Wednesday, October 26, 2005

In Memoriam

Two Badfinger posts in a row but this one isn't as happy as my last post. Mike Gibbins, Badfinger's drummer, died on October 4th. I hadn't heard about it at all until Collin found the article yesterday and forwarded it to me at work. I'm very very sad about his death. He was only 56 years old and the article didn't mention how he died.

I worked with a man at the golf course who was friends with Mike; he called him Mickey and said he was a "fun bloke." My big fantasy was that Mike would come visit Karl one day at the golf course and I would get to meet him. But that never happened and now it never will.

I have a Badfinger video that has interviews and performance clips of the band...the interviews with Mike are hilarious - he was so funny. His story about how he missed the plane to their next gig because he went out for cigarettes is great! When I first got the video, I made my ex watch it with me and the one comment he had about the whole thing was "Your drummer's pretty funny."

Here's the article that Collin found:


October 4, 2005 - Mike Gibbins has passed on - by Dan Matovina.

Very sad news. A lot of fond memories of Mike. I'd been in contact
off-and-on since 1978. A witty fellow, he was great with his
participation in my book on Badfinger. We did extensive interviewing -
mini interviews and chats done over many months time - I sent him the
transcripts - which he edited. He was always one to be quick and
off-the-cuff regarding his feelings. The majority of his quoted
material was used in the book with his blessing, and he stood by it. He
also verified other events. Mike later claimed he never read the book
all the way through - he told me it was all in his head anyway and too
painful to totally re-absorb himself into the past.

The man had a lot of great stories and he contributed some of the more
humorous anecdotes in the book, but there also were a slew of more
decadent R&R tales left behind. Partly, I left them out because I
wanted to keep the sex and drugs aspects not too overplayed in the
Badfinger story ? and partly out respect to some of the players in the
story who were still alive. In the end, Mike was fine with that, but I
don't think he would've been ashamed of most of it. Mike was refreshing
in that he wasn't not embarrassed of the past, realized it was all part
of that insane 70s-80s rock'n'roll era, and that he and the band
members were naïve young men thrust into a big situation that could be
overwhelming for anyone at times. Mike could allow himself to be
self-deprecating and acknowledge that no one is perfect, admit
mistakes, move on, lessons learned.

Sadly, Mike seemed to be getting somewhat more frustrated as time went
on after Tom Evans death in 1983. Some of his frustrations of the times
were expressed in his interviews, but newer issues troubled him of
late. I think he was always willing to let bygones-be-bygones at a
certain point with anyone. For some of his thoughts you can see an
extensive interview on his first two solo albums that is still posted
on my site. I was set to do one on his following two CD's, but Mike
seemed to lose interest when his latest CD wasn't selling that well and
the idea was dropped. I am still hopeful the two CD compilation of his
work will be released through Dreamscape.

I know he enjoyed getting questions and he always answered anything I
would ask. I noticed on his webpage guestbook he enjoyed the attention
and liked to converse with the fans. He answered pretty much everything
- but sadly, his site's guestbook was swallowed up by a barrage of
posts with an agenda of planting controversy and it became less about
him, when - being his site - it should have been more respected. The
unrelated issues and self-important grandstanding could have been done
elsewhere. Mike and some of his family commented on the insanity and
soon after the guestbook disappeared forever. So who lost there - Mike.
It never should have happened.

An extremely underrated musician - I will always give Mike an A+ for
his drumming on Straight Up and most of No Dice - just about perfect
for each song - and beyond that ? memorable drum fills. Hardcore
Badfinger fans are all familiar with many of the tasteful toms of Mike
sprinkled on the Badfinger albums. Though he told me he often wanted to
flash out more, I could tell he was proud of what he did on record.

And of course, a very, very fine writer - "It Had To Be," "My Heart
Goes Out," "Your So Fine," and his classic "In The Meantime," which he
told me he wanted to be used alone and not part of a medley. But who
can argue Chris Thomas and his genius of tying it together with Joey
Molland's "Some Other Time," which is clearly acknowledged as one of
the band's masterworks. Mike finally got his wish and re-did his song
on his last CD In The Meantime - extended, of course. *Little known
fact - Mike sang "In The Meantime" onstage at some of the Badfinger
gigs on the 1974 tour supporting Man! That was stated in Bill Collins

And the Mike song rarities are outstanding - the 1972 tracks with his
Welsh mates; all of the outtakes from the Head First bonus CD, "Loving
You" - quality songs. And a real search-and-find for collectors - "It
Hurt Me So Bad", - a mid-80s track, is, maybe, one of Mike's best and
most commercial tunes. It's out there, because I got it off a collector
years ago.

Mike was able to get out four solo CD's and I highly recommend
searching for them. More Annoying Songs is his classic - in my opinion.
But each have lots of very worthwhile music. Search them out.

Mike truly loved music and was an accomplished musician. He played
great keyboards. He had his own unique style. I wish he could have done
more touring with somebody, if not his own solo act. He was awesome
when he played with Joey's 1986-87 version of Badfinger with Elliott
Joffrey (Jeff Ross). The man was built to play music. Very progressive
in his thinking, but a true roots-rock-kind-of-guy at heart.

A real "mate" to his friends, a funny guy who lived life to the
fullest, much loved by his family, friends and the Welsh musicians back
in South Wales. Condolences to his wife, Ellie, and their children. And
also, to his ex-wife Gaynor, and their son, Owen.

It was too soon, but I think Mike had a lot of great moments in the end.

Michael George Gibbins
Born March 12, 1949 - Died October 4, 2005
56 years old


*Note to Kathleen: If you're interested, one of my very first posts was all about Badfinger. My blog is named after one of their songs. If you like real rock & roll, check them out!!*


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