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  MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS

INTERVIEW WITH ANDY FRASER, FORMERLY OF FREE


marktaylor



andy fraser

In a MetalTalk exclusive Mark Taylor chats to the former bassist of Free, the legendary Andy Fraser, to talk about his new album 'On Assignment', his book 'All Right Now: Life, Death and Life Again', his label Mctrax Records and about his time in Free.

Hi Andy. It was good to finally see you back on British soil recently. I was fortunate enough to catch you performing with the new young talented artist TOBI at a private show at the Gibson Guitar Studios in London. Please tell us more about TOBI and you new company Mctrax Records.

"Mctrax, our new Music Delivery System was created in large part because I felt the music industry in general was way behind the curve. Before CD's they fought them like hell to stop them, then when they made so much money, they fought like hell to prevent the digital age. I embrace it.

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"I recognize that most kids have a smart phone before they have a girlfriend, here, Thailand, Africa, everywhere and they want their music now. Mctrax allows them to stream/have delivery of a track instantly to any device in seconds for 11¢. They don't have to buy the whole album if they find they only like one track, but they can if they wish, either have it delivered as a stream for $1:11, or download a track for 88¢ or whole album for $8:88. Sign up is as simple as iTunes or Amazon, or Express Checkout available if you don't want to sign up yet. Available are all current releases as audio/video, now books, and soon we are moving into movies with Mctrax Motion.

"TOBI, our first signing, is a London boy, signed when 16, who is a combination of say John Mayer, Jimi Hendrix, and Justin Bieber if you can imagine that. Schooled in traditional blues from all the masters, he also can bust a move, and has the freedom in his song-writeing like a John Mayer or even Dylan. Not afraid to be brutally honest about himself, or vulnerable in order to express a feeling we all share, but rarely own up to, trapped inout machismo. Destined for a very long career."



That evening you also got to meet up with you old buddy Frankie Miller.

"Frankie is a long time friend, even best man at my wedding, saying on the day (after a long night of drinking): 'Ooh Andy, de ye not think it a wee bit early in the morning to be getting married, it's awful bright, mahn.'"

A couple of days later TOBI and you peformed at the Isle Of Wight Festival. How did that compare with the legendary Free Apperance from 1970 in front of a reported 600,000 fans. Did you have any flashbacks whilst up on stage?

"TOBI, I and the band we had put together from musicians in L.A, Germany and NY had a fabulous time. Despite all the rain during that period, (you English folk really let us down) the sun came out during our set, and we and audience had a great time. It was an especially great time for TOBI, as he had never been to a festival before, and to star at one really made his day.

"Ironically his brother, who is in lighting was there to do the big lights, and also responsible for the show at Buckingham Palace for Madness for the Royal jubilee. So it runs in the family.

"Being back 40 years later was like having my own Jubilee, but always trying to live in the moment, enjoyed it for what it was. Festivals have changed into something resembling Carnivals, which I don't care for, but it was a total thrill for TOBI."

Amazingly that show at the Gibson Guitar Studios was your first time on a British stage in 21 years, the previous time being the Night Of A 100 Guitars held at Wembley Arena. What were your memories of the night?

"That particular Wembley show featured Brian May, Paul Rodgers, Jason Bonham, and Slash with myself, where we were in support of Gibson Guitars, which raised money for the Prince Charles trust and charities."

You've just played again at Wembley Arena on September 29th for the Jim Marshall 50 Years Of Loud tribute. You got to perform with Glenn Hughes on the Free classic 'Mr Big'. How was that for you?

"I love Glenn Hughes. He is a wonderful guy, fully recovered from his cocaine binging days, and only interested in giving back. A very generous soul, and one of the world's best singers.

"I had a blast, and totally love working with Glenn, and we have talked about more joint ventures."

You've just released a new album 'On Assignment'. What kind of music can people expect to hear on that?

"As Opposed to 'Naked... And Finally Free', a very personal 'coming out' statement, 'On Assignment' allows me to get out of myself, having got that off my chest, and deal with more Global and social issues, although there are also some very personal songs on there too. I feel it represents another growth in me, and am pleased with the direction I am going in. Forward, as opposed of doing covers of myself from the 70s. An easy trap to fall into."

Lyrically you've approached politics and climate change in quite a lot of your new material. What is the perfect world to live in according to you?

"'A perfect world to live in?' You have high expectations. We live in an imperfect world by design, and our goal is to overcome the hurdles laid before us to afford growth. One can only embrace the challenges, and strive to meet them head-on. Not easy while doing them, as we all know, but having learnt from our mistakes, realize the value in having them... afterwards.

