Interview with Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, etc.)

Mick Burgess and Paul Rodgers

Metal Express Radio: Your show in Newcastle has been moved from the City Hall to the Metro Arena due to high demand for tickets. How do you feel about that?

PAUL: Newcastle and the true North, strong and free, have always come out in full support from my days with Free, Bad Company, The Firm, QPR, and solo. They love their music up North and are very vocal about it, which always makes for magical nights. It is quite a homecoming and family reunion at the same time. Moving the show from City Hall, a venue I love playing, to the Arena is a mixed blessing. Although City Hall is an iconic venue where I have a lot of history, moving from there to the Metro Arena in Newcastle is pretty cool and I’m really excited about it.

MER: When you’re back “Up North”, what is it you like to do and see the most if you have the time?

PAUL: When I’m on tour, my time up North isn’t really my own because I’m always preparing for each show. That is the reality of touring for me, although I always make time for a quick visit to my family.

MER: The last time you were in the area with Bad Company, you played a special show at Marton Country Club in Middlesbrough. What was that in aid of?

PAUL: The four or five songs that I played at The Marton Country Club last year after the Bad Company show were in honor of John McCoy, the former proprietor of the Purple Onion, a club in Middlesbrough, celebrating his 50th Anniversary as a promoter. John was a good man and was kind enough to let me into his club as a young teenager to watch bands like Cream, Little Stevie Wonder, The Who, Rod Stewart, and the Steam Packet before they hit the big time. What an experience for a young lad and I’ve never forgotten his kindness.

MER: You recently played at the Metro Arena with Queen. Which of Queen’s songs did you enjoy singing most? “The Show Must Go On” was a real high point in the show for many people…

PAUL: I too enjoyed singing “The Show Must Go On”. It had never been performed live by Queen, so it was like a new song for all of us. I also felt that the message of the song expressed what we were doing by joining forces. I have to say that I really enjoyed the way that they played “All Right Now”, “Can’t Get Enough”, and “Voodoo” — one of my new songs from the Cosmos Rocks CD, but in particular they brought new life to “Feel Like Making’ Love”. Playing with the arrangement just slightly gave it a new energy.

MER: Which was the trickiest for you to sing?

PAUL: The trickiest song to sing was “Time To Shine” — a song that I wrote with a little help from divine intervention. I wrote it on the piano, and for me, playing piano while singing requires focus to stay connected with the audience. So we ran the song at rehearsals a couple of times and it just did not click. Then I realized that Brian had removed a bar from the chorus, after that we clicked and the song worked.

MER: Back onto your solo tour… will you be concentrating more on your own solo work and your time in Free, bearing in mind you performed the Bad Company material last year?

PAUL: The set list will be Free-heavy in the UK since Free is so loved by the fans there. It’s also fun for me to dig into the songs that I wrote so long along. I will also include the big hits from Bad Company, The Firm, and a new song or two.

MER: Last time you played solo shows in the UK you debuted “War Boys” at those gigs. Do you have any new material that you will be playing on this tour?

PAUL: Yes, I do have new material and am excited about playing a couple of new songs on this tour. I have just recorded some demo tracks of new songs and I have about five new songs so far towards my new CD. I can’t wait to get back and record the tracks with a band since on the demos I played all of the instruments and as much as I enjoyed drumming, playing bass, and lead guitars, a band will add the final touches and give the music from my head a polish.

MER: You have Jason Bonham joining you on this tour. What was it about Jason that made you choose him?

PAUL: I knew Jason’s Dad, John, so I met Jason when he was very young. To see him today and hear him play, his Dad would be over the moon proud. He has that Bonham rhythm and feel. When he hits a drum it stays hit. He is so rock solid and is an asset to the band. It’s a shame that he’s so busy, otherwise I’d have him in the band permanently, but I’m happy that we were able to steal him away for these ten shows.

MER: You’ve mentioned some surprise guests appearing on the tour. Will this just be in London or will there be appearances elsewhere?

PAUL: Ah, yes the surprise guests will be scattered throughout the tour. All I can divulge is that there will be a few guitarists, a couple of singers, and both genders will be represented.

For more on Paul Rodgers visit

Special thanks to Cynthia Rodgers and Chris Crawford for help with the transcription.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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