|Birth name||Andrew McIan Fraser|
|Born||3 July 1952|
Paddington, London, England
|Died||16 March 2015 62) (aged|
Temecula, California, United States
|Genres||Hard rock, blues-rock, funk rock|
|Associated acts||Free, Alexis Korner, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Toby, Sharks|
|Oral History, Andy Fraser reflects on his greatest musical influences. Interview date 3 November 2014, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library|
Andrew McIan Fraser (3 July 1952 – 16 March 2015) was an English songwriter and bass guitarist whose career lasted over forty years, and includes two spells as a member of the rock band Free, which he helped found in 1968, aged 15.
Fraser was born in the Paddington area of Central London to a Barbadian/Guyanese father of mixed European and African ancestry, and an English mother.His parents later divorced and, along with his three siblings, he was raised by his mother.
He began playing the piano at the age of five. He was trained classically until twelve, when he switched to guitar. By thirteen he was playing in East End, West Indian clubs and after being expelled from school in 1968 at the age of 15, enrolled at Hammersmith College of Further Education. There, another student, Sappho Korner, introduced him to her father, pioneering blues musician and radio broadcaster Alexis Korner,who became a father figure to him. Shortly thereafter, upon receiving a telephone call from John Mayall who was looking for a bass player, Korner suggested Fraser; still only 15, he was now in a professional band and earning £50 a week, although it ultimately turned out to be a brief tenure.
Korner was also instrumental in Fraser's next move, to the influential band Free, which consisted of Paul Rodgers (vocals), Paul Kossoff (guitar) and Simon Kirke (drums). Fraser produced and co-wrote the song "All Right Now" with Rodgers, a No. 1 hit in over 20 territories and recognised by ASCAP in 1990 for garnering over 1,000,000 radio plays in the United States by late 1989. In October 2006, a BMI London Million-Air Award was given to Rodgers and Fraser to mark over 3 million radio and television plays of "All Right Now".Simon Kirke later recalled: "'All Right Now' was created after a bad gig in Durham. We finished our show and walked off the stage to the sound of our own footsteps. The applause had died before I had even left the drum riser. It was obvious that we needed a rocker to close our shows. All of a sudden the inspiration struck Fraser and he started bopping around singing 'All Right Now'. He sat down and wrote it right there in the dressing room. It couldn’t have taken more than ten minutes."
Fraser also co-wrote two other hit singles for Free, "My Brother Jake" and "The Stealer".Free initially split in 1971, and Fraser formed a trio, Toby, with guitarist Adrian Fisher (later with Sparks), and drummer Stan Speake. Material was recorded but not released, and Fraser re-joined Free in December 1971. He left for the second time in June 1972.
After leaving Free, Fraser formed Sharks with vocalist Snips (later Baker Gurvitz Army), guitarist Chris Spedding and drummer Marty Simon. Despite being well received by the critics, especially for Spedding's tasteful guitar work (Crawdaddy Lead Review, Bruce Malamut Vol. 27, 1973), Fraser left after their debut album, First Water (1973).
He then formed the Andy Fraser Band, a trio with Kim Turner on drums and Nick Judd on keyboards. They released two albums, Andy Fraser Band and In Your Eyes, both in 1975, before that also folded. Attempts to form a band with Frankie Miller came to nothing, and Fraser relocated to California to concentrate on songwriting. He wrote hits for Robert Palmer, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan, Rod Stewart and Paul Young.
He married Henrietta (Ri) from Australia in 1974. In that year their first daughter Hannah was born in England, and after moving to California they had a second child, Jasmine in 1977
Fraser's most famous compositions remain "All Right Now" and "Every Kinda People", which Robert Palmer recorded in 1978 for his Double Fun album.
In 1984, Fraser released another album of his own. Fine, Fine Line featured ex-Back Street Crawler drummer Tony Braunagel, Bob Marlette (keyboards), Michael Thompson (guitar) and David Faragher (bass), with Fraser contributing vocals. One of the songs on the album, "Do You Love Me" — a cover of the Berry Gordy Jr.-penned song — spent five weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 82 in March 1984.
Having been diagnosed with HIV, he was later diagnosed with Kaposi's sarcoma, a form of cancer that had been very rare until the onset of the AIDS epidemic. This time-line was called into question by Fraser's subsequent revelation that he was homosexual.He played bass with former Free colleague Paul Rodgers at Woodstock '94, but otherwise kept a low profile until 2005, when a new release, Naked and Finally Free, appeared. At the time of the new album's release, Fraser was interviewed by Dmitry M. Epstein for the DME website and revealed: "To be quite honest, I never thought of myself as a bass-player. I actually only used the bass-guitar because the other kids in our school-band wanted to be the singer, or drummer, or guitarist. I have always thought of myself as doing whatever was necessary to make the whole thing work. I’m happy adding piano, or tambourine, or anything that helped".
