Andy Fraser - singer songwriter musician from 70s band FREE


Andy Fraser, FREE's legendary bass-player/songwriter (70s international hit 'All Right Now', 'Every Kinda People' / Robert Palmer) releases his latest album 'Naked... and finally free', combining blues, rock, african world music and soul to produce a unique and contemporary music style. Conveying a rare honesty as he shares his darkest moments, and the inspiration which leads into understanding and upliftment, Andy's passionate vocals weave through rolling grooves with guest appearances by some of todays top musicians. The Andy Fraser official website includes news, biography, discography, mp3 samples, video clip, photographs, song lyrics and more. This is the real thing!


Visit McTrax for all new audio and video RELEASES

You will need a Flash 7 Player to view this site.
Downloading a Flash Payer is free, quick and easy, and will allow you to view more dynamic content on the internet.
Download Flash 7 Player




















eXTReMe Tracker



















































































































































































































































































































































New Album Release Andy's latest album, "Naked... and finally free" is due to be released '05. The album includes, "Healing Hands", the first release which will be accompanied by video clip, (see Healing Hands page). Rumours about death not true I have been made aware of recent stories across the media and internet reporting my death last month. This has understandably caused friends and family to make frantic calls, left them shaken, sobbing and in a state of shock. While many may have considered me dead long ago (artistically or otherwise) and I do confirm I am living with AIDS, I am still very much here, and wish to let my friends and supporters know that I intend to be for quite a while. Have sensed no malicious intent. Only half-truth's, whispers and rumors snowballing into this story. Let's everybody be cool, and have faith. Founding member - UK band FREE. Writer of their biggest hits, including 'All right now' Songwriter - 'Every kinda People' (Robert Palmer) BMI certified 1,000.000 broadcast plays (US alone) Composer - artists including Rod Stewart, Chaka Khan, Paul Young, Joe Cocker, Paul Carrick, Wilson Pickett, 3-dog Night, Bob Seger, Randy Crawford, Etta James, Frankie Miller, and Ted Nugent. After a self-imposed retirement of 15 years, having come to terms with life-long self-denial about being gay, acquiring AIDS, and beating back cancer multiple times, Andy Fraser has emerged with his first solo album in nearly 2 decades, "Naked... and finally Free" which tells the whole story like a personal diary. "Healing Hands" is the first single track from the latest album by Andy Fraser, "Naked... and finally free". Song Lyrics and Credits 1. HEALING HANDS Precious Lord, hear me calling, 'cos I'm all alone Patience hard, I keep on learning. Pride ever strong One step, bringing me closer, To Your embrace, right where I want to be Ease this weight on my shoulder, please! Every Day-ay-ay-ay, keep praying you'll come, into my world (touch me with your Healing Hands) Every day, every day, every day I'll try a little bit harder, to win your love. (touch me with your Healing Hands) Precious Lord, keep me running, time's rushing by I Pray this fire, keeps on burning, keeps my spirit alive, through the night Each breath bringing me closer, to you... Every day-ay-ay-ay, there's nothing more that I want than you, here in my life (touch me with your Healing Hands) Every day, every day, every day I'll try a little bit harder, to win your love. Heaven, come into my life, tell me it's alright, give it to me, Lord give it to me now Heaven, free me like a child, I'll go that extra mile, give it to me, please give it to me now Every Day-ay-ay-ay, keep praying you'll come, into my world (touch me with your Healing Hands) Every day, every day, every day I'll try a little bit harder, to win your love. (Sing with me) Na-na-na... I don't wanna cry no more... Please.... hear me knocking at your door Tell me, tell me, if you feel the spirit now... show me a sign somehow Come on, Touch me now, make me feel so good inside Lord I need you in my life, every day Don't leave me lonely.... Special thanks to: Tommy Henriksen and Jeff Pilson for additional backing vocals and programming Guitar - Tariqh Arkoni -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2. YOURS FAITHFULLY Hey Brother how goes it, is life treating you ok. This message just to let you know, I'm still in action. Since last we spoke, yeah I've learned to live with AIDS My nights seem cold, feel all alone, without passion. Been trying to quench a thirst in me, kill the deepest urge Denying the very part of me, that's driven me since birth. Still Desire overflows inside of me, Still the thought of making love won't let me be And still I can taste your body laying there next to me Until the end I remain, YOURS FAITHFULLY. Out on the edge, I watch the waves roll in Reflect upon, a thousand nights spent together Out on the edge, a new dawn filters in Ahead this mountain I must climb, if it takes forever. Beautiful are the memories, splashed upon my mind Two of us wrapped in ecstasy; the whole world left behind. Still Desire overflows inside of me, Still the thought of your love won't let me be Yes still I pray the moment comes, to rescue me Until the end I remain, YOURS FAITHFULLY (x3) Still Desire overflows inside of me, Still the thought of making love won't let me be And still I wait at Heaven's gate, come set me free Until the very end I remain, YOURS FAITHFULLY Backing vocals - Niki Haris and Brenda Lee Eager Guitar - Heitor Pereira Cello - Cameron Stone congas - Luis Conte Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3. STAND READY Cellophane wrap all stripped away, old images left behind, Little by little every day, I'm starting to come alive. Now, as I open the door that leads inside, To the depths of my very soul, Breaking the chains on this heart of mine, finally letting go. I STAND READY AND WILLING...... to do what is right Lord knows I won't give in ............ not without a fight I stand ready and willing............. a brother in arms with you There ain't no limit .................. no limit what we can do Get me to where the action is, I'm ready to play the game I won't be left out in the cold just looking in, Friends you just call my name To take it to the streets, Expect to mix it up, feel some heat To bring about a change In a different world, live one day I'm ready defend what is mine To be with you through the darkest times Forever make this commitment To give my everything We all need to be free, To live with a sense of dignity, Be with somebody, Oh yes indeed, To do what is right Not without a fight Confide my love to you Every Day sing hallelujah I was ready to lay down and die I thought what's the use of living a lie Now at your pleasure, pain or indifference Feel it ain't no big deal I'm ready, ready, ready now, To be with you, ooh Forever make this commitment, To give my everything. Backing vocals - Niki Haris and Brenda Lee Eager Guitar - Heitor Pereira congas - Luis Conte Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4. TOO FAR TO TURN BACK NOW We've come, too far to turn back now I guess that you could say, been uphill all the way We've come, too far to turn back now Yes we're partners in life together now. Once thought impossible, you and me every day, Unthinkable every night Incredible, the way our life has changed, Darkness into light. Torn by two worlds, storm raging on inside, Falling in love you and I We've come, too far to turn back now No longer do we fight, is it wrong, is it right We've come, too far to turn back now Yes we're partners in life together now. A novelty, that's what you thought at first, A hurricane passing through Then suddenly building a real thirst, Now nothing you can do Torn by two worlds, storm raging