After false rumours of his death, Andy Fraser, former Bluesbreaker, Shark, and bassist for the rock group Free has recently returned to the studio for his first album in several years. Naked, and Finally Free is available at the Andy Fraser website.
Graham Fieldhouse finds out about the new album, and gets the low-down on his bass guitars over the years.
GibsonBass Was Naked, and Finally Free something you had been working on for some time, that you suddenly felt pressured to get released?
Andy Fraser In general terms that is true. I had basically retired, in my mind, and was making music for my own pleasure, and need for self-expression. In the back of my mind, there was gonna be a time when I would release something, but have been given the luxury of that being sometime later. When all the rumors started flying around, I had no choice but to respond. It's one thing to say hey 'I'm alive... and kicking,' but it seemed necessary to show exactly how. So I pulled a bunch of songs together which seemed to work as a whole, nipped and tucked here and there, so lyrically it was all on the same page, and regarded the whole situation as a sign. It's 'now or never'
GibsonBass You were playing bass in bands from the age of 13, which is quite remarkable, can you remember what your first bass was that you owned?
Andy Fraser The first bass - that is difficult. I remember the the first guitar was an "Airstream Lucky 7" where I tuned the strings down an octave, 'cos no one else wanted to be the bass player. I was the diplomat - they wanted to be the guitarist, or drummer, or singer. Bass players weren't cool!!
GibsonBass You have cited a jazz player Binky Mackenzie who was a boyfriend of your sister as a strong influence on your bass playing but were there other players that influenced you?
Andy Fraser I listen to everyone. Paul McCartney was very influential in the way he used the bass to orchestrate the songs. He got better and better at it, and by Sgt. Peppers, it was like the song, bass, and everything else. At a very early age, I was quite taken by the Stones version of "I wanna be your man" (a Beatles song), where Bill Wyman really moves it right along - check it out. And then John Entwistle's little bass break in 'My generation' was really original and opened up a lot of possibilities for me. Jack Bruce played a big part in the early days, as Free started off with Cream as one of it's models. Then getting into Stax and Motown, Jamie Jamison, Carol Kaye - listen to some of the bass playing on Marvin Gaye's what's going on, and early Stevie Wonder stuff. Totally cool!!
Go to part 2 - John Mayalls Bluesbreakers | Check out Andys own website