a such a big hit.

So how did you handle the success of that Joey model? And what did that feel like? For you?

It was a bit of a double edged sword, really the, you know, obviously, the success and being on TV and my mom and dad, you know, see me and all that stuff. And I was trying to make regular money. I mean, we were making 30 pound a week or 20 pound a week, but we were the bad thing, like, so that was good money for me. Anyway, so it was great. On the other hand, because it wasn’t on the record, I felt kind of a bit felt kind of guilty, you know, especially when they put your name on the record album. And the you know, the IVs the bad thing or album came out called Magic Christian music. And there was the picture of Tommy and Pete microHDMI on the front. And I had a little mention on the back that I was in the band. So that was my claim to fame then crossovers on all the other records we went right in and did the no Dasha album, an extra that kind of alleviated that feeling

so you had a bit of impostor syndrome on the first one on come and get it but by the time no matter what and day after day came you were right in there and on the recordings right no matter what will always be with you

no matter what

to do

I will always be around

to see

you again you

no matter where you go.

Came up with no matter what

are the pita ham song was the first song we recorded about knockout knockout little tune and we gave it to Apple. They thought it was good, but they didn’t really think it was the single. And so they told us to go into record more songs and we did, which eventually became the no dice album. I had a few songs on the record three or four, which I was really happy about. But still they ended up going back. Sure no matter what, then that came out as the next Shingler after magic Krishna,

your mum and dad must have been awfully proud of you. By this time. I’m sure that they’ve tried to convince you from a an early age not to make music your full time career and just stick with your regular job didn’t that? Well, no,

they weren’t, they really encouraged me to play the guitar. They didn’t try and influence me to be a musician. But they’d like sit me on the couch and have me play songs for medulla. They were really happy about it. Because I’ve been with the masterminds and the bands around Liverpool but in the newspaper a couple of times things like that so they kind of had an idea I suppose that I was going to you know, be a musician but when they saw me on TV they were obviously very excited about all law. You can you know, do is it a bad thing Badfinger album and then having the biggest record in America. Yeah, they were knocked out. Just knocked out across Yeah,

I mean, you guys must have been incredibly surprised at the success that you did find in America because it was pretty unusual, wasn’t it? I mean, making it in America being a success in America was the epitome was on everybody’s wish list.

That’s exactly right. You know, before the Beatles that have never been anybody had been successful here. And now I’m carrying the Beatles actually they’ve brought five Yeah, he came over fish that we didn’t have the first hit record era dangerous fancy. And then the Beatles came across and the Beatles got ginormous and all the other bands came over the animals and you know the stones and all that happened and so a lot of bands have been popular by the time we came out not to be weren’t happy to be successful in America find

out about

every day, my mind is all around

you Good?


Every day.

Came over here we started playing, and we played pretty much anywhere we played in school gyms, high schools, played in field houses, we played anywhere they’d Buckers really little clubs, big clubs, famous places, unknown places, were played all over the country, we would come and do these 90 day tours, we’re here for three months. And we do 60 shows in those days. And that went on for the next, I guess two or three years to show him a lot of places out just incredible.

Well, when you refer to here, of course, you live in the US now. And those 90 day tours are something that you can really only do when you’re super young. You couldn’t imagine sort of today.

Yeah, it was incredible. I still do package tours, and show I’ve got a job in Marlins bad finger show. Because I don’t want anybody thinking I’m bringing the original band across because the three guys are with us anymore. I don’t call the band Badfinger for that reason, really. But it is Joey Marlins bad finger, no doubt about it. And we feature all the hits a lot of the lesser known shocks.

Joey’s a bad finger went on to sell 14 million albums worldwide scoring three top 10 us hits between 1970 and 1972. That was come and get it. The one you’ve spoken about written by Paul McCartney no matter what. And of course that fabulous song day after day. It felt pretty good, huh? Oh, it was great. You mentioned earlier Peter ham who had written no matter what he wrote a lot for the band. Yeah. Tell us a little bit about Peter because of course he came to a tragic ended just the tender age of 27, didn’t he?

