At the "retirement" age of 65, Paul Rodgers finds himself still with plenty to do.
The frontman for Free, Bad Company, the Firm, the Law and Queen + Paul Rodgers is still promoting his 2014 soul covers album, "The Royal Sessions," and is hoping to release a CD and DVD from a concert last year at London's Royal Albert Hall. A set of original material is also in progress, and earlier this year he also spearheaded the reissue of the first two Bad Company albums, 1975's self-titled debut and 1975's "Straight Shooter," each expanded with previously unreleased material.
"I've got so many things on the boil," the British-born Rodgers notes by telephone from his current home in British Columbia. "I just keep an open mind; that's the way that a lot of things have happened. That's the way I worked within Bad Company and the way I worked with Jimmy (Page, in the Firm) and the way I joined forces with Queen. I'm open to ideas that come along.
"When I first left home to do this (music) thing, I had three priorities. I wanted to survive, find peace of mind and to make good music. and, really, that's what I've been doing all my life -- and I'm still working on all three of those!"
The Bad Company reissues, of course, gave Rodgers a chance to revisit the music he's known for best. What was surprising, he says, was finding some much extra material to include -- including two entirely unheard songs, "See the Sunlight" and "All Night Long," from "Straight Shooter."
"When we recorded we would always focus on the one track we thought was working best," Rodgers explains, "and everything else was a work in progress and whatever we did to reach that point was irrelevant to us. It was just a means to an end. Once we got the final track, that was all we cared about, so it's interesting to listen to the outtakes and different versions of what we did because it's 40 years ago. Who remembers exactly how you got there?"
He recorded four other albums with Bad Company, as well as two new songs for the 2002 live album "Merchants of Cool" He's not sure what's in the vaults from those projects, but he wont' be surprised to be talking about them in the near future, either.
"I would imagine that the record company will be very interested in following this up," he says. "But I don't know yet."
8 p.m. Friday, June 19, on the DTE Energy National Stage at the GM Detroit River Days festival.
Detroit RiverWalk area west of the GM Renaissance Center, downtown Detroit.
Admission is $3 before 5 p.m. each day, $5 after.
For schedules and other details, visit www.riverdays.com.
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