Bad Company

ARTICLE ABOUT Bad Company FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 17, 1976

As always, when you read an article written by Nick Kent, the writing is impeccable, but maybe he should have let his interview objects be even more central to proceedings? Anyway, it is a wonder that Mr. Kent could express himself as eloquently as he does, considering he was a herion addict throughout most of the 70s. It sometimes amazes me what people of great talent is able to achieve using hard drugs. But, in the end, everyone will have to pay the price if they don`t stop before it is too late. Thankfully, Mr. Kent was one of those that survived. Read this quite interesting article by one of the most talented music journalists of the 70s.

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…Well, come on then, Rodgers, act mean and nasty for the kids!

NO way. Paul Rodgers fails to live up to the horrendous tales of on-the-road booze and belligerence. He`s being a nice guy. And the rest of Bad Company? They`re being nice guys as well. Nick Kent does not even get insulted, never mind get his face smashed in. Oh well, that`s life.

The things we rock writers come up with! For my sins I recall to this day a ridiculously pompous conversation that took place between yours truly and one American scribe – now a fully paid-up member of the Rolling Stone editorial higher echelon but at this point a budding `punk terrible` working out of Detroit – where we came to the conclusion that the only valid dialectic situation left to the rock star-rock critic was to get into highly elaborate fist fights.
Whether this concept was inspired by the much-publicised fisticuffs between Bob Dylan and venerable rock eccentric A. J. Weberman or whether it was just a kind of dumb cool thing to think up at the time doesn`t really matter. Nor did, at the time anyway, the fact that both of us were yer archetypal nine-stone weakling far more adept at hiding under tables when even the vaguest whiff of violence was mooted in the air than `piling in` so to speak.
Surprisingly enough, I`ve never really found myself in a situation where I`ve been forced to declare arms against some irate musician following some less than complimentary review. The nearest, in fact, I ever came to an out-right confrontation of any sort was at an L.A. club where a drunk and offensive John Bonham (Led Zep drummer to the unitiated) poured a jug of cream and a couple of brandies over my coat, this being presumably his idea of a good `wheeze`.
I in turn found the escapade to be thoroughly unpleasant – any retaliation on my part was scarcely the order of the day seeing that Mr. Bonham is built like the proverbial shit-house door and was constantly flanked by two even more muscular than he.
All in all though, the incident did leave a rather sour complexion on my comrade`s idea of the fist-fight as viable rock dialectic, at least in my view and I quickly forgot about the whole thing.

Until, that is, the assignment. Pretty routine stuff on the surface, it was. Fly out to Jersey, land of the ageing gout-booted British tax exile thirsting for some vague replica of the Olde Country wherein to while away his retirement savings, and interview Swansong Artistes Bad Company, themselves tax exiles but in this daunting position through their mercurial ascendancy onto the pedestal of top-flight rock superstars.
All very straight-forward, but then again, Bad Company do have this reputation preceding them for a belligerent boozed-out boisterousness. Legend has it that even my oppressor M. Bonham was so shocked by their behaviour at one Atlantic Records function that he took it upon himself as co-chairman of Swansong to chastise them gravely for their hedonistic philanderings. (Now that little episode I would have liked to have witnessed).
And then again, how can I forget that touching scenario played out by Paul Rodgers, Bad Co`s leading protagonist, just one year ago. The Faces` Christmas Party it was – a civilised enough occasion, and there was I waiting to savour the sheperds pie and mixed veg laid out on this large table when who but Mr. Rodgers should appear, muttering dark curses at everyone in his booze-tinted view, and promptly lay waste the entire table in question, tossing food-stuffs here and there with nary a thought for present company.
Quite put me off my appetite, it did.

As it happens, almost all my colleagues in the business have their own P. Rodgers anecdote. One party, I recall, voted him the single most unpleasant man in rock, while Charles Shaar Murray recalls the time he witnessed our hero almost set about a Hungarian waitress for merely asking him to take his feet off a chair in the hotel restaurant.
More to the point, further reports lead one to believe that Bad Co.`s corporate ascendancy had worsened the Rodgers temperament considerably. A prominent Swansong musician/co-chairman who had freewheeled it over to the States to see his company`s band slaying `em on the East Coast last year mentioned to me a few months ago that the lead vocalist`s unwillingness to swamp his ego in with his three cohorts and become more flexible musically could cause great dissent with the Bad Co ranks.
And finally there was a Rolling Stone (what else?) piece which vividly documented the band on the tour in question seemingly immersed in a never-ending morose bacchanalia with Rodgers particularly obstreperous.
Ruminating over what I`d gleaned from reports on the Bad Co. temperament in regard to this Jersey venture, I envisaged at least some quotient of `aggro` emanating in my direction – principally from Rodgers, I presumed, who might well not like the cut of my clothes, shape of my legs etc. and would probably bottle me if I asked a question perhaps not to his liking.

Well, to remove what possible suspense which can be drawn from the writing of a piece on Bad Company, nothing like that happened at all. Photographer Pennie Smith and I arrived at the hotel to be greeted by two plates of slightly stale sandwiches and a nice-guy Welsh roadie who agreeably set about farming out members of the band for the interview. The inevitable naturally occurred – I was faced with all four members at once for most of the actual interview, a gnarling situation which totally denied any facility for the more intimate one-to-one heart-to-heart patter which usually reveals something interesting.
Instead the band palled it up and quite agreeably joked around, cooing forth platitudes about the new direction their music was taking and how their new album, “Run With The Pack” was by far their most advanced and satisfying recording.

Facing the band in toto so to speak, you really can`t help but be struck by the visual incongruities of the members. Drummer Simon Kirke, a genuinely entertaining and likable raconteur of `witty stories`, must possess the most oppressively bulging biceps in all rock history, both muscle-packed arms just crying out for a plethora of tattoos with motifs like an anchor just above the elbow and “mother” scrawled just below.
Kirke`s whole persona reminded me of Robert Plant`s whole `likely lad` style; their slightly North of the Border accents are almost identical, in fact. In total contrast, guitarist Mick Ralphs seems to have the physique of a post-adolescent teenager even though he bows to holding down an age “politely known as late 20`s.” For the years spent paying all those proverbial dues in Mott the Hoople, he still possesses the incredibly healthy wide-eyed pallor of a youth making his debut with a band at some local Hereford youth club.
Seated next to him, bass-player Boz Burrell presents even further visual incongruities. Decked out in full cow-poke regalia – the frayed denim shirt, unostentatious boots and lean black stetson, his “jazzer`s” beard makes him resemble the unlikely outcome of Acker Bilk signing on with the Eagles.
And finally there`s Paul Rodgers, short and stocky, moving from his seat to the bar like a Jersey bullock swathed in a bizarre-looking sheep-skin lined suedette bum-freezer which made his contours look all the more bizarre. His face looked remarkably haggard and a presumed lack of vitamins and hot sun made his hair look unhealthy and matted as if he`d just donned a rather shaggy doormat in lieu of a crown topper. I do recall stepping back a few paces in agitated reverence as he stomped into proceedings.

