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JULY - AUG 2011

New Footage from FREE

New Footage by FREE - Be My Friend

 



Rodgers rocks on in Canada


 

Paul Rodgers

Paul Rodgers


 

TODAY IN MUSIC HISTORY - Aug 23rd

 In 1975, former "Free" guitarist Paul Kossoff's heart stopped beating for 35 minutes in a
London hospital as a result of a blood clot. Kossoff survived that episode but died in his sleep the following March.

 

Mick Ralphs News

Knaresborough Festival - 25 Aug 2011

(Jul 2011) We are thrilled to announce that Mick Ralphs, founder member of both Mott The Hoople and Bad Company will be appearing at the 127-seater intimate Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough on 25 August 2011 in an exclusive concert to preview his new band The Mick Ralphs Blues Band. This is a special event ahead of his UK Tour later in November 2011 and a major coup for Kula Productions.

We are giving our subscribers first bite of the ticket cherry – this secret link will enable you to purchase tickets immediately. Tickets will go on sale at PEAR in Knaresborough on Friday 22nd July – don't miss out – BUY NOW!

To get tickets prior to 22 July, you must use this link.

Mick Ralphs Blues Band - Live Dates

(Jul 2011) The Mick RalphsBues Band have announced the first of a slate of dates for 2011.

  • 08 Nov 2011 - The Robin Hood 2, Bilston England
  • 11 Nov 2011 - The Musician, Leicester England
  • 17 Nov 2011 - The Old Vic, Swindon England
  • 26 Nov 2011 - Jazz Cafe, London England

Pre-sale tickets for the Jazz Cafe gig will be on sale starting on 8 July 2011 at 10 AM GMT. Mick Ralphs fans must use this pre-order link in order to get early access to the best restaurant seats in the venue. After next Thursday, tickets will go on general sale. The club's capacity is small (350 or so) so be quick!

The Mick Ralphs Blues Band

A blues-rock legend keeping great company

(Jun 2011) Mick Ralphs, a founder of two iconic rock bands and still touring with both, takes time out to explore his blues, soul and funk roots. The Bad Company and Mott The Hoople guitarist is joined by some of the best-known names on the current blues scene to play blues and R'n'B favourites - from B.B. King and Otis Rush to Robert Johnson and Sonny Boy Williamson - alongside fresh interpretations of some of Mick's own classic songs.

Sam Kelly – drums
Sam Kelly has dominated the UK and European scene for the last 20 years. As well as his own band, Station House, he has featured on sessions with some of the biggest names from around the world - from Dr John and Ben E. King, to Chaka Khan, Eddie Floyd and Desmond Dekker.

Son Maxwell – vocals and harmonica
Critically acclaimed vocalist and harmonica ace Son Maxwell broke onto the international scene with Storm Warning and now fronts his own Unruly Blues outfit. British R'n'B legend Chris Farlowe covered Son's "The Woman? Or The Blues?", co-written with Storm Warning, on his recent Hotel Eingang album.

Jim Maving – guitar and vocals
Jim Maving has been playing blues, funk and Americana with his band The Kickback since 1995. His renowned slide guitar brings echoes of Duane Allman and Ry Cooder to complement Mick's classic British blues sound.

Dicky Baldwin – bass
Dicky Baldwin has been working with Mick Ralphs for ten years and has also provided his solid, grooving bass lines for Albert Lee, Gordon Giltrap and country star George Hamilton 4th.

The Mick Ralphs Blues Band blayed its first gig at Jagz on 8 June 2011, and it looks there will be a lot more to come. You can check out the band's own site at http://www.unrulysun.net/mickralphs/. Plans are underway for a full slate of gigs, and more information will be posted soon.

 

 

Interview with Andy Fraser

Andy Fraser is a legendary songwriter and bass player, probably best known for his 1970s hit “All Right Now.” Fraser has been through ups, downs, bands, songs, and is passionate about what he does. His joy comes from sharing his emotions and feelings through music. TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Diana Bierman spoke with Fraser about his long journey through his career and what the star is up to now.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: I understand you started your career very young, playing the piano when you were five, and switching to guitar at 12. Could you tell me a bit more about your childhood and how it helped you grow as a songwriter and guitarist?

Andy Fraser: I don’t know what it was about the piano that made me so decisive, but I was very fortunate in finding my passion so early on. There was absolutely no doubt that this was what I wanted to do. And in fact, I’ve never done anything else. I never had to work at a shoe store or anything like that.

And me, being precocious, I didn’t think I needed lessons, but that was a deal I had to make with my mother, who bought me a piano. I took lessons and starting learning Beethoven and Mozart, kind of like a typist really, because I wasn’t feeling it, just reading it and transcribing it on the piano. It wasn’t until I was about 11, around the time I started secondary school, that I met other people, who played the guitar, and realized the idea of music is to sort of express yourself. So I transferred all this technique that I learned on the piano, which I am now very grateful for, onto the guitar, and feel very fortunate to know how all the notes, all the chords, and all the keys relate to each other. The bottom line is to express yourself.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: Tell me a little bit about your band called Free before the split in the 70s. What was that band like?

