Steve Rodgers

As the son of Free/Bad Company legend, Paul Rodgers, Steve Rodgers has music in his DNA. With his debut solo album due for release early next year he hits the road opening for Bad Company in the UK. Mick Burgess sat down for a chat with Steve talking about the tour with Bad Company, his forthcoming album and recording with his Dad for the first time.

You’ve just completed a tour of The States with Bad Company and Joe Walsh of The Eagles. How did those dates go?

They were great. Obviously I’ve seen my Dad perform many times and he’s phenomenal. He just gets better and better. I hadn’t seen Joe Walsh’s full show before and that was fantastic. Between those two guys they have so many hit songs it’s crazy.

You’re now over in the UK to tour with Bad Company and Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi. Are you looking forward to getting started?

I can’t wait to get started. It’ll be a great tour. I’ve actually just seen some clips of Orianthi on You Tube and she’s a phenomenal player and Richie Sambora of course was in Bon Jovi and has a great catalogue of songs from them and his own solo work too. Bad Company of course are one of the best live bands you can see so it’s going to be a great tour.

You’ll be doing half of the tour and your sister Jasmine will be doing the other half. Why did you decide to split the tour?

She’s doing the first half and then I’m doing Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow and then the O2 in London. We decided to do it like that because I’d already had some dates of my own booked so we thought it’d be a good idea if Jasmine did those shows that I couldn’t do and I’d do the others. It’s worked out pretty well I think.

Newcastle is the local venue for your Dad, Paul Rodgers the lead singer in Bad Company, Does this make the show a little extra special for you?

Oh, yes. Newcastle is great anyway as the crowd is always phenomenal and I’m not just saying that either. I think people up in the North seem a lot more friendly and a lot more into their music. I always love going up there and Newcastle is such a great city as well.

Will some of your relatives be coming down to see you?

I think there’ll be a full spread of people backstage. I’ve still got relatives who live up here. I’m staying with my sister Natalie who lives in Middlesbrough and I have Auntie’s who live in Middlesbrough. I don’t have much time up here but I do hope to catch up with some of them while I’m here.

You’ll be going on stage first, how long will you get on stage each night?

It’s quite a short set so for me that’s about four or five songs. It’ll be an easy gig for me and then I’ll get to see the rest of the show so I can’t wait. I’m not sure what songs I’ll be doing yet. If you have a 10 or 15 song set you can make it quite eclectic but with only five or so songs I’ll probably just make it up as I go along and see what works.

Will you performing alone or will you be bringing a band with you?

It’s just me this time. I do have a band but for these shows it’ll be me and three guitars with different tunings. I might bring a piano as well but I’ll have to see. I’ll just stand or fall on my songs. It’s quite primal really. I kind of like that. It can be quite powerful if you get it right.

You have just recorded a song with your Dad for the charity Zoe’s Place baby hospice in Middlesbrough called This Place Called Home. How did you become involved in that?

Adam Dennis who wrote and produced the song sent it over to my Dad. His manager and wife Cynthia thought it would be great if we sang it together as father and son. We went out to a studio in California. We changed a couple of words and the structure here and there and then put down our vocals. It was great for me personally to see how my Dad did things in the studio and they were things I just didn’t know about him, like how he handled the microphones and things like that. I felt like a bit of a novice compared to him in the studio. We laughed all the way through it as we kept making mistakes but it was a lot of fun to do that together.

The song written about the industrial heritage of Teesside. This was where your Dad was born. Was this song your tribute to your heritage?

My grandfather worked in the steel works like a lot of people did back in those days. They were hard times and he got ill. Fortunately my Dad managed to escape doing that and of course I didn’t work anywhere like that either. It was really our way of saying thank you to our ancestors for doing all of that hard work. The video that’s been done for it is great and powerful. It’s really emotive to watch and is one for my grandfather. I unfortunately never met him as he died a couple of months before I was born.

Is this your birthplace too or were you born somewhere a little warmer and sunnier?

I was originally from Surrey but I’ve been living over in California for about 10 months now. It sounds strange to say but I really miss the British weather. When you get blue sky after blue sky, I know that sounds like, yeah, yeah, but I do miss a bit of mist in the morning, a thunderstorm every now and then and just the different types of weather we get in Britain but then again I do like the lovely weather we get over here.

Has your Dad ever taken you on a tour of the region to show you the sights of his childhood?

Yes, he has. He’s taken me around where he was born and where he grew up. He came from a really poor background so it’s inspiring how he changed his life all of those years ago.

It must be quite sad for him to see how the industry has declined over the years?