He did. Yes. Fortunately, yeah. Pizza of course, were all the hits that the band had. Day after day, no matter watch a baby blue which is a tremendous increment. My favorite out of all


got a phone

call maybe Blue was the group’s last top 40 hit, there was trouble brewing as bad finger and Apple’s relationship began to sour. Joey will be back in a flash to fill us in.

This is a breath of fresh air with Sandy Kay. It’s a beautiful

Badfinger was one of the first sign by the Beatles when they got into the record company business. The debut single was one of Apple’s first releases and the band’s breakthrough single come and get it was written by Paul McCartney. The Beatles didn’t abandon bad finger after the Feb four split up, George Harrison even produced their biggest hit day after day. Tragically, though singer and songwriter Pete Hamm killed himself in 1975. And the band broke up

when we found out what was going on inside the management, we started to talk about leaving the management get new managers, Peter would not go along with it, he would never even shut again against it. When in fact, the guy was a crock.

I’m well aware that he would take all of the money from you and distribute nothing to the band, right.

To be fair, we got a monthly stipend, we took $300 a week. But mind you, we will make an offer, I don’t know $300,000 A week, you might say he took $7 million from us never paid us back. The only way we got any of the money out of the entire Badfinger experience. And I’m talking about the successful bad fit of expertise was because we went to Apple, and we asked them not to pay any more royalties out astral to keep all the money. A lot of people thought that Apple was involved in taking our money and keeping our money. But in fact, that’s what happened. We asked them not to pay any of the money out. So they did that they went to court in London, and gave all our royalties to the court.

So during this time, when you’re on top of the world, you’ve got several top 10 hits, you were really suffering you were getting a pittance as a wage. And you were often standing in line for food stamps and the like trying to support your family

rather well. I’ll tell you when the band broke up. When Peter found out that all the money was gone. He had nothing he couldn’t even buy his girl who’s going into hospitals have a baby that is fast child, he couldn’t even buy it on it. You know, it was totally had no money. And please, overs all because of those songs that he wrote. It should have been a multimillionaire, you should have been a multimillion, there’s no doubt. And of course, when he found that out, it destroyed him. And he ran out I think that night or the next night, and he committed suicide. He went out with Tommy, they had a few drinks and he went home that night he did what he did was a disaster. And yes, at that time, we were all in the same boat. We were shoveling everything. I had moved to America and of course in America by gigaton don’t sign on welfare or anything. I was fortunate enough to meet an old friend of mine from Liverpool. And he gave me a job working as a carpenter. And then I got another job from American friends. I installed carpets for about six months, a year. And then my first son was born in 1979. And even by that I hadn’t been able to establish any kind of good career for myself, the whole Badfinger thing that gone away there were no records in the stores. We really weren’t getting any play on the radio anymore. Apple and Warner Brothers pulled all our records from the stores for whatever reason. So there was no income. Tommy got a job, like in times installing electrical systems and insulating the pipes. I could go back to playing an occasional drum session with his old friends from his childhood and that’s basically what happened to us.

I’m sorry, but it’s time to move on.

Inside my heart, I really want to stay believe we

have this year Oh, since you

you know the gift you have

the apple

it was a nightmare time, I remember. And I do remember being in the poor line at the Pasadena emergency clinic because my son shown was very ill. And I couldn’t afford medicine. I couldn’t afford a doctor. And I didn’t know anything about how these systems work in America. All I knew was that it wasn’t like a welfare state like in England where you’d never get in that position in England, there is help for you. Anyway, that’s how the experience was. And then, of course, things develop, you know, you find a gig and start playing again and finish start to work.

Come back. But I mean, it’s unthinkable that at the height of your success when you had all of those hits, where you’d been performing on George Harrison’s all things must pass. When George Harrison played with you. He played slide guitar on day after day, as well as producing the second album. When Tommy was featured on I don’t want to be a soldier on John Lennon’s 1971 album imagine

you guys voted on that too. We both write on that yeah jealous guy as well.

And of course Peter Ham had written that all time fabulous song without you for Nilsen

yeah do you have you actually here and Tommy wrote that song?

No, I can’t feel good to see your face but I guess that just weighed still. You always smile but in your eyes


no, I can forget when I saw that you you go

can’t do this without you. I can’t

I can’t give any more.