Andy Fraser: Okay, so I’ve been thrown out of school for not having my hair cut, would you believe it? Those English grammar schools look a bit like a Harry Potter school where the headmasters wear their long cloaks and they scare you – kind of like Darth Vader moving along at the end of the corridor. We were supposed to wear the green blazer and the striped tie and the cap with no hair underneath, and of course I wanted to look like the Beatles. So, they expelled me and sort of did me the biggest favor of my life because pretty soon I joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, which was like, the biggest blues band in the country at the time, and I immediately started touring.

Shortly after that, I hooked up with some guys who were looking for a bass player without success, and when I showed up, it was kind of obvious to all of us that we had something going on here. I was still precocious enough to inform them that I was the leader, which they humored me on for the next four years. Everyone was a leader in his own way in that band. We all kept each other under control. I regard them as sort of my fellow brothers and commanders, and we thought we had each other’s backs. If anyone had a weakness, it was a strength in one of the others to substitute or make up for it. And I still have a really good feeling about what we did. Being a teenager is when you learn your sense of integrity, your views on the world, and your place in it. I thought they were the best people to be influenced by at the time. I still live by the sort of code of conduct that we kind of lived by at that time. So it’s obviously been a very valuable part of my life.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: Tell me about the transition to the band Sharks. Why did you split after your first debut album?

Andy Fraser: That was a bit of a mistake on my part. I wanted to sing, which most people would think was silly, because they had one of the best singers in the world, and I was told I could write my own songs, which I had intended to sing. However, The Sharks were formed around me, and then somewhere along the lines, the singer appeared, and before I knew it, I realized I sort of allowed myself to drift along with this thing without taking full responsibility of what was happening and not realizing that I wasn’t supposed to be here at all.

It ended rather interestingly. On the way home from a gig, one of the guitarists, drove the shark mobile (this big, American car in England with fins and a tail) into a tree going around a roundabout at five miles an hour, and I broke my thumb. And I said they had to get another bass player because I was going to be out of commission for a while – and that was my out. And then I went on to do a couple of solo albums. It was then that I started getting into my groove as a solo artist. It’s not that I wanted to be solo so much as I sort of failed to find a substitute family, which I regarded the band Free as being, so I kind of had to learn how to stand by myself.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: How did you move to the Andy Fraser Band? How did that one differ from the other two?

Andy Fraser: There were 3 people. The drummer was very, very young at the time, but a very spirited, great fellow. It’s interesting, I used to lend him bus fares to get to rehearsals, and after he left that band, he went onto co-manage The Police, had great success, and later on in my career, came back to manage me, so it was a great turn around of events. The other guy in the band was a very talented keyboard player who now works for TOBI’s parents in London, and it was her who hooked me up with TOBI recently and sent me a couple of his songs. And I thought they were very talented and I was interested. And it was the beginning of my involvement with Toby getting signed with my new label McTrax. He came over in January and recorded the album Spirit In Me. He was 16 and he went back to finish school while I finished the album. He’s out again now, since June, and we’ve been on a little promo tour across Canada and the US. We started in Vancouver in early July and ended up in New York last week. It’s proven to be very successful; our single is up to No. 4 on I Heart Radio’s Top 20. So we’re feeling really good about that. TOBI being so young, but so mature artistically, is quite the unique combination. As a label, McTrax was very happy to have him signed. We have very high expectations.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: I understand that you left that band to head west and concentrate on song writing. What prompted that decision and was that experience like?

Andy Fraser: I’ve always needed to write. Sort of like unbearably. Songs are like a personal expression whether if it’s when you get uptight, frustrated, happy, sad, or even needs to say a prayer. That generally expresses itself through songs. So, whether someone gets to hear them or not, it’s necessary for me to do. So I just write and write, you know, and have shelves and shelves of songs. And sometimes I surprise myself. Luckily for me some very good singers and artists have wanted to do them and have had good success for them. This has allowed me not to worry about having to work in a shoe store! So that feels good.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: What song or album holds dearest to your heart and why?

Andy Fraser: That’s a difficult question. Each song is like your child and you can’t pick your favorite child, can you? It’s very difficult. I’d have to say my most recent, TOBI’s album, Spirit in Me, because it’s the most current. TOBI’s album mostly concentrated on recording, producing it and getting it out. It’s the freshest in my mind, probably the best sounding technologically, because it’s the most recent thing I’ve done and I’ve gotten better and better as time goes by working in the studio. So I’d have to say that one. But then of course there’s the one before that…haha, it’s hard to pick.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: What is one of your most memorable moments in your career?