"My role as an artist, is to be honest in my expression of those things concerning me emotionally, or global issues socially and spread awareness as best I can, inspiring others, to do what they do best in solving our planets many problems. A shovel or chemical experiment may be better in someone else's hands, my job is to encourage you to do what you do best to help in your own way."



You've also been busy writing a new book on your life, 'All Right Now... Life, Death And Life Again'. Was it an easy or difficult experience for you writing an open and honest account of your life?

Trick question. It was hard coming to terms with my reality. My self-denial of being gay after marrying a wonderful woman, and having two incredible daughters, a mountain that I couldn't see the other side of, then coming out publicly, after coming out to myself. That was difficult.

"But having reached the other side, putting it in book form was easy. Made easier by my co-writer Mark Hughes, who wrote to me, and within one sentence showed me he got my story, and wanted to write a book. He came out to California, ran his recorder for five days, then transcribed it, along with his own commentary in a book form which makes easy, and informative reading.

"He did the work, I just lived the life, but having come to terms with it, I feel FREE, unburdened, and my life has been given a second chance, I am grateful, and will not waste it. I intend to use every moment, to give back, and justify my existence.



You've had to face some demons in your life, battling Kaposi Sarcoma, a form of cancer and contracting HIV. What advise can you give to other people who may find themselves in a similar unfortuate situation? How does one keep strong mentally and carry on to lead a positve life?

"Well not being in the advice business, I can only say learn from my mistakes if you can. I have found my will to be a lot stronger than my body, and was not gonna let anything get the better of me. There were times when I was this close to being a goner, but it all comes down to Faith. What in? That's every individual's decision.

Do find find that a believe in a higher power helps?

"YUP. If there isn't one everything is a waste of time. When like me, you are so sick, no amount of wealth, fame, friends or even doctors has any value any more, what is left? Then you find God. If not there is nothing, and that doesn't make sense."

You wrote the song 'Every Kinda People' which which a big smash hit for Robert Palmer on both sides on the pond in 1978. Have you written any other hits for other artists that we may not be aware off?

Frankie Miller, 'Be Good To Yourself', Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Chaka Khan, Joe Cocker, Paul Carrack, Paul Young, Rod Stewart, even Ted Nugent, nutter that he is, have all honored me by choosing to cover my material. It amuses me that Ted Nugent's cover, of 'Knocking At Your Door' was written from a gay perspective, and he has no idea."





I've noticed that when you perform on stage these days you do like to swing your stuff and have a dance. When getting ready to go out on a Friday night, what record do you dance to in front of the mirror?

"No Friday nights for me. I am constantly trying to deal with fact there are only 24 hours in a day. If there is music playing at the supermarket, that is half-dancable, I will dance right there."

'All Right Now' has to be one of the most instantly recognizable rock songs ever written. A song you co-wrote with Paul Rodgers. How did that song come about? Did you purposely write or did it come about from a jam?

"Rainy Tuesday, gig in some Godforsaken college in England. 2000 capacity, 22 people show up, wasted outa their minds on Mandrax, the drug choice at the time, bumping into each other like 'rubber people', in a 70s version of a mosh pit, totally ignoring us, who could usually play for ourselves, and sound good.... but we sucked, and came back to the dressing room with that awful vibe, like someone's gonna get hurt.

"To break the tense silence, I started sing "All right now, baby it's a-all right now". Like a parent saying come on kiddies, there's another day tomorrow, life goes on. It broke the intensity, everyone starting tapping along, and harmonizing, and hence the beginning of the song.

"The guitar riff, was me trying to do my Pete Townsend, who I always regarded as 'king of the chords'. Paul later wrote the verse and the lyrics while he was waiting for the band to pick him up for another gig, he said. We actually never took the song seriously, felt it was the most lightweight of our material, and argued against it being released as a single. One of the few arguments we lost with Island founder Chris Blackwell, but turns out he was right.



Did you think at the time it would be such a monster hit?

"No. I thought it would embarrass us."

What goes through your mind today when you hear it on the radio?

"Still sounds like a tyhree chord trick demo, with bad, and obvious edits. Beethoven it is not. But undeniably ka-ching."

What is your favourite personal Free track from your time in the band?

"That's a tough one, as I like so many Free songs. 'Be My Friend', 'Soon I Will Be Gone', 'The Stealer', 'Sail On', 'Heavy Load'. I like them for being honest expressions of how we felt at that moment. One can only be honest, and truly express how one feels now, so redoing those songs would feel like a cover band, covering your past songs.



