Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
following story has been edited. For the full story visit Brando's
feature entitled: The
Rest Of The Story (12/28/82)
On Sunday morning, November 28, 1982, I took an Eastbound Greyhound (sounds like a song title) to Wilkes-Barre to see Badfinger perform that evening at The Station. The road-trip featured an hour stop in Berwick, PA which saw me at a greasy-spoon breakfast counter with every older gentleman from the town of Berwick who had something to say about their state-playoff bound high school football team (the Berwick Bulldogs). I arrived at The Station in the late morning (about 11:00 a.m.). I walked around the place, it was an old railroad station turned into a bar and stage with railroad cars as the hotel rooms. I took the short walk to downtown Wilkes-Barre and purchased lunch at a local restaurant.
I returned to The Station around 1:00 in the afternoon. I was in the stage area most of the day waiting for something to happen. There were a group of men there preparing the stage. One of these men, his name was Gary, came up to me and asked if I was with Badfinger. I said no, but that I was here to see the show. He invited me to stick around while his crew prepared the stage. He said Badfinger would be here shortly. My presence in the stage area for most of the afternoon would turn out to be an extremely fortunate thing for me later on in the evening.
Badfinger and their crew arrived around 3 or 4 o'clock. They walked in and acknowledged me from across the room, but nothing else. They checked out the stage and went into the bar area of the complex. I thought to myself, "what do I do next?" I started to walk into the bar area, but before you get into the bar area there is a game room, video machines, pinball etc.. When I went through this room Tom, Bob and several others were there playing the games. I thought to myself, "I need to be in this room" and quickly made a bee-line to the bar to get change for the games.
When I got to the bar to ask the bartender for change, I turned and there was Mike sitting right next to me having a drink. I was stunned and didn't know what to say, I said something like, "Aren't you Mike Gibbins from Badfinger?" Mike replied, "Yeah." Then silence. I didn't know how to follow up that question (I probably still wouldn't). Thus I turned to the bartender and asked for my four quarters. I received my change and turned to Mike and wished him luck with the show this evening to which he calmly replied, "yup."
With my relationship with Mike now on firm ground, I excused myself from the bar and headed back to the game room where I put a quarter down on the game Tommy was currently playing. The game was "Jungle King" (where you swing from vine to vine and try to avoid various things). When Tommy was done he moved aside and let me play. He watched and made comments about how good I was at the game (lucky for me it was a game I was familiar with). Tommy and I played several rounds and made small talk about the game. When he was finished he said something like, "well take care now." I responded with, "I don't know if you would know me or not, but I know Jack Koshick, I had sent him some material about your band to him..." After about a half a minute of trying to explain who I was Tommy suddenly figured it out, put a smile on his face, shook my hand and said, "Oh, your the lad that helped get us into the states." I was beaming to hear Tommy acknowledge me as someone who had helped him. He then turned to the rest of the band (except Mike who was in the bar) and introduced me as, "the lad who got us into the states." I do remember shaking Bob Jackson's hand at that moment and receiving a cordial greeting from him. (Sidenote: Bob was playing Space Invaders)
It was at this point Tommy invited into the bar to have a drink with him and the band. As I was making my way into the bar a gentleman grabbed me by the arm and said, "hey isn't that Tom Evans of Badfinger" and tried to strike up a conversation with me. I excused myself from him and headed into the bar with the band.
They were all in there, including Mike. I remember that several of the band members, including Tommy, kept calling Bob Jackson "Reverend Bob". I asked Tommy why everyone was calling him that and he said it was because "he was so (too) nice (or nice bloke)." We were at the bar for over 2 hours, from about 4:00 to 6:30 sitting at the end of the bar. Tommy offered to buy me a drink, but I explained to him I didn't drink and he said, "well that's all right" and then bought me several coca-colas.
We talked about the Say No More album, I expressed how I thought "Too Hung Up On You" should have been a single and Tommy said he agreed saying it would've been his choice. He talked for several minutes about the merits of the song as a single, stating that perhaps it should have been the first single from the album. He mentioned not being happy with the production of Say No More. We talked about what Joey was doing; he said he was doing his own thing at the moment, why he wrote certain songs ("Believe Me" about an old girlfriend, "When I Say" about his wife). We argued about the peak position of "Hold On", Tommy said it was #47, I said #56. I then gave Tommy a week by week account of the song's chart progress (86-76-66-56-56-70-92-98) and finally he gave in saying, "Well, you're the expert."
We discussed the chords for Badfinger's "Day After Day" (I said I played guitar a little, but didn't know the chords). I started to write on a napkin the title "Day After Day" and Tommy took the pen and listed the chords and several of the words to the song. I remember asking about the other band members and he said that several of them are new. He said Donnie used to be in the band Chicago and Reed was in the Grass Roots for awhile. When I asked specifically about "Reverend Bob", he said, "he's been a goodmate for a longtime" (or something very similar to this). I remember trying to explain to Tommy how far I had traveled to see the band, I believe I said 90 miles, a gentleman standing behind us said that wasn't correct that it was about 70 miles, but it was the "loud - matter of fact" manner in which he stated his position that led Tommy to reply to this man, "All right then, go easy on him (meaning me) mate."
All the while were having our conversation, we were being served our drinks by a very attractive, dark-haired waitress named Merideth. The waitresses were wearing these French-maid type outfits. At one point Tommy was paying her a nice compliment and followed it with a comment that his friend here was single (me). He thought about what he had said for a moment and then asked me, "You are single, aren't you?" I just smiled and answered yes. Tommy then proceeded to try and fix me up with Merideth, making various comments to her and me that we should get together. Nothing outlandish, just light hearted comments that kept us both smiling. I probably blushed continuously, she took in stride.