In early 2006, writing for Vintage Guitar magazine, Tom Guerra conducted a comprehensive interview with Fraser, covering his career, influences and instruments and, in April, Fraser responded to the revival of interest in his music by announcing two rare live shows at Southern California's Temecula Community Arts Theatre on 4 May. The shows, accompanied by an eight-piece band, were his first live performances since the 1994 Woodstock reunion.
In 2008, he wrote and sang the song "Obama (Yes We Can)", to support the campaign to elect Barack Obama as president of the United States.
Founded by Fraser, Mctrax International was incorporated as Mctrax International Corporation in California in 2005. Headquartered in southern California, Mctrax International and its subsidiaries MctraxMedia, MctraxMotion and MctraxStudios were originally created as an outlet for his prolific songwriting.
In May 2010, Fraser was interviewed for BBC Two's documentary series titled Rock 'n' Roll. The project includes a five-part documentary, narrated by British music show anchor-man Mark Radcliffe plus online and radio content. "The documentary aims to explain the success of some of the greatest bands of the past 50 years, including the Who, the Police, the Doors, Bon Jovi and the Foo Fighters".
In mid-2013, Fraser played a supporting role as bassist in the band of protege Tobi Earnshaw for a short series of UK dates. Accompanying Tobi Earnshaw and Fraser was a veteran ally, guitarist Chris Spedding. Fraser produced and mentored Earnshaw on a number of album releases.
Fraser died on 16 March 2015 at his home in California of a heart attack caused by atherosclerosis.Fraser is survived by his daughters Hannah Fraser and Jasmine Fraser and ex-wife Ri Fraser.
|1969||Free||Tons of Sobs||Studio|
|1970||Free||Fire and Water||Studio|
|1972||Free||Free at Last||Studio|
|1973||Sharks||Broke A Feeling||Single|
|1973||Sharks||Ol' Jelly Roll||Single|
|1975||Andy Fraser Band||Andy Fraser Band||Studio|
|1975||Andy Fraser||...In Your Eyes||Studio|
|1984||Andy Fraser||Fine Fine Line||Studio|
|2000||Free||Songs of Yesterday||Box-set|
|2005||Andy Fraser||Naked... And Finally Free||Studio|
|2006||Free||Live at the BBC||Live|
|2015||Andy Fraser||On Assignment||Studio|
Alexis Andrew Nicholas Koerner, known professionally as Alexis Korner, was a British blues musician and radio broadcaster, who has sometimes been referred to as "a founding father of British blues". A major influence on the sound of the British music scene in the 1960s, Korner was instrumental in the formation of several notable British bands including The Rolling Stones and Free.
John Mayall, OBE is an English blues singer, guitarist, organist and songwriter, whose musical career spans over sixty years. In the 1960s, he was the founder of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, a band which has counted among its members some of the most famous blues and blues rock musicians.
Bad Company are an English rock supergroup formed in Albury, Surrey in 1973 by singer Paul Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs, drummer Simon Kirke and later adding bassist Boz Burrell. Peter Grant, who managed the rock band Led Zeppelin, also managed Bad Company until 1982.
Paul Rodgers is a British-Canadian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was vocalist of Free and Bad Company. After stints in two lesser-known bands in the 1980s and early 1990s, The Firm and The Law, he became a solo artist. He has more recently toured and recorded with Queen. A poll in Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 55 on its list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time". In 2011 Rodgers received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.
Free were an English rock band formed in London in 1968, best known for their 1970 signature song "All Right Now". They disbanded in 1973; lead singer Paul Rodgers went on to become the frontman of the band Bad Company, which also featured his Free bandmate Simon Kirke on drums. Lead guitarist Paul Kossoff formed Back Street Crawler in 1973, but died from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 25 in 1976. Bassist Andy Fraser formed Sharks.
Christopher John Spedding is an English musician, singer, guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and record producer. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Spedding is best known for his studio session work. By the early 1970s, he had become one of the most sought-after session guitarists in England. Spedding has played on and produced many albums and singles. He has also been a member of eleven rock bands: the Battered Ornaments, Frank Ricotti Quartet, King Mob, Mike Batt and Friends, Necessaries, Nucleus, Ricky Norton, Sharks, Trigger, and The Wombles.
Paul Francis Kossoff was an English blues rock guitarist. He was most notably a member of the band Free.
