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• DBA-BFR Live CD! •

Badfinger Live in Bloomington, Indiana - October 19, 1982

Interview with Recording Engineer: Kevin McElligott
Photos by: Daniel R. Patmore ( Six New Exclusive Photos! )

BWR: Hello Kevin! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about the new double live CD: "DBA-BFR." After I've played my copy of the CD through several times, I really like it! Very nicely done Kevin! It sounds like the band was having a great time at this show, and I think the balance between the audience feedback and the music is really well maintained.

Kevin: It's great to hear from you Rick! I am very happy you are enjoying the CDs. I'm also glad that you contacted me as I would love to share my experiences in doing this project with you. What I am really hopeful for is that Mike finds more treasures to be brushed up and dusted off - that would be quite exciting. I hope the positive response to this set maybe prods all the guys to do something like this, it would be great for all involved! I spoke to Mike Gibbins the other day and we are both quite happy with the response to the CD set so far.

   Sooner or Later•
   Come and Get It•
           Hold On•
     Day After Day•
      Midnight Sun•
 Band Introduction•
I Won't Forget You•
•Rock n Roll Contract
  Look Out California
•Baby Blue
•Without You
•Rock N Roll Me Over
•No Matter What
•I Got You
•Back In The USSR
•Long Tall Sally

BWR: Excellent! I know that was certainly one of my thoughts... I hope Mike has enough success with this to want to continue with a few more releases... Maybe even Joey will open the vaults at some point - Yeah, I know I'm a dreamer...

So tell us, how did you become involved with this project? Who contacted who first?

Kevin: I became involved with this project in a roundabout way; let me explain. After the first printing of Dan Matovina's book, which I realized was basically done as a self financed project and was a labor of love, I contacted him to say 'Hi' and thank him for getting a new Badfinger project out in the market place. I told him that I was a recording engineer in NYC and if there was anything I could do to help get future projects out to feel free to ask, I would gladly do it.

That led to a call from Dan about a year later asking if I would clean up and restore some recordings of interviews with Pete Ham and Tom Evans. He explained that if these items could be in clean state, the VH1 producers would be more apt to use them. Because generally, if sound bites are lousy sounding when putting a show together, they will skip them regardless of content...

BWR: I knew that you were involved with Dan and the VH-1 "Badfinger - Behind the Music" show. What happened next?

Kevin: After the VH1 special came out, I wrote Mike Gibbins and Joey Molland and gave them the same offer as I did Dan Matovina. Whatever you need or want done, send it to me and I will work on it between my sessions and in my free time at work for free. I want to give back personally to these guys - they have provided so many snapshots of my life with their songs. It was the least that I could do.

Then one Saturday night in September 2001, I get a call, out of nowhere - it's Mike Gibbins! He says he would like me to take a shot at cleaning up this cassette he had in his archives. I tell him send it to me and I will see what I can do. I ask him how he wants things done - any edits, or songs dumped or whatever. Mike says, "You're the pro, do whatever it takes to make this a good sounding performance." Believe it or not - not one song was discarded from the set, all the songs were used!!

* New Photo #1*
Click to Enlarge

Photo copyrighted by Daniel R. Patmore

BWR: I was wondering about that Kevin. I noticed that each CD represents a different set from that same evening. Tommy even announces at the end of the first CD that the band would be back in ten minutes, so drink up! Set One is 39:27 in length and Set Two clocks in at 48:51.

How did you transform that raw cassette tape to the master that became the "DBA-BFR" CD? And what was the condition of the tape sonically when you received it?

Kevin McElligott
Recording Engineer: Kevin McElligott

Kevin: Where I work, The Audio Department, I have a ProTools system - it's all digital. We have had this system since its inception at my studio, about ten or eleven years. (Interesting side note: I walk past Carnegie Hall every day to and from work). So I proceed to transfer the entire concert from the provided cassette into my workstation and make mental notes as I listen down.

Then as I listen to the digital playback in stereo, there is a weird cancellation going on... I listen to the right side only - and that sounds good. I listen to left side only, and it's basically reflections from the back of the club bar and it's absolutely killing off the right side audio. When I did a mono sum of both tracks there was almost no program - they effectively cancel each other out!

Kevin: I immediately toss out the left side audio, duplicate the right side audio, pan them stereo left and right and we at least are ready to start. The original signal on the cassette tape was quite low so I had to normalize the entire program to have some signal to work with. I also was able to identify the general background noise and clean that out in the process. Next up, I inserted a digital reverb plug-in across the mixdown bus, (this helps restore the 'live' feel of the sound). I then used a preset that I have tweaked that allows you to have a wide stereo sound image without being phony sounding.

I eq'd, (equalized) and compressed the high end next. Sometimes working it for a few hours, then wait a day or two and comeback and listen fresh again. This allows me to make a clear decision without rushing things. I wanted the voices to cut and have as much definition as possible without being too shrill and ripping your ears off! That's why I took extra time and care in this part. I had also rolled off a lot of bottom, (low tones) at this point - on purpose - now I wanted to see what I could get back in from the bass and drums without muddying up everything else.