I remember being extremely afraid to mention Pete. I didn't want to offend or upset Tommy. But I did say something about Pete, and he replied with a comment, "he was fantastic, wasn't he" (or similar to this).
When Tommy was getting ready to leave the bar to get ready for the show he invited me to visit the band backstage after the show. I said thanks and that I would be there. He left and I left (I believe the rest of the band had left maybe a half-hour or hour before he did. I remember being really excited that I had been able to meet and talk to Tommy and the rest of the band.
I went back to my hotel room and got cleaned up a bit (my room was #108, the band I believed stayed in rooms #109 through #112). I went back to go to the show and I couldn't get into the bar / stage area because I got carded by the man at the door (I was 18 at the time and you had to be 21 to get into the show). I tried to explain to the man at the door that I traveled from Williamsport to see the band (about 80 miles) but he wasn't budging. Thank goodness one of the owners of The Station had noticed me talking to the man and getting upset and asked what the problem was. I started to explain and he said to the doorman, "yeah, he's been with the band all day." The doorman reminded me not to drink and let me in.
I watched the show and wrote down the set list (I haven't seen the list in more than a decade). It stormed that evening and you could see the lightning (which is odd for late November in our area) from the glass roof that was above part of the stage/dance area as the band played. It was a great show. The encore was a Beatles medley. I remember Tommy acknowledging Pete several times whenever they played one his songs. Tommy performed with a jacket on that was open and he was wearing the same type of Badfinger t-shirt that Jack Koshick had sent me for helping him out back in August of 1982 when I sent him some records, articles and memorabilia. (Sidenote: The opening act was three-man acoustic band called Oasis. I don't believe they were the "Oasis" band from 1990's with hits such as "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova").
After the show I was backstage with the band, were I spent a few moments talking with Bob. He said he had hoped I enjoyed the show. I remember most of the band were just talking as fans approached to have their copies of Say No More, Airwaves, Ass, No Dice and Straight Up signed. I don't know if people realized who was in the band at those points or not. Tommy mentioned backstage that there was a gentleman in Tennessee who knew a lot about Badfinger and that I should get in touch with him if I ever want to know what's going on. During the course of being backstage Tommy asked me if I would like to go into town with the band in the morning while they picked up a few things. I said sure and he asked for my room number and said he would stop by in the morning. All the other members of the band, Donnie, Reed, Bob and Mike were also very nice to me backstage.
The band invited me back to their road manager's room after the backstage get-together. They were going to meet there to discuss how things went (I guess). I went to Ray Reneri's room (the road manager). Ray was there but no one else. This was perhaps 1 or 2 in the morning. We talked a bit, but he said it didn't look like they were going to show, so I left.
Monday, November 29, 1982:
The next morning, as soon as I got up I realized I had overslept. I looked outside my door to see if anything was going on. Nothing, but at the bottom of my feet was a short note from Tommy with the gentleman's address from Tennessee. I thought that was it and I hadn't even had a chance to say good-bye. I went to the bar to get something to eat at about 11 am. When I got there all heck had broken loose. Parts of The Station were roped off, lots of noise, strange people walking around, including a nun who was smoking a cigarette like there was no tomorrow. What was going on? It turns out the group Foghat were there in the morning filming one of those new fangled artistic videos. It was for a song
titled, "Slipped, Tripped, Fell in Love" (anyone ever heard this song). The strange people were actors and the music was their song playing throughout the complex. The barmaids were asked to wear their French Maid outfits and dance to the song for the video (I have only ever seen the last 5 or 10 seconds of this video on TV once) I sat in a corner of the bar eating a burger, when Badfinger came through the doors also wondering what all the commotion was about.
I went over and said hello and Tommy said he had knocked on my room but there was no answer so he left the note. We were all looking around at the setup for the video when the members of Foghat appeared. While Foghat were waiting for their cue for the video, they struck up a conversation with Badfinger. I was standing there for a moment with Foghat and Badfinger all huddled together in conversation. I was introduced to several of them, and they were kind. Both bands got a kick out of running into one another. After about 15 to 20 minutes of conversation, Foghat received their cue to continue making their video, Tommy made a comment to all of us about growing up in the same
neighborhood as one of the members of Foghat. He said something about taking pies off window ledges of houses in their neighborhood when they were kids.
(Extended Sidenote: According to a Foghat website (www.foghat.com), Foghat had two members who were born in England who were in the band at this time. Lonesome Dave Peverett, who was born in Dullwich, England but grew up in Brixton, South London and Roger Earl, who was born in London, England. A third member of the band during this time, Craig MacGregor, does not have a birthplace listed on the Foghat site. Thus, I don't know which member of Foghat Tommy was referring to when he made the comment. London and Liverpool are between 150 and 200 miles apart - I believe. Perhaps Tommy meant that one of them had relatives they visited in an area Tommy was familiar, I don't know.)
After Foghat went back to work, We all stepped outside The Station complex as Badfinger were getting ready to leave. We were all standing in the parking lot of The Station complex just talking. Tommy reminded me to get in touch with the gentleman in Tennessee (Steve Donahue). I remember just struggling for something to say. I had my camera with me but was too afraid to ask them for a photograph (my biggest regret in being a Badfinger fan) Tommy, Bob, Mike, Donnie, Reed and Ray all said good-bye to me. As I watched them go, Tommy looked backed and waved and Bob gave me a thumbs-up (Fonzie style). The time of their departure was about noon or one o'clock. I left The Station complex
about 3 p.m. to catch a bus back home.
Brian (Brando) Fagnano
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