on inside, Falling in love you and I We've come, too far to turn back now Felt stuck out on a reef, them giving us grief We've come, too far to turn back now Yes we're partners in life together now We belong together now, yeah We've come, too far to turn back now There's always gonna be, those who don't agree We've come, too far to turn back now Always gonna be, you and me, Late into the night, side by side Ain't no turning 'round, we belong together now walking down the road, too far to turn back now. Backing vocals - Niki Haris and Brenda Lee Eager Guitar - Michael Landau Timbales - Luis Conte Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5. DON'T LEAVE Never felt this way before, this yearning deep inside of me Emotion flood each thought, its like a river rushing in Never heard this voice inside, calling out to let it be Want to throw away my pride, let love come set us free DON'T LEAVE me on my own, all alone tonight, baby please I want you to be, lying at my side Don't leave me on my own, half-way out of my mind, 'cause I do believe Fallen in love, for the first time in my life. If you feel the same thing happening, say you'll take a chance on me I'll give my everything, satisfy your every need Be it a long forbidding road, or highway leading to your door Seek refuge from the cold, can always depend on me DON'T LEAVE me on my own, all alone tonight, Feeling complete, you lying at my side Don't leave me on my own, half-way out of my mind, 'cause I do believe Fallen in love, for the first time in my life. A million times turned to tears, but willing to start all over A million times watched while love disappeared, and wondered... how long must I wait Tonight I want to dance with you, take a chance with you, stand next to your fire Tonight I want to dance with you, manhandle you, 'til our passion goes no higher I know you need a little love, oh just like I need you I know you need a little love, so please DON'T LEAVE me on my own, all alone tonight, baby please You know that I need somebody, lying at my side Don't leave me on my own, half-way out of my mind, 'cause I do believe Fallen in love, for the first time in my life. Backing vocals - Niki Haris and Brenda Lee Eager Guitar - Heitor Pereira Congas - Luis Conte Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California Skank guitar - Nathan Kaye (.com), Byron Bay, Austalia -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5. ALL I WANT IS YOU ALL I WANT IS YOU Need your love so bad what can I do ALL I WANT IS YOU To understand the things I'm going through Boy you know I try, wake early each morning I, Do my best to measure up, no egg upon my face Working 'til late at night, never giving up, my back about to break ... And at the end of each and every day ALL I WANT IS YOU Finally just relax, kick off my shoes ALL I WANT IS YOU To understand the things I'm going through Mama said to be, true to your principals, Understand there's challenges at every turn In Love we're invincible, keep doing what you can To make this a better world ... Though when everything is said and done ALL I WANT IS YOU Feel the monkey's on my back, can't shake it loose ALL I WANT IS YOU To be there with me, through the night, Comforting when I feel uptight Tell me everything's gonna be alright, Now and for evermore Did I tell you each and every day........ all I want is your love, Come together, yes in every way......... all I want is your love, Deep in the middle of the night.......... try to live without love, Would take a bigger man than I......... forget the rest of the world. ALL I WANT IS YOU If times are good or bad, we'll find a groove ALL I WANT IS YOU To understand, understand me now ALL I WANT IS YOU When I need, just to crash, and be renewed ALL I WANT IS YOU To understand, understand me now ALL I WANT IS YOU Put me back in tact, if I come unglued ALL I WANT IS YOU Understand the things I'm going through ALL I WANT IS YOU A little love, in fact I'm long overdue ALL I WANT IS YOU Understand the things I'm going through. Backing vocals - Niki Haris, Brenda Lee Eager and Dorothy Coleman Guitar - Heitor Pereira Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7. JUNGLE It's a jungle out there, yeah, yeah, It's a jungle out there It's a jungle out there, don't nobody care, It's a jungle out there It's you and I, against the world, our shelter from the storm Let's hold on, oh yeah, it's a jungle out there 'Cos In this life, we all need someone, Stay together through it all, Let's hold on, you see... Children live 'mid street-gang warfare, gunshot in the night Killing it happens every day We all witnessed Matthew Shepherd's torture, left until he died For many, the crime was being gay It's a jungle out there, yeah, yeah, It's a jungle out there It's a jungle out there, don't nobody care, It's a jungle out there Black man down in Jasper Texas, skinheads on the prowl They drag him behind their pick-up truck Pro-choice Doctor at home just having breakfast, a single shot a Pro-life sniper, decides his number's up It's a jungle out there, yeah, yeah, It's a jungle out there It's a jungle out there, don't nobody care, It's a jungle out there It's you and I, against the world, our shelter from the storm Let's hold on, oh yeah Hate is not a family value, no, no, Can forever get lost, logged onto a chat-room Talk-radio jocks, with nothing but bad news, I'm ready to rock your world, keep giving this attitude Conspiracy plots, or primitive taboo's, These win at all cost, political snafu's Me live in your box, baby no can do, I'm ready to rock your world, no forgiving this attitude It's a jungle out there. Close your eyes, do you like what you see, Through the lens that is your mind, your reality And when you hold your heart, d'you like how it feels, Lifted up, torn apart, emptiness revealed And when you still your voice, d'you like what you hear, Inner peace, sounds of joy, does it disappear It's a jungle out there. Backing vocals - Niki Haris and Brenda Lee Eager Guitar - Heitor Pereira Horns - Keef Ciancis, Dan Ostermann, Todd Simon,Tracy Wannomee Jungle Toms - Curt Bisquera Djembe and Bata drum - Luis Conte Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8. HANDS OF TIME You know we can't turn back the hands of time Said we can't turn back the hands of time I couldn't love you the way that you want, Misunderstood you all along Lord I'll be paying for my mistakes, Carry it with me straight to my grave. But no we can't turn back the hands of time Turn back the hands of time Was in such confusion, about being gay, Lived an illusion, was in such pain After our marriage came crumbling down, Needed somebody, bring me 'round I thought Oh! Ain't nobody's fault but mine, that I sit alone and cry If I could just rewrite one line, turn back the hands of time Find some other way, a few words that would explain Just rewrite one line, turn back the hands of time Would not feel ashamed, nobody is to blame. But no we can't turn back the hands of time Well I'd change the times, I made you cry, Or caused you sorrow or pain I'd find a way to love you again, Forever and a day But no we can't turn back the hands of time But oh if I could, I surely would, and fall in love again Backing vocals - Niki Haris and Brenda Lee Eager Guitar - Michael Landau Hammond Organ solo - Bobby Lyle Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 9. DELIVERANCE Burdens all fall away, weary mind no longer slave, To thoughts within me now Illusions gone, bubble burst, voice across the universe, Calling to me now Tell yesterday goodbye - hello tomorrow DELIVERANCE child, feel it, coming my way, do believe I feel it Don't you know it's a cause to celebrate Feel it, coming my way, sweet deliverance come Angel come watch over my mind, forever free my soul Make me worthy in your eyes, never letting go Shadows all disappear, evil mind no business here, Talking to me now Tell yesterday goodbye - hello tomorrow DELIVERANCE child, feel it, coming my way, do believe I feel it now As though my heart needs no longer be afraid Feel it, coming my way, sweet deliverance come In the middle of the night, as I cut off the light, Lord I call your name