Dancing to his own tune

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Dancing to his own tune

Dancing to his own tune

Posted: 15 Jul 2013

Andy Fraser – founding member and bass player of 1970s seminal blues-rock band, Free – wrote the band’s mega-hit All Right Now and Robert Palmer’s Every Kinda People as well as songs recorded by Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan, Rod Stewart, Three Dog Night, Frankie Miller, Etta James and Bob Seger among others. 

Now he has his own Andy Fraser Band and is at the helm of McTrax Records, which releases his own work and also spots and nurtures new talent, such as British singer songwriter Tobi whose father hails from the North East. You can see them along with guitar ace Chris Spedding at the Park Hotel in Tynemouth on 2 August. For more details check out Andy’s website www.andyfraser.com

Andy, who has a new EP called Beautiful and a new album called On Assignment spoke to ne4me about his past, his influences and his current music ahead of the gig.

Q: How would you describe your music now to that of Free?

A: My father was a descendant of slaves in what was British Guiana, sugar plantations run by the Fraser clan, and though I can't say much good about my father, the one positive thing I inherited was that calypso feel, which today has evolved into reggae. Now that I am more true to my real self, I find that influence coming out naturally. When I listen to Free I can hear it slightly, and now it wouldn't take much for a lot of Free songs to have a reggae inflection. So today I feel my music has the underpinnings of basic blues and Rock, a touch of R&B, and a good dose of Reggae. Lyrically, "Naked... and Finally Free" was like a very personal statement, a 'coming out' album, and the current "On Assignment" is like "OK, I've got that off my chest", can look outward, be more socially and politically sensitive and express my concerns, opinions, call to action whatever in a bigger sphere, and feel ready to make my contribution, and thankful for having a second chance to do so. As most people know I was nearly a goner, so now I don't want to waste a moment.


Q: When will the new album be released?

A: Officially end of month in UK, but you can actually get it now at Mctrax.com


Q: What is it about Tobi and Chris Spedding that made you decide to tour with them?

A: Tobi, being the first artist signed to our McTrax label, is the main reason for the tour – a chance to showcase what we believe will be the 'next big thing'. A very young, incredibly talented singer/guitarist/songwriter, who can also bust a move, he’s in for a very long career. Although he can play all the guitar on the recordings, even he can't play two guitars at once, so having another great guitarist LIVE is a must. Chris Spedding fits the bill.


Q: Do you find that touring, making films and writing music complement each other or do you see them as separate?

A: They all come under the McTrax umbrella. They are all things I enjoy and feel passionate about. I must say life has taken an unexpected turn with me now running a label, producing and promoting other artists, making videos, movies, and also writing and touring. I feel I need 36 hours in each day, but relish the adventure I find myself on.


Q: Are you still in touch with other Free members like Middlesbrough-born Paul Rodgers?

A: Simon and I stay in touch a little, Paul and I have a problem getting on the same page. I suspect the underlying reason is, as personalities, we are polar opposites. A and Z. When two people that far apart find common ground, I believe it creates an all-inclusive space where it has appeal to the widest range of people. Free had that. Lennon and McCartney too, if you think about it. When you are young and hungry, I guess you put up with the differences. Now I suspect both of us feel doing things our own way works, so why move back to the middle?


Q: Do you recall playing in the North East in those days?

A: Yup – memory still intact. I remember some great times. There was a time when I could remember all the gigs in order, how well we did, even how much we got paid etc. Then as with any great marriage that ends in divorce, it is too painful to retain, and one has to let go.


Q: Do you have any connections with the region?

A: Strongest ones are the people I've met over the years touring through there. As it happens Tobi's dad is from there, and I get a good dose of it from him.





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