Paul Rodgers Reveals Untold Stories of Rock
Paul Rodgers just might be the Magic 8 Ball of rock ‘n’ roll. In a recent interview, the frontman revealed how his advice to Robert Plant and Joe Walsh might’ve helped steer them to greatness, and he also came clean about the bands who tried — and failed — to recruit him.
The British-born vocalist, who even at 62 sounds just as incredible as he did during his days with Free and Bad Company, recently became a Canadian citizen, so it was only natural he’d appear at an event on Saturday celebrating Canadian Music Week.
During an hour-long chat with interviewer Jeff Woods, he regaled the hundreds of fans in attendance with tales about his own career — and a few anecdotes about the careers of others.
For example, here’s something you probably didn’t know: he advised a pre-Led Zeppelin Robert Plant to always “take a percentage” of a band’s earnings instead of a weekly paycheck. (Wonder how much money that put in Plant’s bank account?)
And when Joe Walsh was considering joining the Eagles but hesitating because of his desire for solitude, Rodgers says he told his friend, “Why don’t you go into a rehearsal with them and then go disappear in the woods? … And the next thing I knew, it was ‘Hotel California.’ They obviously made a connection.”
Rodgers went on to say that success ultimately killed Free — “All of the sudden we had this monster hit, ‘All Right Now,’ and I don’t think we were ready for it all” — but that drugs were responsible for the demise of Bad Company:
“It was all around me, so it was almost normal, you just did whatever was there, there was a lot of cocaine, there was a lot of drug around and I, yeah, sure like everybody else, but I did draw the line at one point and in a way that’s probably what split Bad Company and myself. I stopped all that. And all of the sudden I felt like the outsider.
And it was a strange feeling. And I was going, ‘You don’t have to hide it all the time. Just do your thing. I’m not criticizing. I’m not judging.’ But I think it’s one of the things about that stuff is that it can make people a little paranoid too about people that aren’t doing it. You’re like the policeman.”
We get it. Is there anything worse than being the only sober one at the party?
And while some artists would define success by how many records they’ve sold, Paul doesn’t do that — even though selling 90 million since 1968 would certainly qualify. Instead, he measures it “by how happy I am and how free I feel every day.”
So what’s next for the legendary singer? Following the release of his race-horse charity single ‘With Our Love,’ Rodgers — who’s an admirer of soul-blues singers John Lee Hooker, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and James Brown — hopes to work on a Stax blues track. And of course, he also has tour dates lined up.
But here’s what we wanna know: why hasn’t this guy written an autobiography?