SEPTEMBER 2006 NEWS
Grassfoot's New Single GESTALT
Atlanta's hot new upcoming band. Please stop by and visit the bands guest book.
Introduce yourself to the band, they will love to hear from you all....
IF you did not see FREE this is the nearest your going to get
FREE DVD LAUNCH PHOTOS
More being added daily...
David Clayton & Lucy
Al & Jo
Andy & Simon
Danny Bowes of Thunder
John (Freeway) & Elaine
Stephen & Jasmine Rodgers
Jo and Lucy with Frankie Miller
Davy Arthur - Lucy - Gordon
Ray Minhinnett of the Frankie Miller band
Al Kenny supporter of ARN
An Indian meal with Frankie Miller - just heaven
Completely Free Tribute band
New Tribute band
Completeley Free l Video
I'm SURE I really like them - Lucy Piller
Sure are Damon Coles &
We've found that personally
Sure perform as a duo, but as shown on our demo we're
We write our own material drawing on influences old & new and we are Sure that
FREE and BAD COMPANY
1st BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS
FOR TOP TRIBUTE
Free & Co. are putting on a party/showcase to celebrate the 1st Anniversary together celebrating one fantastic year of great music together.
It is hard to believe that has been a whole year we have been playing together 'tempus fugit' (as they say) when youre enjoying yourself! We have had loads of fun in spreading the words of FREE, Bad Company and Paul Rodgers Its been a very successful 1st year and the band is just getting better and better.
So, if you want to hear just how good FREE and Bad Company were in their heyday come along and sing along to Allright Now, Wishing Well, Feel Like Making Love . You'll soon see why we just Can't Get Enough!
FREE and Co. request the pleasure of your company
The Victualing Offices Tavern, Stonehouse,
Friday 22nd September 2006
9.00p.m until 11.00p.m.
FREE & Bad Company Buffet!!
R.S.V.P. to firstname.lastname@example.org
Great food\beer\music what could be better than that?
Cant get enough
Andy Fraser speaks to Jon Kirkman
Forever Free august 2006
By Jon Kirkman
Andy Fraser along with Paul Rodgers, Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirke formed one of the most revered and respected rock bands of the late sixties and early seventies. Free in their short time together released just six studio albums and one live album although more recently interest in the band has prompted the bands record label Universal to release re mastered version of the albums and a boxed set made up of mostly previously unreleased material.
In September 2006 Universal release the ultimate Free anthology on DVD FOREVER FREE.
Two discs crammed full of live and studio material along with current interviews from the surviving members. There is also a full audio document of the bands landmark performance at the 1970 Isle Of Wight festival where the band stole the day from some of the bigger names on the bill Andy Fraser spoke to Jon Kirkman from his home in Los Angeles about Free and also his own solo album Naked and Finally Free and also a forthcoming live DVD.
How are you feeling these days?
Well actually Im feeling better probably than I have in my whole life and Ive had my ups and downs but Im doing really good now
What are your thoughts on the new Free DVD then? I know I love it.
I was surprised to like it too. At first I thought it might be an embarrassment but I saw it and I was quite moved actually. There were clips I hadnt seen before and I thought it told the story really well and it reminded me of all the good times.
For me and I suspect for you guys in the band as well some of the really poignant stuff on there is watching Paul Kossoff in his prime. Paul was one of those very special musicians
He did have a magic. Oh (Sighs) It really is sad. Its better than watching him when he was untogether believe me. We were in the studio and watching him fall asleep over his guitar thats a lot sadder believe me so to see him in his prime is actually a number
If we concentrate on the good times though Free left behind an incredible legacy which is still influencing people today. Do you find that surprising considering the band were really only together for a short time.
