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Interview: Joey Molland excited about Memphis beat of latest album

Joey Molland
Courtesy Joey Molland - used by permission

Joey Molland has been known for power pop chords for years in his work with Badfinger on the Beatles' Apple Records label and in his solo career, but his latest album, “Return to Memphis,” is a departure, he told Beatles Examiner in a phone interview.

“I did the record in Memphis and it's completely different to anything I've ever done, really,” he said. “I've worked with a Memphis producer, a man named Carl Wise who's kind of a Memphis figure down there. He recorded Willie Mitchell and I did the record at Willie Mitchell's studio, Royal Studios down there.”

The musicians on the album include Memphis musicians Steve Potts from Booker T and the M.G.'s, Lester Snow on keyboards and Dave Smith on bass. “I'm quite excited about the whole thing. It's really a release to do something like this. I've been doing Badfinger-style records or English power pop chords most of my career. And so this is a great change for me.”

Molland says the track list on the album was compiled from 30 songs he'd written for it. “I had about 30 and I sent them down to Carl. And these are the songs he picked.”

Joey Molland's Badfinger will be playing three shows this week in Southern California, beginning with an April 17 show at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach. He'll also be at the Coach House in San Juan Capiostrano April 18 and the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills on April 19.

A Badfinger compilation called “Timeless” was quietly released late last year. Among the hits, the album also include outtakes. Could a deluxe Badfinger box set featuring released and unreleased tracks be put together?

“Sure that's a possibility,” he said. “I've never received a call about a Badfinger compilation or any kind of box set.” But he thinks it's something fans would love to have.

“I know there are loads and loads of takes we did. When we were recording, we certainly recorded a lot more than what's come out. So I don't know whether any of this stuff survived or it's in the archives somewhere. There should be plenty of stuff around to do that kind of thing.”

Molland says he has plans for more Badfinger gigs this year. “I'm going out on the East Coast and going to be doing some shows in Texas in June and I just heard today I've got some Louisiana dates coming in. Yeah, we go anywhere they ask us to play. That's how I make my living and that's what I do.” And another solo album is in the works.

With Paul McCartney about to go back on on tour this weekend, has he ever talked with the former Beatle about doing “Come and Get It,” which McCartney wrote for Badfinger, in concert? “No, I haven't,” he said. “I've seen films of him doing 'Come and Get It,' and yeah, he does it good.”

Molland, though, said he had another Badfinger tune he'd like to see McCartney sing. “I think it would be better if he did 'No Matter What,'” he said with a laugh.