Last year, when Radio.com interviewed Paul Rodgers about his latest solo album The Royal Sessions, the subject of his most famous band, Bad Company, inevitably came up. “We didn’t really have an image, as such,” he said. “We were just four guys playing all these songs together.”
Keep in mind this was the 1970s, an era full of flashy, sexed-up frontmen a la Plant, Jagger, Daltrey and Stewart. Paul Rodgers, however, didn’t fit this mold. And yet, while he was a singer who didn’t get much ink in magazines, he and his band earned tons of radio airplay.
Which is how he likes it. “It’s all I ever really wanted, to be honest. I’m not really a showbiz person at all. Some people embrace that, and that’s fine. It certainly sells records. But for me, I just like to keep a low profile and focus on the music and do the best shows I can.”
And, in fact, Bad Company did sell quite a few records. Six of their releases are multiplatinum, according to the RIAA, with their 1974 self-titled debut 5x platinum and the 1975 follow up Straight Shooter triple platinum.
On the eve of the reissue of both Bad Company and Straight Shooter—each in newly remastered, two-disc packages—we spoke to Rodgers about those two albums, as well as his pre-Bad Co. band Free and his upcoming solo record.
Radio.com: Obviously, you’ve been performing many of the songs on Bad Company and Straight Shooter live, both at your solo shows and during Bad Company tours. But how long had it been since you’d listen to the original masters?
Paul Rodgers: It’s been a while, to be honest. The record company [Rhino Records] approached us, and we had our input about some things that we didn’t want on there. But this project was their baby. I was a little bit hesitant to do this. When you’re done with an album, you move on. And I thought, “Who knows what was buried in those tapes?” But the reissues give some insight into what went into making the albums. Not the whole picture, but it gives you an idea.