March 14, 1974
Greenville, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
I saw Badfinger live in 1974 at Thiel College in Greenville
PA. Given the proximity to Cleveland, it may have been the night before the Agora
concert. they were preceded by 10CC which were extremely tight and professional -
but when Badfinger began, I sensed the raw talent and presence, like being hit by
a brick! They started with "Baby Blue" and the audience just went electric.
People flooded the stage, girls on the shoulders waving their arms, the whole place
was moving! After the second song, Tommy began reading from a piece of paper saying
"We've got a letter from management that says you've all got to sit down like
dead people or they'll turn the lights off on you.... so I meself says, "Fuck
You!" The audience roared!
After that point, I noticed Pete seemed quite frustrated at times. Joey had a smile
on his face and seemed to be playing the "It's OK lads" role, while Pete
on several occasions knocked his amp off its stand by deliberately backing into it
hard. Each time the roadie came back and set it back up while they were playing.
I remembering wondering if he was reacting to the note or instrument problems. The
concert was excellent. It was all-around uplifting and inspiring and I'll never forget
In 1974, I played bass guitar in a band called "Gunstock Proof". We were
basically a Classic Rock club band in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but we had also written
4 or 5 originals and won some sort of contest affording us the opportunity to back
these guys up. We also got to back up USA bands like Eric Carmen & The Raspberries
and Tommy James & The Shondells. We backed Badfinger up for a couple of gigs,
most notable the one at Thiel College auditorium, Greenville, Pennsylvania, USA.
We went on first and did 5 or 6 tunes and then Badfinger, then a band called 10 CC
(I'm Not in Love). As I recall, it was the drummer's birthday that evening [actually
2 days earlier]; he was quite out of it and cut his hand very badly by smashing the
men's room mirror.
The most memorable moment for me (I still remember it as if it happened yesterday)
was after the gig was through, Pete was standing in front of his amp as the stage
crew removed things, etc. I was in awe; I loved his music....and was a big Beatles
fan and of course in awe of the connection there as well. I said, "Pete, I
know I sound like a typical moronic fan...but damn you guys are good...I really enjoy
your music. How great to be doing this, touring, writing great tunes, affiliating
with Apple Corp. etc. etc..." Pete looked at me with those sad eyes and said
(very honestly, not sarcastically at all...in hi gentleman's voice): "Kevin,
mate, my girlfriend has left me...my girlfriend has left me...I do not have a pound
to me name...and I am very very depressed...I'm so far away from home." He looked
at my hand and I held a black Apple record label....I had taped a piece of notebook
paper to it. He silently took it from my hand (he knew what I wanted)...and signed
it "Best Wishes, Kevin" Love, Peter Ham"...he smiled weakly and turned
I think it was not too many months after that I learned of his suicide. I often think
back...is there anything I could have said??? done?? Well, anyway...a Badfinger memory
and especially a memory of a musical genius, I think...that I came face to face with.
I really felt Pete's sorrow that evening; I had just
split with a longstanding lady myself...and "Day After Day" was tearing
I do recall that I was disappointed at the Greenville performance somewhat because
for some reason they were not using piano. I do not know why. I also remember a
crazy British guy who was the manager for 10CC bringing about 50 pizzas to the dressing
room! So, there are some fun and funny memories as well.
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