So what do we talk about, boys?
After a few obvious `ice-breaking` questions, I decided to divine the band`s opinion of the Rolling Stone piece referred to earlier.
“Well you`re a journalist, what did you think about it?” Kirke retorts amiably enough.
So I mention that – well, reading between the lines it appeared the writer felt a touch disorientated by the surroundings, didn`t seem to be enjoying himself too much and consequently wrote the article from a rather jaundiced aspect.
“The thing is” – Rodgers has just sat down – “he didn`t once mention anything about the music. There was nothing said about the music.”
Ah yes, the music. I mean, it`s more than fair that Rodgers should bring up the whole “music is the message” schtick – after all, that is his and Bad Co.`s only real claim to fame – they`re musicians, not philosophers or crusading emissaries for some worthy cause.
It`s just that talking and writing about music, particularly of the groinal variety, is basically such a prime pain in the ass, ringing forth all the same old platitudes and cliches as it does in these situations.
As it is, Bad Company have had their talents farmed into the computer-critique from more or less the first note they ever played. The definition always tends to read, “Good hard-rock band… sturdy but unambitious”, with special mention of Rodger`s very impressive vocal style and a possible merit star for Kirke`s excellent trashing abilities.

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Boz Burrell – Gone, but not forgotten.

The definition wasn`t embellished further by the release of “Straight Shooter,” the second album, and one wonders if the adjectival “unambitious” won`t be underlined a little heavier with the soon-to-appear “Run With The Pack”.
After the interview formalities have been dispensed with, Burrell and Ralphs play me a cassette tape of the Olympia gig showcasing at least five new songs which in turn showcase the patented formulas that have kept the band buoyant through two albums worth of toons thus far.
The first formula is Ralphs` personal adapton of the Keith Richard-Chuck Berry block chord rocker, only this time the full-blooded thrust of “Can`t Get Enough” through to the excellent “Good Lovin` Gone Bad” is made manifest in “Sweet Little Sister”. Obvious chord changes, obvious rock-swagger rhyming lyrics – Sweet Little Sister/You know you can`t resist her/She`s got it made in the shade, borrowing not a little from the Stones` phrase-book but that doesn`t mean it doesn`t rock like a bitch.
It`s just that one can only go so far with such limited concepts, no matter how full-blooded the performance and what with everyone from Kiss and Aerosmith down to your-local-punk-band-in-Stretford or Dayton, Ohio, scraping at the bones of `70s rock`s killer riffs – the “Brown Sugar” patent, the “Sweet Jane” chord changes, “Honky Tonk Women”, you end up needing more than even Paul Rodgers` supple vocalese to supply the edge.

Rodgers, for his part, appears still overly fond of his old Free stylisation if a song like the new “Simple Man” is anything to go by. That same loping, melancholic beat, same dour brooding chords (Rodgers in `soulful mood` always sound like he`s kicking himself because he never got to write Traffic`s “40,000 Headmen” before Winwood conceived the tune), the same earnest but bland utterances.
This time we`re faced with Rodgers waxing philosophical after a fashion with these gem-like utterances for company –  “I am just a simple man/Freedom is the only word that means a thing to me.”
Well at least it`s not pretentious and for that I`d gladly take an outfit like Bad Company over the infinitely more ambitious but ultimately ill-postured Queen. It`s just that full-blooded unoriginality and jaded pretence are pretty lean pickings when your expectations settle on that high and mighty echelon both bands are poised on at present.
Bad Company, for their part, tap their feet and nod agreeably at each other. They also mention that the more `advanced` stuff on “Pack” hasn`t been fully mastered yet for stage-performance. Still, one feels just a touch cynical when Ralphs sets about defending his statement recorded in Teazers a couple of weeks back that his band reminds him of The Beatles “in a very distinct way”.
“Yeah, I read that too,” he laughs for a second and then suddenly turns serious. “No, you see what I was trying to say… by drawing that parallel is that just like The Beatles we`re able to cover all the bases. By that I mean you`ve got Paul on one side and me and there`s melody and the rockers and…. Like Lennon and McCartney had that down. They covered the whole spectrum.
“That`s what we`re aiming for and now with this new album…”

And so it goes. As it happens, Ralphs is an extremely likeable bloke. I`d interviewed him several years ago when he was floundering with Mott (this was just before the DeFries union) and I was an idealistic cub reporter and the interview quickly broke down to become an energetic chat about favourite bands and music in general.
Looking back on his Mott days, I ask him whatever happened to the “budding Neil Young” image that Ian Hunter seemed so adamant about laying on the guitarist?
Ralphs fields off the `Young` schtick by simply retorting, “Well, with me it wasn`t as bad as Hunter who was desperate to be Bob Dylan (pause). Nah, Mott was a bizarre group in that we got into this whole thing of appealing to the loon-pants head-shaking audience. Yeah, a bit like Status Quo I suppose, only…”‘
Ralphs seems adamant about disowning the whole glitter-rock trip that the Bowie association set Mott up with. Indeed, Bad Company were conceived by Ralphs and Rodgers in terms of an earthy, anti-glitter backlash.
A question concerning the managerial merits of Tony DeFries draws forth inevitable comparisons with Bowie`s own Col. Tom and Swansong svengali Peter Grant.
“Well, DeFries knew all the stuff about law side of things. But I don`t think he really had any feeling, though, for the human or… uh, artistic side of the business. With Peter, well, it`s like he`s one of the lads really.”

Burrell defines Grant`s attributes as a manager further:
“He really acts as a cushion (sic) between the band and all the politics that are bound to surround one. That is, he lets you get on with the music totally while he fields off all the lawyers, record company guys etc. that are more than ready to hold back your actual output.”
Kirke: “We hardly ever sit down and do business with him. It`s usually always a social thing when we meet.”
Bad Company and Grant set their alliance rolling with just a handshake, by the way. A gentleman`s agreement.
Events following directly in the wake of Bad Co.`s association with Swansong show a more than dramatic change in fortunes.
Kirke dismisses his earnings from Free as “a pittance… I suppose that`s what you`d call it.” He prefers not to muse over any potential “sour grapes”.
Ralphs, upon leaving Mott, was faced with departing with a debt (Mott the Hoople were in debt to upwards of £100,000 at one point, so the story goes) or breaking free, thus nixing any personal hold on royalties arising from the subsequently successful “Mott” album. He chose the latter.
And Burrell? Well, his former escapades provide the best copy of the day. A former King Crimson employee (Fripp taught him bass “parrot-fashion”) his reminiscences are scurrilous if nothing else.

