The soulful growl Paul Rodgers possesses is one that generations of rock fans have heard via his work in Free and Bad Company that’s become omnipresent on classic rock formats across the country.
The early 1990s and a stretch of the early 2000s also saw the British rocker singing as part of Queen + Paul Rodgers, recording solo projects paying homage to Muddy Waters and Jimi Hendrix and an ill-fated one-off project with Faces/Who drummer Kenny Jones called The Law (“The sound was really very detached—I didn’t feel like it had any soul whatsoever. That’s the long and short of that. It was an experience and I learned from that.”). Rodgers has reunited with Bad Company and is on the road with a line-up rounded out by fellow founding member Simon Kirke, Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson (Mick Ralphs is sitting this tour out), ex-Heart guitarist Howard Leese and bassist Todd Ronning (the latter two having been part of Rodgers’ solo band).
There’s been plenty of action going on with Bad Company, starting with Rhino Records deciding to reissue Bad Company and Straight Shooter as deluxe editions last year along with the compilation Rock & Roll Fantasy: The Very Best of Bad Company. The most recent visit to the vault resulted in the recently released Live In Concert 1977 & 1979, a double-CD set featuring two-and-a-half hours of live music from shows in Houston and London. Rodgers and Bad Company are hitting the road with Joe Walsh on a co-headlining tour called “One Hell of a Night.” Being the consummate road warrior, here is a trio of songs Paul Rodgers has become rather fond of performing over the years.
“Shooting Star” from 1975’s Straight Shooter
“I like ‘Shooting Star’ because when I wrote the song, it kind of wrote itself. It’s based on a lot of the experiences that I had. I remember thinking when the song was percolating in my mind, I’d been thinking that so many people are dying and this is supposed to be the entertainment business. It’s not the war zone. Why is that? That’s when the song sprang into mind and it almost wrote itself. I love doing that one because it’s extended itself and the audience will sing along with it and that’s a beautiful thing. I like that.”
“Satisfaction Guaranteed” from 1985’s The Firm
“I like ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed,’ the song I wrote with Jimmy [Page]. It just brings back great memories and I love to play it. It’s kind of a magic carpet ride. Whenever I do that song with my band, we take a trip into outer space. It’s amazing.”
“Crazy Circles” from 1979’s Desolation Angels
“For me, the one continuum of making music with the different groups I’ve been in comes down to writing songs about the life you’re living. And songs with ideas that move you and hopefully, will connect with other people. It’s really about the songwriting and the bands go along with it. What I’ve seen throughout all the bands is the material—the songs and the music. I’m currently enjoying ‘Crazy Circles,’ because it’s my Bob Dylan song, you see. (laughs)”
Bad Company will be appearing with Joe Walsh on June 14 at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 1000 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. Visit www.jonesbeach.com or call 800-745-3000 for more information.