Steady as a rock, this Faith that I got, no ordinary change Sweet deliverance come, feel it, coming my way, do believe I feel it Need only open my arms to its embrace, feel it, coming my way Sweet deliverance now, do believe I feel it Seems a Oh whole lot closer here today Feel it, coming my way Feel it, coming my way, I won't let nobody rain on my parade Feel it, coming my way, sweet deliverance come Backing vocals - Niki Haris and Brenda Lee Eager Guitar - Heitor Pereira Congas, Timbales, Shaker - Luis Conte Horns - Keef Ciancis, Dan Ostermann, Todd Simon, Tracy Wannomee Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10. SOMEONE WATCHING OVER ME You know I've always believed, the truth will set you free One need only let it be, and walls come a-tumbling' down Yes I've always been sure, Love will open any door Time; weather any storm, would be, a place to sleep at night My hunger satisfied, yes all a man should ever need, It's almost though somebody's watching SOMEONE WATCHING OVER ME - Lending their support, with every step - To champion my cause, giving strength - Guide me through the fire, keep me cool, - Knows my hearts desire... help me do right Yes I've always had faith, Heaven was just a kiss away Gets a little closer every day, touch in the midnight hour This voice inside my only friend, stand by me 'til the very end Telling me time and time again Trust the way you feel inside, let your conscience be your guide Remember in time all things will come Almost though somebody's watching me SOMEONE WATCHING OVER ME - There in case I fall, to lend a hand - When my back's against the wall, all I need's a friend - Shelter from the rain, yes every day /respect when I'm in pain, - Help me get well again There's always.. SOMEONE WATCHING OVER ME - From the moment I awake, see one more day - Forgiving my mistakes, Lord forgive me now - I go to sleep at night, this presence inside - Somebody watching me now, 'til the day I die Backing Vocals - Erik Peterson Acoustic Guitar - Heitor Pereiro Cello - Cameron Stone Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 11. FAMILY You and me, we're Family, Keep the fire alive, Keep the fire alive A castle of integrity, You and me, we're Family, Keep the fire alive, Keep the fire alive Pure as love can ever be Don't matter we're living in, different worlds, Leading different lives You know it means everything that you're my girls Fills me with such pride. Tender heart, be strong, take my hand, meet you halfway there Let's keep holding on, whatever troubles come, sanctuary here. You and me, we're Family, Keep the fire alive, Keep the fire alive I love you unconditionally. You and me, we're Family, Keep the fire alive, Keep the fire alive Let nobody come between Was at such a tender age, to separate, a father and a child Glad that we're older now, hanging out, it's good to be reconciled Tender heart, be strong, understand I'll meet you halfway there Let's keep holding on, whatever troubles come, sanctuary here. You and me, we're Family Keep the fire alive, Keep the fire alive Now and for all eternity. If there's ever a time, feel in too deep or running blind Need only ask once, Daddy help me please, Be there to give all of me Keep the fire alive, keep the spirit between us now Keep the fire alive, oh yeah Keep the fire alive, Growing deeper and deeper now Keep the fire alive RAP: Feel it in my spirit, feel it in my soul, Feel it in my heart make me feel so whole If there's ever a time feeling too deep or running blind Need only ask me once, "Daddy help me please" There's nothing that I wouldn't say, nothing I wouldn't do No risk that I wouldn't take, nothing I wouldn't go through To be with my girls, I travel around the world Keep it burning baby, every day, every night, Promise you won't turn out the light There's nothing that I wouldn't do, need only ask me to Yes I'd battle wind and rain, to keep my Hannah safe There's nothing that I wouldn't do, need only ask me to Travel night and day, to see sweet Jasmine's face. Backing vocals - Niki Haris and Brenda Lee Eager Guitar - Michael Landau Timbales, Shaker - Luis Conte Horns - Keef Ciancis, Dan Ostermann, Todd Simon, Tracy Wannomee Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California Rap Beatbox and vocal - Nathan Kaye (.com), Byron Bay, Austalia -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12. THE NIGHT The night belongs to us A feeling Oh! so strong, an urge within me, Keeps on rising in the dead of night, won't let me be. It's as if some raging fire, burns in my blood, I would give the very stars up in the sky, for your love. Deliver me, from a life of loneliness Want you with me, put my mind and soul at rest The night belongs to us, yeah let's steal away, Been working overtime, and I just want to play The night belongs to us, feel like dancing among the crowd, Need only you and I, the music playing loud The whole world in your eyes, and oh! how they dance, I believe we hold the key to Paradise, within our hands Deliver me, from a life of loneliness, Quit teasing me, want all and nothing less The night belongs to us, yeah! if we just let go, The spirit comes alive, rhythm start to flow The night belongs to us, hey! I said come on my hearts in overdrive, my head's already gone. Guess there's no denying, that all I want to do Is keep loving you, loving you, late into the night You know I'll give my everything, to keep you satisfied You know I'll give my everything The night belongs to us, Don't let this feeling die Guitar - Michael Landau Congas - Luis Conte Acoustic Piano - Bobby Lyle Guest overdubs recorded by John Potoker at House of Blues studio, Encino, California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 13. STANDING AT YOUR WINDOW Have you seen me, Standing at your window Have you seen me, Standing at your door Yes I've had a little touch, of your precious love And I've come to get some more. First impressions are strong, you just come right on Like a neon sign flashing in the street But you were gone so fast, emotional whiplash Has left me, down on my knees Have you seen me, Standing at your window Have you seen me, Standing at your door Yes I've had a little touch, of your precious love And I've come to get some more. In the night, down by the corner store With the moonlight bright over head Catch me hanging around, call your name out loud Hey! Do I need you Oh yeah Have you seen me, Standing at your window Have you seen me, Standing at your door Yes I've had a little touch, of your precious love And I've come to get some more. Need your love, so bad baby Though it's cold on the street, and I'm dead on my feet I'll continue to plead that's for sure Still believe you and I, are two of a kind Be mine, I'll be totally yours Have you seen me, Standing at your window Have you seen me, Standing at your door Yes I've had a little touch, of your precious love And I've come to get some more. Gotta get it right now baby, so let me in, let me in, right now baby Please, I'm down on my knees Gotta get it right now. Co-written with Frankie Miller, before his Brain Aneurysm, 3 month coma and subsequent paralysis. Re-made for, and included on the "Frankie Miller Tribute CD" - Eagle Rock Records. Excerpts for this article taken from the CD 'Molton Gold - An Anthology' written by John McDermott. Along with CREAM and LED ZEPPELIN, FREE stands as one of the most influential bands of the late 1960's British blues boom. Formed in London during the spring of 1968, Free's original lineup included drummer Simon Kirke, bassist Andy Fraser, lead vocalist Paul Rodgers and guitarist Paul Kossoff. Kirke and Kossoff were heavily influenced by American blues artists and, as teenagers, joined in R&B band called Black Cat Bones. Despite their youth, Kirke and Kossoff were seasoned musicians with a strong and growing reputation among the London blues scene. "Kossoff," explains Kirke, "while only 17, was a serious student of music." Kossoff's background had been classical and he had studied for years. But he also loved all of those great soul and blues records from America. Veteran producer Mike Vernon best known for his work with John Mayall enlisted