“That whole period of my life was ridiculous. I mean, if I`ve done anything in my life purely for the money, that was it. I mean, I`d be singing these lyrics and suddenly I`d stop and think, `Christ, what does that mean`. I reckon Sinfield used to dig out his Roget`s Thesaurus, find the most impressive-looking words and just throw `em all in.
“And Fripp! (laughs). He`d be sitting on his stool just scowling at us. So every night for an encore we`d rush out… see, the only thing Fripp can`t play is a straight-forward blues, so for the encore the rest of the band would charge onstage and before he`d got a chance to plug in his guitar, we`d kick off with a 12-bar! (laughs).
“On the very last night, Mel (Collins) demolished a mellotron as part of the solo. He just very methodically took it to pieces, right, and Fripp turned round… it was during `Schizoid Man` … he was on his stool (collapses laughing).
“The thing is, though, it`s ridiculous when people murmur that we`re all in Bad Co. for the money. Nothing could be further from the truth. But, I mean, that Crimson gig – that was a pure pay-check thing.
“It`s a shame really. People just don`t get it straight.”

So finally to Rodgers, who, far from the mooted belligerence of yore, was amiable enough. He even talked with mild candour about his drinking binges, saying that he and the band had cut down drastically in a tone which, to the impartial observer, appeared to mean business.
Later I overhear a phone conversation where Rodgers reverently mentions that he`s soon to become a father for the second time, which could well account for this new-found serenity.
Oh, and that tax-exile schtick. It appears to be not all champagne and roses even if alcohol and cigarettes are almost half the price. Kirke at least had picked up on some nookie. He had a date, he said. Taking her to the pictures, he was. To see The Jungle Book for the second time in three days.

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A really strange ad….

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits  – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Gary Holton, Ronnie Lane, Warne Marsh, Keith Moon, Kid Strange.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Bad Company from New Musical Express, June 21, 1975

I really like this article. A great read, even if you`re not a fan of the band. So enjoy…

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Members of Bad Company…

What`s your favourite hobby?
Who`s your favourite philosopher?
How do you like it so far?

Story: Roy Carr

New York is a city of excess. It`s a metropolis where everyone goes over the top almost every night of the week, yet still manages to surface the next morning fit and well and primed to repeat the exercise at the drop of an expense account.
It is a city that occasionally nods out but never sleeps. And despite the fact that it`s currently on the verge of bankruptcy, no one is deterred from having the time of their lives. On the contrary, they`re encouraged. However, what constitutes a Good Time is open to wild conjecture.
For where else but in New York (New York) can you jam with Johnny Winter before dinner, shanghai Gary Glitter away from hosting his own cocktail party, watch pyromaniacs taking polaroids of one another while firemen fight towering infernos in the background, check-out a sniper in Brooklyn, keep at the bar at Ashley`s – The Big Apple`s favourite oasis – open until breakfast and be invited to kiss both bride and bridegroom at a reception being held by the cigarette machine!
In keeping with tradition, the bride wore white and the groom chose black. The fact that the groom was not only female but prettier than her bride was quite irrelevant. They were married and they wanted the whole world – or at least anybody buying cigarettes – to know.

Originally, the newly-weds had intended to marry later in the month and spend their honeymoon at all six Rolling Stones shows scheduled for Madison Square Garden. But, love being what it is and Bad Company fan fervour at a premium, the happy couple had first promised to love, honour and obey before dashing off to clasp the four Swan Songsters to their collective bosom(s) at the Garden that very evening.
So please zip back to 4.15 that same day. The temperature outside Madison Square Garden has reached the arm-pit humidity of 89 degrees (and still rising), the street stinks of stale cheeseburgers and the rain feels like luke-warm tea as it splashes against the greasy skin of those hapless types trying to locate a spare ticket.
Inside the cool, cavernous auditorium, last minute preparations are being made for the evening soiree.
“How`s it look?” enquiries a pensive Paul Rodgers, as he straps on his guitar and proceeds to slash out the riff of “Can`t Get enough” – the object of his undivided attention being a bandaged left hand.
“Django Reinhardt managed alright,” mumbles Boz Burrell as he cradles his bass guitar and gives Rodgers an evil grin. Bad Company are running through a soundcheck hours before achieving the unprecedented distinction of being the only other rock act ever to top the bill at New York`s 20,000 seater Madison Square Garden halfway through a second American tour in summer.

The band plays on, undeterred by this vast responsibility.
They don`t award the Purple Heart to rock musicians injured in the line of duty. If they did, Paul Rodgers would have a chestful. Seemingly, every time he hits the road, the road hits back with a vengeance.
On the last tour, an unfortunate altercation with a plate glass door transformed Rodgers` swagger into a painful limp. This time round, a door of much stronger material fractured a couple of bones in his left hand when the band breezed into Chicago, a few days ago.
“I`ll kill that bloody doctor,” snarls Rodgers as the large plaster begins to peel away, like cheap wallpaper, from his damaged flipper.
As Showco`s posse of Texas cowboys scurry around the empty arena making last minute adjustments to the tons of electronic hardware, Rodgers` handicap is made worse when his amp begins to crackle violently.
“`Ere, what`s that hum?” asks Simon Kirke.
“Special effects,” Rodgers replies sarcastically. “It costs a bloody fortune to get the equipment to do that.”
“Fancy,” mutters Mick Ralphs.

Suddenly, Rodgers` amp utters a static bark of defiance. The singer scowls. A roadie looks towards heaven and mumbles “Sheeut!” The amp is instantly replaced.
Bad Company thunder through a version of the song of the same name with all the vitality and dynamics usually reserved for a live rendition, lay down their arms and split. It may be just a soundcheck but everytime these brigands pick up their weapons they mean business.
“We know our assets,” Simon Kirke reveals later as the limo navigates the rush hour traffic. “And, more important, we know our limitations and so we never step beyond them. Only in that way can we stay on top of what we`re doing.” But of course.
Having followed Bad Company`s progress with much more than a passing interest, I`ve become aware that, following first night nerves, this little band flexes a lot of muscle. On their own turf, there are few bands (if any) who can give them a hard time.
But it`s easy to comprehend why Bad Company have cracked America on their first attempt. Despite the fact that they have the best management and about the best record distribution around, they are one of the few road bands with the ability to deliver.