Andy Fraser: I suppose one would have to include the Isle of Wight Festival where there were reported 750 thousand people. Hendrix was playing, The Who, Bob Dylan, Tiny Tim, would you believe it…yeah, some great artists and bands, and we had broken through. We were probably in the top 10 worldwide and were suggested to find a heavy concert. Many of these festivals, even getting in, there’s so much energy expanded getting in, getting back stage, etc. It can suck the life out of you before you even get on stage! But we went on there and we nailed it. And it turned out to be a real winner for us. Time Magazine decided to make us the front cover when they reported on the festival, and countless videos and DVDs have been released on it. So I have to say that was good. When you’re up there, you focus like you’ve never focused before. You try to match the energy that’s focused towards you. And within 15 minutes you’re drained. And you come off and you’re like staring at the wall, vegging out until you get it all under control. But it’s all in the experience. So that has to qualify as one of my most memorable experiences.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: Where do you get inspiration for your songwriting?

Andy Fraser: Mainly from the trials and tribulations of life: where something isn’t working, when you’re frustrated about something, when you’re just upset about something, or someone, that you need to express. For me, I’ve gone through a big coming out period, which encapsulates living most of my life of thinking I was straight, marrying a great woman, having two daughters, then realizing I was gay, and getting AIDS. Now that’s a huge amount of things I encapsulated in 20 seconds. But coming to terms with it and coming out in a public way is an enormous step. So some songs express that enormous change in my life. So, things like that count as inspiration for songs. A sort of necessity to express all that’s going on about you and getting it off your chest. Sometimes one just feels lost and is crying out in prayer. Most of us have feelings bottled up, trying to be cool and looking like we have it all together, but as a song writer, I try and sort of get inside and be honest about what’s going on, and even getting in touch with those things, like the vulnerable side, and express them. Those are things that go into songs. Stuff that comes form the heart and reaches the heart. It’s constantly getting in touch with one’s self and trying to express it honestly. I feel like that’s my job. Sometimes I get on my political soap box, for example, I was pro-Obama and wrote a song about it. So as an art, music can be used in many forums, and I like to use all of them. For me, it’s wonderful because it’s a good way of expression, earning a living and fulfilling my passion – it’s my everything. It’s brought me everything.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: Who is your role model or someone you look up to?

Andy Fraser: Included among them, I would definitely include Stevie Wonder. When he came out, I was so influenced by him, I wanted to be him. I wanted to be Stevie Wonder. And he’s so great, even before that happened, he was great, but that was a particular time in his life that I found influential. Marvin Gaye is a great influence, too. But people like The Who, Hendrix…John Mayer currently, they all influence me. Even people I don’t like influence me from the point of view that I don’t want to be like that. Everything I hear I try to assess it and try to see where I fit in this picture. So it’s difficult to land it down to one person.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: What does the future hold for you? What do you wish to still accomplish in your career?

Andy Fraser: Well, TOBI and his new album are the current thing to do along with the label, McTrax. We’re sort of using that to bring on new artists that still feel they want to use music as an art form as opposed to a means to just be famous. And, you know, I’ve got a thing about the environment. Most people in America are going through catastrophic times, and have difficulty doing anything about it. Until a substitute energy is available, we’re still stuck filling up our cars with gas, which is polluted, have air conditioning in our house, you know, we’re all to blame. Islands of plastic in the Pacific are polluting fish – I can no longer eat tuna or swordfish because it’s so full of mercury. These are things that we can’t just ignore and hope to go away. We can’t live in a state of denial. So I would love with whatever power I have, and that will come through music, to have a voice to say ‘okay people, we need to focus on this.’ I would like to focus people’s attention about why we’re all here. I want to make a change for the better. We’re all here. We all have free will; we could all be greedy or we could all be helpful. I’ve decided to try to be positive. One thing that TOBI and I have been doing over a couple of months can be seen on ArtistsSupportJapan.com. It entails 60 to 70 artists who have done performances of their songs and posted it for free, and the message is if you like this, why don’t you send even a couple of dollars to a charity in Japan. Those people right now are just a complete mess – their houses are in rubble, testing positive for diseases. They can’t travel and they need help. We need to help them like we’d want to be helped in the same situation.