Black Cat Bones to back Champion Jack Dupreee on the legendary pianists `When you feel the feeling Album for Blue Horizon. Apart from their celebrated session with Dupree, Kirke and Kossoff grew restless and disbanded the group. While scouting for a vocalist to front their new band, Kossoff and Kirke visited the Fickle Pickle, an R&B club in London's Finsbury Park. It was here that the two first heard Paul Rodgers, a young vocalist then performing with Brown Sugar. Kirke and Kossoff were immediately impressed with Rodger's expressive voice and charismatic style, and recruited him for their group. "Paul owed a great deal to Otis Redding," recalls Kirke, "his voice had power and presence. We knew that he was - and still is - unique." With Rodgers in the fold, Kossoff and Kirke, to round out their new ensemble, turned to one of their mentors, British blues legend Alexis Korner. "Korner was a big help to us," says Kirke simply. "Kossoff had been very friendly with him and Alexis recommended Andy Fraser to us. Though Andy was only 15, he had played with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, which really won our respect. When we first saw him play, he was sitting in with Alexis Band, wearing these flared trousers and ruffled shirts with rough collars." "We thought, bloody hell, who is this little punk! But when he started playing we knew that he was really quite good. Impressed with Fraser's abilities, Korner helped arrange an set up at the Nag's Head Pub in Battersea," remembers Kirke. "It was great, a very fertile meeting. In fact, at that initial get together, we wrote six blues based songs. About five or six hours in, Alexis came down and stood in the wings watching. He not only gave us his seal of approval, he also gave us our the name: FREE." Korner's simple choice met with immediate approval. "You must remember," says Kirke, "in those days, it was all sort of arty-farty in Britain. Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Graham Bond once had a band called FREE at LAST which was a name we really liked, however it was already been used though we did use it later as the title for one of our albums. We were a blues band, so we decided on FREE, which we thought was something a bit more nebulous." Beginning with that initial jam session, Free sought to stablish their own distinct sound and style, shunning excess amplification and instrumentation for sparse arrangement and a gritty, high energy mix of rock and blues. "Though we were only kids fresh out of adolescence," explains Kirke, "we were very serious about the direction of our music. We were never interested in the trappings of psychedelia. We wanted it very simple Bass, Guitar, Drums and Vocal. Paul Rodgers could play both bass and guitar but we rarely called on him for it. We never wanted to have a gaudy sound." On Korners recommendation, Free was signed to Chris Blackwell's Island Records and, subsequently A&M Records in the U.S. Working with producer Guy Stevens, Free entered London's Morgan Studios to begin recording TONS OF SOBS, their debut album. Despite the band's emerging success as a touring unit, capturing their sound in the studio was, at least initially, more of a challenge."We were really wet behind the ears when we went to record TONS OF SOBS," explains Kirke, "we didn't know what to do. Our producer, Guy Stevens, was very talented and was forever buzzing about the studio. Guy sensed that we were struggling and he pulled us aside. He told us to relay and just play the two 45-minute sets that we had been playing in the clubs. That's how we did the album. TONS OF SOBS (a title coined by Stevens) was recorded in a week. When I think about it today, it seems amazing. Now it seems to take a week to get the right snare sound!" Released in November 1968 TONS OF SOBS and tracks such as I'M A MOVER and THE HUNTER were obvious examples of the bands earthy roots and considerable blues influence. WALK IN MY SHADOW, cited by Kirke as the first song the band ever wrote together, is equally charged, powered by Kossoff's muscular riffing and Rodgers confident lead vocal. On the heels of TONS OF SOBS, FREE followed with BROAD DAYLIGHT, their stylish debut single. However, despite a superb vocal performance by Rodgers, the song failed to chart in both the U.S. and U.K. "As a single, BROAD DAYLIGHT was a disaster," remembers Kirke. "I think it sold three copies in Sheffield. It was a funny song, totally unrepresentative of the group at the time. Even tough it was early on in our career, the release of BROAD DAYLIGHT was when I had my first inkling that Fraser wasn't quite on the same wavelength as Kossoff and I. Andy wrote it with Paul and was really insistent that it become a big single for us. It just wasn't meant to be." Despite their lack of chart success to date, the band enjoyed a loyal following built on regular tours throughout Britain. That effort appeared to pay immediate dividends with the release of FREE, the band's second album, in 1969. With FREE, the group displayed an emerging individual style framed by Kossoff's stinging lead guitar, Fraser's bass, Kirke's rock solid beat and Rodgers anguished vocals. Unburdened by extended solos or lengthy jams typical of the era, such powerful original material as I'LL BE CREEPIN showcased the talents of Kossoff and Fraser without sacrificing the group's taut. While tracks such as WOMAN provided a vehicle for Rodgers considerable vocal prowess, behind the scenes, Fraser's reputation as a child prodigy was further enhanced by his contributions to FREE. "Fraser's bass playing on I'LL BE CREEPIN was fantastic," says Kirke, "I always felt that, pound for pound, Fraser had the most talent of the four of us. Fraser was quite advanced for his age and, in many ways, a lot like John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin - someone who could play a number of instruments well and was a strong, but quiet influence." In America, neither of FREE's first two albums had generated much interest. Their big break would come in Summer of 1969, when the band was asked along with DELANY & BONNIE, to open dates on BLIND FAITH's massive U.S. Tour. "That turned out to be very fortuitous for the band," recalls Kirke. "Our tour with BLIND FAITH ended with a big show at Madison Square Garden. Afterwards, we were offered a chance to play at Woodstock, but that fell through. Instead, we were offered a week's worth of gigs at Ungano's popular Nightclub in New York. The second night that we were there, CLAPTON and BAKER walked in and we were stunned, absolutely in awe, because we had very little contact with them during the tour. Clapton came backstage and asked Kossoff to show him how he got such strong and fluid vibrato in his playing. Kossoff nearly died. What, me showing you stuff?? You must be joking! But Clapton was serious, as Kossoff, among the guitarists fraternity, had really begun to develop a name for himself. With two strong albums and nearly two years of touring already under their belt, the quartet's combination of blues and rock was, perhaps, best captured on their seminal FIRE AND WATER album, released in 1970. An engaging mix of ballads and strident rockers. FIRE AND WATER also featured ALL RIGHT NOW, the group's breakthrough single. An edited version of ALL RIGHT NOW had a major chart impact, reaching No. 2 on the U.K. single chart and, in the USA, No. 4 on the Billboard chart. Driven by Kossoff's incessant riffling, ALL RIGHT NOW has proved remarkably durable, remaining, nearly 25 Years later, the band's signature tune. According to Kirke, the song actually drew its roots from necessity. "ALL RIGHT NOW was created after a bad gig in Durham, England. Our repertoire at that time was mostly slow and medium paced blues songs which was alright if you were a student sitting quietly and nodding your head to the beat. However, we finished our show in Durham and walked off the stage to the sound of our own footsteps. The applause had died before I had even left the drum riser. When we got into the dressing room, it was obvious that we needed an uptempo number, a rocker to close our shows. All of sudden, the Inspiration