And though I`m favourably disposed towards the band`s recorded output. I have to admit that they`re even better – much better – on stage.
Mick Ralphs agrees wholeheartedly with my sentiments. “We are essentially a live band,” he concedes. “If people like our records then they`re not going to be disappointed when they come along to our gigs. A lot of bands can`t deliver before an audience. We can. It doesn`t matter what goes on behind the scenes or whether your latest record is on the charts, when we walk out onto a stage, it`s all down to us. If we blow it, then we`ve only got ourselves to blame and nobody else.”
As to his own contribution to the band, Ralphs states his position. “I`m often accused of not playing enough and just because of the nature of our line-up criticised for not getting involved in that guitar hero syndrome. But I personally feel that what I contribute is sufficient within the context on this particular band.
“We`re not into that whole flash virtuoso trip. That`s not what Bad Company is all about. Basically, we`re a funky song band. Take the Stones. They`re all good musicians but they don`t have great soloists who play one solo for hours on end. They don`t need it.
“And neither do we.”

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Having once worked in what he describes as being “less than a democratic musical environment”. Ralphs echoes the sentiments of his colleagues by insisting that one of the prime factors that has motivated the Company`s acceptance is that there`s absolutely no conflict of musical persuasions within their chosen format.
“We`re all pulling as hard as we possibly can in the same direction to make the best of our good fortune.”
Anyway, it`s been said that nothing succeeds like success. By the same token, success when it has been as instant as that bestowed upon Bad Company has been known to destroy equally as quickly. To their credit, Ralphs, Rodgers, Box and Kirke have been in the game long enough to appreciate when they`ve got a Good Thing Going.
As a founder member of Mott The Hoople, Mick Ralphs is acutely aware that, having spent years striving for the Big  Break, it`s so easy for a band to fall apart at the seams at a vital moment. “You only get one real chance to prove yourself and say your piece.”
He wasn`t afforded that luxury within Hoopleville. “If you don`t use that opportunity wisely and to your own advantage, then not only are you screwing up your own life but maybe the lives of others who depend on you to fulfil your obligations.

“Though it`s not always possible, a band can`t really afford to become blase, complacent and treat everything like a big laugh. Sure, you should enjoy every minute of it – but on the other hand, you should take it seriously,” he adds. “But not to the extent that you don`t enjoy it.
“People often think that all the looning on the road is superficial and a complete waste of time. It`s not. It helps you to relax and unwind. If you don`t, then the gigs will suffer.
“Being a relatively new band we`ve still got a lot to explore, but in this game you can never tell what tomorrow may bring. Once you`ve been fortunate to make a reputation for yourself, there`s a lot that you`ve got to live up to – especially as this band went to No. 1 with both first album and single. That`s all very well and good but when we troop out on stage tonight at Madison Square Garden…if we play a bum gig we can never go back there again.”
It`s Ralphs` candid opinion that not too many bands fully realise the importance of headlining a tour on the strength of chart recognition. “Though it`s only one gig, a show at the Garden not only consolidates the dozen or so gigs you`ve already done but it can dictate the success of the remainder of the tour. If you bomb out in New York or L.A. then you can forget it. You might as well pack up and go home – barring a miracle, it`s all over.”

Boz Burrell is the antithesis bass player. Once the wine begins to flow, he may come across as an old roue, but when it comes down to business Boz knows Where he would like to be At. “Things may have happened very quickly for all four of us,” he begins, “but we know how to handle the pressures. Not only have we chosen to keep a low profile, we`ve also built up an anti-reaction which personally I find to be extremely healthy in that it enables all of us to get off on each other.”
He blows the suds out of his nose and explains Bad Company`s street -corner philosophy. “When it boils down to it, Bad Company is just a raunchy little club band that knows how to adapt themselves to performing in large venues.
“Sure, you always question yourself as to whether or not you`re doing the right thing, but the reason why we all got together in the very first place was simply because we all wanted to be in the same band and we`re making sure that we enjoy it.
“With some bands just being there suffices. Now this is one thing that I`ve got against the Rolling Stones – in that just being up there on stage is enough. Well it ain`t. With Bad Company, we`ve got to try and play as best as we can every night and try and improve as we go along.”

Boz points out that he`s encountered many bands who go through life totally oblivious to audience reactions. If a gig is a bummer they automatically blame it on the crowd – when in fact the audience may have been more together than the band. He`s also aware of the responsibilities any band has towards its fans. “I don`t enjoy going to most rock shows,” he admits. “I`ve been to a couple of Mott gigs and I`ve also watched Black Sabbath perform once or twice. And, in both instances I haven`t liked the way in which they handled the crowd.
“Both have gone well over the top, whipped the kids up into a violent frenzy and then have been unable to control their mood. I mean, who wants to be bombarded with bottles? We don`t. This is something that Bad Company steer well away from. Sure, we may wind the audience up and get them excited but we don`t make them turn nasty. We underplay that particular aspect and when things get too tight we just mellow them out.
“The reason why we can do this whenever we want to is all down to Simon`s brand of timekeeping. I just love playing with Rodgers and Ralphs, but playing alongside of Si is the ultimate. I love that man. He`s like all of us, he doesn`t know shit about anything. He just plays good…he can`t help it.”

Simon Kirke wasn`t available for comment at this time. However, earlier in the day he did state that playing drums for Bad Company wasn`t the worst job that he`d ever had.

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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: Can, Phil Spector, Elton John, Greenslade, Beach Boys, Elvin Jones, Alan Stivell, Uriah Heep, Jackie Wilson, Fairport Convention.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Bad Company FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, May 3, 1975

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….!

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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.

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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.

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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!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Bad Company FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, December 7, 1974

Here`s an great article from the period inbetween the first and second album that Bad Company did. Personally, I think those two albums are the best that they did with Paul Rodgers. The excellent song “Shooting Star” mentioned in the article may even be one of the best songs a rock band ever made.
Have a nice read!

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The air was tense in the little room. The Cub Reporter felt the sweat gather on his spine and trickle into his underpants. “Two quid,” he muttered nervously. “See ya!” riposted PAUL RODGERS. “Er-pair of threes” said the Cub Reporter. “Prile of Kings,” said Rodgers, “and that makes thirty-eight pounds forty-five pee you owe me. But I`ll settle for a good feature.” The Cub Reporter was numbered and knew it. But he had no choice. The moral of this sordid tale is…

Don`t play brag with Bad Company

Steve Clarke lost £38-45. Robert Ellis won £30 – and also got paid for the pix.