There was strong rumours circulating that the remaining members of Free, yourself, Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke with either Joe Bonamassa or Peter Bullick on guitar would play at the opening or closing ceremony of this years Olympics in London. How close to a reality did that became?

"It became very close. We all for the first time agreed in principal to do it, as the occasion was far bigger than any of out personal beefs, but it came unglued, as we didn't agree on any guitarists.

"I even went to the company that did Tupac Hologram, and they were ready to do Koss Hologram. Only a $million. Others were not so keen..."

Do you have a personal message for all your fans out there?

"Follow your heart and dreams. Check out mctrax.com for all latest releases, and expect to have your socks blown off by TOBI."

Thank you so much Andy for taking the time to answer these questions. God bless to you, family and friends for all in the future.

"Thanx - a pleasure."


12.10.12







 

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amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOUNCE SECOND LONDON SHOW ON CO-HEADLINE TOUR
"Our show at Our Black Heart in London has sold out in ten days, which is fantastic! How quickly could this one sell out?"

thunder THUNDER PLAN TO GIVE THE GAME AWAY WITH A NEW BOOK
The band plan to launch the book at an event being held as part of the 'Louder Than Words' literary festival in Manchester on Saturday 12th November.

rudolf schenker SCHENKERS AT WAR: RUDOLF BREAKS HIS SILENCE ON MICHAEL'S ACCUSATIONS
"He's a trick master, and he's a wannabe. And that's it. He can do whatever he wants..."

jon oliva SAVATAGE MAINMAN JON OLIVA RECOVERING FROM STROKE
"I lived the rock n' roll lifestyle since I was 18. It's all I knew and I enjoyed the ride very much..."

ramblin man RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR 2017 DATES ANNOUNCED PLUS WHO WE THINK COULD HEADLINE NEXT YEAR
After what was probably the best rockin' weekend of the year so far, we didn't have to wait long before we could start planning for the 2017 rematch...

airbourne AIRBOURNE ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER HEADLINE UK TOUR
The band will play ten UK date beginning in Portsmouth and Norwich on November 17th and finish off with two nights at The Electric Ballroom in Camden, London...

black stone cherry BLACK STONE CHERRY ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
"We have never done anything like this before and we knew the UK was the only place to do it. That's all we're gonna say about it!"

gary rossington LYNYRD SKYNYRD UPDATE WITH MORE CANCELLATIONS DUE TO GARY ROSSINGTON ILLNESS
"Currently the band hopes to resume touring on Thursday 4th August at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands..."

extreme EXTREME CELEBRATE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF 'PORNOGRAFFITI' ALBUM WITH 'PORNOGRAFFITI LIVE 25/METAL MELTDOWN'
"Some of these songs were never played live before so we had to go back and relearn them for the tour."

ozzy osbourne OZZY OSBOURNE: "I'M NOT HAPPY BEING SOBER"
"It scares me. I hear all the time people say that they have another drink in them but they may not have another sobriety in them..."

paul rodgers IT'S NOT ALL RIGHT NOW! PAUL RODGERS SUES DONALD TRUMP
"We will make America great again. God bless you and good night, I love you."

heavy metal HEAVY METAL HELPS PEOPLE DEAL WITH MORTALITY ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL STUDY
"Metal music can be seen as cultural good for fans and thereby can form part of their social identity."

motorhead MOTÖRHEAD STILL RUNNING DOWN THE HIGHWAY: PHIL, MIKKEY AND EDDIE ALL GEARED UP FOR FORTHCOMING DATES
"Every snare hit I do from now on until the end of my career will be a small tribute to Lemmy..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN'S STEVE HARRIS DROPS THE PRICE OF HIS ESSEX MANSION BY £1MILLION
The eight-bedroom mansion was on the market for £6.75million in 2012 but it's "guide price" is now a mere £3.95million...

hrh aor ALL GUNS BLAZING FOR NEW HRH AOR 5 ANNOUNCEMENT
Phil Lewis & Tracii Guns unite under the L.A. Guns banner once again for next year's HRH AOR 5 being held next March at Camp HRH in North Wales...

deep purple DEEP PURPLE 'LIVE AT THE NEC' DVD ON THE WAY: FAREWELL JON, WELCOME DON
The two share keyboard duties during the night in a very fitting "passing-of-the-torch" moment...

status quo ROCK 'TIL YOU DROP WITH STATUS QUO 1981-1986 VINYL BOX SET
In addition to the studio albums the box set will include an extra disc of b-sides and extended mixes...

zz top ZZ TOP TO RELEASE THEIR VERY FIRST OFFICIAL LIVE ALBUM IN SEPTEMBER
"In an abstract surrealism style, this collection is a definitive chronicle of the band hangin' together for four plus deluxe decades..."

