SIMON KIRKE OF BAD COMPANY
Born and raised in London, the Beatles perked a teenage Simon’s interest in rock music, and he picked up the drums – leading to a gig with a local band called the Maniacs, on which Simon supplied drums and lead vocals (something quite uncommon at the time).
Simon worked out a deal with his parents after graduating high school, that if he couldn’t “make it” as a drummer in a band within a two-year period, that he would begin a college career. Just a few months before the deadline, Simon landed a gig with a group called the Black Cat Bones. The drummer befriended the group’s talented guitarist, Paul Kossoff, who in turn convinced Simon to leave the group with him and begin a new outfit with singer Paul Rodgers. Soon ex-John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers bassist Andy Fraser signed on and Free was officially formed in 1968. Mixing blues with hard rock, the group would prove to be quite influential, especially on the strength of their classic 1970 release, Fire and Water, and its strutting, anthemic hit single, “All Right Now.”
When the band broke up, it didn’t take Simon long to find another gig, joining Paul Rodgers in a new band, Bad Company, which was quite similar stylistically to Free. Joined by ex-King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell and ex-Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs, Bad Company was the first group signed to Led Zeppelin’s record label, Swan Song. Their debut album, 1974’s Bad Company, would go on to become one of hard rock’s all-time classics, as it birthed such long-standing rock radio standards as “Can’t Get Enough,” “Ready for Love,” and the title track, written by Paul and Simon himself. The group hails as one of the all-time top rock outfits. Simon Kirke is the only member of Bad Company who’s been in every lineup of the band.
In addition to his work with Free and Bad Company, Simon has guested on a long list of recordings by other artists over the years, including albums by Wilson Pickett, Faces, Gov’t Mule, Jim Capaldi and Ron Wood, among countless others and he is often found drumming live on tour with acts like Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Ringo Starr & His All-Star Band. Simon just finished his latest solo record, “All Because of You,” to be released on BMG Records in 2016 and he will also be joining Bad Company on their upcoming world tour with The Eagles’ Joe Walsh.