“I`m very reserved. I would like to be more friendly, but it takes a while. I drink with the boys, but mostly I`m a bit of a loner. I like to keep myself to myself – I like to look at things, and I like to see `em,” says Paul Rodgers, spread out on a chair in the lounge of a Newcastle hotel, the alcohol in his head accounting for this un-customary frankness to a certain extent.
As he says himself, he`s a bit of a dark horse, and it hasn`t been unknown for people to describe Rodgers` attitude as hostile. But boozed or not, Rodgers is a lot looser these days. He doesn`t have to worry about guitarists not being able to make tours so that he himself is lumbered with the job of playing guitar for an entire tour, and he has no problems with bass players leaving the band he`s playing in.
Just ask his old colleague from Free, Simon Kirke, and he`ll tell you that the group situation in Bad Company is a whole lot different from Free.

“There`s more freedom,” says Kirke. “There`s not so much pressure – or if there is we`re more equipped to handle it. Bad Company have become very big very quickly, and there`s a parallel to what happened with Free four years ago. But we couldn`t handle it then because we were just wet-behind-the-ears kids. I`m much happier now.” Back to Rodgers: “I`m not saying that we`re all angels, and that we love each other. We argue like…but the point is we respect each other.”

Bad Company are an uncompromising, totally unglamorous and slightly sleazy bunch. They`re not into dressing up -although on stage you`ll find a hint of sequins and satin – and off-stage you`ll find Kirke scruffed up in badged denims, Boz often hung-over and slightly seedy in a well-broken-in fur-coat and Mick Ralphs always charming but casual. And for the greater part of the six-hour coach journey to Newcastle on Friday night, Rodgers had a flecked woollen hat pulled over his thick black hair. He picked up the hat at a Birmingham Woolworth`s which is hardly the kind of shop one expects leading rock stars to tog themselves out at.
Still, Rodgers says he`s totally unconscious of his rock-star-as-erotic-image status.
“I like sex as much as anyone else. I like tight pants, but I don`t try and…,” he pauses, and re-affirms his statement. “I don`t think I project myself as a sex-symbol. I just project the songs I sing.”

Bad Company`s second British tour opened at Ipswich on Thursday evening with what the band call “an OK gig”. With just one day`s rehearsing behind them, it was the first time they`d played together since mid-September when their American tour finished in Boston. The Ipswich gig was essentially a warm-up concert, and the band regard the two nights at Newcastle City Hall – the venue where it all began some eight or so months ago – as the tour`s start proper.
Rather than travelling around in limos, as is the whim of most bands of their status, a coach has been hired – and stacked with generous supplies of Newcastle Brown, one bottle of Blue Nun, bread, butter, and various sandwich fillings. The coach is scheduled to leave their King`s Road office at seven on Friday evening. As the magic hour passes, only Kirke has materialised in the office which also contains their personal manager and one Maggie Bell.

Ms Bell has a new album out in the new year called “Suicide Sal”, and on it is one of Simon Kirke`s songs, “Hold On”. Kirke says he`s not the most prolific of writers, and reckons he`s written some eight tunes in as many years, but “Hold On” took Ms Bell`s fancy. Miming the actions of a drummer, Kirke hears the Bell treatment of his song for the first time as he waits for the rest of the group to show.
“I can only write things that I feel,” says Kirke. “If I go through an emotional experience I`ll get something out of that which is why my output is very small. `Hold On` was written because I couldn`t see anything in the offing after Free. I was trying to boost myself, really.”
Ralphs and Rodgers are next to show, and Boz, hung-over after a hectic night of ligging, the last to appear.
The coach leaves at eight. Rodgers, Kirke and Ralphs play cards (and Stevie lost his wad, snigger, snigger. – Ed.) while Boz recuperates at the rear of the bus. By the time the group arrive in Newcastle, some six hours later, Boz is ready for more, and sits up drinking with the coach driver until past six in the hotel.

Other than preparing for the tour, the group have spent their recent time mixing the second Bad Company album, as yet untitled. Apart from mixing one cut, the album`s completed and should be released early in the New Year – and it`s likely a single will come out a couple of weeks beforehand.
“I think it`s different from the first album,” says Rodgers. “We`ve branched out wider. We use strings on it, which is a thing we`ve never done before. One of the things about this group is that they`re all willing to try things regardless of whether it`s the other person`s idea or not.
“Since the first album we`ve all had a chance to get to know each other. It`s a rooter album.”
Kirke says that the first album was deliberately simple right down to the cover artwork, and he sees the second album as more adventurous – while Ralphs says it`s more assertive.

Despite the group`s overwhelming success Rodgers is emphatic that Bad Company are still in their early stages, “We`re still finding chords we`ve never found before. I think we have a sound which is ours because We`re Us. I would like to think of Bad Company as a group, and not as various individuals that came from other groups. I think we have an identity, but I think we have yet to put it over.
“I don`t think we`re desperately original at all – we try to be ourselves, and we try to write about what we really think about, whether it be love, booze, the music business or Life Itself. I think there`s a lot we can say that will Interest A Lot Of Other People.
“To compare Bad Company with Free is difficult, because Free`s at an end, and we`re at a beginning. I don`t know exactly where it`s going to go, but I like where it`s going.”

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And what about Free? Did Rodgers think there was some kind of jinx on the group? “That I`ll never know. There was a time when it was going so well. It seemed like it would go on forever, and it suddenly came crashing down around our ears.
“To tell you the truth, I`ll never really understand exactly what happened. But it did. I had a job accepting that, but eventually I did accept that. I said to myself, `If that`s not going to be together I`d still rather play. So here I go.` And I just went into something else, and now I`ve found satisfaction in doing what I`m doing now.
“I tell you. I admit I`ve changed a lot. I`ve changed a lot because I`ve just begun to see what it really takes to put something together, and I`ve learnt a lot. I`ve realised that I need to be part of a group where everyone in it is equal, and we`re all sparking each other off. I`m very happy with this group because everyone is very relaxed.”