It has made him sad to see how the things have declined and with a lot of the old industries closing and those places becoming run down but hopefully with new technologies developing all of the time there’ll be new opportunities for people. Hopefully people can make a living in front of a computer instead of having to do something so backbreaking and dangerous.

Talking of recording, you have been recording your debut solo album. How is that coming along?

I had an E.P out ages ago and I got a whole bunch of songs together and we sent them off to a load of different producers. The first guy we sent them to was Ken Nelson who did Coldplay and Paulo Nutini. He was the first one who got back to us and said he wanted to record all of these great songs which was incredible. He’s a great guy. He got Adrian Bushby involved, who’s mixed the Foo Fighters and Muse and we got together in a studio in Liverpool and we had two weeks to do it. The studio was perfect. It was this old warehouse full of this old analogue stuff. It sounds awesome and I’m really pleased with the album. It’s due out in the spring so I’m very excited about that.

When did you start work on it?

I’d written the songs over the last couple of years and had some from when I did my first E.P. I think they are really strong songs and there’s no filler on there.

How many songs did you have written for the album?

I actually wrote enough for the next two or three albums but I chose those that I felt gave a good representation of where I am at the moment. There’s 12 songs on this album and there’s quite an eclectic mix on there from me just singing with a guitar, to ballads and ones where the band really rock’s it up.

How did the experience you had writing and recording with your band Boa a few years back shape where you are musically now?

I think it’s just the experience in general that helped me. I learned from that process and knew what to expect the next time so I wasn’t frightened by it. It just becomes quite normal being in the studio. I’m used to taking my time in the studio so two weeks was quite a push and I ended up doing almost a track a day so that was interesting for me as with Boa we took months and months in the studio.

What musicians have you been working with in the studio?

I have Wayne Ritches who has played with Skin from Skunk Anansie. I’ve also got Allan Salmon on guitar and as a guitarist myself I think he’s one of the very best around. He can play absolutely anything. It’s a great band and I’m so happy with them.

Your Dad is Paul Rodgers, lead singer in the legendary bands Free and Bad Company. At what age did you realise that your Dad didn’t have a regular job like your friends Dad’s did?

I realised right from the year dot. I always knew he didn’t do what my friend’s Dad’s did. He’d go off on tour clean shaven and come back months later with a full beard, flares and a medallion. That’s just how it was. That’s what Dad did.

Growing up in a musical environment with your sister Jasmine too, when did you first start to take an interest in music yourself?

Me and Jasmine started with music at a very early age. I think if we had a Dad who was a sportsman we’d be doing the same. It’s just that thing that he played the piano and guitar, so we did the same. I have a one year old and three year old now and they love music already. They completely copy you and they’re like sponges and take everything in that’s around them.

Did you go through the recorder or violin stage at school or did your interests lay elsewhere?

I did indeed. I played the recorder at school which wasn’t much fun and then I played the piano which was fun.

Having a Dad who’s spent years in the business is certainly useful in teaching you about the pitfalls to watch out for. What advice has he given you that has proved the most vital up until now?

My Dad told us when we were young not to go into the music business as it’s a hard life and then we’d watch him enjoy himself and we thought there wasn’t something quite right so we ended up following him into the business anyway. The best advice he gave me was when he said if you really wanted to do this then you had to have a good team behind you. A good team who are really into what you’re doing. So that’s what I did. I built a team up organically. I have a great manager and she got me a brilliant producer. Even if someone is a big name if they aren’t nice or someone we can get on with then I’m not interested. I want people who work well together and who are into what we do and I think I have that now. It’s all about the people from those in management to those at the venues working on the sound and lights. They are so important so if you’re a bit of a prat to them then it won’t work. We all get on so well and I think that’s why we work together so well.

Do you hope one day to make a whole album with your Dad and Jasmine?

We talked about that ages ago. There was a quiet moment pre-Queen stuff when we talked about it. I brought a song in and Jas brought a song in and we were messing about with stuff then Dad got the Queen tour and that went that way. We definitely will at some point. I think for now me and my sister are going to build our careers up so that we are in a good place but I definitely want to do an album together at some point.

You’re playing 4 shows on the Bad Company tour. Will you play any yourself while you’re here?

I’m playing a couple of warm up gigs in Norfolk in these really nice venues before we do the arena shows so those should be really good. I’ll be playing for an hour and a half at those.

What are your plans going into 2017?

We’ll be touring across the UK from March onwards next year once the album is out. I have 40 dates lined up already in the UK and other countries too so it’ll be a busy year for me which is great.

Steve Rodgers is on tour in the UK now opening for Bad Company and Richie Sambora/Orianthi.


  • 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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