struck Fraser, and he started bopping around singing ALL RIGHT NOW.... He sat down and wrote it right there in the dressing room. It couldn't have taken more than ten minutes." HEAVY LOAD and OH I WEPT also from FIRE AND WATER were superb examples of Free's unique marriage of solemn blues and swaggering hard rock. With the release of FIRE AND WATER, Rodgers had emerged as one of hard rock's premier vocalists. "In the studio," remembers Kirke, "Paul was a one take wonder. He might have done an occasional vocal twice, but that was it. His vocal style was very dry and stripped down with no embellishments at all. I can't remember one instance when Paul used any effects such as reverb on his voice. What you hear on those record's is exactly what he sounded like - and that's what makes him really, really special." Building on the momentum created by the international success of ALL RIGHT NOW and their acclaimed performance at the massive ISLE OF WIGHT Festival in August 1970, FIRE AND WATER enjoyed tremendous success in both US and UK. THE STEALER, the group's follow up single and HIGHWAY, the group's fourth album, sold poorly, confounding the young band. "There was a lot of pressure on us to follow up FIRE AND WATER," recalls Kirke, "after that HIT we started touring country's rather than towns. But we just didn't have the seasoning. I mean how do you follow ALL RIGHT NOW? We tried THE STEALER but we knew it wasn't enough." HIGHWAY offered fans a mellower perspective, as Fraser and Rodgers began to incorporate more outside influences into their compositions. This subtle change in musical direction created some tension within the band. "HIGHWAY was a very laid back album," states Kirke, "we had broken out of twelve bar blues and had gotten heavily into Bob Dylan and The BAND, especially Paul and Andy. The band's MUSIC FROM PIG PINK really turned us around. But even though I loved Levon Helm's drumming, Kossoff and I were still into the blues." Frustrated by HIGHWAY's commercial rejection and unsure of their future musical direction, Free was consumed by internal friction and a nagging sense of self-doubt. In May 1971, following a turbulent Asian Tour, Free disbanded. "HIGHWAY was a flop," says Kirke, "especially when compared to (the sales success of) FIRE AND WATER. We just couldn't take the knocks at that age. We thought, foolishly, that we should break up because no one loves us anymore. We were that naive." Just prior to announcing their decision to split, MY BROTHER JAKE climbed up the British Pop charts, reaching No. 4 in June of 1971. "The song's UK-only success," explains Kirke, "was almost anticipated. MY BROTHER JAKE was a very parochial song, clearly English, where THE STEALER had more of an American flavour. JAKE was very cheeky and all Andy Fraser, with pub piano, a jaunty beat and lyrics about someone pissing their lives away. Who couldn't relate to that?" On the heels of MY BROTHER JAKE, the band issued FREE LIVE!, a spirited live album largely compiled from a recent performance at Croydon's Fairfield Hall. "The three tracks included on this compilation," says Kirke, "captured the energy and excitement of FREE in concert. FIRE AND WATER, RIDE ON PONY, and MR. BIG really summed up what FREE was like live. FIRE AND WATER, one of our best songs, and RIDE ON PONY were very much influenced by THE BAND. MR. BIG was really a showcase for Andy's playing. Usually, when a Bassist would take a solo, 90 percent of the audience would head to the bar. What made MR.BIG really cool was that Fraser did his solo without the band stopping. It was just a great track to play live." While FREE LIVE! peaked only at No. 89 in the US, the album would reach the No. 4 position in the U.K., where it became an essential souvenir for British fans. With Fraser off to form TOBY with guitarist Adrian Fisher and drummer Stan Speaks, Paul Rodgers also formed a new group, fronting Stewart McDonald and Mich Underwood as Peace. While Peace would open for MOTT THE HOOPLE on their UK Tour, neither PEACE or TOBY were successful. Kossoff and Kirke were active as well, recruiting John RABBIT BUNDRICK (later of the WHO) on keyboards and bassist Tetsu Yamauchi (later to join the Face) for an album known simply as KOSSOFF, KIRKE, TETSU, RABBIT. Having struggled in their new projects, FREE reformed in January 1972, touring the UK and beginning sessions for FREE AT LAST. "We had only broken up for about six months," remembers Kirke, "but that was long enough. When Andy and Paul had first decided to leave, I don't think many steps were taken by anyone to change their minds. After Paul went off with PEACE and Andy formed TOBY, it was like for chrissakes guys, what are you pissing away? Let's put this thing back together." While FREE AT LAST and its accompanying single LITTLE BIT OF LOVE re-established the band commercially, a crippling mixture of old and new problems surfaced, again threatening the future of the group. The most serious of which was Kossoff's mounting drug addiction which compounded his ill-health. Free would tour the US during the early Summer of 1972, but Kossoff condition caused him to miss dates, forcing, initially. On the eve of the group's July tour of Japan, Andy Fraser abruptly departed. Rodgers handled now vocals and guitar. By October, with Kossoff's health temporarily improved, the original quartet reformed to tour the UK. Recording sessions for HEARTBREAKER, Free's final album, began but Kossoff's contribution were muted. Nonetheless, HEARTBREAKER was well received both in the US and the UK, where the album reached No. 9 and WISHING WELL, the single, reached No. 7 on the POP Chart. On tour to support the album, Osibisa's Wendel Richardson was recruited to help out when Kossoff's condition was too bad. Finally, by July of 1973, Free disbanded for good. Following the demise of FREE, Rodgers who reportedly turned down the lead vocalist position with DEEP PURPLE, joined Kirke, ex King Crimson Boz Burrell and Mott the Hoople Guitarist Mick Ralphs in a new group called BAD COMPANY. Led Zeppelin Manager Peter Grant signed them to Zep's newly formed Swan Song Records. In 1974, their self titled LP was a runaway sales success reaching Billboards top position in August, and followed, for nearly a decade, by a steady string of platinum successes worldwide. After unsuccessful stints with SHARKS and FRANKIE MILLER, Andy Fraser would record two albums as the ANDY FRASER BAND for CBS Records in 1974 and 1975. In the 1980's, Fraser enjoyed a chart hit with DO YOU LOVE ME. He would also record for Mercury Records, as well as contribute to the work of such artists as Brian ENO and Robert PALMER. Despite Paul Kossoff's history of ill-health, his potential seemed unlimited. During sessions for FREE AT LAST, Kossoff had begun to record BACK STREET CRAWLER, his first solo album, released by Island Records in 1973. Following that effort, he would form a quintet also called Back Street Crawler. Amid interest from a number of competing labels, Kossoff chose Atlantic Atco records and recorded two critically acclaimed albums, THE BAND PLAYS ON and SECOND STREET. Sadly Kossoff's battle against drug addiction was unsuccessful. He died 19 March 1976 of heart failure aboard a flight to New York. After the breakup of BAD COMPANY in 1982, both Paul Rodgers and Kirke have continued to enjoy commercial success. In 1984 Kirke, Ralphs and Burrell recruited former TED NUGENT vocalist Brian Howe to front a revamped Bad Company. Beginning with the release of FAME AND FORTUNE in 1986, this edition has issued four successful albums and remains a durable and popular concert attraction around the world. Paul Rodgers has also continued to maintain a high profile. While Cut Loose, a 1983 album, was unjustly overlooked, Rodgers' next musical venture - a much heralded collaboration with legendary Led Zeppelin Guitarist Jimmy Page - was not. As the FIRM, PAGE and RODGERS along with bassist Tony Franklin and drummer Chris Slade, scored with two consecutive albums. THE FIRM and MEAN BUSINESS and such hits as RADIOACTIVE, SATISFACTION GUARANTEED and ALL THE KINGS HORSES. In 1991, Rodgers teamed with former