On stage that night in Newcastle, Rodgers is a different person to the amiable poker-playing beer-drinker of the previous evening. He`s every bit an erotic figure, clad in tight black leather pants and white shirt that becomes un-buttoned the longer he is on stage; and his singing is as moving as ever even though it could have been a lot louder.
Opening with a new song “Deal With The Preacher”, the band are tight if rather predictable. Their raw aggression is particularly evident in the following “Rocksteady”, and Kirke, mouth agape and head cocked to one side, is on splendid form, his rudimentary drumming providing a perfect anchor for the group.
The band play three more new songs, of which Rodgers` “Shooting Star” is the most ambitious. “Feel Like Making Love” bears a lot of resemblance to the softer side of Free, and Ralphs` “Good Lovin` Gone Bad” is in the “Can`t Get Enough” tradition, with the guitarist supplying Keith Richard-type chunk chords.

Rodgers is left alone onstage for the acoustic “Seagull” – a track from the “Bad Company” LP. He switches to electric piano for a good version of “Bad Company” and stays there for the old Free number “Easy On My Soul” which has the audience taking up the chorus.
Surprisingly enough, the audience stay seated until the set`s closing “Can`t Get Enough”, and it seems as though a Bad Company audience are into listening as well as bopping. The group encore with “Movin` On” and “The Stealer”.
As Rodgers says, the group are still new and, as yet, they haven`t forged a total identity the way Free did – and I`m still left thinking Free were the better band. But it is early days and, as Rodgers points out, there is no shortage of material.
“I don`t know how many songs I`ve written in the last year, but I can say that me and Mick have an amazing amount of ideas that we put together day by day. A lot of the new album has stemmed from ideas that we both had and put together. I`m just discovering a lot about Mick, and he`s discovering a lot about me. The songs just flow between us.
“I can write a song from imagination. I can imagine a situation, and for some reason it`s a very vivid situation that I write about. On the other hand I can get really mellow.

“`Shooting Star` is the first song that I`ve written that has a definite story” (of a boy who rockets to rock stardom and who eventually dies a rock star death with a bottle of whisky and box of pills by his bedside).
“It just came to me one night, so I started singing it. I sang the first half – and I thought to myself, `Well it`s very weird to include The Beatles in lyrics`. The first line is `Johnny was a schoolboy when he heard his first Beatles` song`. I thought about it, thinking everybody`s heard of The Beatles, and has been affected by The Beatles, so I left the line in and just continued with the song.”
Rodgers goes on to say how “Seagull” came about. “I was sitting on the beach at Portsmouth. I`d been up all night, and I happened to have a guitar on me. It was autumn and the whole place was deserted. `Seagull` sprang from that.”

How about a song like “Wishing Well”?
“At the time I wrote `Wishing Well` I was very concerned about the rest of the group in Free, like Paul Kossoff and Andy Fraser. That song was for them. I wanted them to stop sitting around thinking, and start to do something.”
The conversation turns to Rodgers` love of the Blues – after all, Free were initially a blues group, and a lot of that ancestry is still evident in Bad Company. “I`m very close to the Blues. I think that it expresses a lot for a lot of people `cause it`s so simple. I hate to get too complicated about anything, especially about music.
“The simpler it is the better. I try to put an idea into such a simple form that it`s so easy to understand. Otis Redding did that. He did that track `Change Is Gonna Come`. Man, I can listen to that anytime. If I feel down, he just says it all and makes me feel good. And that`s what I`d like us to do, to make tracks as good as that. I have an ambition, and that`s to turn people on like Otis Redding turned me on.

“I don`t really think I`m the best white singer there is, but I think I`m on the right track. I think Rod Stewart is great. He`s a very different personality to me. He`s very sunny, very bright and very personal with the audience.
“I love to communicate with people but I communicate in a different way. To be honest with you – when I started, I copied Rod Stewart. That track `Rock My Plimsoul` on `Truth` really knocked me out. It still does.”
Apart from Redding and Stewart, Rodgers currently listens a lot to Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Ann Peebles. Did he think it was necessary to suffer to sing the blues with conviction?
“I think it helps. Compared to people like Ray Charles, whatever I`ve suffered is negligible. I`ve been through fairly hard times. It`s not really a thing I like to harp on. I came down to London and I didn`t have any food or anywhere to live, and during that time I picked up on the Blues. It expressed a lot to me regardless of whether I suffered a lot or not. The emotions people go through are really very simple when they`re expressed in a song, but they`re very complicated when you`re alone with them.
“And that`s what I think music can do – express things to people, bring them out of themselves, and make them happy.”

Did anybody really buy this single for the lyrics?

Did anybody really buy this single for the lyrics?

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: The People of Pan, The Pretty Things, Wings, Bruce Johnston, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Robert Fripp, Chaka Khan, David Essex, Brian Eno, Noah Howard, Mott The Hoople.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Bad Company FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, September 7, 1974

It very rarely happens that a “supergroup” succeeds at the level that Bad Company did. Coming from their former bands of Free (Rodgers and Kirke), Mott The Hoople (Mick Ralphs) and King Crimson (Boz Burrell).
In my opinion their two first albums were their strongest and I recommend everyone who isn`t familiar with Bad Company to listen to them. Great music from great musicians! Enjoy.

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B Company on the march

They`re autographing LP`s for the kids, and the businessmen are gibbering with glee. Yep, it looks like this could be the start of something big…

By Lisa Robinson

The red, mimeographed sheet sent to 100s of radio stations across the country reads: “BAD COMPANY: `Can`t Get Enough`. Rockin` smash. Huge album. Will be a monster single. New 30-13`q, kliv, werc, 25-WAYS, KTLK, 24-WDGY, WBBQ, KZOK, Debuts: 40-WBSR: 28-WVLK (`big LP`); 25-Q105; 26-WSGN; 23-WPGC: 30-WFLB; 40-KILT. 14-10-WIXY; 14-12 KJRB; 25-20-WSAI (`should do well`); 26-KJR. On WMAK, WHHY, WKIX.”
What does it mean? It means that Bad Company are perhaps the biggest group to break out in this country this year, something I was told again and again during the week I spent with the band in Los Angeles.

Honest, straightforward, funky, gutsy, straight ahead, no gimmicks, right on, teenage, powerful, lusty, heterosexual, hard on, down to earth, rock and roll.
All this and more has been said about Bad Company. So I`ll attempt to describe what happened with them without resorting to one of those adjectives…

MONDAY. I arrive in L.A. after a nightmare flight where one engine blew out and we had to return to JFK to refuel.  And because my L.A. home, the Beverly Hills Hotel, was overbooked that night I had to spend an evening in the alien Beverly Wilshire – where Ringo, Ron Wood, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Tony de Fries and Mick Jagger all stay while in town.
None of them were there that night, and Bad Company were at the Hyatt House.

