A Tribute to the music of Free and Bad Company

Very Bad Company Logo - Free and Bad Company tribute band LetterheadDice

Very Bad Company are:

Steve Gratton - Vocals, Guitars, and Tambourine

Keith Wardrope - Guitars and Backing Vox

Mark Howell - Bass Guitars and Backing Vox

Dave Shenton - Drums

 

 

Very Bad Company came together in January 2015. The members of the band have huge experience of performing live and in the studio in both original and cover bands. Collectively, previous bands include Bastille, Pierrepoint, Vixen, Allied Forces,

Secrets In The Attic, The Jackson Elliot Band, HGV, Roadrunner, Identity Crisis, Katz, Citizen Band, Mad Hatter, Sheer Calm, and Prisoner.

 

Members have played before big crowds, and played some iconic venues.

The first gig was at The Freebird, Newcastle-Under-Lyme on August 14th.

 

Lots of bands cover the likes of All Right Now, Wishing Well, Feel Like Making Love,  and the usually misnamed Can't Get Enough, but there is so much more to both bands.

Free and Bad Company wrote some of the all time classic rock songs,

We hope to do them justice, and hope you'll enjoy us.

 

Gear -

Guitars:

Paul Reed Smith, Auden Electro, Ibanez Acoustic, and Fender

Pickups:

Seymour Duncan, Di Marzio, EVH, D'Addario, Bareknuckle

Amplification:

Marshall, Yamaha, Laney, Orange, Kemper Profiling

Strings:

Ernie Ball, D'Addario, Elixir, Earthwood, Fender, La Bella

Effects:

Lexicon, Boss, Yamaha, Tech 21

Drums:

Tama Starclassic, Paiste Cymbals, Evans Heads, Vic Firth Sticks.

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF FREE & BAD COMPANY

 

Free were formed in 1968 at The Nag’s Head in Battersea, London. Bass player Andy Fraser was 15 years old, lead guitarist Paul Kossoff was 17, and both lead singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke were 18. They were given the name Free by Alexis Korner, and signed to Island Records the same year.

 

In 1971, due to differences between singer Paul Rodgers and bassist Andy Fraser, the drug problems of guitarist Paul Kossoff, and inconsistent record sales, the band broke up. This led to the release of the live album called Free Live! Early in 1972 the band set aside their differences and reformed in an effort to save Kossoff from his growing drug addiction, and in June of the same year released Free at Last.

 

But all was not well with the band. Bassist Andy Fraser left the band in mid-1972 due to Paul Kossoff's unreliability in being able to perform at shows or even showing up. The remaining members recruited Japanese bass player Tetsu Yamauchi and keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick, who had worked with Kossoff and Kirke during Free's initial split, recording Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit and what would be Free's final album, Heartbreaker. Kossoff was replaced by Wendell Richardson in 1973, but shortly thereafter Free disbanded.

 

Formed in 1973, Bad Company came to life when Rodgers was looking to start anew after the disintegration of Free. His powerhouse vocals and song writing were a main ingredient during Free's impressive five-year run; a period of time that saw the release of seven extremely influential albums that featured Free's minimalist blues-rock approach. Included among Free's dynamic body of work is the 1970 smash, "All Right Now," one of the most recognizable rock anthems ever recorded.  Lyrics and melody by Rodgers.  He was Free’s main songwriter.

 

Rodgers had met Mott The Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and after jamming together and listening to new songs that they had both penned. Ralphs made the decision to leave Mott and form a new band with Rodgers.  The duo recruited former King Crimson bassist/vocalist Boz Burrell, added drummer Simon Kirke and Rodgers Christened the band Bad Company. Rodgers’ brought in Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant and Bad Company became the first band signed to Zeppelin's Swan Song label. "I had to fight to get the management and the record company to accept the name Bad Company," explains Rodgers. "They thought it was a terrible name. Peter Grant called a meeting and the band met beforehand. I told them that I had been through this before with Free as Island Records had wanted to call us the Heavy Metal Kids. We agreed to go in and tell them that we were going to be called Bad Company and that was the end of the story. As soon as Peter heard how strongly I felt about the name, he became very supportive and together we turned the record company around."

 

We were influenced by people like Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and, to a certain extent, the Beatles," explains Rodgers. "We were just trying to play what felt good and natural. I think that is what gave us our identity as a band."  “We always tried to be natural,” says Ralphs.  “We would play soul and blues favourites at rehearsals instead of learning new songs.

Bad Company’s self-titled debut album went 5x platinum, and the band never looked back with huge success on both sides of the Atlantic. But there would be a price to pay for all the success. According to Rodgers, "at this same time there came a point when I felt the band and its commitments had completely overtaken my life. I needed to get my feet on solid ground and spend some time watching my children grow, no one else had children at the time so they could not comprehend what I was living or feeling.  I never left music, I left the band." After the release of the Top 30 album Rough Diamonds in 1982, Rodgers left the band to take time off and to eventually pursue a Grammy nominated acclaimed solo career.

 

"Looking back, we stopped at the right time," recalls Ralphs. "Paul wanted a break and truthfully we all needed to stop. Bad Company had become bigger than us all and to continue would have destroyed someone or something. From a business standpoint, it was the wrong thing to do, but Paul's instinct was absolutely right."