WHO drummer Kenny Jones to form THE LAW. LAYING DOWN THE LAW, the group's debut single, met with wide approval especially in the US. More recently, Rodgers has issued an acclaimed tribute to one of his idols, blues pioneer Muddy Waters. Featuring collaborations with such celebrated guitarists as BUDDY GUY, JEFF BECK and DAVID GILMOUR, the album MUDDY WATERS BLUES marks a welcome return to Rodgers' blues and soul roots. Andy Fraser :: Biography As a very precocious 5 year old, I demanded of my mother that I have a piano! Eventually I had to make a deal with her, that if she got one, I would take piano lessons. Of course I didn't think I needed lessons, but I made the deal, and she found some old piano from the nearby pub for 5 pounds. I think she spent more on tuning the old thing than its cost, and I held up my part of the bargain, by having lessons with this seemingly very old lady with a huge nose, who didn't want to take me, feeling I was too young, and my hands couldn't stretch sufficiently. Well, until I was 12 or so, I learned the scales, and played Beethoven and Mozart like a parrot, with all the passion of a typist. It all seemed like extra homework at the time, but I have since come to appreciate all the theory that was drilled into me, and the understanding of how all music, all chords, all keys are related, and once I reached the stage where I found music a means for expression, having all that experience behind me, made things a lot easier. I've worked with several great artists, who, without that basic foundation, have had a very tough time simply expressing themselves. The piano, bad as it was, still took up a corner in the family house well into the FREE years, and songs like 'Heavy Load' etc. were all started on it. Not a bad investment! By the time I was 12 or so, and hanging around with the kids at school also into music, and who wanted to form groups, I had switched to guitar somewhat. Although, they all wanted to be the singer, guitarist, or drummer. Definitely not the bass player! I was the "diplomat" and tuned my "Lucky Air-stream 3" guitar strings down an octave, and made everyone happy, with what I'm sure must have sounded terrible. I nevertheless found all my piano tuition could be applied to the guitar, just as soon as I found the corresponding notes. By the age of maybe 13, I was traveling across London, sometimes catching the last bus home, sometimes missing it, scaring the life out of my mother, while playing with mainly West Indian musicians. I got some first hand experience with R&B, blues, ska and soul, from guys who were at least 10 years older than me. I remember playing all night clubs in the east end of London - everyone being black, me being white, and not even old enough to be in a place that served alcohol. I was very influenced at the time by one "Binky Mackenzie", by all accounts rated to be the next jazz bass genius, who happened to be my elder sister's boyfriend. For quite a while, whenever he came over to our house, I would be sure to leave my bass lying around, so that when he picked it up and played, I could catch it from the next room, or wherever I was secreted to hear what he was doing. Binky was one very intense individual. Example. At some later point in time he decided he would consider what was mine was his, and would just take my amplifier from whose ever house I had left it at across town. A guitarist who I was working with, who was not only the same age as Binky, but a lot taller, notified him that he shouldn't be doing this. This was sufficient for Binky to threaten him in such a convincing way that the guitarist joined the merchant navy, and I never saw him again... probably the only reason he is still alive. Binky, who's intensity was being magnified by his increasing drug use, was stopped by 4 policemen, for reasons I never knew, but the long and short of it was he killed all 4 cops with his bare hands and was incarcerated for life. So much for his music career. By the age of 15, I was being more and more influenced by the likes of the Beatles. This didn't sit well with the authorities at St. Clement Danes grammar school, where the rule was, if your hair showed below the school uniform cap, it was too long. I had several run-ins with them, but felt submitting to such a stupid rule would have violated my personal principals, and would be the first step towards having my spirit being broken and being turned into a "number", or a very compliant bank-clerk or something! So... I adamantly refused, and they expelled me, despite the fact I had excellent grades - something way more stupid than long hair in my mind. However, I very soon came to realize they had done me a favor. To placate my mother, I agreed to go to Hammersmith's College of Further Education, where I learned in no time how to roll a decent joint, and was very good at it I must say. It was at this college that I became very close to Sappho Korner, daughter of Alexis, and got to spend a lot of time over at their house, listening to his record collection and noodling around on his guitars. He became much more of a father to me than the one who had divorced my mother when I was 6 or 7 or so. In fact, I didn't have contact with my blood father until around my late teens when I wanted to meet him and see him through adult eyes. His main interest in me was suggesting I mortgage the house I had recently bought with FREE royalties, and give him the money. One very long sleepless night, when I had let him stay in another bedroom, I eventually woke him up and threw him out of the house. I have never seen such a big guy suddenly become so small. Still don't regret that decision to this day. Alexis was very close to John Mayall, and I suppose most music industry people, and one day received a call from Mayall saying that he needed a bass player NOW. Well, Alexis told him this kid hangs around the house with his daughter, sounds pretty good on the guitar, and says he's a bass-player, and Alexis was betting it was true. So it was set up that I go around and audition for Mayall on Saturday - got the job, and by Monday, I had a new bass, decent stereo system, and gig itinerary which put us in Europe within a few days. So what with having to quit college immediately, smooth things over with my mother, I certainly had my hands full for a 15 year old. It was a great experience. I never questioned anybody's greater experience or talent - I just had so much to learn from people who were way older than me... The only person close to my age was Micky Taylor, who was 18 at the time, and an incredible guitarist even then, and the only one I could sneak off with behind the building for a quick toke - everyone else being 'tea-totalers'. John Mayall would have been horrified, although Alexis thought I rolled a pretty good joint. Of course Mick Taylor went on to do great things with the Stones, and I'm sure I was just not in the same league as Keith Richards, when it comes to showing Mick Taylor how to get 'whacked'. I still hadn't turned 16 before I had been replaced in the Blues Breakers, and been put in touch with Paul Kossoff, who along with Simon and Paul Rodgers were searching for a bass-player - without success. I was very impressed with Kossoff's playing when he came over to my mother's house, and I would say we were all inspired when we got together for a jam above the Nags Head pub. It may have been tougher for them, because they knew I was "the" bass-player, but from the start my precociousness had me saying "OK I'm the leader" and they had to humor me I guess, because one aspect came with the other. It was actually Alexis's birthday, and he showed up later, and was as excited as we were. He became very instrumental in getting us with his manager, (then getting us away when the manager did a lousy job), and then getting us with Chris Blackwell, and Island records. He also took us along as the opening act for a lot of his gigs. Enough can't be said about his support. I consider my days days with FREE such an important stage in my growth as a person and musician. Being that age, it was where I formulated my sense of integrity, cemented views on the