 

 

 

 

PAUL RODGERS DATES 2011
 
 
Sept 8th  - Belleville, ONT with  + Bachman & Turner
Sept 10th– Toronto, ONT with  + Bachman & Turner
Sept. 17th – Union County Music Fest – Clark, NJ - SOLO SHOW
Sept  24th – Winnipeg +  Bachman & Turner
Sept 26th – Edmonton +   Bachman & Turner
Sept 27th – Calgary + 
with Bachman & Turner

Oct 8th -
Chester's Harley-Davidson, Mesa, AZ

 

 



 

 

The Free Convention,
c/o Bill Flynn  4 Mile End Close,  Foulridge,  Colne,  Lancs.  BB8 7LD

Email:  [email protected]    Tel  07948 017 380

July 2011

Dear Free Fan

25th   Anniversary
of the ANNUAL FREE CONVENTION
Saturday . 8th October 2011  Park Hotel Tynemouth    0191 257 1406   
Doors open 7pm runs until 1am

I am pleased to announce this year’s Convention. The event will run through to 1am on the Sunday  morning
Live Bands  itinerary :
7.30pm – Heartbreaker  varied Archive from Paul Rodgers other bands
8.15         Free Spirit
reformed excellent Band
9.15         Heavy Load
greatly entertaining band covering a mixture of  Free & Bad Co
10.15        Auction items donated  and autographed by Paul Rodgers  
10.45       Headlining band : ‘Freeway’  - fabulous band with new singer covering
                classic Free   
12.30      end of night jam = time permitting
 I am keeping prices as low as possible and reduced them from 2 years ago to make the event affordable to more people . Where else could you see 4 live bands for this value. Ticket prices are£10 in advance prior to the gig and £15 on the door.  Please make cheques payable to Bill Flynn and kindly enclose a  s.a.e with the appropriate postage .              

Thank you to everyone who came last year as Last year’s Convention raised £1500 on top of  the £4500 raised  from 2 previous years for the Northern Brainwave appeal . All profits from this year’s Convention will be going to this  fantastic cause

25 years has been a long and very enjoyable labour of love for me and quite a landmark to reach and I would like it be remembered with a great crowd this year which is turn will help raise more money for the charity. Anyone who can spread the word around ie facebook or alternative contacts please let me know, I try to keep costs down each year with advertising and I am indebted to anyone who can help with advertising the event  . Remember the event is  a non profit making event and has raised £6000 for the NORTHERN BRAINWAVE APPEAL over the last 3 years.    

To help further with the cause this year
 I am auctioning he  following 'Free' Singles : - All Right Now , Stealer, My Brother Jake, Little bit of Love, Wishing Well, Travellin in Style, The Hunter   and  2 BAD CO  Singles :- Cant get Enough and good Lovin' gone bad ,  which have all been signed by Paul Rodgers.
Anyone who wants to make a bid minimum of £20 before the event will help kick start the auction on the night . Please send me an email if you wish to make a bid or have any further enquiry about the event.  So far I have received  one bid of £50 for the All Right Now single , and to date  this is the only Bid .
Kind Regards
    Bill Flynn

 

 

Woman - FREE

Stills from a 12 inch vinyl 45 speed release in the uk in the early 90s. Thank you Stephen...

 

Welcome Richard Clarke to ARN

Richard Clarke

Richard Clarke is a singer/songwriter from Claygate, Surrey.

His original material compliments his musical influences in the genres of blues, pop, rock and funk.

Combining his fiery guitar playing, his carefully penned lyrics and his rich, gravelly voice, Richard is fast becoming a rising star on the UK music scene.

Richard is currently recording his debut EP, due to be released soon.

Next Gig 

Tooting Tram and Social - Thursday 28th July 2011

Tooting Tram and Social
46-48 Mitcham Road
London
SW17 9NA

8:00pm – 11:00pm

On Friday the 18th February, Richard played an acoustic set and gave a short interview on Martin Clarke's (no relation) Blues Session on Radio Wey.

Richard played a mix of covers and originals, giving 'Caught In The In Between' it's live debut.

Martin, once again, played 'I'm Not Your Fool', one of Richard's latest tracks. Richard also talked in some depth about his start in music, how he got to picking up a guitar and how he first ever played live.


 

Paul Rodgers celebrates legacy with hits-heavy show at Pacific Amphitheatre



Pacific 2011: Paul Rodgers packs in the hits

Review and photo by Robert Kinsler; the review was originally posted on The Orange County Register Web site.

Time has been kind to Paul Rodgers. While many of his contemporaries have lost most (or all) of their voices, ultimately becoming parodies of their youthful rock-star selves, Rodgers’ talents and looks have hardly changed since I first caught him fronting the Firm in the mid-’80s. I went to that show specifically to catch Jimmy Page, who performed several solos while seated and played terribly – but I came away awed by Rodgers’ talents as a singer and frontman.

At Pacific Amphitheatre Wednesday night (July 27, 2011), the 61-year-old Brit, who fronted Free and Bad Company in the ’70s as well as a resurrected Queen this past decade, celebrated his long career with a heavy-on-hits 15-song set before an enthusiastic crowd.

Those on hand who love hard-hitting classic rock were in the right place to be sure. Hardly any Free or Bad Company staples were excluded, and the headliner and his solid four-man band rocked hard while never letting any individual song’s dynamics or groove slip away.