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG "SPECIAL TIME" HAS COME WITH NEW RELEASE
"The new Tygers album is finished, done and dusted and ready to unleash on our 'Tygertastic' audience. You're gonna love this one, it's a MONSTER..."

andy fraser ANDY FRASER OF FREE'S LAST RECORDING WITH SAIICHI SUGIYAMA ONLINE HERE
"'Melting Away' became one of Andy's last recordings. He still had so much to offer and I was really looking forward to continuing to work with him."

ritchie blackmore RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW TO PLAY AGAIN BUT WITH LESS DEEP PURPLE SONGS
"I would do probably ninety-five percent Rainbow songs; that's what they seem to want to hear. And it didn't occur to me. I just naturally assumed they wanted to hear everything."

saxon EXCLUSIVE: THIS IS WHAT OUR FAVOURITE ROCKERS THINK OF THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE
Comment from Saxon, Slash, Thunder, Iron Maiden, Uli Jon Roth, Hawkwind, Cher, Johnny Rotten, Machine Head And More...

beyond the black UK EXCLUSIVE: BEYOND THE BLACK SINGER JENNIFER HABEN IS LOST IN FOREVER AS FIVE MEMBERS DEPART THE BAND
"I have enjoyed the time together with the guys very much and am grateful for everything we have achieved together in Germany. I am currently looking for new colleagues..."

cats in space CATS IN SPACE SET TO RELEASE SLADE CLASSIC WITH DANNY BOWES OF THUNDER ON GUEST VOCALS
"It's is one of my favourite Slade songs, so when they asked me to sing on their version it took me a good second and a half to say yes..."

guns n roses WAS BREAKING NEWS: GUNS N' ROSES ADD MORE TOUR DATES FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER
The Gunners' newly announced dates are for South America with ten dates in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia with more to be announced soon...

keith moon YOU WON'T GET FOOLED WITH OFFICIAL KEITH MOON COMMEMORATIVE DRUM HEAD
Manufactured as a special, custom product by Remo, these 14" high-gloss drum heads are a perfect collector's item for true fans of the legendary drummer and The Who...

the answer WAS BREAKING NEWS: THE ANSWER AND THE DEAD DAISIES ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER UK TOUR
"The fact that we get to debut this new material with our mates The Dead Daisies just adds to the rush we're currently experiencing. You really don't want to miss this one!"

ian gillan IAN GILLAN SAYS: "IT'S A WONDERFUL THING, VINYL..." WITH NEW COLLECTION ABOUT TO BE RELEASED
"You just bought something significant, not easily disposable. And look at the sleeves - aren't they cool..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY: "THE LYRICS ON THE TITLE TRACK ARE SOME OF SPIKE'S BEST EVER!"
"I approached the songwriting from a different angle and it felt good. There's a lot of passion there."

48 hours 48 HOURS TO ROCK THE UK TO A CITY OF ASHES
"We're hitting the road in September for a co-headline tour with our broseph's City Of Ashes! This will be one of the unsigned tours of the year!"

hammerfall WAS BREAKING NEWS: LIVE LIFE LOUD WITH HAMMERFALL ON 2017 EUROPEAN TOUR: NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY
"We can't wait to get back on stage again to have a gigantic Heavy Metal party every night with all our Templar friends!"

joe perry AEROSMITH GUITARIST JOE PERRY REPORTEDLY SUFFERS HEART ATTACK DURING HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES GIG
"Thanks to everyone asking about our brother Joe Perry," Alice Cooper wrote. "He is stable right now, with family and is under the best care."

onslaught ONSLAUGHT, BEHOLDER AND ANIHILATED TOUR PROMISES TO BE A TOUR DE FORCE
"By the time we hit the road in November it will be well over two-and-a-half years since we did the last run and we feel the time is now right..."

arw ARW (JON ANDERSON, TREVOR RABIN AND RICK WAKEMAN) ANNOUNCE BAND FOR UPCOMING WORLD TOUR
"I have played with arguably the three greatest bass players ever and I can't wait to play with one of them again!"

marillion MARILLION UNVEIL 'THE NEW KINGS' FROM FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM 'FEAR'
'The New Kings' can also be heard on Marillion's current tour which starts on Monday 11th July in Barcelona...

michael des barres AN AMERICAN WRITER ASKS WHY IT TAKES A BRITISH EX-PAT TO ASK, "WHAT'S GOING ON?" MICHAEL DES BARRES HAS THE ANSWER
This incendiary cover of Marvin Gaye's classic confronts America's issues in an incredibly timely and head-on manner...

