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When Badfinger appears at Humphrey’s HippieFest on Sunday, August 2, the band (discovered and launched by the Beatles in the late ’60s) will be fronted by the sole surviving member from its glory days, singer-guitarist Joey Molland. “Most articles [about Badfinger] have the word ‘tragic’ in the title,” says Molland, who lost two bandmates to suicide (Pete Ham in 1975 and Tom Evans in 1983), while drummer Mike Gibbins died in his sleep in October of 2005.

“That sort of tragedy, I guess, shows up in some of the songs, especially the ones Pete wrote, even though nobody knew at the time how bad off he was getting. But those same songs still bring people together [and] are still heard every day on the radio, in people’s cars, in their homes… People can be tragic, but I don’t think music itself is.”

Badfinger with Molland (who joined the band after its first record) was scarcely seen in San Diego until the HippieFest tours began in 2006. This year’s edition also features Flo and Eddie of the Turtles, Chuck Negron (Three Dog Night), and Felix Cavaliere (Young Rascals). “San Diego has a lot of great musicians,” says Molland. “I played with Rockola at BeatleFair [July 1998], and those guys knew the [Badfinger] songs better than I did!”

Molland has also been a member of the Monsters of Classic Rock, featuring local guitarist Greg Douglass (Steve Miller Band). “Joey is an underrated songwriter,” says Douglass. “The [Badfinger] sound traces its lineage back to the Beatles, and not just because they all recorded together and were on the same Apple label. It’s the kind of songcraft you just don’t see anymore.

“Although,” concedes Douglass, “it is kind of a tragic story.”

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gardenparty Aug. 1, 2009 @ 12:18 p.m.

Molland wasn't one of the original core members. He joined in early 1970, 2 years after they had signed with Apple. Only 1 a-side single was ever released of a Molland penned song, Love Is Easy from Ass. I'm not saying that Badfinger's albums with him weren't good, they were, probably their best. What I'm saying is going out on the road, calling your group Badfinger(when you are the only band member still living and the last one brought in)and singing the other guys songs with your own is bogus. If he called it Joey Molland from Badfinger or Badfinger's Joey Molland or Badfinger Revisited no problem. But calling himself Badfinger makes him sound like an old guy(he's in his 60's)trading off his dead bandmates names because he doesn't think he can stand on his own. Just my opinion. Try looking at it from this viewpoint. What if Ringo or Paul toured and sang not just their songs, but the Beatles as well(which they do)and one or both called themselves The Beatles? As George was fond of saying, as long as John chooses to remain dead, there is no Beatles. And remember the flack Paul took just for some listing some songs as McCartney-Lennon compositions on an album a while back I just don't think it's any different in Molland's case. Just sayin’ ------------

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Josh Board Aug. 2, 2009 @ 9:16 p.m.

You know the two examples I always use, Gardenparty?

Well, with The Doors, the problem was that John Densmore is alive, and he DOES NOT want to be a part of the band. So Ray and Robby wanting to use the name, shouldn't work.

Whereas Queen has two members, with a dead singer also...but the one member that is not in the band gave his blessing. But to me, that doesn't mean Queen should use that name. Especially with Paul Rodgers singing (Bad Company, Free, The Firm, are his bands, NOT Queen).

And I also use this example. The Who (who really, should be called "The Two"), aren't as bad, even with only two original members, they never really stopped. It's weirder to have a band like the Doors, with Jim dying in 1971, and they released a few albums afterwards as The Doors. Those tanked, and they stopped using the name. To come back later and use it, is just odd.

If Keith Moon died in 1980, and The Who disbanded...and then got back together now, with no John Entwhistle, I guarantee Who fans would be livid. They wouldn't like the name being used, even with the two frontmen still being part of the band.

Going back to Steppenwolf...the weirdest was them touring without lead singer/songwriter John Kay. They settled in court. They could tour with the name, but they get NO ROYALTIES for any future uses of the songs.

Well, CDs came along, making John Kay a very rich man. So did movies, that all seemed to think that Magic Carpet Ride and Born to Be Wild should be used for motorcycle scenes. Again, more millions for Mr. Kay.

And, he was able to tour as "John Kay of Steppenwolf" and draw more fans.

But the thing that blows me away is...at all these shows, you run into so many fans that just know a few of the hits, and they just ASSume that the band is mostly all original members. They might not even know the story of the Yardbirds becoming Led Zeppelin, and the singer dying. They just know they have a hit called "For Your Love" that they hear on K-Earth 101, so they're at the show.

