I joined my first band when I was 15. I'd started off as a drummer, because that was where the vacancy was, but switched to vocals when the guitarist gave up singing in an effort to make me give up drums. One of the first covers we did was 'The Stealer', which I sang soon after at a school dance That was how Free took hold of me.
I bought the 'Free Live' album and sang along to it at nights, using the handle of the carpet-sweeper as a surrogate mike-stand. It was then that I came to love this music and, in particular, the voice of Paul Rodgers. Like everyone else, I admire the range and raunchiness of his singing; yet within his phrasing, vibrato and tone there is also a sensitivity that comes out in many of his lyrics.
Whatever bands I was in after that, I always tried - sometimes much to the irritation of others - to increase the number of Free, Bad Company and Paul Rodgers songs. Eventually, about three years ago, it got to the point where I wanted to sing this stuff so badly the only way forward was to form a band that played nothing else. Thus began the first of the three line-ups of Free Again. The previous two line-ups, though being well-received at gigs, disintegrated because not everyone shared the same love of the music. The great strength of current line-up, apart from the outstanding musical talent of Jim Bird (guitar), Steve Gaunt (bass) and Justin Hildreth (drums), is that everyone loves the work of the musicians they're paying tribute to. We know we can't reproduce Free. Instead, we combine our best abilities in honour of theirs, and hope to give our listeners a taste of what makes this music so special.
Born Otford, Kent, England...
Scorpio... lucky number 8.
WAL Pro-II and Gibson EB-II basses through a Fender 135 bass amp and a selection of speaker cabs.
(As a child) wanted to be a drummer after seeing Simon Kirke on Top of the Pops and bought first Free album, "Highway" split 50/50 with sister. Still got it sis!
Became fascinated by the rhythm section sound and persuaded mum to lend enough cash to buy first bass guitar - an Egmond. Cost about twenty quid.
Where is it now?
Played in all kinds of bands, all over the place before finding niche as bottom left hand corner of FREE AGAIN
I'm a second-generation Free fan and have been a guitarist for over twenty-two years. Paul Kossoff's playing has become instilled in me as a fundamental part of my own playing style.
Attempting to replicate any artist's work exactly is no easy task, especially when the artist is one so idiosyncratic as Koss! So, rather than becoming a poor copy, I can give, as a member of FREE AGAIN, my own very personal tribute to this unique and sadly missed player.
Just as Paul Kossoff was a unique player, Free were a unique combination of elements. To re-create their sound successfully might be thought an impossible aim, even for the most proficient of musicians. Yet, as four players with many years experience and the right attitude, I believe that FREE AGAIN deliver the combination of groove, feel and dynamics that made Free the phenomenon they were
'Fire and Water' was one of the first albums I bought, having just started playing the drums. Simon Kirke, Ginger Baker, Ian Pace and other English rock players of the period were my main early influences.
Free were the best songwriters of the bunch, which is probably why my interested in them has lasted as long as this; and Simon's drumming stands up incredibly strongly in its power and simplicity, despite overwhelming tendencies for drummers now to compete with the American 'busy' techniques and, of course, the onslaught of electronic technology.
I have worked with many English and European acts, recording and touring the world with some of the best players on the scene. I owe much to that experience, but still enjoy listening to, and playing, the music of Free. The rest of FREE AGAIN are an inspiration in their skill and dedication and I fully expect to see more of the world in their company - they deserve it and the world would benefit from a reminder of how important English rock is to the music industry.
I use Noble and Cooley drums and Zildjian cymbals because they are the best.
Main Free Again Page
For band information, send email to FREE Again.