Why Free Fraser rejected BadCo stadium dream
Free bassist Andy Fraser says he wasn’t interested in singer Paul Rodgers’ vision of the future – and that’s one of the reasons the band broke up in 1972.
They were already dealing with guitarist Paul Kossof’s drug addiction issues when tension boiled over between the frontman and the four-stringer.
Rodgers went on to form Bad Company with drummer Simon Kirke, managed by Led Zeppelin impresario Peter Grant – but Fraser says he never had any interest in that kind of success.
He tells Psychedelic Baby: “Free had become unglued. Paul and myself were going in different directions. He thought I acted like an emperor and decided he was now going to run things.
“All the while Koss was becoming a junkie. We had basically broken up. As spokesman it fell to me to announce it. I was viewed as the one leaving.
“It was the beginning of him wanted to do a Bad Company type thing. Get a manager that broke legs – be a less subtle, stripped-down, stadium-ready version of Free.
“I wanted to keep moving forward creatively, not formulate a cash machine.”
Fraser says his interest was in “starting again at the bottom” although he wasn’t happy with his next project, Sharks. “I have to take responsibility for allowing myself to drift into a situation I shouldn’t have,” he says.
He couldn’t wait to escape the lineup. “Fortunately, on the way home from a gig, guitarist Chris Spedding drove the fucking Sharkmobile into a tree. I twisted up my thumb and couldn’t play for a while, and suggested they get another bass player. That was my out.”
Meanwhile, Fraser is set to return to the Isle of Wight, scene of one of Free’s unforgettable live performance, with his new band Tobi. “To play in front of what am told exceeded half a million people required matching the vast energy thrust towards you and returning it in performance,” he says. “We were exhausted afterwards. I’m looking forward to re-doing it this year with Tobi.”