It is. It had that effect on me at the time. I loved the band. I was 110% committed and we were as tight as any guys could get, we were like brothers or a family and to me it felt like home. It was really a marriage in a sense. You could finish each others sentences although most of the time words were unnecessary because you knew how the others felt and especially when all the madness was going on all around us you could all be in a car and smile at each other and know what reality was and keep each other in check
There is a piece of film on the DVD taken from a press conference in Australia just before the band split and if you look at that you guys look absolutely worn out and you looked like you really needed a break
It was very tense; actually wed flown from Japan just before that and it had been very tense before that and it was in Japan that we decided that this was going to be it and so we were fulfilling our commitments but there was an unbelievable tension between us which funnily enough made us play great but it was almost unbearable to deal with. So I think that was as exhausting as anything else and believe it or not the whole Australian tour was hijacked! This is unbelievable but true. The tour consisted of us Manfred Manns Earthband and Deep Purple and one of the big Australia hoods of the time kidnapped the promoter so what they did was, they would be with the promoter when he met us at the airport and do all the things he was meant to do like Ok guys the coach is over here and you have to go there etc and everything appeared normal except for these thugs that were always around. There was one time and Koss was quite the comedian, we were on the coach and he broke into his Ena Sharples routine and was all dramatic and said Oh I cant go on tonight and then one of these thugs pulled out a gun and said You can go on tonight. So thats when we knew it was very serious.
You dont need pressure like that do you?
You know it was so unreal before we got there because we were breaking up and we were just fulfilling commitments and it just teetered into the unreality of it all. Apparently we had been paid half in front and we decided that the moment we came offstage after the last gig we were just going to make it to the airport and get out and that would be it because we knew the other half from these concerts these people were going to grab. We were at Randwick Racecourse which is like 50,000 people and there was enough people to do another show so they asked can you do another show and Manfred Manns tour manager made the mistake of saying no were not doing another show and they beat the shit out of him but you know even that was overshadowed by the unbelievable tension in the band.
Do you think perhaps much of that was down to things the band ad gone through in that bands are never really prepared for success and you guys had had a bit of a slow burn towards it so it wasnt like an overnight success but youre never prepared for the level of success that Free suddenly had thrust upon them.
Thats true it really is and I dont think you could have got four more mature teenagers who were strong willed and not easily diverted from their sense of integrity but it does weird you out. Fame and money are very dangerous and seductive things
Do you perhaps not think in hindsight that rather than say thats it its all over Lets take a year off and do our own thing and then see how we feel after that. Do you not think that might have been a better way in hindsight?
Ultimately then I presume it was down to management
Well in a sense we didnt have any real management. There was someone from Island records assigned to take care of us and he loved us with all his heart and did the very best he could and he was great but even after Japan and Australia he asked Island for six months off because he was in such a state.
What I find difficult to understand is that you guys could have almost had your cake and eat it as it were. You could have done Toby, Paul could have had Peace and Koss and Simon could have done the Kossoff, Kirke Tetsu and Rabbit project and you could have taken a year out away from the madness and still had Free there as well.
How difficult was it when you did come back to it less than a year after saying it was all over.
Well we were already going in different directions. I think that Paul would have liked to turn Free into Bad Company to a certain extent. Theres no doubt that he is an incredible artist with incredible integrity but there came a point where things were falling apart that he said lets a manager who can break some legs and then we can get out there and do it and I didnt really want to be a part of that kind of thing. I think he felt, ok we did it your way and it didnt work and now were going to do it mine. So as you said if you take a year off one would expect to come right back to that same sort of attitude. There was no more band chemistry. We were no more intimate with each other. Once you had wives and girlfriends the intimacy shifted there so that kind of band brotherhood bond was broken.
You were the first to leave following the Free At Last album and subsequent tour of
I would go along with that yeah. There came a point where I had to be really honest and say this has not happened and youve got to be realistic about it and that is where I found myself
You then moved onto another band Sharks but do you think that perhaps you moved too quickly into that situation
Yes it was completely irresponsible of me on my part. I hadnt really collected myself I had been doodling away at home writing new songs with the intention of getting my voice together. That was my sort of masterplan and I knew it was obviously going to take a while because I was quite weak and to a large extent I would always be compared to Paul Rodgers because thats what Ive come out of so thats an immense challenge to take up. So Marty Simon the drummer with Sharks had called up out of the blue and introduced himself, came down to my house for a jam and it was good fun. So we were looking for a guitarist and we got Chris Spedding who is a great guitarist but the core idea which I still had in my mind was that we were going to be doing these songs that I had written and everything looked cool until someone and I dont know if it was the band or the label decided that my voice wasnt strong enough and Snips was then brought in and to be honest we were never on the same page.