Rodgers, 61, has maintained a voice aptly suited to material that blends British blues and hard rock, and he proved that over and over again Wednesday. His ensemble leaped out of the gate with a charging “Can’t Get Enough,” immediately getting the crowd on their feet. The next selection, blues-rock gem “Honey Child,” may not have been as well-known, yet its forceful delivery, which kept the audience standing, matched the performance on the outstanding Bad Company: Live at Wembley set issued earlier this year.

There were shifts in mood and approach throughout the 90-minute concert. For “Seagull,” Rodgers started alone on acoustic guitar, then lead guitarist Howard Leese came out, also on acoustic, and added some nice lead lines for additional texture. Finally, the rest of the band emerged and the song continued to build to a vibrant finish.

His instrumental work while standing at the piano (“Bad Company”) or offering up a quick harmonica solo (“Feel Like Makin’ Love”) provided deeper layers to admittedly familiar material. He also had no trouble getting the audience to become an essential player in the proceedings, as the last verse and chorus in “Shooting Star” were sung completely a capella by Rodgers, bolstered by the crowd and his band mates.

Rodgers rewarded fans with a strong encore, offering up the Free classic “All Right Now” (Leese’s solo killed) and the seldom-heard “Walk in My Shadow,” a Free song (the first ever penned by Rodgers) that showcased the singer’s lifelong love affair with the rich junction where rock and blues meet.

Setlist: Paul Rodgers at Pacific Amphitheatre, July 27, 2011

Main set: Can’t Get Enough / Honey Child / Run with the Pack / Ready for Love / Mr. Big / Feel Like Makin’ Love / Bad Company / Seagull / Burnin’ Sky / Fire and Water / Shooting Star / Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy / Movin’ On
Encore: All Right Now / Walk in My Shadow

 

The MICK RALPHS Blues Band

at the FRAZER THEATRE KNARESBOROUGH

THURSDAY 25TH AUGUST 2011 – TICKETS £20

KULA are thrilled to announce that MICK RALPHS, founder member of both MOTT THE HOOPLE and BAD COMPANY will be appearing at the intimate 127-seater Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough in an EXCLUSIVE concert to preview his new band THE MICK RALPHS BLUES BAND. This is a special event ahead of his UK Tour later in November 2011 and a major coup for Kula Productions.

Tickets for this event will go on sale to the general public on Friday 22nd from PEAR in Knaresborough and ROCK STEADY Harrogate and on-line at www.kula-productions.com

Mick Ralphs - guitar

A founder of two iconic rock bands and still touring with both, takes time out to explore his blues, soul and funk roots. The Bad Company and Mott The Hoople guitarist is joined by some of the best-known names on the current blues scene to play blues and R’n’B favourites - from B.B. King and Otis Rush to Robert Johnson and Sonny Boy Williamson - alongside fresh interpretations of some of Mick’s own classic songs. 

Sam Kelly drums  Son Maxwell vocals and harmonica  Jim Maving guitar and vocals  Dicky Baldwin bass

www.kula-productions.com

Contact John Haxby - 07703 472154 for further information.

 

 

From Atlanta GA
Meet

Jon.R.L.Ross

 

(Jul 2011) The Mick RalphsBues Band have announced the first of a slate of dates for 2011.

  • 08 Nov 2011 - The Robin Hood 2, Bilston England
  • 11 Nov 2011 - The Musician, Leicester England
  • 17 Nov 2011 - The Old Vic, Swindon England
  • 26 Nov 2011 - Jazz Cafe, London England

Pre-sale tickets for the Jazz Cafe gig will be on sale starting on 8 July 2011 at 10 AM GMT. Mick Ralphs fans must use this pre-order link in order to get early access to the best restaurant seats in the venue. After next Thursday, tickets will go on general sale. The club's capacity is small (350 or so) so be quick!

The Mick Ralphs Blues Band

A blues-rock legend keeping great company

(Jun 2011) Mick Ralphs, a founder of two iconic rock bands and still touring with both, takes time out to explore his blues, soul and funk roots. The Bad Company and Mott The Hoople guitarist is joined by some of the best-known names on the current blues scene to play blues and R'n'B favourites - from B.B. King and Otis Rush to Robert Johnson and Sonny Boy Williamson - alongside fresh interpretations of some of Mick's own classic songs.

Sam Kelly – drums
Sam Kelly has dominated the UK and European scene for the last 20 years. As well as his own band, Station House, he has featured on sessions with some of the biggest names from around the world - from Dr John and Ben E. King, to Chaka Khan, Eddie Floyd and Desmond Dekker.

Son Maxwell – vocals and harmonica
Critically acclaimed vocalist and harmonica ace Son Maxwell broke onto the international scene with Storm Warning and now fronts his own Unruly Blues outfit. British R'n'B legend Chris Farlowe covered Son's "The Woman? Or The Blues?", co-written with Storm Warning, on his recent Hotel Eingang album.