And this is why the Indian casinos can draw so well for these types of shows.

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gardenparty Aug. 3, 2009 @ 10:07 p.m.

Josh, didn't the guy who sang in the Yardbirds die quite a while later. I'm too lazy to research it, but as I remember it he and one other original member just got tired of the name Yardbirds. Page and one of the other guys were going to do a tour already booked. I don't even think Plant was their choice for vocals but somebody recommended him. Bonzo and Jonesey came onboard shortly afterword and as they say the rest was history.

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Josh Board Aug. 3, 2009 @ 11:23 p.m.

Garden, I couldn't agree more with ya. In regards to the research part. I'm too lazy, too. I don't know when the singer died. It was years later, but I think the 70s.

You're right about the Yardbirds and Page. Terry Reid turned down the position, and recommended Robert Plant. Plant then brought Bonham, as they had played together in a band (I believe they were called "Band of Joy," but not positive). All the guys had worked with John Paul Jones before, as he was a well respected studio musician (as was Page, who had played on many hits, from Donovan to the Kinks...even was rumored to have done the riff for "You Really Got Me," which Dave Davies denies).

When Page was going to tour with the Yardbirds, after that singer left, they were going to call it The New Yardbirds. And if I remember reading the story right, even when Plant, Bonzo and Jonesy all joined, the band name was still going to be The New Yardbirds. The Who were involved in the name being Zep, as Keith Moon, I believe, said the band was going to go over like a "led zeppelin."

I guess the name change worked for 'em.

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gardenparty Aug. 4, 2009 @ 1:26 p.m.

I think Keith Moon made the remark in reference to the band lineup being thrown around a little earlier when Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck were still playing togehter. I think it was him Entwistle, Page, Beck and maybe 1 or 2 other names thrown around. I think Moon actually said the group would go over like a lead balloon. I had always heard the Entwistle was the one who said something like " or maybe like a lead zeppelin". One thing I do remember is that for a while, Jimmy Page wanted to use keep using the name Yardbirds for the group. It was one of the founding members, I don't remember which one, that got a court order for them to stop because he still owned the name, or something close to that anyway. I read about it in a book I found in a bookshop when we were on holiday in London a long time ago, at least 15 yrs ago. Like you said, it seemed to work out pretty well. I found your comment about the Who and their fans interesting and I agree. But what to you think the Zep fans would say if Page and Plant wanted to tour and Jonesy didn't? I don't think they would mind and might actually come down on Jonesy for mucking things up. I guess maybe the legend of the Zep looms larger inthe world than that of the Who. LOL!!!!!!

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Josh Board Aug. 5, 2009 @ 9:22 a.m.

Do you remember ever hearing the story about Zeppelin playing Germany? They couldn't use their name, because of the family named Zeppelin (inventors of the Zeppelin blimps). So they toured as "The Knobs" or maybe it was "The Nobs,". Currently, Tom Petty's band (mike campbell guitarist, etc), tour as The Dirty Knobs.

Anywho....

I do think Zep fans would've crapped bricks had they called it Zep. ESPECIALLY because Bonham was such an amazing drummer. There's a difference between the Pretenders not having their original drummer, and Zeppelin. And you put Jonesy not being in the band into the mix, and they wouldn't have liked it being called "zeppelin." No way.

And, the thing I'd tell all these bands that want to capitalize on the name recognition...it's really not necessary. The tour of Page/Plant sold very well. All the Zep and classic rock fans, know those names. It's not like they're playing at the Casbah to 130 people.

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Josh Board Aug. 1, 2009 @ 5:08 p.m.

Hey Garden, You don't wanna get Jay goin' on Badfinger. That's one of his bands. Just like Spirit. He loves them boys. But yeah, I agree with you.

But, those legal things are all so weird. I was recently talking to Chris Squire, and he owned the rights to the name YES, which is why when every other band member formed briefly, they had to tour as "Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe," which sounded like some damn law firm, not a rock outfit. But hey, Squire was there from day one, and even though when they hit Humphrey's a few weeks back, HE WAS THE ONLY ORIGINAL MEMBER, that's the name they used. YES.

Since this type of thing has been going on for a while, I always say...it's up to the concert goer to find out WHO is in the band. I found out the hardway, when as a 15-year-old, got a friend to drive to the Wiltern Theatre in LA to see STeppenwolf, with ONLY John Kay (from the original lineup), with The Guess Who opening (with no Burton Cummings, original keyboardist,vocalist).

