For Joey Molland, continuing forward under the Badfinger banner has been both a blessing — all of his other classic-era bandmates are dead — and a curse. Questions about where the money goes these days linger.
The controversy heated up when Badfinger, some four decades past the doomed band’s brief hey day, returned to the charts after October’s finale of Breaking Bad featured the group’s 1971 song “Baby Blue.” Pete Ham, Badfinger’s main songwriter, and collaborator Tom Evans are long dead. Both died by hanging — in 1975 and 1983, respectively — and both were also said to have been distraught over royalty issues, after signing a disastous deal with a late-period manager. (Ham’s suicide note said: “Stan Polley is a soulless bastard.”) Mike Gibbins passed in 2005, having suffered an aneurysm.
Which leaves Molland, who teamed with Evans for a post-Ham release called Airwaves in 1979 but then found himself touring opposite Evans with competing versions of Badfinger into the 1980s. That Molland, who replaced Ron Griffiths in time to help Badfinger reel off four consecutive smash hits between 1970-72, has become the keeper of the flame continues to rankle some. After all, he wasn’t credited as a songwriter on “Come and Get It” (Paul McCartney), “No Matter What,” “Day After Day” or “Baby Blue” — the latter three of which were written by Ham. Ham also collaborated with Evans on “Without You,” which became a charttopping 1970 hit for Harry Nilsson.
Molland — who recently released a long-awaited solo effort — finally responded to critics, many of whom have viciously criticized him for touring as Joey Molland’s Badfinger, and for receiving a share of the band’s songwriting fees.
“I’ve been reading some of the blogs about Badfinger and how I fucked them all over, stole all the money, took credit for stuff I didn’t do, caused Tommy and Pete to kill themselves and leave their families to fend for themselves,” Molland says. “I don’t know where I found the time to be such an asshole and write, gig, get married, have a family, make records, collaborate with Tom, Pete and Mike, try and get Ron G. paid some money (yes, it was me that paid the accountants to see if it could be done), not talk about their lack of courage to face up to Polley, and get to make Airwaves with Tommy even though he hated me — so they say. Now I’m an asshole because I do shows with Joey Molland’s Badfinger? Well, I’ll tell you what: You can all fuck off. You’re a bunch of morons. You have no idea what went on in any band you weren’t involved with — and I mean “in” the band. As much as you would like, you can’t read minds — and have no idea what someone is thinking about.”
By the way, here’s how Bloomberg reports that Badfinger royalties are being split: The group’s main songwriter or his estate — typically Ham — receives 32 percent of royalties for publishing and 25 percent of songwriting monies for songs released under the Badfinger name, while the other members (including Molland) and the group’s original manager share the rest. Album shares, Bloomberg said, were split evenly at 20 percent for each member and Bill Collins, the manager.
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