* Below is partial of original BooxReviews rundown of the book and the entire published interview with Dan Matovina. Their Internet webpage went under in 2005.
Without You by Dan Matovina Frances Glover Books ISBN
0-9657122-2-2 444 pages Biography
Meticulously researched, meaty, superbly presented biography of Badfinger, the British band overflowing with talent, positioned for greatness — and ultimately destroyed — when leads Pete Ham and Tom Evans, mentally battered and financially steamrollered, each committed suicide by hanging themselves, eight years apart.
Author Matovina's near lifelong passion for the band shines through on every page, as he ushers readers from Badfinger's beginnings to its present day state; indeed, although the Badfinger name continues to be weighed down by a troubled past, Matovina is optimistic that the band's music has a viable chance to be widely rediscovered.
There are, too, of course, those nagging thoughts of what could (and should) have been. As Matovina muses, near the book's conclusion:
"In the long run, Badfinger may simply end up being regarded as one of the many other accomplished rock 'n' roll groups who traveled down the tortuous music entertainment road; ill-fated dreamers who expected the industry would embrace — and then wholly nurture — their own uniquely personal talents. But the conditions this particular band collapsed from meant some truly amazing abilities were never allowed to reach their full maturity. Under more compassionate circumstances, dealing with a few more altruistic hearts, there's no telling what could have been; we might have had yet one other, "Fab Four," rock 'n' roll legend.
Original Review was longer, but BooxReview has ended its business and the rest os the review is no longer accessible on the internet
Interview Below by Geoff Rotunno with Dan Matovina in 2003
1) What fueled your passion to write this Badfinger biography in the first
place? Do you remember the initial spark, the moment you realized that the information
you had could one day be the basis or a book?
I've always been highly motivated by music. As a teenager it really helped me through tough times and brought out my more optimistic side. Badfinger was the first band I truly loved. I became obsessed with getting all of their music. It lead to a more personal interest in the group's background and that led to me writing the first major retrospective Badfinger article ever published. That came out in 1979. Some time in 1990, I was contacted by a gentleman who wanted to write a Badfinger biography. My career was then focused on recording engineering and producing. I was in-between projects. I agreed to spend some time helping him. Eventually, he encouraged me to write the book alone and he would assist me. He saw I had become much more enthusiastic about the project than he was. I clearly remember my initial goal was to accomplish that this book would promote other people to investigate the great music by the band. I also realized the value in the lessons their story could convey. The whole project eventually overwhelmed my life for years to come. It was originally thought to be about a three-year project.
2) Are you surprised by the book's continuing popularity? Back in 1997 when you published the first edition, did you feel that there would be a second edition (or more) one day?
I'm not surprised the book has shown staying power because Badfinger contributed some high-quality timeless music that is continuously finding a new audience. There will always be room out there for their particular brand of rock: melodic, honest, uncontrived, straightforward, well-sung, well-played, intelligently-arranged rock'n'roll with some sentimental balladry thrown in. Also, their particular story is one-of-a-kind. You have the major Beatles connection which leads to a built-in audience that won't go away, because The Beatles popularity continually renews itself.
3) It sounds like if you were able to throw one of those fantasy dinner parties, that Tom and Pete would of course be there (as well as John, Paul, George and Ringo), but who else would make your invite list? Who would you love to hang with if you could?
Record producers Chris Thomas, Geoff Emerick, Todd Rundgren, Richard Perry, Jimmy Ienner. I like the behind-the-scenes aspects of music and love talking shop with people doing the same thing that I do. And there are many other technical guys I admire who few would recognize.
3) One of the most impressive aspects of Without You: The Tragic Story of Badfinger is the comprehensive results of your research. Assuming there's a plan for a third edition, to what extent is any new material available either for the CD or the book?
If the book has a third edition, it would mainly be to update the discography and more recent events. Any other material I would hope would come out through record company releases. The book's contents have proved to be very accurate, though there will always be a couple people involved with Badfinger who claim some events occurred differently than I portrayed. It's impossible to make everyone happy. There's always room for other books and I encourage them. And I've always said that if any party can prove any reporting of facts in my book should be to the contrary, I will gladly update that section as such. I did not let go of the original book for publication until I was nearly certain it was extremely accurate. As its turned out, he second edition only needed a few minor corrections and they were mostly related to time frame. I was quite happy about that, but it wasn't unexpected. I knew I had done my homework the first time.
