THE CLASSIC ROCK INTERVIEW
One of rock’s all-time great vocalists looks back at his life and times with Free, Bad Company, The Firm and Queen, the tragedy of Paul Kossoff, his solo career, and why he probably owes the fact that he’s still alive today to his involvement in martial arts.
“I had a lot of respect for Freddie
[Mercury], but when I left I had
even more because I now know
what he went through.”
CLASSIC ROCK: You revived your solo career in the 1990s, one of the albums you made was the Grammy-nominated Muddy Waters Blues tribute record, you toured again with Bad Company … and then in 2005 you surprised everyone by joining up with Queen.
Paul Rodgers: It was a very interesting experience. [laughs] Bad Company and Queen were like separate entities in the seventie whatsoever. Then when we played together and did We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions and All Right Now, Irealised there was a connection. It was all classic rock.
Before you played the first Queen+ Paul Rodgers shows, you told one interviewer that you would not be wearing tights on stage, a la Freddie Mercury.
Ha. And I didn’t!
Queen+ Paul Rodgers toured the world, played arenas and even made an album (2008′ s The Cosmos Rocks). How do you look back on that collaboration now?
It was a good time. But to start with, Brian [May] and Roger [Taylor] wanted to do a lot more Free and Bad Company songs because they were big fans. I said: “Look, the world has been waiting to hear you and your songs, so let’s keep it Queen-heavy.” So we only did a couple of mine: All Right Now, Feel Like Makin’ Love and Bad Company – and when Queen do Bad Company they know how to put on a show.
In what way?
We used to do Bad Company with a lot of smoke and lights and me at a piano coming up on a riser from under the stage – all very dramatic. One night I was playing away, and realised the piano hadn’t reached the top of the stage. Instead, Brian had fallen down the pit and landed on top of the piano, but like a trooper, with his guitar neck unbroken and still in tune. The roadies jumped into the pit and dragged Brian out. I’m sat there thinking, “What the f**k do I do now?”
What do you make of Adam Lambert?
I haven’t checked him out too much, but from what I’ve seen I think he’s a good match. I think he’s what they need. When I became a part of Queen I had a lot of respect for Freddie, but when I left I had even more, because I now know what he went through.
Paul Rodgers’ Midnight Rose is released on
September 22 via Sun Records.