It’s on the road again for Summerland’s Paul Rodgers and Bad Company when they hit the stage tonight (Friday) at the Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas, Texas.
His band is joining The Outlaws for five shows on the Lynyrd Skynyrd Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour which wraps up at the end of this month.
This will be a warm up for 68-year-old, British-born rocker’s summer schedule when he will do a 20-show circuit starting July 18 in West Valley City, Utah on the Stars Align Tour.
For that one he will be teaming up with legendary guitar great Jeff Beck, Anne Wilson of Heart and Deborah Bonham, rock and blues vocalist sister of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
As well, going back to his roots for Rodgers is the June release of Celebrating the Music of Free, a 16-song collection on CD/DVD, vinyl and Blu-ray recorded at a 2017 sold-out show at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Free is the name of his original band.
Going to London in 1967 Rodgers had three things in mind, “to survive, find peace of mind and make music doing it.”
He described Free’s coming together at that time as “creative magic.”
“Yes, indeed it is,” he said about that magic still being there when they perform. “There is an almost spiritual connection sometimes between the performer and the audience I feel that is true of many live shows.
“It was very refreshing to perform a whole set of Free material. Normally I only include a couple of Free songs in my solo set. The audiences’ response was very loving and warm.”
And about the man on stage a half century ago and the one who performs now, Rodgers told the Western News: “The singer of ’67 had some talent if I may say so. But it took some time to fully appreciate what I had. Nowadays I appreciate it more. I don’t smoke or drink anymore and I take care of my health and therefore my voice.
“We’re much more organized and sober nowadays.”
Along with Free and Bad Company, Rodgers teamed up with Jimmy Page to form the band The Firm and Law.
Rodgers became a Canadian citizen in 2011 four years after marrying Cynthia Kereluk, who was the 1984 Miss Canada, in an Okanagan wedding.
“As a human being Paul is gifted with the kind gene. Not everyone has this, he has it in spades as a musician. There is no one on the planet who sings better than him and that’s because he sings with so much passion and soul and every once of his being,” is how Cynthia describes her husband. “He would do it (music) even if he wasn’t being paid for it. His DNA is probably musical notes, if they were to dissect his DNA, it is deeply rooted and always will be and always has been.
“As a husband, he is very patient. He has to be because we have so many animals. And as a musician, he is a triple threat. A great singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist. Not a bad dancer as well, could it be that he is a quadruple threat?””
While they are currently down to just six cats, Cynthia recalls a time not so long ago when their animal numbers were well into double digits.
So for that reason the couple is very dedicated, as Rodgers has been throughout his illustrious career, in supporting charity, particularly animal causes.
They both recently attended the open house for the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre of which they have been longtime supporters.
Other projects they help include; Willow’s Animals in Scotland, the U.K. Racehorse Sanctuary Rehoming Centre and Random Acts of Kindness.
“All animals are important to us and especially wildlife,” said Cynthia.
Rodgers is especially excited about the summer tour.
“Yes, it’s inspiring when you have such a great band, such a great backline crew, lights, sound and you are sharing the stage with the likes of Jeff Beck, Anne Wilson and Deborah Bonham,” he said, adding: “The road can be a grind sometimes. We try to take some of the grind off of it.
“I’m still doing it for the love of it. That’s what keeps everything going I do think, the love of it. There’s a lot of love in my music and if there’s a message that would be it – put simply.”
The couple often travel together on the tours and always look forward to coming home to the Okanagan where they spent much of their time hiking.
The move here was something Rodgers fondly looks back on.
“Life in Canada has been just great for me,” he said. “I have a beautiful loving Canadian wife. We live simply, but comfortably, working all the time on different aspects of a life in music. That can mean as a solo artist, with Bad Company or with Free Spirit.”
“It’s always varied and interesting.”