Getty Images "It's probably a dream come true for Adam, but I wonder if he…
- Posted on Jun 28th 2011 3:00PM by Jason MacNeil
Courtesy of Paul Rodgers
Now 61, but remarkably with a voice sounding absolutely no worse for wear, Rodgers took some time out to chat with Spinner about Bad Company's new 'Live at Wembley' album/DVD (released today in North America), becoming a doctor, meeting Nelson Mandela and his praise for pop star Christina Aguilera. He also weighs in on last month's hockey riot in Vancouver.
Were you pleased with how the 'Live At Wembley' project turned out?
Oh, yes, I was very pleased because it was a great tour. It was great to be welcomed back by the English fans. We broke big over here [in North America] and then we went back to England to make it so it's really nice to have captured a great show. And I must say I'm glad that Bad Company were finally filming our concerts for DVDs because I remember back in the day in television land we should have been recording and filming but it was one of those few things that never happened.
You've always been open to collaborating with so many musicians over the years. Is that something that comes fairly naturally to you?
I keep an open mind and I love to play with different people. [Rock guitarist] Nils Lofgren recently sent me a track from his solo CD he's working on and asked me to sing on a duet with him and it's fantastic. I really enjoyed doing that. While I was in England, [soul singer] Mica Paris actually jammed with me at the Royal Albert Hall, and we did a song called 'Be My Friend' together which was frigging awesome, if you'll excuse me saying. She's great and she asked me to sing a duet with her and I did that in the UK, so that'll be coming out soon. I'm open to a lot of things. I sang a Paul McCartney song 'Let Me Roll It' on a new tribute album that's coming out to him. I've got all kinds of things and I go with the flow in a lot of ways.
And do you still find yourself learning new things from these collaborations?
Oh yeah, I really do, I absolutely do. I did the whole Queen thing for four years and I learned a lot from that. It was hugely challenging and I actually sometimes wondered if I was going to be able to do it. It stretched me and I always learn from that. I definitely like to think that I'm still learning.
Speaking of your work with Queen, it was three years ago to the day [June 27] that you and Queen performed at London's Hyde Park to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday. What was that like?
It was wonderful to meet Nelson Mandela, actually. I never thought I would ever meet somebody so amazing. We flew down to South Africa [as well] ... and did a show for him for his birthday, it was really nice to meet him and spend time with him. We sat and talked with him and he has this aura that just spreads around him. He's like a saint walking through the streets, it was incredible.
So many people have covered your songs over the years be it from your time in Free or Bad Company or as a solo artist. Do you have a favorite cover version of one of your songs?
Lots of people have covered the songs, Wilson Pickett did 'Fire and Water' way back when, and that was an amazing version of the song. Strangely enough, when I wrote that song I was thinking of Wilson Picket and that genre of singer, so it was amazing they picked up on it themselves without any encouragement from me. I thought Christina Aguilera's 'All Right Now' was a rocking version, I have to say. Five Finger Death Punch did 'Bad Company' a few years ago. It's always nice when people cover your songs, it's a great complement.
You were also recently in Vancouver to perform 'All Right Now' before Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final?
They said, "Well, you've got a minute to sing it and it's right before they drop the puck." I was like, "Wow, a minute, we're only really going to get to sing the chorus." So we just did the chorus and I kind of ad-libbed throughout, "We're going to rock the ice" and that was the game they won. It was great to be part of and I like this ice hockey game, I must say. It's fast and furious. It was great, it was a shame we didn't win but there you go, next time.
And what was your reaction to the riots in Vancouver after Game Seven?
I just thought it was a shame, a bad shame. I mean it's a sport right? It should be about sportsmanship, but there you go. I don't think it was the fans, frankly.
Surprisingly, you haven't been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Is that something that bothers you, or is it a case of if it happens it happens.
I don't really measure myself in terms of awards or anything. I measure myself basically on the last show I did and the fans' reaction because that's what it's about, that energy on stage. But these awards are nice. I recently received a Doctorate from Teesside University in my hometown in England, [Middlesbrough], which is a top university, and they gave me a Doctorate which was completely unexpected and was a great thrill. So these things are nice.
So do all of your band mates now have to address you as Dr. Rodgers?
Oh, I insist upon it.