freedom call FREEDOM CALL RELEASE A NEW METAL HYMN 'HAMMER OF THE GODS', AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD NOW
The trademark bold vocal harmonies remain. The track is taken from forthcoming opus 'Master Of Light'...

guns n roses STEVEN ADLER JOINS GUNS N' ROSES ON STAGE IN OHIO: FOUR FIFTHS OF 'APPETITE' LINE-UP PLAY TOGETHER FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1990
"On the drums, you might know this guy. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Steven Adler..."

ac dc AC/DC BASSIST CLIFF WILLIAMS TO RETIRE AFTER ROCK OR BUST WORLD TOUR: "IT'S BEEN SURREAL"
"AC/DC has been... you know, just... I don't know what else I would wanna do. I love the music and I love playing in the band, and I'm all filled up..."

guns n roses GUNS N' ROSES USE THEIR ILLUSION TO SILENCE THE DOUBTERS WITH US TOUR GOING SO FINE
Axl is clearly in his element on this tour, running across the stage to jump on the monitors mid-song and displaying all the panache of a man completely on top of his game...

stray del bromham STRAY TO ROAM AROUND THE UK ON TOUR INCLUDING A RARE REUNION OF THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP
No need to move a mountain as both Stray and Del Bromham's Blues Devils are on their way to a venue near you...

amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOY THE NEIGHBOURS WITH RAUCOUS NEW SINGLE
'Let The Neighbours Call The Cops' was co- written by vocalist Gill Montgomery and Black Star Riders front man Ricky Warwick...

eagles of death metal WAS BREAKING NEWS: EAGLES OF DEATH METAL WANT YOU SO BAD ON TWO UK DATES IN AUGUST
This is EODM's first visit to the UK since the band were caught up in the terrible events at The Bataclan Theatre in Paris back in November 2015...

soil SOiL 'SHINE ON' THE UK WITH COMPREHENSIVE TOUR
"We are looking forward to seeing some new places and making some new friends this time around..."

acid reign ACID REIGN GET IN FESTIVE MOOD EARLY WITH SPECIAL GIG ANNOUNCEMENT
'Tis the season to Thrash as Acid Reign team up with Shrapnel with far from obnoxious results...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN: LEGACY OF THE BEAST MOBILE RPG GAME IS OUT NOW
"We've always wanted to make a quality Maiden mobile game as we think the combination of Eddie and the music is so well suited..."

rick parfitt status quo EXCLUSIVE: STATUS QUO'S RICK PARFITT SEEMS TO BE 'FINE FINE FINE' AS HE IS SPOTTED OUT AND ABOUT
Following the recent health scare a picture has emerged online of him taking a walk in Kingston over the weekend...

bullet for my valentine BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE TO PLAY 'THE POISON' IN FULL FOR THE FIRST EVER TIME
"We promised you something special right? See 'The Poison' played in full for the first time in Manchester! Tickets on sale now here..."

alter bridge WAS BREAKING NEWS: ALTER BRIDGE TO HEADLINE ARENAS ACROSS EUROPE THIS WINTER WITH GOJIRA AND VOLBEAT
This will be their biggest headline tour yet with twenty-four dates across fifteen countries, kicking off on November 4th 2016

the mission WAS BREAKING NEWS: BAUHAUS FRONTMAN PETER MURPHY TO GUEST WITH THE MISSION ON THEIR 30th ANNIVERSARY UK TOUR
"Peter's appearance will help make these shows the special events that we always wanted and hoped they'd be..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN ILLUSTRATOR DESIGNS SHIRT FOR ONE DIRECTION'S ZAYN MALIK, MAIDEN LAUNCH THIRD TROOPER BEER AND HI-ON-MAIDEN TO HEADLINE PICCSTOCK
A full-bodied beer using a blend of chocolate and crystal malts to give "a roasted malt and caramel backbone with hints of liquorice and honey"...

bruce dickinson BRUCE DICKINSON TO TAKE PART IN TOP GEAR STYLE CHARITY ROAD TRIP
"The enthusiasm from the group is amazing which will lend itself to making it an unforgettable trip..."

anvil WAS BREAKING NEWS: ANVIL ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR FOR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
Anvil will not only be playing dates in Scotland and Wales but also English towns which rarely see major international artists, such as Huddersfield, Doncaster and Grimsby.

status quo IT'S TIME TO GET 'DOWN DOWN' TO BUTLINS AS SECOND STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION IS ANNOUNCED
The weekend will feature live music from ex-Quo drummer John Coghlan and his band with long time friend of the band, Jackie Lynton also scheduled to appear...

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