Archive for the ‘Andy Fraser’ Category

Free spin-offs gigs: Back Street Crawler, Andy Fraser band, Paul Rodgers; Bad Company

Free spin-offs gigs: Back Street Crawler, Andy Fraser band, Paul Rodgers; Bad Company
Having written about my Free concert experiences over the past few days, I thought it would be fitting to blog today about the Free spin-off bands that came about in the early to mid-70s, and the (relatively few) gig memories I have of those bands. I’ll start, for no particular reason with Free guitar legend Paul Kossoff. After Free split, I saw Paul Kossoff play at Sunderland Locarno a couple times. I think (but my memory could be playing tricks again) that one of these gigs was billed as The Paul Kossoff band, and the other as (the more familiar name of) Back Street Crawler. These gigs were, I would guess, in 1974 and 1975. Back Street Crawler featured excellent soulful local singer Terry Wilson-Slesser from Beckett. Although it was great to see Kossoff in action again, and some of the old guitar magic was still there, it was also clear that his health was not good. Sadly Paul Kossoff was to die on on an overnight flight from Los Angeles to New York in 1976. After leaving Free Andy Fraser formed Sharks along with vocalist Ships and guitarist Chris Spedding. He wasn’t with Sharks long; I saw Sharks in concert when they played Sunderland Locarno, but it was after Fraser had left the band. Sharks were a great live band, and Snips is a very under-rated singer. Snips and Chris have recently re-emerged as King Mob, who looked great, but were short-lived and have already split. Anyway, back to Andy Fraser. He next formed the Andy Fraser Band, a trio with Kim Turner on drums and Nick Judd on keyboards. I saw the band once at a gig in Sunderland Locarno in 1973; Andy took the front man role, but the lack of a guitarist seemed strange and didn’t work for me. The gig was poorly attended and I never saw the band again, although I do recall them playing Newcastle City Hall around the same time. Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke formed Bad Company. I have blogged separately about Bad Co in concert, who were just great, and carried the Free flag forward to some extent. However, they became a bit too much standard rock for me, and didn’t have the same emotional feel that Free had; they also moved to a more AOR style in their later days. Thats not to say that I didn’t enjoy Bad Company in concert; I did. But it was a very different band to Free, and although some things were gained and were better, some things were also lost in the transition. As usual, I did some searching to check my facts before blogging. I often discover something new, or I am reminded of something that I have forgetten. Today I discovered that after leaving Bad Con in 1982, Simon Kirke was briefly involved with a band called Wildlife who toured in support of the Michael Schenker Band. Now I saw Michael Schenker on most of his UK tours in the 80s, so will probably have seen Wildlife (although I have no recollection of doing so). I’ll finish today’s bog activity with a Postcript from my friend John who was lucky enough to see Paul Rodgers fronting his band, Peace, who were formed when Free split in 1971. This was at a gig at Newcastle City Hall (see programme right) which I sadly missed out on. Over to John: “I saw Peace play their only ever tour, supporting Mott the Hoople, November 5th 71 at the City Hall. They were a three piece, I liked them but remember think they sounded a lot like Free and so couldn’t understand why they had split up. This tour with Mott was to lay the foundations for Bad Company but that, of course, is a different story.”. I’ll complete my blogging on Free related bands tomorrow, by writing about The Firm, who I saw in Middlesbrough in 1984, and featured Paul Rodgers and Jimmy Page.