TUESDAY: Mick Ralphs` room at the Hyatt is the neatest hotel room of any rockstar I`ve ever seen. (Paul Rodger`s comes a close second, although he`s got a few clothes dripping out of opened trunks and stuff.)
Simon Kirke, down the hall, has the distinction of being the only rockstar I`ve ever seen who has BOOKS neatly lined up on what David Johansen would use for a make-up shelf. They`re mostly science fiction, porno and John Steinbeck.
Mick Ralphs seems quietly confident about the band`s success here.
“You know,” he smiled, “one reads so much in the British Press about how this band or that band comes to America and is STORMING the place. But when you actually get here you realise that most people haven`t even heard of them…well, it all gets to be a bit of a hype, doesn`t it?”

This obviously is not the case with Bad Co. however. Their album was Number 6 on the charts that week and the single rapidly climbing.
“Well, we were very confident when we put the band together,” Mick continued, “we sort of had a good feeling about it. But it was really a case of whether or not everyone else would do their thing. Like the record company is really behind the band which is very important; you just can`t make it doing good gigs.
“And we are reaching a lot of people with this tour. I`ve never been in this position before – on tour with a successful album. It`s always been that you`re on tour and you have an album out but the two aren`t really connected.
“It`s all really come together for us. That`s the really great thing about having Peter as a manager. We`re lucky to have him with us.”
“Also we`re really a completely new band, and we`re opening the shows we`re on, so we have to go out there and make a good impression wherever we go.

“We weren`t scared at all really – we were excited to come here. I was used to headlining. So was Paul. But being the opening act gave us a chance to try and blow other people off the stage!
“There`s been a sort of friendly competition on stage; Dave Mason and Jo Jo Gunne – we`d watch them try that much harder after we`d gone off and the show as a whole would be that much better for it.
“The drawbacks, of course, are that when you do open the show the PA system and lights and all aren`t your own. You don`t have time for a proper sound check – all those little technical things that audiences don`t and shouldn`t know about, but would give us more control over it all.
“I`d like to think that the next time we come over here we`d be able to headline. I know we could pull it off in terms of the act. We certainly could play an hour and a half or two hours, and here we`re reduced to forty-five minutes.”

Paul Rodgers walks into the room draped only in a towel, fresh from the shower, looking for his shoes.
Mick Ralphs says, he likes touring America.
“What gets me is the bigness of it all, the wealth here – you know? Especially coming from England because it`s such a poor country now.”
What about all those rich British popstars? “I don`t know, right now I haven`t got much money. But for the first time in my life I`m in a position where I can buy a house, and it`s sort of incredible to me. Because by the British standard, this is the sort of thing you go for – the goal.
“When you`re young you have your ambitions and this is always one of them, to own your own house. I sort of forgot about that while I was with Mott and everything. It was a struggle just to keep our heads above water, let alone think about things like that.”

Down the hall Swan Song Vice-President Danny Goldberg is talking relentlessly on the telephone. “It`s Number six with a bullet on the Billboard charts this week, and we know it`ll definitely go to Number Five – it`ll be top five and we fully expect it will be Number One.
“Everyone has been working really hard on it, I mean we`re all working really hard on it, but listen – you know, the group are really good, they`ve been doing it themselves.”

“You know what`s so good about Paul,” Mick continued, “is that after the Free thing he could have played with anybody because he is so well-respected in the business. He could have put together a band of amazing musicians, and he had offers to do LPs in Muscle Shoals and places like that, but he wanted to be part of a unit, and that`s great.
“We`re both slightly old-fashioned – but we do believe in the idea of a group…we all dig people like the Stones who can put over a total image rather than a solo artist like Bowie or something.”

People keep calling Paul Rodgers, and from the sound of the phone conversations, it seems as though the majority of them want tickets to the various gigs in the L.A. area.
Between the calls, we talk about his band.
“I`m having a great time,” Rodgers says, “because it wasn`t really happening for any of us with our bands before and this tour has been a joy to do. I really see it as a band, and I`m the singer, but it`s a band and I`m part of it. We all see it that way, and we all do our little movements and things, but we do it together.
“I play piano onstage during a few numbers now, and I`d like to do some more piano and some more guitar. But I am a bit limited at the moment because I have so little experience.
“When I do play it`s really a set piece, and I`d like to be able to ad lib freely. At the moment I have to work out everything that I do. I used to play bass – a long time ago, when I was about 13. And I wasn`t very good, so they said `well – why don`t you sing?` So I sang.
I sang `Long Tall Sally` and it was pretty good. I surprised myself really.”

I asked him if he thought the band would get so big – like Zeppelin or such – that they`d do more tours here than in Britain.
“Well, I don`t know…we`ll never give up on England – no way.”
Talking about how he got together with Peter Grant, Rodgers said, “I just phoned him up, because there wasn`t any action coming out of Island at the time. And I didn`t want any more flash in the pan situations. You know – where the band sort of folds after six months. I wanted it to be solid. So I thought, well – who`s the best manager in the business” – he smiled – “and this was before we knew anything about the Swan Song label.
“Peter was just great. I said, `I`m getting this group together and would you like to come hear it with a view toward managing it`, and he said sure. He came down to hear us and we didn`t even have Boz at the time. But he saw the potential and got behind us.”

 

 

Paul Rodgers

Paul Rodgers

Peter Grant, Bad Company`s manager, has just arrived in L.A., and since he got to the Hyatt too late to take the bus to San Bernadino with the band, we`re travelling in the Mercedes limo made especially for Elvis – with fur on the floor, reclining back seat, tv.
Grant had been picked up earlier at the airport by a gold Lincoln Continental.
It`s a two-hour ride to San Bernadino where the band will open for Edgar Winter at The Swing – supposedly the first place the Stones played in America. (San Bernadino is also the home of the Hell`s Angels, although I`m not implying  anything.)
The Swing looks like an airplane hanger, Grant warns us. He`s been there before.
We talk of other tours, of other halls – halls and arenas that Zeppelin never played in this country because Peter Grant never felt right about them, and then he says, “You know, it`s been nice being with Bad Company on this tour, especially at the beginning when we were staying in all those Holiday Inns.
“You tend to lose your perspective sometimes when it`s all private planes and big hotel suites. It`s nice to get back to a simpler thing once in a while – it reminds you of where you`re coming from.”

