This particular feature is to pay tribute to the people who did their part to keep Badfinger's name in the public eye and to keep a broadening fan base informed on current events of the band over the last twenty years. This page is sort of a history of Badfinger fan clubs. Before the net there were people who did their part to promote and inform, but because the clubs or letters didn't have the mass distribution that is provided by the world wide web, these folks tend to be unknown and / or under appreciated by the constantly growing Badfinger fan base.
The Badfinger Appreciation Society by Mark Vander Bough
The first known attempt of a Badfinger fan club, was by Mark Vander Bough. In November of 1980, he ran an ad in Rolling Stone asking people to subscribe to a new fan club. In April 1981, the one and only issue of the Badfinger Appreciation Society arrived in the mail from Lexington, Kentucky. It was a five page excursion that included a welcoming letter from Vander Bough, a photo of the band, promo material from Radio Records regarding the Say No More LP, a few articles from Billboard magazine, letters from fans (including the wife of Tony Kaye) and a review of the Ass LP taken from Rolling Stone. It was a nice little package. The cost was $5 for what was to be several issues over the course of a year. The other issues didn't follow, however, no need to be bitter. It was the first attempt and it was a good package. The actual contents can be viewed on this website as it was displayed in the Features section a while back and is still listed. Note: Vander Bough has mentioned that someone also advertised a Badfinger Appreciation Society in the either the late 70's or early 80's out of Chicago. That person did take your money, but never delivered the goods.
The Badfinger Connection by Steve Donahue
The next known attempt for a Badfinger newsletter occurred on March 23, 1984, when Steve Donahue from Cleveland, Tennessee mailed his first issue of a small but informative newsletter. The letter was called "The Badfinger Connection". There were eight issues of the newsletter. It included, for me, the first mention of the Head First LP. Donahue also had the unfortunate task of telling me of Tom Evans death. I called him a week or two before Christmas 1983 to find out the latest activity and that was when he gave me the news regarding Tommy's passing. Steve was always polite in conversation and produced a modest collection of information on the band including old photos, reviews of Head First, current news and also sold a few items via his newsletter as well. The last issue of The Badfinger Connection arrived to subscribers in late August of 1990.
The Badfinger File by Keith James
Also at this time a man named Keith James who resides in Wales ran "The Badfinger File" from 1986 to 1992. It had sixteen issues over the time span. James didn't go for a fancy "desktop publishing look" he simply packed his "Badfinger File" with tons of information including tours around the town where Mike and Pete grew up, old Iveys engagement advertisements, old photos, current news along with many other items including an opening letter that always brought across James' sincerity to preserving and promoting the Badfinger cause. I did not know about this newsletter until 1993 or 1994. What I've read and seen is truly amazing for one individual to put together. In my opinion this was probably the best of the 1980's promotional newsletters supporting the band. I just didn't see any of them until the early 1990's.
Note: Jesper Vindberg's page currently has information on acquiring portions of James work including a new issue (#17), check out Jesper's BadfingerNews for more details!
Also, around this time there was a Japanese newsletter being distributed by Hiroyuki Imaizumi called "The Badfinger Post." I don't know much about this newsletter other than it was issued in the mid to late 1980's and was considered by Keith James to be a very good newsletter for the "oriental fans of the group". James gives an excerpt and discusses the newsletter in volume 14 of his The Badfinger File
No Matter What by Amy DeFalco and Rob Rodriguez
In August of 1990, two individuals out of Bensenville, Illinois named Amy DeFalco and Rob Rodriguez started a fanzine called "No Matter What" that consisted of probably the best "looking" Badfinger fan club package. It was also informative including many of the same items other newsletters had, but this newsletter also featured pages of letters from subscribers who told of their love for the band (I remember a great contribution by Cary Caldwell). This alone made it stand out among newsletters in that it was uniquely different from the others. "No Matter What" also featured write-in-polls that let readers decide their favorite Pete tracks, Joey tracks and etc.. Amy and Rob also sold t-shirts through the newsletter, but the quality of the shirts were of a very thin blend. The one shirt I purchased was a white t-shirt with their logo and a picture of Badfinger on it. However, the t-shirt was a Fruit of the Loom t-shirt and as anyone can tell you a "Fruit of the Loom" large is not the same as a "Russell Athletic" large. Hence, I have never worn the shirt. There were eight issues of this fanzine which also included a nice discography. The last issue being distributed in the spring of 1993.
The Badfinger Musletter by Kathie Molland
When the DeFalcos closed shop in the spring of 1993, Kathie Molland (wife of Badfinger's Joey -for those that didn't know) started a newsletter to continue the work the DeFalco's and others had started way back in 1981 to promote Badfinger. She called it the Badfinger Musletter. They were short but to the point letters regarding Badfinger activity. The Musletter was smaller in comparison to the work of James' and the DeFalco's but appreciated just the same by Badfinger fans. The Mollands sold some t-shirts like the DeFalco's but the quality of the shirts and screening was much better. There were probably about five of these letters issued. They were nice and informative newsletters, but they soon gave way to the dawning of the computer age.
Starting in late 1995 or early 1996 Badfinger promoters began to discover the wonders of the world wide web. Aaron Schab's and Mike Kovacich's were the first two websites I noticed along with an early attempt at an official website, followed very closely by Sean Siever's and Darren English's work (note: I'm not stating which came first, just the order I first noticed them). The early official site is still on the web, but it had several problems, the main problem being that the background and text colors of some of the pages were the same, thus you couldn't read the page unless you "highlighted" page. Luckily for all of us, the quality of everyone's pages quickly improved.
The internet has created a new era of promotion for Badfinger. Their are tons of people to thank for either creating webpages or for contributing to someone's webpage (this is also the case for many of the fanzines of the 80's and early 90's as well). My links page lists most (not all) of the people who have created webpages to help in promoting Badfinger. Most, if not all, of these people do not make a penny for creating tributes to Badfinger in cyberspace (and even though the fanzines of the 80's and early 90's did ask for subscription fees, I don't believe any of these folks made fortunes either). It has all been a labor of love for these people and for that we should all be grateful.
Also, people such as Rick Kellogg, Mark V. Perkins, Dan Matovina and Gary Katz went one step further in promoting Badfinger by dedicating themselves to creating quality Badfinger projects of their own. Kellogg created a central location for all web surfers to start their Badfinger internet experience, Perkins created a beautiful lithograph of Pete Ham, Matovina wrote an excellent book on the band and Katz created a superb video that has allowed most of us to see Badfinger perform for the first time.
So (backtracking for a moment), if you see Mark Vander Bough, Steve Donahue, Keith James, Hiroyuki Imaizumi, Amy DeFalco, Rob Rodriguez or Kathie Molland on the street today make sure to thank them for all their efforts and let them know you appreciate their work in promoting your favorite band, Badfinger!