How did the original members of veteran British blues-rock outfit Bad Company — vocalist Paul Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke (minus late bassist Boz Burrell) — reconvene for a reunion tour that hits the Bone Bash in Mountain View this weekend? Easy, says Rodgers, 63, who has also fronted Free, The Firm, The Law, and, in recent years, even Queen. It all started with a phone call from his manager, reminding him that this year would mark the group's 40th anniversary, so perhaps a few celebratory concerts were in order. Keeping things exclusive, there are just 25 shows.
You're phoning from Canada. Do you live there now? Yeah! I'm actually in British Columbia, in the Okanagan Valley. If you look at Vancouver, then drive four hours east, you'll maybe find me. Heh-heh.
Your wife is Canadian, right? Yes. So I have dual citizenship — I'm still British, too. And I met her about 15 years ago, and actually Lynyrd Skynyrd — who we're co-headlining some dates with — were the people that introduced me to her. I was touring with them with my solo band, and they said, "When we get to Vancouver, we're going to introduce you to someone. And when you meet Cynthia, things are going to change." And strangely enough, when we did meet, it was amazing. So I commuted between Vancouver and London for a while, and it got to be a long commute. And eventually, I turned to Cynthia and said, "I think I live here now, don't I?" And she said "I think you do."
You're phoning from your office? What happens there? Well, it takes organization to run bands and schedule trips and tours. I mean, I don't have a desk here, and I don't sit at the phone all day. But I have people down here that organize, and my wife is a very intelligent lady, very astute, and she does my business management. But for instance, I've just come from Germany, where I did a tour with a 50-piece classical orchestra. It took a lot of organization to get all those people and their equipment from A to B, in one place.
It's sad Boz isn't around for this reunion, isn't it? Yes, it's one of those things, it's life and death, all part of life's rich pattern. We had a lot of trouble finding a bass player initially. We auditioned some eight or nine bassists before Boz came along. He was very melodic and lyrical in his playing — he played that fretless bass like a cello sometimes. So we do really miss him.IF YOU GO
Bone Bash XIV
Featuring Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 6 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $30 to $149.50
Contact: (650) 967-3000, www.livenation.com