Jim Maving – guitar and vocals
Jim Maving has been playing blues, funk and Americana with his band The Kickback since 1995. His renowned slide guitar brings echoes of Duane Allman and Ry Cooder to complement Mick's classic British blues sound.

Dicky Baldwin – bass
Dicky Baldwin has been working with Mick Ralphs for ten years and has also provided his solid, grooving bass lines for Albert Lee, Gordon Giltrap and country star George Hamilton 4th.

The Mick Ralphs Blues Band blayed its first gig at Jagz on 8 June 2011, and it looks there will be a lot more to come. You can check out the band's own site at http://www.unrulysun.net/mickralphs/. Plans are underway for a full slate of gigs, and more information will be

Canadian Dates 2011


Thu 09/08/11                     Belleville, ON Empire Square 
Sat 09/10/11                       Toronto, ON Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Sat 09/24/11                       Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre 
Mon 09/26/11                   Edmonton, AB Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium 
Tue 09/27/11                      Calgary, AB Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

 

On stage, Paul Rodgers is a top-notch entertainer.
On stage, Paul Rodgers is a top-notch entertainer.
Published July 6, 2011 at 8:28 a.m.

When I talked to Paul Rodgers last fall prior to his two shows in the city with Bad Company, he left no doubt the passion for playing the blues and rock he's crafted for decades hasn't dwindled a bit.

Even with the fame and many radio hits with Free, Bad Company, The Firm and his solo career, Rodgers has kept pretty humble and not let it get in the way of making music and also putting on a great show.

Over the past couple of years I've seen Rodgers in several different formats and locations – solo at a county fair, paired with Queen at the Bradley Center and with Bad Company in the intimate confines of the Northern Lights Theater. Still, when I heard he was playing Summerfest I knew I
couldn't pass up on one of my favorites.

Fortunately, Paul Rodgers and band didn't disappoint, rattling off hit after hit with a vigorous energy. Much of the set drew from Rodgers' time with Bad Company, with rock anthems like "Can't Get Enough" and "Rock 'N Roll Fantasy" getting the decent sized (but pretty dedicated) crowd excited and having a good time. While I've heard these songs countless times, they sound great every time and on stage Rodgers is a great entertainer.

While his solo band might not be the real deal (i.e. Bad Company or Free), they did a pretty good job of interpreting the songs and breathing life that got the crowd excited on a warm summer night.

Guitarist Howard Leese, who I saw several years back with Rodgers, showed off his sublime talent, switching between mandolin and electric during Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love." Rodgers certainly certainly was enjoying their company, nodding approvingly and smiling at his bandmates.

Rodgers soulful blues rock voice was as crisp and as great as ever. He walked from stage right to stage left and in between, sometimes with tambourine or microphone stand, fueling the energy of the crowd.

It was great to hear several songs by Free, which I feel is often forgotten too much in classic rock talk. I really like that raw blues rock of Free that saw Rodgers forming into the singer we know today. Of course with Bad Company he ventured into a more straight-up rock and roll route which I like just as much.

During the set, Rodgers shifted to piano for "Running with the Pack" and "Bad Company," the latter especially using it to great atmospheric effect. I also thought during the latter of the Wild West inspiration Rodgers had described to me.

When I saw Rodgers with Bad Company in the fall, their song "Seagull" was definitely one of my favorite moments that night.

Wednesday night, Rodgers stood solo with acoustic guitar and created a moving version of the song, his voice soaring from the speakers. Leese joined in mid-way, followed by the rest of the band. It's certainly an inspirational tune, as with many Rodgers tunes such as "Wishing Well" and "Shooting Star."

"It's a rock and roll night, Milwaukee," Rodgers told the crowd part way through the set and as cliché as that might sound it definitely ran true for the crowd.

While Rodgers kept the crowd happy with the hits (not that it's a bad thing) he did pull out a new song presumably called "Mr. Midnight," a bit of bluesy rocker with some great guitar riffs. He also played a song called "Closer," a song he wrote with Jimmy Page in The Firm.

During the band's encore, Rodgers and the band stormed through "All Right Now" with a lot of energy, culminating into Rodgers leading the crowd into a big sing a long of the chorus. Rodgers shook tambourine and twirled the microphone stand and clearly was having a blast. For an hour and a half, things were more than quite all right.