BWR: I think my first concern would be with a tape that old and in questionable condition - and a cassette tape at that! - how much of it was usable/listenable... It sounds like it could take quite awhile to get the levels all corrected and balanced. That is one of the things that is so fascinating about this project. Just how you were able to get as 'rich' of a sound as you did? What type of time frame are we talking about during this stage?

Kevin: I gradually did this over the course of about eight days until I was happy. When I say eight days; I would work say two hours going back and forth increasing/decreasing until I had what I liked for the day. Then I saved it and did something else. Eq is very tricky, and you can really screw up things if you don't step back and assess the entire picture - not just the color you painted that day.

B a d f i n g e r   1 9 8 2

Bob Jackson ~ Tommy Evans ~ Mike Gibbins ~ Reed Kailing ~ Donny Dacus
Badfinger 1982
Photo copyrighted by Daniel R. Patmore

Kevin: What was nice about this project was that I had no time constraints, and I worked on it solo. Meaning that I had to be satisfied before moving on. Sometimes as an engineer you have to allow things to pass because the guy sitting next to you says so and it's his dime. When assessing this project, the one thing that mattered most to me was to have this concert sound as close to being at the BlueBird in Bloomington, Indiana as possible. I wanted anyone who listened to it to hear Tommy's voice/bass, Bob Jackson's incredible keyboard playing and Mike's great drumming. There is nothing worse than putting on a pair of headphones or listening through your stereo in anticipation and then feeling let down. I wanted the fans to feel like this was worthy of his/her time and attention. I hope we accomplished what we set out to do...

BWR: I suppose the real importance of these recordings, other than this is a great 'snapshot' of the band at this time; is that this CD is a 'sound document' from 1982. And such a contrast: the band sounding so together and having a great time at this show. Then re-reading Dan's book about this time period... Wow! What a shame... (Refer to pages 362-370. "Without You: The Tragic Story of Badfinger" - revised edition 2000 Dan Matovina).

Kevin: I agree totally with what you say about the contrast between the darkness of the book and the obvious great time on stage. I think it just underscores how good these musicians really were as a group - the band's chemistry is very prevalent.

BWR: As you were getting close to a final wrap on all the restoration work that needed to be done, did you encounter any surprises or problems along the way? And then after working first with the tape and then the digital files, do you have any favorite moments or memories from this experience?

* New Photo #2*
Tommy and Reed Kailing
Photo copyrighted by Daniel R. Patmore

Kevin: For the most part, I monitored the entire project thru my Genelec 1030's. I would switch down to my auratones and headphones for the final checks of things. And yes! There were a few problems that cropped up... Here is a fun one for the fans: There is one song on this two CD set that had a nasty, messed up ending on it. I performed an edit and created a smooth transition for the song. Will you be able to find it???

There were also a few edits performed on the concert. If there was a very big break between songs or tightening of things up crowd wise - I would do it.

I finished the project just after the Thanksgiving Holiday. I started probably early October 2001 and worked on and off to completion. And I would do it again in a second for Mike / Bob / Joe / Dan, all they would have to do is ask!

Kevin: My favorite moments on this CD:

  • The drunk guy who keeps yelling out for some "OLD Rock 'n' Roll" - what a character! I told Mike that I HAD to leave him in, he totally added to the character of the show.
  • Donny's guitar work on the intro to "I Won't Forget You;" a nice flavor I hadn't heard before.
  • Bob's boogie-woogie piano playing on "I Got You" - Excellent!
  • Reed Kailing's fantastic rendition of "Long Tall Sally;" Little Richard, Paul McCartney - look out!
  • Finally, the playfulness of the band - I know its not a moment, but a mood. These guys had a real chemistry between them and I feel like it really shone through in these recordings.

I also want to take a moment to thank you Rick, and all the Badfinger Webmasters for all the hard work that you all do. It's a labor of love...
As was "DBA-BFR"...

Kevin McElligott - February 2002 [ ]

* 4 New Photos! *
Tommy in Motion...

All Photos copyrighted by Daniel R. Patmore

  Click to open each of the 4 new photos in a new frame   1 2 3 4

BWR: Thanks a lot Kevin for this behind the scenes look at the process that was required to resurrect and preserve this important bit of Badfinger history! The donation of time and your efforts on this is appreciated by me and I'm sure by many fans. Now with a little luck, maybe more 'lost treasures' will surface soon...

I also want to send out a huge "Thank You" to Daniel R. Patmore! Dan personally dug into his photo files just for this BWR project and released the above six new photos from this show that have never been before published. I am honored!!!

To see the rest of these fantastic Badfinger photos from this very show that the "DBA-BFR" tapes came from; and many other shows captured by Dan. Click: [ Daniel Patmore Gallery ] For Badfinger, click on: Concerts 80s
(The photos are on page 1 and page 2)

Here is a note from Daniel about this show:
"As far as that night, I remember hanging with the band after the show in the managers office; partying with them and talking about the Beatles. It was very cool. The pictures on my web page and the ones shown here, are the best from the shoot. I hope that you enjoy them."
- Daniel R. Patmore (February, 2002) Disclaimer:
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