Reeves Gabrels is an American guitarist, songwriter and record producer. A member and guitarist of British band The Cure since 2012, Gabrels worked with David Bowie from 1987 to 1999, and was a member of the band Tin Machine. He has lived in New York, Boston, London, Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York's Hudson Valley. His Nashville-based band since 2007, Reeves Gabrels & His Imaginary Friends, features Gabrels on guitar and vocals.
The Firm were a British rock supergroup formed in 1984, featuring singer Paul Rodgers, guitarist Jimmy Page, drummer Chris Slade and bass player Tony Franklin.
Simon Frederick St George Kirke is an English rock drummer best known as a member of Free and Bad Company, the latter of which he has been the only continuous member since their inception.
"All Right Now" is a single by the English rock band Free. The song, released in 1970, hit #2 on the UK singles chart and #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. "All Right Now" originally appeared on the album Fire and Water, which Free recorded on the Island Records label, formed by Chris Blackwell. In July 1973, the song was re-released, reaching #15 on the UK singles chart. In 1991, a remix of the song was released, reaching #8 on the UK singles chart.
Tons of Sobs is the debut album by English blues rock band Free, released in the UK on 14 March 1969. While the album failed to chart in the UK, it did reach #197 in the US. Free are cited as one of the definitive bands of the British blues boom of the late 1960s even though this is the only album of their canon that can strictly be called blues rock. According to bass player Andy Fraser, the title effectively summed up the album.
Fire and Water is the third studio album released by the English rock group Free. It became the band's breakthrough, achieving widespread commercial success after the band's first two studio albums had faced a more muted response. With the "tremendous" acclaim of Fire and Water at their backs, in the words of AllMusic, Free headlined the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival and "appeared destined for superstardom".
Highway is the fourth studio album by English rock band Free. It was recorded extremely quickly in September 1970 following the band's success at the Isle of Wight Festival but with an attitude of relaxation, the band having achieved worldwide success with their previous album Fire and Water and the single "All Right Now". It is a low-key and introspective album compared with its predecessors.
Free Live! is a live album by English rock band Free. It was rush-released by Island Records to commemorate the band, who had broken up in April 1971. Possibly because of the publicity caused by their breakup the album was a hit, reaching No. 4 in the UK Albums Chart. It fared less well in the US Billboard 200 however, reaching No. 89.
Free at Last is the fifth studio album by English rock band Free. It was recorded between January and March 1972, and released in May that year. After breaking up in April 1971 due to differences between singer Paul Rodgers and bassist Andy Fraser, the band had reformed in January 1972.
Heartbreaker is the sixth and final studio album by English rock group Free, that provided them with one of their most successful singles, "Wishing Well". It was recorded in late 1972 after bassist Andy Fraser had left the band and while guitarist Paul Kossoff was ailing from an addiction to Mandrax (Quaaludes), and features a different line up from previous albums. Tetsu Yamauchi was brought in to replace Fraser, while John "Rabbit" Bundrick became the band's keyboard player to compensate for the increasingly unreliable Kossoff. Both Yamauchi and Bundrick had played with Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke on the album Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu & Rabbit during that period in late 1971 when Free had broken up for the first time. Also, several other musicians were used on the album. The album was co-produced by Andy Johns as well as Free themselves.
In Concert: Merchants of Cool is a live album and DVD by English hard rock band Bad Company. It was recorded principally at The Paramount Theater, Denver, Colorado and The Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim, California, in January 2002. It features hits from both Bad Company and precursor band Free as well as two new studio tracks, "Joe Fabulous" and "Saving Grace". It is their only album not to feature guitarist Mick Ralphs. Longtime session guitarist Dave “Bucket” Colwell, who had appeared on the three previous studio albums, plays in Mick’s place. Additionally, Jaz Lochrie plays bass instead of Boz Burrell. The band covers two songs from the Beatles, "Ticket to Ride" and "I Feel Fine", as well as one from Paul Rodgers' and Simon Kirke's former band Free, "All Right Now".
Kossoff Kirke Tetsu Rabbit is a 1972 rock album made by guitarist Paul Kossoff, drummer Simon Kirke, bassist Tetsu Yamauchi and keyboard player John "Rabbit" Bundrick.
Sharks are a British rock band, formed in September 1972, by the ex-Free bass player, Andy Fraser, upon his departure from Free. They were signed to Island Records and were highly rated by critics, especially for Chris Spedding's tasteful guitar work. The initial line-up consisted of Fraser, Snips (vocals), Spedding (guitar) and a Canadian, Marty Simon (drums).