world at large, and felt for the first time within a "family". We were brothers - like a gang, or team of commando's where we could be sure we were all watching each others back. I still live by the values formulated at that time. Koss was actually an incredible comedian. I think he could have had his own TV series. One of my favorite characters he used to do was in his nearly floor-length coat - transform himself into this old lady who could have come straight out of "Coronation Street" - a very long-running British TV series, and proceed to comment on the world at large, or you in particular if need-be, from the perspective of this old lady character. Guaranteed to have us all in stitches. Another moment I remember, was driving home from some gig late at night as usual, Paul Rodgers was in the front seat ranting on at Koss about something in his tough guy persona, and Koss, cool as a cue, rummaging through his bag for a little mirror, turning on the overhead light and just putting the mirror up to Rodgers face, so he could see himself, and of course had to burst out laughing. I miss him a lot. His death was a very painful experience. It was expected - just a question of when. He had embarked on this course of self-destruction, slow suicide I guess. He had lost his confidence, and I feel wanted people to see him as 'great', just wasted on drugs, (like his heros, Hendrix etc.) and would sound good, if it wasn't for the drugs. Deep down, I think he was feeling insecure about the adulation poured on him, and drugs were his excuse for not being able to meet those expectations. To add to this painful experience, I received a note from his father David Kossoff, blaming me for his death!? To this day, I don't know if the others got a similar note, or if I was singled out for some reason. It would interesting to find out. I didn't know D. Kossoff even knew my name, so I never really understood it. But I figured he was in pain. I imagine there can be no greater pain than having one's child die before you, and he must have been hurting. I didn't go to the funeral. I wasn't invited, and besides the purpose is to comfort the bereaved, and he apparently would find no comfort in my presence, so best to stay away. It hurt not being felt as part of Koss's family. During one of the bands many split-ups, I and Jim MacGuire, one of our roadies, and the most mellow beautiful guy one could hope to meet, went round to Koss's place, the 'Mews house', which was filled with what seemed like 400 people, completely wasted out of their minds, lying all over the floor - every inch of the place, and found Koss upstairs, barely conscious. We basically kidnapped him, took him to my place which was an hour out of London, spent 3 days, talking, shaking him, trying to reach him in any way we could. After 3 days we just gave up, reconciling ourselves to the fact that one can only pull out of that kind of condition, if one wanted to. He didn't - we took him back. And the bunch of waster's probably didn't even know he had been gone. It felt hopeless. I must add, I am reminded of the chicken or the egg question. Did the band come apart because of Koss, or did Koss come apart because of the friction in the band - mainly between Rodgers and myself, and felt hopelessly stuck in the middle? I don't have the answer. A note regarding Jim Macguire. While touring the states, while we would fly to the next gig, the roadies would break down the equipment after each show, load it into a rented U-haul truck, and start driving for the next gig, taking turns to sleep in the space above the drivers cab. In one of those trucks, there was a carbon-monoxide leak, and Jim was found dead before the next city. We were told just before going on stage, and did the whole show in a kind of state of frozen suspended animation. It hit us very hard. Jim had stayed with me through all the up and downs, split-ups, other groups, and even lived at my house in Surrey. Very difficult. One of the first projects I tried was "Toby" - a nickname bestowed upon me by Graham Whyte, our chief roadie, probably to make me a little more manageable!!! It was a good experience for me to find out what is involved in being a singer, and although a lot of maturing was needed, the only way to get my feet wet was just jump in! Notable for the involvement of a very young, inexperienced but naturally talented guitarist, Adrian Fisher, who went on to do great things with Sparks. I just googled his name to find out he died 2000, 31st March - possibly drug related. We must all be thankful for each day. Free reformed for a while. The primary reason I believe for all of us, was the hope that it would be what would pull Koss out of his downward slide. Secondly, the projects "Peace" and "Toby" weren't going anywhere! But it didn't work. The album 'Free at Last" was grueling to make, and there were times when Koss would be out in the studio to put on his part, and just fall asleep over the guitar. I remember doing a show at the Royal Albert hall, where it seemed like he was 5 minutes behind everyone else. It was like the whole audience was crying for us. So painful. That very day, I had started "Little bit of love", and played it in the dressing room for the others before the show, and it seemed such an upper - and then the downer. We did a tour of the states, and had every indication Koss was going to be up for it. Before the first gig, as we were collecting everyone together to go play the Palladium in Los Angeles, we couldn't get any response from Koss's room. We eventually had to get the hotel to break down his bathroom door, to find him totally out of it. He was rushed to a hospital, and the 3 of us did somewhat of a gig with me mainly on keyboard and bass pedals, and P.R. on acoustic guitar - we had to do something for the audience that was already there. It was not a good omen. We cancelled the next weeks worth of shows, got Koss somewhat together, and resumed the tour. But things were not looking good. Not only was Koss basically not there, but with the band chemistry knocked out of whack, it had the rest of us acting abnormally, and I guess it ended up "every man for himself"... survival mode??? It wasn't too long before I had to resign myself to the reality of the situation, and say "gotta move on". A terrible thing to feel about that which you love most. Next was the trio known as 'The Andy Fraser Band" (wot an inspired name), Along with Nick Judd, a truly talented and soulful keyboard player, was noteworthy for it's drummer, Kim Turner, having no previous professional experience at all, but a great natural ability, who later went on to co-manage The Police and Sting very successfully, and coming full circle, end up managing me through the "Fine Fine Line" period. An infectious, positive, motivating spirit, and so generous in many ways. His recent losing battle with cancer, is a great loss to all who knew and loved him. I next did an album at Muscle Shoals, with that band whom I had worshipped since I was in school. Looking back, I don't think I was experienced enough, or had the confidence yet to meet that kind of situation. It was a "make an album in one week" type thing. Five days to lay down ten tracks - two a day, one day to do 10 vocals, and a day to mix. Finish. It would have taken one of the greats they were used to recording with to accomplish, and I had a lot more learning to do. My mother also died around this time. I had fulfilled her dream of owning her own house, by getting her a little place near London, and her first car I believe. Very shortly after she moved in I called by to find her suffering the most terrible headache. Within a month a brain tumor had taken her. During this tumultuous period, with direction unclear, I allowed myself to be engulfed in what became "The Sharks". Before I knew it I was answering press questions as to why I had formed this band etc. and (my own fault really) it was more "...huh? ...who?" and suddenly realized that I had to take more responsibility and not get sucked up into something that I really had little part in. Snips and I were just not on the same page, and it was best that