GibsonBass After leaving John Mayalls Bluesbreakers, you joined Paul Kossoff, Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke to form Free where you are associated with the Gibson EB3 electric bass guitar, can you remember what it was that particularly attracted you to use it?
Andy Fraser I was immediately at home with the EB3. First, it is small, as am I, so it was a perfect fit. It had extra frets up top, and you could never have enough extra frets for me, and with the extra pickup, one could get a wide variety of tones. I really felt one with that model. Was not happy to have it stolen!!!
GibsonBass From when Free formed in 1968 to when the band first split up in 1971 did you ever use any other basses other than the EB3 for recording or live shows?
Andy Fraser I had an Epiphone, semi-acoustic - forget the model. Nice change of tone. Slight danger of feedback live, because of being acoustic, but a nice bass. EB3 was my main baby.
GibsonBass Pictures show an Epiphone Rivoli
Andy Fraser Ah! Rivoli!! see you know better than me.
GibsonBass What made you start using this bass and did you stop using the EB3 completely?
Andy Fraser It may have been when the EB3 was stolen, and before I found another one. After the last tour with FREE, in Australia, we were in such disarray, one of the temporary roadies disappeared - as did all the equipment, and we had much weightier things to deal with than worry about that. So not too sure what actual equipment was used later.. I do remember liking it though.
GibsonBass From a bass players point of view, you were surrounded by three strong musicians, what was it like to play bass in Free?
Andy Fraser One couldn't ask for more than playing with the likes of Rodgers, Kossoff and Kirke. Total masters in their field. Our confidence came from our total belief in each other. It was like a team of commando's where you knew we were all watching each others back. Sensitive to each others weaknesses and had the chemistry to always be able to fill in the gaps, pick up the slack - complete the whole. A real band / marriage in every sense.
GibsonBass After Free split up you formed the band Toby with Stan Speake and Adrian Fisher and as far as I am aware there were no recordings of Toby released. This was the first band where you handled the lead vocal duties, how did you find being the singer and the bass player?
Andy Fraser It was a great learning experience. It was very hard! I didn't have much confidence or technique, but it was something I had to do - get my feet wet. (I have an unnatural fear of the water, by the way) but a will and determination to get me thru' some rather embarrassing moments. Having Paul Rodgers as a yardstick doesn't make it any easier, but I do like a challenge. As a songwriter, I knew I had to sing, so I had to start somewhere. It would have been very easy keep 'doing what I was famous for", join a supergroup maybe, become ridiculously rich, and artistically empty. As it turns out, Someone must have been watching over me all the time, and I have been allowed to follow my heart
Go to part 4 - Sharks | Check out Andys own website