4) The Tom Evans/Steve Craiter phone calls, which are included on the second edition companion CD -- what sort of personal emotional feelings do you recall the first time you heard these audio conversations?
I was stunned once I really tuned in to what was being said. The actual taped calls are very difficult to hear from Tom Evans end. The other fellow talking was not really grasping much of the specifics of what Tom was saying at the time, or even focusing in on Tom. The editing cuts out a bunch of completely irrelevant conversation which does not concern Tom Evans life at that time. It's a book about Badfinger, not other people's unrelated woes. What's most interesting about these calls is the raw emotion and thoughts being portrayed by Tom, who didn't know he was being taped, and he is emoting his deepest pain. Tom's quick little comments and asides portray some of his deepest truest core on many issues surrounding his life at that time. These comments were verifiable to be sincere. At least a half-dozen other friends of Tom's related similar phone calls relating many of the exact same thoughts from Tom. Tom was being brutally honest regarding his own perspectives. Certainly he was not expecting anyone else to ever hear these conversations.
Tom committed suicide within a relatively short time after these calls. I think these calls are extremely important in helping understand his frame of mind. Those who reacted that they feel publishing these excerpts is only gratuitous in shaping criticism of others are missing the point. Anyone who feels unfairly criticized is free to respond how they see fit. One of my goals with the book was to help people get more perspective on why two of the Badfinger members felt so desperate as to take their own lives. That was a critical point to explore. Any legitimate journalist would have done the same thing. Privately taped calls can potentially help provide some insight into exploring the depth of understanding of someone's frame of mind. The issue of why these calls are being included with this book is not be one of "ethics." In fact, the U.S. state they were recorded in allowed calls to be taped at that time, which is why I could publish these excerpts. The bottomline is that the person who taped them, and the families of the two deceased members, had no objection to these calls being published at all. At least, with these phone call excerpts heard, more of Tom's perspective of those times is conveyed for study. Before this book, the perspectives published of many of the situations Tom had been embroiled in were one-sided and a bit callous. Now, at least, there is a more rounded picture for evaluation.
5) It makes you wonder why those one-sided accounts got any ink in the first place. Did Tom or Pete have any known enemies?
I wouldn't say enemies. Pete Ham was almost uniformly well-liked and highly regarded. Tom's situation was far more complicated. When he died there was a major dispute over money between himself, two others of the core band members, one of the wives, and the personal manager, Bill Collins. Tom taking his way out left a lot of intense emotions stewing in them. I'm sure there is and was certain merit to all of the parties arguments. But the only occasional heavy criticisms of Tom, in hindsight, came from those particular parties; no one else I interviewed showed any animosity toward him except for the one instance of an earlier group member named Ron Griffiths who felt Tom played a major part in pressuring him to leave the group. In fact, my research showed, Tom was actually much-loved, even by those parties who had disputes, and his taking his life left a lot of deep pain, guilt, frustration and unresolved feelings. It's sad. Suicide really affects those left behind. One is left wishing he hadn't done it.
6) In some ways, the tragedies you detail in the Badfinger story are often found as common elements in many other rock 'n' roll biographies. Besides the fact that your book is a veritable love song to Badfinger's music, do you think there are lessons to be learned for rock bands at the very beginning of what looks to be a very promising career?
As best they can, musicians who are entering the business-side need to do their homework. Also, check the backgrounds of those who want to help them. They must learn from their experiences. Don't get caught up in the hype. It's also a business of constant rejection, ebb-and-flow. Musicians have to stay very real about this; try to stay grounded. Also, there is always hope in a music career; they'll always be more opportunities; one needn't give up. Pete and Tom's suicides were greatly affecting to many people. They made a harsh decision that devastated others lives. Few can truly appreciate the pain they must have felt, but the world wouldn't be worth existing in if there wasn't hope that one can overcome one's problems. On many levels, Tom Evans and Pete Ham were a great loss; greatly-talented unique artists with special gifts and kind hearts. I was pleasantly affirmed by the very high regard most people felt for them. I felt very lucky to have had the opportunity to write about some of the "good guys" in the rock'n'roll business. Still, it's the promotion of their music that really made me proud. I'm furthering the art they wanted to convey to the world, helping keep it alive. I think that is the greatest gift I can give back for what they did for me.