Full Circle with Bad Company

Who influenced your love for Rock & Roll?

Since you clicked on the link, it’s safe to say you’re a lover of Rock & Roll music. So who was it for you? A parent? A sibling? A relative? Maybe a friend? Who was it that influenced you by introducing you to Rock & Roll music? For me it was my late Uncle Roger, who was 13 years my elder.

Growing up as an only child, being raised my a single mother, forced me look to my uncle for direction and wisdom at times. He taught me many valuable lessons during my formative years. Many I carry with me to this day, including the love for good Rock & Roll.

So what the hell does this have to do with Bad Company?

The year is 1979 and Bad Company’s fifth album “Desolation Angels” is rocketing up the charts. Their songs “Rock & Roll Fantasy” & “Gone, Gone, Gone” are playing all over the airwaves. I had just turned 15-years-old.

At this period of my life my Uncle Roger would show up and take me out for the day or evening from time to time. I remember just being happy to be able to hang out with the brother/father figure that my uncle had become. On a previous outing, he sat me down and made me listen to David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars” on a TEAC reel to reel tape with headphones. He saw this as a mandatory lesson.

Bad Company on “Don Kirshner’s Midnight Special” tv show — Circa ‘79

When my Uncle showed up on a spring day in 1979 I wondered what the lesson would be this time around? I would soon be taught that live Rock & Roll can’t be beat!

That night I found myself mesmerized by what I was experiencing. All of my senses were in overdrive as we stood 15 rows from the stage. It was my very first concert. The band my Uncle took me to see on that unforgettable night was Bad Company. They were on their “Desolation Angels” album tour.

Since that night in ’79, I’ve been to more live shows than I can count, but you always remember your first. I was so lucky that my first show was a great band like Bad Company. Over the next few months, I attended shows by Van Halen, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Heart and some others. I was hooked for life!

Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke on drums

Fast Forward 2017 — Bad Company’s still Rock’in

When a recent opportunity came up to photograph Bad Company, I jumped at the chance. It was one of their rare appearances. The sold out show was at Hard Rock’s 2,700 seat state-of-the-art amphitheater “The Joint” in Tulsa, OK.

(Left to Right) Todd Ronning on bass — Simon Kirke on drums — Paul Rodgers vocals — Howard Leese guitar

Bad Company was founded in London in 1973 by vocalist Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke, both former members of the band Free. They were joined by guitarist Mick Ralphs from Mott the Hoople and bassist Boz Burrell from King Crimson. They were the first legitimate “Super Group”.

The band shared managment with Led Zeppelin under the famous Swan Song label. What both bands had in common were the strong vocals of Paul Rodgers and Robert Plant, both heavily influenced by American blues artists.

The cultural personalities of the bands were like ying and yang. Led Zeppelin had the ‘mysterious mystical guru type’ personality. On the flip-side, Bad Company projected the ‘blue-collar’, working class’ persona.

The current 2017 Bad Company lineup features original members Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke, joined by Howard Leese on guitar and Todd Ronning on bass.

Paul Rodgers — Vocals

Paul Rodgers & Howard Leese

Founding member of Free and Bad Company. There really isn’t much I can write about this guy that hasn’t already been written. Rodgers’ bluesy hard rock vocal style has influenced untold numbers of musicians. What I can say is that today (in 2017), his vocals are as killer as ever.

Paul Rodgers bluesy vocal style has been an inspiration to many rock vocalist

I realized this fact from the very first song of the show. As the lights dropped and fog covered the stage, a lone spotlight shined down on a piano. Paul Rodgers was sitting at the piano. He gently began playing the opening notes to the bands self-entitled classic “Bad Company”. He then began to sing the famous lyrics.

Company, always on the run…
Destiny is the rising sun…
Oh, I was born 6-gun in my hand…
Behind the gun I’ll make my final stand…
That’s why they call me…BAD COMPANY

Rodgers’ vocals were riveting and powerful from start to finish…

Paul Rodgers

Simon Kirke — Drums

Simon Kirke

Like Paul Rodgers, Kirke was an original member of Free and Bad Company. His no-frills hardcore drumming style has influenced an entire generation of rock musicians. Along with Keith Moon of the Who and Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, Kirke is considered, by many, as one of the fathers of modern Rock & Roll drumming.

Howard Leese — Guitar

The American West Coast native Leese joined the Paul Rodgers Band in 1998. He then joined Bad Company when Paul Rodgers return to the band

Howard Leese

Prior to Bad Company, Leese is known for helping produce one of the original demos for the band Heart.

Heart’s Debut Album

The demo lead to Heart being signed by Mushroom Records and the release of their first album, “Dreamboat Annie”. Leese is credited as assistant producer on the album. Shortly after the album was completed, the Wilson sisters asked Leese to join the band. He stayed with the band for 21 years.

Also in 1994, Leese founded HML guitars. HML guitars were totally hand-built in Seattle, Washington.

Todd Ronning — Bass Guitar

Bassist Todd Ronning
King Karma

Todd Ronning took over on bass for Bad Company in 2012 after playing in Paul Rodgers’ solo band. The Vancouver native is also known for his former band, KING KARMA. Todd collaborated with legendary Muscle Shoals producer, Jimmy Johnson on the King Karma project.

Todd Ronning
Todd Ronning — Paul Rodgers — Howard Leese
Bad Company — Todd Ronning — Simon Kirke — Paul Rodgers — Howard Leese

Set List — Tulsa’s Hard Rock “The Joint” — October 26, 2017

  1. Bad Company
  2. Live for the Music
  3. Gone, Gone, Gone
  4. Feel Like Makin’ Love
  5. Honey Child
  6. Burnin’ Sky
  7. Run With the Pack
  8. Ready for Love (Mott the Hoople cover)
  9. Young Blood (Coasters cover)
  10. Rock Steady
  11. Movin’ On
  12. Shooting Star
  13. Can’t Get Enough
  14. Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy
  15. Seagull
Bad Company at Tulsa’s Hard Rock “The Joint” 2017 — End of “R&R Fantasy” 1st encore

We don’t really do reviews here at Artist Waves, but I will say… if you have the chance to catch Bad Company live, do it! You won’t be disappointed .. You can thank me later. Keep Rock’in!

Note to Jann Wenner and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination committee — How the hell is Bad Company not in the Rock & Roll HOF? Seriously? No...really! Seriously?!

For more Bad Company info and future show dates please visit their website at http://www.badcompany.com

Follow the band on Twitter — @officialbadco

Follow Paul Rodgers on Twitter —@_paulrodgers

Recently Released — Bad Company Live at Red Rocks & Original Production Recordings

— Dedicated in memory of my Uncle Roger — Who showed me the door to an amazing new world, then Bad Company took the stage, kicked the door down, and invited me inside. —

All Photos — By Michael Young

See ya on the road — — Safe Travels!

Follow Michael Young & on Twitter

Photo Gallery — Given2Flyimages.com

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