Had I showed up at Humphrey's not knowing anything, only to find out that two members of Badfinger had killed themselves, and only one original was left in the band....I might be showing them two bad fingers from the audience....MY MIDDLE FINGERS!!!!

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Duhbya Aug. 5, 2009 @ 11:56 a.m.

It was a show on Feb. 28, 1970 in Copenhagen, Denmark that the baroness Eva Von Zeppelin threatened to sue if the band performed under her family name. She was actually polite to the boys at first, reportedly honored they had used the family name. That was until she saw the cover of the first album with the Zeppelin going down in flames.

In order to play the concert, Zep changed their name to "The Nobs" for that date.

(From the web, so pass the salt)

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Joe Poutous Aug. 5, 2009 @ 12:02 p.m.

"The Baroness Eva Von Zeppelin"

I wonder if she was hot. With a name like that... damnit.

  • Joe
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Jay Allen Sanford Aug. 2, 2009 @ 6:04 a.m.

The band has toured as Joey Molland's Badfinger for over a decade, including versions that featured up to three members from Badfinger's recording career. My mistake for not using the full name (tryin' to keep the word-count down). I think calling themselves Joey Molland's Badfinger clearly indicates exactly the kind of show attendees can expect -- the pity is that the Hippiefest sets are cut so short. Full length headliner sets by Molland and company include many more of the Badfinger songs he wrote or co-wrote, and even occasional solo gems ---

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Josh Board Aug. 6, 2009 @ 10 a.m.

With a name like Eva Von Zeppelin, I immediately went to thinking...a tribute band that combined Van Halen and Zeppelin, and was called Van Zeppelin. Kinda like how that Elvis Presley singer did Zeppelin covers, raggae style (can't think of the name right now, though). As much fun as I think tribute bands are, I'm tired of their names. I just heard of a Steppenwolf one. Guess what they're called? Yep. "Born to be Wild".

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gardenparty July 31, 2009 @ 10:31 p.m.

Not really Badfinger without any original members. Just an old guy who joined the group 3 yrs down the road and sings the songs the other guys wrote.

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gardenparty Aug. 2, 2009 @ 2:03 p.m.

Jay, That's copacetic to me. We moved up north of Santa Barbara about 2 yrs ago, so we don't get to see as many shows like this as we used to and wouldn't have seen the actually billing. And I gree with you Josh. Way too many lawyers, and egos, these days. One of your favs comes to mind, The Doors. How many iterations have those 3 gone thru and how many arguements over names have they had? I saw Kreiger and Densmore play some jazz in a little club in Old Town Pasadena about 15 years ago and the called themselves....Kreiger and Densmore. No confusion there. Another one that always imediately comes to my mind is the Beach Boys. I was born in 1960 and the earliest music I can remember are the Beach Boys, The Beatles and Ricky Nelson. The are no Beach Boys with out at least one Wilson bother involved. And since Dennis and Carl are dead, that leaves only Brian. Mike Love and and Bruce Johnston touring as the Beach Boys is completly ridiculous. I know Mike Love helped write many of their hits, but him touring as the Beach Boys is akin to the McCartney example I used. Just my point of view.

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Jay Allen Sanford Aug. 1, 2009 @ 4:01 a.m.

Needlessly harsh, and factually unsupportable ---

As early as 1970, “Better Days” - a Molland/Evans single from the No Dice album (the first full Badfinger album with Joey Molland) – was the popular flipside of the monster hit single “No Matter What” (US #8). Joey also co-wrote “I Don’t Mind” on this album.

1971’s Straight Up album had Joey’s “Sometimes,” “Suitcase” (featuring Beatles cohort Klaus Voorman), “I’d Die Babe,” AND a lovely little acoustic ballad still well-suited for solo performance, “Sweet Tuesday Morning.” He also co-wrote “Flying” on this one, a personal fave of mine ---

And arguably the two most rootsy rockin’ songs ever done by the classic lineup were on their final Apple album Ass (1973), with Joey’s “I Can Love You” and “Icicles.” Of the album’s ten songs, Joey wrote five.

For Badfinger’s self-titled Warner Brothers album in 1974, Joey wrote four of the twelve tracks – the final album with the four “classic” members, Wish You Were Here, also had four Joey tracks (two of them grafted onto other songs in operatic “suites”), “Got To Get Out of Here” being the Beatlesque best, tho the closing track “Should I Smoke” is one of the band’s all-time great rock-out end-of-set numbers ---

Just sayin’ ------------

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