Set list:

  1. Can't Get Enough
  2. Rock 'N Roll Fantasy
  3. Honey Child
  4. Wishing Well
  5. Ready for Love
  6. Running with the Pack
  7. Bad Company
  8. Seagull
  9. Feel Like Making Love
  10. Mr. Midnight (new song)
  11. Shooting Star
  12. Closer
  13. Movin' On
  14. Walk in My Shadow (Encore)
  15. All Right Now (Encore)
  16. Rock Steady (Encore)

 

Paul Rodgers (Bad Company) Interview

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     When compiling a list of the most influential vocalists of all time, there should be one who comes to mind immediately.  A man who sang with legendary bands like Free, The Firm and (of course) Bad Company.  That man is none other than Paul Rodgers.  Paul not only fronted these bands, but also partnered up with Queen for short time as well.  When you talk about Paul, you must mention his love for blues music and his work with the best blues musicians on the planet like Buddy Guy, BB King, and Hubert Sumlin to name a few.  Paul has worked with just about everyone in the music business and at a young 61 years of age, he can say he has seen and done it all.  The very physically fit Mr. Rodgers talked with Backstageaxxess.com about a slew of things.  Some of the topics included his current solo tour, the recent release of Bad Company's "Live at Wembley" DVD  and his charitable work with the Racehorse Sanctuary & Re-Homing Centre in England.  Let's take a nice leisurely stroll in Mr. Rodgers neighborhood shall we?

Gus: How are you Paul?
Paul: Great! We just kicked off the North American Tour on June 25th at Caesars in Windsor, Ontario, and it’s been great. It’s been fantastic!
Gus: June 28, 2011, Bad Company will be releasing a DVD/CD package called “Bad Company-Live at Wembley” through Eagle Rock Entertainment. With Bad Company hailing from England, how special was it for you to tape a show from the band's hometown?
Paul: It was a fantastic tour actually. We really enjoyed it. It culminated at Wembley, were we recorded the show. It was the first DVD of the band shot in the UK, so that was a bit special for us. One of the features of the tour was a song called “Electricland,” which we didn’t record or play live until now. So it was great!
Gus: What is the future of Bad Company? Will the band work on any new music or do any future touring?
Paul: You know Gus, anything is possible.  I must say I’m really happy now touring and recording with my solo band. Bad Company’s there if the demand is.  If the people really want that we may go out there and do more.
Gus: Speaking about your solo band, you are such a blues enthusiast and have done solo CD's in the past reflecting this.  Are you working on any blues or any other related projects?
Paul: Well, I’m actually in the studio recording some new songs, some demos, and getting in to that. Speaking of blues, the Smithsonian Institute asked me to put together a blues album with the surviving blues guys that are around, legends really. So that’s something that is being discussed and I’m really interested in doing that. I love the blues. When I think of the blues, it’s very much a live thing for me. When I think of people like Albert King, BB King, and John Lee Hooker and all of those guys, there was a beautiful earthliness about that music and a great spirit. It also has a sense of humor you know?  When you get a song like (Paul sings): “Somebody who do who do the who do man.”  I love all of that you know? It’s very much in the roots of what I do.
Gus: You mentioned working on solo material. What is the possibility of that being released?
Paul: I think probably next year. I do about 20 shows each year and, in between that, I will be in the studio recording and writing on the album.  So it’s just starting to take shape right now. I did a track with Neils Lofgren (Bruce Springsteen) recently on his solo album. He’s such a great guitar player. He’s amazing!  I did a duet with Mica Paris, who is an English soul singer which is actually incredible! So there is a lot going on but I think sometime next year, hopefully, will be probably feasible.
Gus: We would like to congratulate you on recently receiving the Ivor Novello Award that is given for outstanding contributions to British Music.
Paul: Thank You! It was an incredible honor and I was very pleased with that.
Gus: Where does this rank on your list of achievements?
Paul: Oh, I think it’s way up there! It was really a surprise to me as a lot of these things are. I got a doctorate from Teesside University, which is the top University in the UK. That was a surprise too, because it came out of the blue and it was a beautiful thing. So the Ivor Novello Award was also kind of a surprise for songwriting and influencing British music, which is HUGE. Chris Blackwell, who is the founder of Island Records, flew up from Jamaica to present the award. Jimmy Page was there to support me and it was a great night!
Gus: You were selected by Sir Paul McCartney to be a part of an upcoming Beatles/Paul McCartney tribute album and sang “Let Me Roll It.”  What kind of input did you have in choosing the song and did Paul work with you at all, or did you have free reign?
Paul: I always loved that song. They suggested it. I said yes right away. I always loved that song (Paul proceeds to sing some of the words).  I loved the idea of the lyric (Paul proceeds to sing some more). It’s such a great song! I didn’t actually meet Sir Paul, not yet, I’m hoping. I met Ringo back in the past. It was recorded back in LA last year and it was great honor. I think it would be coming out real soon.
Gus: So you didn’t hear of a release date for it?
Paul: I think they are putting the finishing touches to it and they will release it when they are ready I’m sure.
Gus: There are few physically fit musicians at your age. Roger Daltry of The Who is one that comes to mind. Now being in your in your earliest 60s, what is your regimen for staying in such good shape?

