I have said it before and I`ll say it again: I LOVE hits on my blog, and I got a lot of visitors to my blog with that article about Yes last time. It may be that Yes fans are more fanatic than other fans, but I like their fanatism a lot. So from here on I will print every other article I find about Yes in a mutual interest between me and the Yes fans. The same goes for Kiss, Jeff Beck and a couple of other bands that have fans that obviously likes to read these old articles.
Today I am trying out the response to an article about Bad Company, I hope they have some fans out there that will want to check this out. Until next time….!
Just deliver the goods and you too can be M. Jagger
For the moment MICK (a.k.a. `Modest Mick`) RALPHS is modestly content with the way BAD COMPANY is going, but he modestly admits that the band have modest ambitions to rank with the Gods: By STEVE CLARKE.
Maybe Mick Ralphs should turn onto Krishna, maybe drop some stuff, or even throw the I Ching once in a while. He`s so unaffected, so amiable, so unassuming that it`s hard to remember he`s a bona fide rock star.
Bad Company, the band ol` Mick is a bona fide rock star in, haven`t put one foot wrong since they formed some two albums back, and now it`s got to the point where they`ve sold out the Madison Square Garden date on their upcoming second US tour.
Incidentally, it`s their first headlining visit, and for it they`ll be supported by fellow-Peter Grant managed act Maggie Bell.
And it won`t be long before their second album, “Straight Shooter”, is heading the US charts too.
Naturally Mick is chuffed with all this, but the most ebullient comment he can raise is…”I don`t like to boast”.
The group, apparently, are still very much in love with one another. And that`s not the way supergroups are supposed to evolve. Bands constructed from other fairly successful units usually never get the chance to evolve as a coherent entity- they`re too busy bitching.
But not Bad Company. “We`ve got five years at least,” says phlegmatic old Mick from the comfort of a sofa at manager Peter Grant`s office in King`s Road, Chelsea.
“We`re here to stay. We want to be up there with the Stones and The Who and the Zeps. We want to be in that league, and that takes time. You can`t just jump in. You`ve got to be able to continue to deliver the goods.
“Success? I don`t think it`s changed anybody in the group.”
But how about Paul, who did seem to be competing for some kind of bad behaviour among rock stars award around Christmas what with all that over-zealous partying at The Faces` Christmas function?
“Paul`s Paul. He`s always been his own man and he likes a good time. Because of the success we`ve had, people are ready to criticise and take more notice of him.
“I don`t think he makes a fool of himself at all. I think he`s very honest. I think he`s one of the most honest people in the business. I think if more people said what they think instead of bullshitting there`d be more progress musically.”
In actual fact, being in Bad Company has meant at least one change in Ralph`s life, and possibly two.
First, he`s in the process of buying a country cottage just the other side of Henley. Nothing too expensive, you understand. (When cornered Mick`s cryptic reply as to how much the home cost him was, “Not much”).
And second, he and his wife Nina have split up again. “I think I should blame myself for that and not the situation I`m in. I`ve always been in a group. I`ve always put the group first. I`ve always believed in that.”
Otherwise the life-style is pretty much as before. When he`s in town you won`t find him hobnobbing it with yer Stewarts and the Royalty of this world at Tramps. He`ll be at The Marquee or The Speakeasy, retreats of the more down-to-earth faction.
Mick frankly admits that money-talk makes him embarrassed. “People see your records in the charts and assume you`re a millionaire, living like a lord, and that you`ve changed as a person and cut off all your old friends.”
But surely Bad Company`s success has meant some income increase?
“I suppose it must have done,” is the reply. “But I don`t know…It`s all on paper.
“I`ve been playing guitar for about eight years and this is the first time I`ve been in a position to buy a place. I think a man of my age should have a roof over his head. I`ve been starving long enough.”
Conversation turns to the band itself. So far this year Bad Company have toured Europe, Japan and Australia and spent a couple of weeks hanging out in LA to watch their stablemates Led Zeppelin.
Then there was the release of “Straight Shooter”. “We just feel it`s the best we could do to date,” is Ralph`s comment on the album, which was preceded by the release of “Good Lovin` Gone Bad”, their second single – which, surprisingly enough, didn`t make the Top 20.
He admits to being disappointed at the record`s limited success but puts it down to the fact that people bought the album instead, and goes on to point out that the band did go to the trouble of putting a nowhere-else-to-be-found B side on the single – “Whisky Man”.
“Initially there was a dispute over what the single should be. There`s so many numbers on the album that could have been singles. We went for `Good Lovin“ `cause it seemed the most obvious and straightforward number. When we record we don`t think in terms of singles.”
As a guitarist Ralphs is realistic about his talents. “I think I`m all right. I can hold me own. You`ve gotta think that, otherwise you ain`t gonna go onstage.
“If I`ve got my own style then that`s great. I like to think I have. With this band everybody`s taking their time to develop. I see myself as more of a back-up guitarist.
“To me Keith Richard does that so well. He probably doesn`t think he`s that good but I think he`s great at what he does. I like to think I`m good at what I do in the context of Bad Company.
“I just play what`s necessary, what I feel is right. The idea of the band is to project an overall thing and not to project anyone in particular. What we want to put across is the lyric of the song and the song itself, and not deviate from that.
“I think my forte is being the guitarist in Bad Company and doing it the best I can. I think we`re all essential to each other. I think we all balance each other well.”
Paul Kossoff has accused Ralphs of taking a lot of what he played with Free and reproducing it in Bad Company. Ralphs answers Kossoff`s criticism with, “I think that`s a bit of sour grapes. I think he likes me…I`m as derivative as he is. He`s derived his style from the same people that I`ve derived mine from.
“I don`t think we`re that similar. I think we have different tones, different approaches, and we play a lot differently. He plays more lead and I tend to play more chords. If he thinks that, it`s up to him. I think he has his own style and it`s very distinctive and very good. If he says something like that he probably doesn`t mean it like that. He probably means I sound a bit like him on occasions.
“I don`t think there`s any need for the old-fashioned guitar hero. I don`t think it`s that valid anymore. But Robin Trower`s doing it. When I listen to a Robin Trower album I never hear any songs. The singer`s overshadowed by the guitar player.
“I`m a group player first and a guitar player first.
“We get more satisfaction from being a complete group, a complete entity.”
Ralphs saw his old colleague Ian Hunter at Hammersmith Odeon for the Hunter-Ronson gig on Easter Monday:
“The band`s pretty good. I think it`s deviated slightly. There`s Ian doing his thing and Ronson doing his thing. It kept pulling in different directions.
“The band is projecting those two people and it seemed that when Ian was singing Ronson looked a bit awkward and when Ronson was doing his thing Ian looked a bit awkward.
“I don`t think it`ll last that long. I think they both feel they need to be big in their own right.” He considers…”Ronson`s a great guitar player. I don`t think he should sing or write though.”
Currently the Texan band ZZ Top find themselves on to the Ralphs` turntable more than anyone else. “They`re very simple and unpretentious.”
He`s also digging Beck`s new album, Gloria Gaynor`s version of “It`s A Man`s Man`s World”, Little Feat, and Ravel – yes the French Ravel.
Meantime Ralphs has a 30-date US tour to complete and he`s raring to go. Maybe more success`ll make him arrogant, but somehow I doubt it.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.
This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Philip Rambow, Alex Harvey, Helen Reddy, Mickey Jupp, The Man Band, Iggy Pop, Gay and Terry Woods, Chairmen of the Board.
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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