March 3, 1972 (Friday)
Painter's Mill Music Theater
Owings Mills, Maryland, U.S.A.
I had the great good fortune of hanging out with BADFINGER, several times when I was still in my teens, a wannabe musician (Baltimore, MD). They were all so kind to me, just a kid bumming my way backstage. I was in the green room with them, before and after shows and at the hotels, too. In a Holiday Inn in Baltimore, I played Pete Ham the first song I ever wrote (must have been pretty lame). He so graciously acknowledged me and said "Don't ever stop writing". Mike G. was particularly nice and like me, a beginner guitar player, so we played quite a while. Joey gave me one of the first celeb "wise-ups" I ever got. He said "I don't want to talk about Badfinger/Beatles...blah blah blah. What did YOU do today?". He then told me how he got his mom to take the plastic covers off the "good" furniture to impress a new date. He accidentally kneed the girl in the nose and she bled all over Mom's good stuff. Tom Evans was also very good to me and he remembered me everytime I showed up. Bless their souls.
Now, I am a pro, In Austin, Texas (56 yrs old). I have played with many of my idols: J.J. Cale, Leon Russell, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard. I feel like a BIG part of why I got here was the inspiration I got from Badfinger. I'll never forget them. I played Midnight Caller, last night and a friend and I are organizing a Badfinger night here.
Oh yeah, one more story. The 1st time I met Badfinger, they were playing with Savoy Brown in B-more. I was lurking by the stage door, peeking in when this grey-haired man with a pipe asked "Are you here to see Savoy Brown." I said, "No way! I came for Badfinger!" He said "Wanna go meet them? I can take you back, but watch out for their manager. He's a fucker and he'll run you off!" So I went back, was drinking their beer and talking with Pete and I pointed the fellow out and told Pete what he had told me. Pete said "Well... Bill's our Manager". Bless Bill Collins, too. What a sweetheart. All in all, I took about 10 of my friends over 3 visits. Bill was always TOO kind to me and my crew. Pete, too. I would call the hotel or venue, ask for Bill, get on the list and that was it. My musical life has been blessed and Badfinger gave me a taste WAAAAY before I could play worth a damn, of what life would blossom into. I feel lucky.
Steve Carter (2010 Nov 28)
Thirty years ago, I encountered Badfinger, and entered into a two-year odyssey, attending concerts and getting acquainted with a group of people who were approachable, funny and friendly. I believe that I am richer for living those experiences. I enjoy remembering those days.
I was 14 years old when the band really hit the big time in the U.S. Like many, I was a devoted Beatle fan who carried the torch into the Badfinger era when the original Fab Four called it quits. I was, at the time, president of Beatle Brotherhood, the Washington, D.C. chapter of the official Beatles Fan Club. That's what developed my interest in Badfinger, and where I received my first information about the band.
I had gotten into Come And Get It, though I didn't have the album at first. I liked that. And then No Matter What came out as a single. I liked that even more. That really grabbed me.
My first album purchase was "Straight Up," and I played that until I knew all the lyrics by heart. Some months later, I bought "No Dice" and found some real music treasures there. A short time later I found the "Maybe Tomorrow" album and found early nuggets that were very enjoyable. I guess you could say that I became a fan by working my way back to the beginning. I'm unique.
My experience is additionally unique because I'm an African-American. From my childhood, I've listened to a wide variety of music--old-fashioned rock & roll, rhythm & blues, jazz, folk, gospel. That diversity made me a willing recruit for Badfinger duty. Later, I happily discovered in conversations with Pete and Mike that they listened to a lot of different artists, and they knew a lot about soul and rhythm & blues music, and recognized its influence on them. Of course, there was pop music, bluegrass... I admired their honesty. But in the media, usually the comparison was made to The Beatles, period. Then and now, music critics who stuck to such sharp remarks would really make me angry. These guys made enjoyable music in their own right, and deserved respect. But, back to the story...
My dad took me to my first Badfinger show. My first show was at Painter's Mill Music Theater, in Owings Mills, MD, a Baltimore suburb, on March 3, 1972. I went with three friends (two girls and a guy), snagging the last tickets available for purchase in D.C. for that night's first show. My dad was great. He asked me, "You want this?" My response was, "Yeah!" I had no idea where this place was, but we set out from our house, and he drove us there, about an hour away, on a Friday night. Since there was no ticket for him, he just sat in the car through the whole concert.
Before their appearance, we got autographs from the band members as they left the backstage area and headed for a concession stand in the center of the lobby. Painter's Mill was a theater-in-the-round that had a backstage area that came off the main lobby, bordered by a door.
My friends and I stood to one side of the lobby, near this door, not really minding it or knowing what it was. We talked about the show and the group. Suddenly, the door pushed open. Mike pushed his head out. Looked around and walked over to get some food. I recognized him but didn't believe that he was that close, heading out among the people, looking for food. I told my friends, "Wow--that looks like Mike, the drummer...but he's kind of short!" (I had this image of everyone in the band as being tall.) Other people hadn't recognized him. When he returned to retreat inside the door, I stopped him for a moment to say hello. He stopped, friendly, chatting, signed an autograph, and even wrote down the address of the Badfinger Fan Club, in Reading, England. He was surprised when I asked about his young son, Owen: "You know about him?"
I think Joey came out next. He said hello and signed an autograph, too, though we didn't talk as long. My friends were Beatle fans who had listened to Badfinger, but couldn't distinguish the individual members. I served as tour guide on this one. Tom was the third one to come out. We really didn't keep him too long, either, but we said hello and he signed an autograph. Pete came out last, as I recall. He seemed friendly, though a little shy. He signed my tablet and by then, it was time to get his food and make it backstage. This was my first contact talking to them.
After hearing them play, of course we wanted to stay for the second show, but that was out of the question. My dad had remained outside all this time, in his car. When we returned to him, telling him our experiences, he told us of his own close encounter. "Somebody from that group was outside and I was stretching my legs and he offered me a beer. He had long hair and a beard." My dad, who accepted it, thought that was cool. Although I never asked them later, from his description, I believe his benefactor might have been either Fergie (roadie Ian Ferguson) or Nicky (roadie Nicky Bell).
Debbie Randolph Harrison
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