I move on. Nevertheless, working with Chris Spedding, always a highly thought of guitarist, who went on to prove his worth with Paul MacCartney's Wings, was a very positive aspect for me. It was on the way home from a tour in Europe with The Sharks, that I met Ri, (renamed 'cos Henrietta was too long for me), traveling by herself around the world, a very free spirit, and asked if she wanted to come back for a while - she did, and didn't leave before we ended up Mr. and Mrs. Fraser with 2 beautiful daughters, Hannah and Jasmine. It was very much two artists in love. She is a very accomplished visual artist, (whose 'eye' the girls would inherit), and we would spend our days, me noodling around in the studio and her noodling around with pad or paints, and it was genuinely very creative and stimulating for us both. I was gaining confidence vocally, and starting to formulate where to go next. My instincts were to find another "family" vibe situation, and while having created strong relationships with people like Robert Palmer, and Frankie Miller, (who was our Best Man at the wedding), it now seemed more likely I would need to become more of a complete individual, capable of standing alone. I had previously operated under the assumption, "what is mine is yours, what is yours is mine, we are one, and together we can conquer the world". That was fine until the brotherhood bond was broken, and the band was operating as individuals. With all the people dying around me, the English rain, and the whacking I was getting from the UK tax authorities, decided a fresh start in California would be nice. It turned out to be more of a change than expected. I went ahead to find a place, and Ri was to join later after getting rid of the place in England. In between, she had been swept away with Eastern transcendental philosophies, and I had had my first gay experience - something I had been in complete self denial about all my life. Somewhere in the deepest recesses of my mind it was there, but completely repressed for all the social reasons we are familiar with. I had never allowed myself to go there, and had been frenetically working since my early teens. So, suddenly, we nearly didn't know each other. Ri would soon spend a lot of time in India, and it would be many years before I came to acceptance with the gay issue. One of my first projects in U.S. was with a band projected to be called "The Stealers". Although ultimately deciding against releasing it, I liked many of the songs, among them "Every kinda people", which wisely, Robert Palmer saw as a hit, and went on to prove it. One of the first things that struck me about the States, was there was no "band" vibe, which I had been brought up with. Most musicians wanted to know "how much am I getting paid for this rehearsal?". Very difficult, and ultimately something that strengthend me enough to be able to stand alone. Actually, I could have worked again with Paul and Simon, if the band vibe was there - it wasn't, and was never going to be. The best that could be hoped for was to be rich and famous, with all the superficial trappings of success, but feeling very empty, artistically dead inside, going 'round doing what you're famous for. I couldn't live like that. I started spending my time writing and growing, and was very fortunate in having artists like, Joe Cocker, Frankie Miller, Robert Palmer, Chaka Khan, Ted Nugent, Wilson Pickett, Lulu, Paul Young, Three-dog night, Paul Carrack, Rod Stewart, Randy Crawford, Bob Seger, Joan Jett, and Michael J. Fox, Etta James, and other incredible talents, encourage me by covering some of the material. The next major band project for me was the "Fine, fine line" album. Largely encouraged by Kim Turner, previously mentioned, the project was quite the learning curve, because for the first time making videos was part of the process. Most outside people don't give a second thought to the reality of that process, but throwing someone that is basically a musician into the 'acting' arena isn't exactly a natural thing. During the making of a video, one's musical abilities count for nothing - it's how one interacts with the camera that suddenly becomes important. And I would say that today, many successes are borne out of that ability, rather than musical skills. Nevertheless, 'Fine, fine line' was a great experience for me, because 1. Bob Marlette is an incredible musician, but man, "Bob, are you an asshole!" and 2. working with Michael Thompson on guitar was something else. He has gone on to work with such incredible artists as Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Michael Bolten, Phil Collins - just the top tier of singers. People I am, and will always be in complete awe over. And very deservedly so, Michael. It was around this period that I had to start coming to terms with the gay issue. It couldn't be compartmentalized any longer in some back recess of my mind. Fundamentally, I am a very open, up-front person, and hiding this did not fit in the picture. After years of self-denial, I thought then "well, I'll just change" - finding out that is NOT POSSIBLE, had thoughts of suicide - very serious... Meticulous person that I am, I planned out every step. Starting with the book by that NBC reporter, forget her name, who helped her very sick mother die, by getting the combination of medical prescriptions from different doctors. You tell one, you have this problem, another that problem, and collect the required combination to do the job, quite painlessly. I had got all my affairs in order, and tried to make it as tidy and easy as possible for family and everyone afterwards, until in my mind the event had already happened, and I thought, "what the bloody hell did that solve? - nothing", so finally I had to come around to acceptance. Stop asking the question "why?" - not even our top scientists seem to be able to answer that yet, and start asking "how can I make my contribution, despite my particular hurdles". And not that particular either - 10% of the world is gay, and always has been - probably always will be, and there ain't no-one without their own hurdles. All the bigoted, self-righteous, bible-beating nonsense I had bought into would have to be put aside. It felt like living a lie, and inconsistent with my values and integrity. The initial mountain which I couldn't see past, was, not only coming out, but doing it on a world stage. It just seemed insurmountable. I suppose whether it's a world stage, or the little office you work in, it is just as big for the individual. It's one's whole life and career that feels threatened. I feel most fortunate in that I could afford to let it go - you couldn't take it away from me. Most don't have that option. That in itself has been a blessing. One can't move on to the future, or even live completely in the present, if one doesn't let go of the past. But in truth it has taken me some 15 years to find the nerve to say "fuck you everybody... I'm not hiding anymore!" This album is I suppose a "coming out" - an expression of the journey from there to here. During this period I dealt with crippling pain. I had major neck-surgery, which didn't didn't take care of it, and every day for about 3 years I had to find a new reason not to off myself, until it was properly diagnosed... Kaposi's Sarcoma (cancer).. which I beat back 29 times, and then found out I had gotten AIDS along the way. All of this, and taking responsibility for my own lack of vigilance, have all strengthened me, and made me fully aware there is no more time to waste. Now working with my daughters, Hannah and Jasmine - they both conceived and directed the video, Hannah photographed and put together the CD package, and Jasmine the website, is the most satisfying feeling ever. We have the most open relationship - a miracle when you consider what the family has been through. Even my relationship with Ri is still a loving one, as you can see from her involvement in the video shoot, (cafe scenes). I feel now I have the family vibe I always looked for in a band - something really special. Only the best things are done in love.

LINKS

All Right Now
Nathan Kaye
eXTReMe Tracker