Paul:  Thanks Gus! I really appreciate you saying that! Daltry is kind of an inspiration and a great guy! For me, I’m sweet sixty one. I spend a good time on it you know. You have to stay focused. A long time ago, I realized that If I wanted to keep singing, I needed to keep in shape. It’s a whole body thing, it’s not just the voice. I spend a little time in the gym. I do some cardio, a couple of weights to keep it together. I find it’s a better high than the booze or anything used to be. I also find, strangely enough, that meditation is very helpful. What it does is it clears your mind and centers you. It helps you to focus…in life really. What will be the next step forward?  It’s a great despairer of confusion, so I find that to be very healthy too.
Gus: You and your wife Cynthia are involved in various animal rights organizations. Can you tell us some of the organizations you are currently working with?
Paul: Well, Cynthia has a big heart I must say. She is the instigator on a lot of these ventures. She has taught me a lot about how nice it is to help children, animals, people, beings really...spirits. They all need help. We got involved in a racehorse sanctuary.  It’s a sanctuary that helps ex-racehorses. It’s a sad thing that happens to ex-racehorses that pretty much, when they are done, they are done! When they stop running and winning races, that’s it! They are done and considered worthless. They are absolutely beautiful creatures. These majestic spiritual beings are awesome. When you stand in front of them they are huge and they've got big eyes and they just look down at ya and are amazing! So we are doing something there. It's called the UK Sanctuary of Racehorses.   So that’s something we are doing and I must say it’s spiritually uplifting if I dare say that. We also help Fender with the "Kids Rock Free" program in Corona, California. That’s a nice thing too. For me, the more music there is in the world, the better off we would all be. I know when I was a kid running on the streets, when was 12 or 13, I was so pleased when I looked back that I found music and found a focus of my energy…my creative energy.
Gus: In a couple of weeks, you will be in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area doing a show at the Seneca Niagara Casino. When was the last time you played the area?
Paul: It’s been a few years now, I think. I have a few new band members. I still have Howard Leese in the band and have three new members: Todd Ronning on bass, Rick Fedyk on drums and Markus Wolfe on rhythm guitar. It’s probably the best band I ever had right now. It’s really rocking!
Gus: Jason Bonham filled in on some dates when you were doing your solo shows over in Europe a couple of months back.
Paul: Yes, Jason did the whole tour. He was incredible! We taped one of the shows with Jason to come out on DVD next year.
Gus: You now live in British Columbia, correct?
Paul: I do indeed! I have a home there with my lovely wife. When we are back home where we live, we overlook the lake and it’s a very nice and inspirational place. I always wanted a place somewhere in the world that overlooks water, where I can play a piano and just create. Now, I finally have that and that’s what I do (laughs).
Gus: I’m sure you weren’t too happy seeing the world's coverage after the Stanley Cup playoffs. That kind of gave the City of Vancouver a black eye. Do you have a comment on that?
Paul: Well, I went to the game before the game that they actually won. I sang there in support of the guys. I’m just getting into ice hockey and I think it’s an amazing game. You know to me, that’s just a shame. It’s one of those things that is just a shame. I don’t think it was the actual fans that were doing it. I’m not really sure who it was. Onwards and upwards ya know.
Gus: Explain to the fans out there the difference between a Paul Rodgers solo show and a Bad Company show?  So when people come and see you, they know what can they expect?
Paul: When Bad Company goes out, we strictly stick to the Bad Company catalog. When I play solo, I select songs I've written with Free, with Bad Company, with The Firm, solo material, some blues maybe; depending. So there is a broader picture. It’s kind of a "best of" really. I also do some new things as well.
Gus: So it’s an "expect the unexpected" I guess?  Which is a good thing, I think!
Paul: Yes! Expect the unexpected!
Gus: So for the rest of 2011, what can we expect from Paul Rodgers?
Paul: I will be touring pretty much.
Gus: And also working on the new material....
Paul: That’s right. Yes!
Gus: Any other ventures or collaborations we should know about?
Paul: I should mention I’m going back to the UK in November to visit the Horse Sanctuary. Well, part of the upcoming tour is with Randy Bachman. He’s an iconic singer/songwriter in Canada, so that will be a lot of fun.
Gus: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today and we'll see you in a couple of weeks.
Paul: Thanks and see you there!

We would like to thank Carol Kaye of Kayos Productions and both Cynthia Rodgers and Brenda Murti for helping set up the interview with Paul. For more information on Paul, please go to: http://www.paulrodgers.com/index.html. For more information on Bad Company, please go to: http://www.badcompany.com/. If you would like to look up the charities that Paul and me discussed, you can go here for the Fender Kids Rock Free program:  http://www.fendermuseum.com/index.html and here for the Racehorse Sanctuary and Re-Homing Centre: http://www.racehorsesanctuary.org/.

To purchase tickets for Paul's upcoming show at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, NY, please go to: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/000046A4C498B3F3?artistid=735996&majorcatid=10001&minorcatid=1.

 

 

 

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