Interview: Simon Kirke (Free, Bad Company, Ringo Starr)

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HIT CHANNEL INTERVIEW: September 2011. We talked with a true legend, Simon Kirke. His work as a drummer and band member of Free, Bad Company and Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band is written in music history. He also talked us about his friendship with Led Zeppelin’s drummer, John Bonham and his very good latest solo album “Filling the Void”. Read below the very interesting things he told us:


Are you satisfied by the result of  your “Filling the Void” solo album? How  long did it take you to compose these songs?

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I was very pleased with the way my album finished up. I had been working on it for over a year. It was the first time I used other musicians on most of the tracks. I had another CD called “Seven Rays of Hope” out in ’05 on which I played everything. The songs were taken from a wide time period. Some were written 10 years ago others were written at the beginning of 2011.


“Over There” is a song written for the fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is it a pro-war or an anti-war song as I assume?

“Over There” is neither pro nor anti…it just tells the story of a middle aged couple who both fear for their son’s safety. It could be applied to any war right now. There will always be wars as long as there are is in our nature unfortunately. The whole Iraq/Afghanistan is a mess… founded and perpetrated on a lie… that Hussein had WMD and was involved in 9/11.


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How difficult was in “Fly to your Side” to combine your Ry Cooder and The Beatles influences? I guess you’re the first one doing so..

“Fly to your Side” kind of grew and grew. It started as a simple love song but I came up with a repetitive chord sequence at the end that I wanted to build even more… I kind of regret finishing it so soon but the speakers in the studio were shaking….


How was playing alongside Ringo Starr (The Beatles drummer) onstage? Did you enjoy the period you played with him?

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I enjoyed playing with Ringo very much. Our styles are similar and he was one of my influences when I was learning to play. He is naturally left handed but plays a right handed kit which is amazing… but he has a lovely feel to his playing. Also playing with the All Starr Band gave me a break from Bad Company… and gave me a chance to play with some wonderful musicians… Jack Bruce, Peter Frampton, Gary Brooker, Todd Rundgren and Dave Edmunds are the ones that spring to mind straightaway.


Do you miss old friends like Paul Kossoff (Free guitarist) and Boz Burrell (Bad Company, King Crimson bassist)?

Yes of course I miss Koss and Boz Burrell. They went before their time… especially Paul Kossoff who was only 26. I miss their playing and their friendship but not the load that their addictions brought to me. As an addict in recovery myself I know only too well how much damage an out of control person can do….


How important was in your opinion Ron Nevison’s contribution into Bad Company’s first three albums? I think he did great job..

Ron Nevison did a fine job on the albums he worked on with us. There is a fine line between a good engineer and a producer… I would categorize him as an exceptional engineer who could be a producer if a band’s material and egos allowed him to be one. We were pretty together from the word ‘go’. I think he would like to have been thought of as our producer but that would be stretching the truth…


You played onstage with Led Zeppelin in Munich in 1980 one of John Bonham’s last shows. How was that experience? Was Bonzo a friend of yours?

Bonzo was a friend of mine… we were fans of each others playing and to play with him in Munich was a special memory for me.He offered it to me the night before in a club. I had been hanging out with Zeppelin for a couple of days… they were playing so well… stripped down gear, no lasers or light show..back to the roots. When out of the blue Bonzo asked me if I would like to play Whole Lotta Love with them.  I sat up in his hotel room a couple of hours before their show with him . We sat across each other on twin beds banging on our legs how we would go through the complex arrangements…it was fantastic.


You’ve played with many great musicians. Is there anyone you’d like to work with and hasn’t happened yet? Maybe with Iggy Pop?

I would liked to have worked with Clapton and Bowie… I did a session with Eric Clapton once but that was not enough!


Have you ever been to Greece? Send a message to Greek fans.

And to all the fans in Greece I send you my best wishes for a bright future… if you can learn an instrument… music will be a companion to you for life. I hope to play there one day.


A big “THANK YOU” to Mr Simon Kirke! A dream came true!

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