It was a combination of two songs. Cami had the quarter Chicagoans living and pizza had this conflict get to see that know that pot. And we stuck to both ideas together. And that was a suggestion of the manager, Bill Collins are all manager and he wasn’t a crook, incidentally. But you know, because of Apple’s good behavior. All the apple royalties and all the record sales from the bad finger records. All that money went into the bank in London, and it was held by the courts. And in 1985. We went to court, of course Tommy had passed away by them. But Mike and I went to court in London, and we got the money. We got it all divided up according to our agreements. And ever since then, each member of the band including Tommy MPs, or their estates have received every single penny of his relatives. You know, we’ve been able to live a decent life not a crazy life course. I’ve been working all that time playing shows and Mike Gibbons did the same. And Tommy did in the early days. You know, we’ve all been fortunate enough to live really pretty decent lives, raise our children pay our bills.

Like so many artists, Joey Molland made great use of the pandemic downtime. He recorded his sixth solo album called Be true to yourself. So it’s a

collection of songs that I’ve written over the years, and I’ve got a very good friend of mine. His name is Mark Hudson, Crichton, a Grammy winning producer, Rainbow stars records. Aerosmith. You know, he made a lot of great records. We became friends over the years. And one day asked me did I want to make a record? And of course I did. Yeah, we decided to go in we found some money. We want you to add to your recorded channel, Michelle. And I think that turned out really pretty good.

Have you ever missed guys only when they cry

you’ve got some pretty big name players on there with you, don’t you? Oh yeah, people were nice enough to come down and send on Play. Julian Lennon came and sang a few songs for us. You know, Mickey golance came and sang the song with us Jason chef, the singer from Chicago Now Luke came in and sang with me and a lot of different players, people from the Aerosmith crowd will get some musicians you know,

yeah, he I think it’s a fabulous album. It’s been called very beat Licious.

Well it is it has been English I don’t think all the songs and Beautylish but the treatments are dumb. And imagine what it was like getting to play on those records with George and John. It was just incredible within the Bangladesh concert with George too

three are really really really want to see

really, really really?

Low really won’t see. A Clapton in his biography. He says George Harrison and George’s band bad figure, which is a hell of a deal.

salutely doesn’t get better than that, does it?

No, it doesn’t. You know, I’ve been able to wear for the rest of my life. Mainly because obviously Badfinger for sure. I like to think it’s because I bring a better energy service to the show.

Joey Mullen pointers to your favorite check. I know it’s a hard ask because they’re all like children. But which one would you like us to listen to now from the new album,

there’s a song on there called shines, which was a song by Roche in like, oh 1973 Badfinger recorded it as a demo, but we never put it on a record. He wrote the chorus actually, Charlie liked that song and I like to play it because it’s a great little song. And it’s completely different. The title songs yesterday dung about the first real conversation I ever had with my eldest brother. Yeah, my oldest brother was like 1516 years older than me. And one night years later, we were both getting on we had a conversation and I wrote a song about that conversation the it’s a pretty good song and it’s pretty nice.

Are you still writing?

Yes, I am fine a writer. Right now actually I’d like maybe an EP or something.

And you still got the antique store there in Minnesota. Yeah,

we have a couple of antique stores. And my girl Maddie and I both, we call it Jo ma you know for Joe and Maddie. Yeah, we sell knickknacks and stuff like that and beautiful vases and any kind of beautiful art antique we can find at a reasonable price. I might Todd. It’s a lot of fun. We love to go rummaging.

We thank you Joey Mullen not only for your time with us today, but for all the music that Badfinger gave us. And I’m so happy that you’re out there doing today. Joey Mullins bad finger, as well as putting out new music. It’s just awesome that you continue on.

Thank you so much. God bless you all the best.

Isn’t he a lovely man? Hope you’ve enjoyed hearing the Joey Molland and bad fingers story. If you have why not check out the podcast to have a listen to lots of other interviews. Perhaps you will be kind enough to follow it and give it a rating and review. I’ll see you back same time next week. I’m looking forward to being in your company again.