So there I was answering questions to the press like why did you form this band and Im like um, er, and Im thinking how did I get into this. So as soon as possible I just said listen guys I think youre better off going on without me which is what they did. I didnt realise initially that you cant just be dragged along in something which is what I allowed myself to be so it was very irresponsible of me Im afraid.
Lets look at some of the albums that Free mad. Obviously everyone would remember Fire and Water and I suppose that many people remember it for All Right Now which is also a great song but there was also some incredible material on that album
Do you know what All Right Now is a three chord throwaway. We actually didnt even consider it as a single. When it was suggested we laughed it off. I think we had so many good songs, mature songs, that All Right Now much as I love it and the performance is still a throwaway and for most people to only know about that is a bit sad really because there is a wealth of really good stuff there which of course I hope people hear.
Something that has puzzled me for over thirty years now is the follow up to Fire and Water, Highway. It was a great album and it didnt do anything and that puzzles me to this day.
Well it kind of puzzles me too. We were really on a high, we recorded the whole thing in about two weeks and it was a very natural thing. A lot of it was written and recorded in the studio and mixed the same night The Stealer being one and Chris Blackwell came in late one night and heard it and said great single so that was it. So we all felt that it was really moving forward but for some reason it didnt go. Im not really sure why and I wasnt really bothered at the time we had so many strengths It was a case of yeah, so the next one will be a hit. We could still play anywhere anytime and keep writing so it wasnt like a do or die situation. I have read that Paul was more shaken up by that than I was or anyone else in the band. It really hit him hard for some reason which Id like to know why.
I thought it was an incredible album that built on what Fire and water had laid down before and if anything increased your sophistication as song writers, arrangers
and performers and maybe I am taking things for granted but following on from All Right Now and Fire and Water it was the right album to follow that success up with.
It is very strange that you could have such a big hit and make a good album afterwards and then it stiffed so in that respect it is very weird
There is something I have to ask you because over the last twenty odd years there has been an incredible interest in Free; the box set has come out the albums have been re mastered and yet you always seemed reluctant or less inclined in promoting or being interviewed about these releases and yet with this DVD you are very involved and supportive. Why werent you more involved before, was it because you wanted to move on rather than look behind?
Well I was sort of retired basically. I recorded an album called Fine Fine Line and following that I literally retired. I let go. I got divorced, I had to start coming to terms with being gay so it was a kind of letting go time and I had been a feverish workaholic since before the age of fifteen so that was a massive letting go I had to do. You know if you can let go of career or need for fame or anything. I bought a motor home and kitted it out with a studio and just drove around and parked wherever and just literally let go and for years after that I just thought this is nice and quiet and Im finding myself and I dont have those needs. I mean theyre nice; Ive always been very well taken care of so to get involved in promoting old product just didnt fit in my life at that time.
What surprises me is that you took a conscious decision to retire after Fine Fine Line. I am happy however that you have a new album out now called Naked and Finally Free and there are a couple of videos on the Free DVD There is a video from the album and a live performance. Do I take it that this is a case of well this is what I did and this is where Im headed now
Which is exactly why theyre there. When I was approached about the DVD my basic attitude was I dont really want to dwell on the past so if we can contrast the present with the past then Ill be happy to get involved and Universal were more than happy to do that so yeah, I feel good about that
Would I be correct in assuming that you have a live DVD in the works or perhaps a live album in the pipeline?
Smart guy (Laughs). Yes indeed that was just one song from a whole concert that was filmed and should be ready for release shortly after this little episode.
