Only Golden Fingers Could Play So Heavy

Table Topics #1 - October 12, 2006

In December of 1953, Henry and Juliet Mall gave birth to a son. As he was their first, the somewhat dim-witted father named him "I", as in the Roman numeral "I." But as fate would have it, most people misread it, and the name "I" stuck.

"I" was destined for greatness from birth, it would seem. On the day he was born, at only three hours old, he was heard to say the words "Rock and Roll," a phrase that had never before been uttered. And his mother had a prescient dream, in which she saw her son, performing on a stage.

Q: Was I's path to fame pre-determined, or was he groomed for stardom?

By the time he was in school, I Mall began making friends. His three best friends, Osgood "Ozzy" Martin, Isaac "Ike" Daly and Rufus "Spike" Jones were his constant companions. The three couldn't be more different: Osgood was somewhat effeminate, Ike was often sick, and Spike was a bully. But against the odds, the four made an inseparable team. That is, until the "incident."

Q: How did that early event, which nearly destroyed their friendship, ultimately result in them forming the band Golden Fingers?

By 1975, Golden Fingers was arguably the most successful rock band of the time. With chart-topping hits such as "Rock and Roll Fool," "When the Kid Gets Heavy" and the anthemic "Golden Fingers Theme" and tours that broke all box-office records, it was only a matter of time before they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Q: During 1977's "Playin' Heavy" world tour, what did you do to acquire tickets to their sold out Memorial Auditorium appearance?

However, dissention within the band was responsible for their high-profile breakup in 1982.

Q: Where were you when you first heard the news of the band's breakup, and how did it affect you?

Out of the ashes, a solo career for bassist and lead vocalist, I Mall was born, and he went on to even greater fame than the band that originally made him a star.

Q: When you had the opportunity to meet I Mall in 1986, what was the first question you asked him and how did he answer it?

But in 1990, a nervous breakdown on stage, brought on by exhaustion fueled by his intense egomania, sent him into oblivion and relative obscurity, and the music world was abuzz with speculation as to the future of rock itself.

Q: Did the fall of I give rise to such critically-panned groups such as "Simply Fortescue" and "Plastic Chase" in the early '90s?

In the late '90s, a small core group of the Indianapolis-based "December 3rd Coalition" fan club created the web site "A Most Amazing Man" and began an online petition calling for the reunification of Golden Fingers.

Q: Do you think that their subsequent reunion tour was truly in response to fan desires, or was the prospect of huge marketing deals offered by the Coca Cola company the main factor?

The reunion album included some of the band's most insightful lyrics, and their new musical direction was more oriented towards political and social reform than the biographical hits of the '70s.

Q: Is social relevance responsible for Golden Fingers' return to prominence or was the band riding on its glory days?

In 2015, Golden Fingers presented their final series of concerts, benefits to aid the Los Angeles Home for Aging Rock Musicians. Eventually playing to a total of three and a half billion people, the band raised $140 billion, which kept the home in operation for another five years.

Q: Did the band's seeming turn to philanthropy purely altruistic, or were they really out to secure themselves a good retirement package?

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