by Bob Glassenberg
Hit Parader , October 1971, page 43
Mike Gibbins, the drummer for the group sums up the group's feelings on superstars and super quick success. "We lived together for four years, the group and the manager, Bill Collins. We learned that the natural way is the best way and to take things as they come. I really don't think that any of us are in a hurry to be superstars. Success is a long road which takes experience. It is natural and therefore we are natural. Recognition will come. And I really do not think that the supergroup thing is the motivation of anyone in the group."
Mike gives much of the credit for the group's success up to this point to Paul McCartney, who has often been credited with Badfinger's discovery. "First of all, he wrote "Come and Get It," said Mike. "Secondly, he literally gave us the gig of writing part of the score of "The Magic Christian." McCartney said he just didn't have time for it and told the people who asked him to do the music that we could do the music. But we could not have been as successful as we were without his guidance."
"The first time the group met Paul," Mike continued, "he come into the studio and played us 'Hey Jude.' This was before they released it. It literally blew our minds. Here we were, young kids and this guy named Paul McCartney comes in to produce our record after he heard some of our tapes, which were tapes of a relatively inexperienced group. The first session he did with us, he had complete control. By the last session for our LP, he had given us complete control. His presence was a tremendous lift. His experience had simply rubbed off on us. It was really exciting. And the 'Magic Christian' gig was a test of our strengths, our potential. We saw some of the rough cuts from the movie and worked from there. The three songs we did were really hard because it was difficult to imagine the total, finished film. But we gave the tapes to Paul and he refined them.
"Actually," Mike said in a most truthful manner, "Our ideas were very juvenile and McCartney's experience gave us the push that we needed." To say the least, Badfinger is not only truthful, but perhaps a little bit too humble.
It is difficult to get the feeling of most groups from talking to just one member. But Mike knew his fellow members and he knew he could answer as a whole. When one tries to talk to a group of musicians at 11 a.m. it is quite difficult to find more than one member awake. But there was little difficulty in communicating with Mike. He talked about their first LP.
" 'No Dice' was all right, but our next album will be much better. It will be better because we have grown and gotten more experience. I think this new one is more real, more exotic in places as well. It is thought provoking and every track is different," said Mike. The album will probably be called "Straight Up."
Then thoughts turned to other subjects. "I think it is still probably an advantage to be an English group in the States," Mike said. "I think at least it is an advantage to get gigs initially, but you still have to have good concepts in your music. We were afraid at first to play the lighter numbers in our repertoire on stage, but we did and the audience accepted it, I can't tell you how much confidence that gave us, both in ourselves and in the audience."
"Another big break for us was of course our association with the Beatles. We played on George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass," album and really had fun. We also learned. An added thing is that we get credit on the Harrison LP, so that should help us get the people out to our concerts."
"There is a difference between the U. K. and the States," Mike continued. "We mean more over here in the States. In the U. K. they still think of us as the "Come and Get It," group. There are other things as well. People in the U. K. don't look at an LP cover and intellectualize it. They don't try analyze it. They aren't as interested in politics over there. In the U. S. the people are more concerned with problems and read a lot into the lyrics of songs. I think the U. S. record listeners are trying to find psychological help through the music and the musicians. Some people are naturally more tuned in than others no matter where one goes, but it seems that everyone's messed up one way or another."
The fact of the matter is that Badfinger has not played the U. K. for about a year. "We aren't worried about it though," Mike said. "it will happen there too. Just at the moment, our life has turned towards the U. S. and we don't mind one bit. There is one problem here, or non-problem. It seems to be more of a money gig, especially at the big places like the Fillmore. Right now we don't like audiences bigger than where we can reach the back row, if you know what I mean. The togetherness has to be there. We like the intimacy and the rise and fall of the audience with the music. Hopefully we will grow slowly, naturally, and therefore lastingly. It is a necessity to serve an apprenticeship."
The group originally started out as the Iveys, with Pete Ham at the core. Then Mike came along, then Tom Evans bassist in August of 1967 and then Joey Molland on rhythm guitar, the final member. They grew into Badfinger, from playing English Pubs for any price they could get. The group has taken six years to jell into the form which it has taken today.
"We have to hold ourselves together in order to make it," Pete said. If there is a constant personnel change within a group and it is still popular, I think it is just popular because of the publicity. There are a few exceptions of course, but generally this appears to be true.
"A group can be together for a short time but go through five years of changes in that short period. Then they burn out."
Joey then added his comments: "A lot of groups get together and copy other groups. The difference in a good group is their approach. They can still play the old stuff and copy others, but be original in their approach. When they stop having an original approach, however, they are finished, unless they have completely become their own masters and do their own material."
Joey's experiences as the youngest member of Badfinger are perhaps archetypal of any new member of any group. "When I joined the group, it was a new environment for me. All of a sudden I was in the middle of it. It took me about four months before I began to get into the flow of the group."
"One has to adjust and compromise in a group, but this becomes less and less as time passes and the people within the group feel each other and read each other's thoughts. I think this should be done in life as well, among the entire world community. It is an effort to compromise and not compete but it is worth it in the long run."
Pete said that the key to keeping a group together is "understanding the needs of each person within the group and slowly growing and learning together. One must move with the whole scene and keep himself together at the same time as the group grows and expands musically."