Are you likely to play any gigs in the
Well I would love to but a lot of the reasons for doing a live DVD was I thought the quickest way for a lot of people to see what I would be like now instead of doing it gig by gig and the way things are with the internet and DVDs I can show everybody with one thrust whether they want to see it or not (Laughs)
What is your take on the internet because your website is a very active and interactive site? Were you surprised by the amount of interest and attention it received when you launched it.
Well I love technology I keep a computer in the bathroom (Laughs) literally so I think it is just incredible these days. My daughter Hannah, the eldest one does all the visuals, she designed the CD case and all that and also did the visuals on the live concert. So she would send me stuff and ask what do you think of this and that. My younger daughter Jasmine built the website Shes very computer literate shes got a computer science degree from Melbourne University and is just unbelievable so that is why the site is so good. They have talent and love and support and I think it is such a winning combination. Being seen through their eyes has a particular magic about it and I havent felt this way since the days of Free where I thought ok theres some kind of magic here, theres a chemistry that works and to be working with my daughters and feel the same thing is really such a number
What I kind of get from you is that despite all the highs and obviously the lows you have got to a place in your life where youre very comfortable with yourself and you must consider yourself a lucky guy. There seems to be an amazing amount of love and respect for you universally these days which must be a great place for you to be
I dont dwell on that but its nice to know. I am comfortable with myself and Ive fought for that because I knew that with the gay thing which I was in self denial for thirty five years, thats an awful big coming out there are so many head changes you have to go through. Its not just to yourself or your close friends. If youre going to go on stage youve got to be open and honest which means being up front about that. Thats a big big step and that literally took me quite a few years to get together.
Well you sound as though you are pretty happy where you are in life
I am its remarkable Ive just turned 54 and Im feeling like a teenager (Laughs)
Forever Free is released by Universal on the 11th of September
© Jon Kirkman August 2006
Scheduled to release Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Place your order today and be one of the first to receive this product when it arrives.
From their very first session in 1968 (astonishingly, recorded just days after bass play Andy Fraser's 16th birthday) through to their last official recording for the beeb, 'In Concert' for John Peel in July 1970, this compilation captures the rise of one of the UK's most talented blues / rock bands. While some of the material has surfaced as bonus material on reissues, the bulk of it has never before been available; 'Sugar For Mr Morrision', 'Woman', 'I'll Be Creepin'' 'Trouble On Double Time' and 'Mouthful of Grass' In Session tracks and both the In Concert performances are officially released here for the first time. The December 1969 session for Top Gear never even made it to bootleg, it's a gem of a find that turned up relatively recently in Paul Kossoff's private archive.
LIVE FROM LONDON
Reporting on the FREE DVD Launch - Meet in the chat room here
Sat 9th Sept -
Write it down as a reminder
(whose solo album is being recorded for Stuart Smith and Richie Onori's Black
(www.blackstarrecords.com) Star Records, label has had Joe Lynn Turner sing a
song on the record called "Alive Again." Joe Lynn has also sung a smoking duet
with Deanna (www.myspace.com/deannajohnston) Johnston, (Rock Star INXS),
called "Hot to Cold" which is possibly being slated for the single. The album is
nearing completion and should be released towards the end of this year. Leese
says he feels "Alive Again" is one of the best vocal performances he's heard
in years and was blown away by Deanna Johnston's performance on "Hot to Cold"
and was amazed at how well her and Joe's voices blended together. The duets
lyrics and melody were written by Deanna Johnston.
More guests will be
Mike Curley (Birmingham, England) - lead vocals; guitar
Mike Derosier (Heart, Orion The Hunter, Alias) - drums
Roger Fisher (Heart, Alias) - vocals; lead and rhythm guitars; slide guitar; mandolin
Rick Knotts (Rail) - vocals; lead and rhythm guitar; slide guitar; baritone guitar
Lynn Sorensen (Paul Rodgers) - vocals; bass guitar, violin; viola
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