The band are overjoyed to see Peter. They hug him. There`s a lot of obvious closeness in the dressing room.
Boz, however, is lying down. He doesn`t feel well. Mick is deciding which shirt he should wear onstage. Simon and Paul and Peter talk, then disappear into the bathroom and then return; Paul fools around with “Midnight Hour” on the guitar, and soon it`s time to go on.
The first thing I`m struck by is that Bad Company have perhaps one of the few rhythm sections one can actually write about. You know how it is with bass and drum players…often all you read about them is that they kept up a good, steady, solid beat – often that`s all there is to say.
But Simon Kirke and Boz Burrell are really like a Memphis rhythm section. There`s a lot of Al Jackson and Duck Dunn influences there.
(When I mention that to Simon after the show he smiles and says, “Ah, Al Johnson – he`s the guv`nor.”)

They go into “Deal With The Preacher” – one of the songs not on the album, and Paul is up front, wearing a patterned white and beige shirt and white leather trousers bought just that day at North Beach Leather. (The pants were too long, and since there was not time to have them fixed, he bought higher shoes.)
Rodgers actually looks better onstage than photos suggest, if you know what I mean, and he certainly is in total command.
Mick moves around more than I was led to believe, but there isn`t any of that corny “lead guitarist” bullshit.
Boz, despite his not feeling well, plays well. (“You have to,” he said later, looking decidedly grim.)
Simon Kirke must be the most physically expressive drummer in rock. He thrashes about – even more so than Bonzo or Moon, and the faces he makes are terrifying. He sweats a lot too. It`s a good show.

“Rock Steady”, “Ready For Love”, “Little Misfortune”, “Bad Company”, “Easy On My Soul”…and the audience is properly receptive. But it`s on the final number (the rapidly-climbing single, “Can`t Get Enough”) that Paul really wants to get the audience with him.
In fact he seems a bit hung-up on audience response – with all this “LEMMEHEARYASAYYEAH!” stuff. He screams out to the audience and they do as they`re told. Which is more than I can say for Slade`s early gigs here.
“PUTYERHANDSINTHEAIR-AND-LEMMEHEARYASAYYEAH!” and, well – they do it.
That`s all – and it`s not too hokey. The audience also sing along with him on “Can`t Get Enough Of Your Love”.
Of course there must be an encore, and they come back to do the old Free song “The Stealer”, and leave the place cheering. (This is for real – it`s not any of that “UK group storms America” stuff. It just happened that way.)

Back in the bus for the two-hour ride to the Hyatt House; in between beers and general horseplay, Paul says, “One interviewer asked me if I minded glitter, and I said, `no – not really. Well – actually, I bloody hate it!”

WEDNESDAY. The band visit a record store in West Los Angeles to autograph albums.
Boz still isn`t feeling well, so he`s back at the hotel. “I`d never have had the nerve to ask them to do it,” Peter the Gee mutters earlier. But they go, and are in quite good spirits.
I have a copy of NME which shows their album to be at no. 18.
“That means it`s going down,” groans Simon.
“Yes but it`s Number Six on the American charts.”
We arrive at the record store and there are a respectable number of actual Fans waiting to buy signed LPs. The Bad Co. LP (natch) is playing in the record store, and then the hippies behind the counter prove just how hip they are by playing old Mott and Free discs.
This evening the band are to tape Don Kirshner`s Rock Concert out at the Long Beach Auditorium. Also taping for several different airings are Curtis Mayfield, Edgar Winter, and the Natural Four. Bad Company are supposed to tape around 9.30 pm but it`s somewhat later by the time they do go on.

Danny Goldberg and Steve Paul and other industry insiders are in the room where the tv monitors are and they are talking about – you guessed it. “Well,” says Danny, “it`ll peak in a few weeks and then the single will start it all over again and keep the album in the top ten. It`s already top 25 on the top 40 station in Cleveland,” he continues. “They were treated like the Rolling Stones in Cleveland…”
I am amazed and confused by this kind of conversation. I wonder if anyone will remember the Billboard charts ten years from now, although I feel sure that the good music will remain. It`s extremely strange to hear grown men talking about the strategy surrounding pieces of plastic with intense love and/or enthusiasm.
Don Kirshner, now hosting his own show, takes a few of us into the control truck where we can see five monitors, and the directors choosing of what goes down on tape.
Rodgers looks terrific on TV, especially on close-ups when he`s singing solos. Boz is obviously feeling a bit better and moving around the stage more. Other than that, the band seem a bit uncomfortable in the bright lights and TV-studio-like atmosphere.

Afterwards Peter G. is not thrilled by the way some of the best shots of Paul and/or Mick were missed on the final tape.
Nonetheless, I`ve seen other shows and this has been done far more professionally than most.
On the way back to Sunset Strip the boys are weary. But Mick and I manage to sneak in some talk about Bowie, Main Man, et al.
“Yeah, one good thing about this tour,” Mick asserts, “there aren`t all those poseurs about. You know – all those manicurists and hairdressers and all. We got REAL KIDS coming to see us.”
We`re back in the Red Roulette Room of the Hyatt House and Lucky Young is singing, wearing what looks like a rug on his head and a white safari suit on his body. He`s singing “Drift Away” with Mick and Boz singing along.
BORING! shouts someone in our party…others are trying to make arrangements to go to a Joni Mitchell party in Laurel Canyon (never materialised), and Boz wants to go and see Chick Corea at the Troubador but can`t get anyone to make his arrangements for him.

THURSDAY is the big date – the L.A. Forum. Elton John has sent the band two bottles of Dom Perignon along with his regrets that he can`t come and see the show.
He`s just flown into L.A. for two days to do a session with Ringo.
Steve Weiss, legal whiz and charmer supreme is on hand for this concert, and the backstage area is decorated with some special people: “16s” Gloria Stavers with Lenny Bruce`s daughter Kitty, Rick Springfield, Shaun Cassidy, Steve Paul, Mickie Most and Liz Derringer.
The set is definitely the best of the week. Paul is strutting and prancing around more than ever.(“I don`t care what he says,” someone close to the group whispers, “he likes Jim Dandy…”), tossing and whirling with the mike, and his voice is fabulous.
Boz, apparently totally recovered from his earlier-in-the week illness, moves slowly, sexily towards the microphone – he and Mick join in on harmonies, the audience is extremely responsive.
Thank goodness there are no firecrackers in Los Angeles (Well, just a few at the end, but nothing like New York…) although there is a thunderous roar for an encore.
They`ve certainly “warmed” up this crowd for Edgar.

The charts that week.

The charts that week.

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 the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Roger McGuinn, Black Oak Arkansas, Fleetwood Mac, Annette Peacock, Woodstock (the festival), Jimmy Cliff, Toots & The Maytals, Greenslade.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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