From his secluded home in British Columbia, British artist Paul Rodgers has been surveying his kingdom, and his rock and roll legacy, with satisfaction. Bad Company, his post-Free/pre-Firm group, was celebrated by Rhino Records with a greatest-hits compilation, and reissues of its first two albums (for Led Zeppelin’s elite Swan Song Records): 1974’s “Bad Company” and 1975’s “Straight Shooter.” Last month, Rhino released the two-CD set, “Live 1977 and 1979,” culled from classic concerts in Houston and London, respectively. “There’s so much of our material out there at the moment, it’s a bit like reliving your youth,” he says.
The new live album, and your first two reissues, were culled from 24-track vault tapes. So where is this vault?
I actually don’t know! Somewhere in record company land? They called us up and said they wanted to release all these outtakes. And everybody went, “Whaa? No! Send them to us first and let us listen.” And actually, it turned out to be quite interesting, because I kept going, “Wow! What is this?” Like the track “See the Sunlight” — I remember writing it way back when, but I don’t remember us recording it. So I got quite into it.
And you’re touring with Joe Walsh. But guitarist Mick Ralphs is sitting it out, with Rich Robinson filling in?
You sound surprised. You can’t imagine how surprised I was. We just announced the tour when Mick called up and said he’d taken one look at the schedule and gone, “I don’t think I can do this.” And I’m like, “Really Mick? You couldn’t have told us earlier?” But I met Rich down in Seattle, when Experience Music was celebrating (former Firm bandmate) Jimmy Page, and I did a couple of Firm songs that we had written. They put a band together for me, and Rich was in my band, and I loved his playing. So I gave him a call, and he was up for this.
You released a solo album, too: “The Royal Sessions,” classic R&B covers record at Memphis’ historic Royal Studios?
It was a blast, and we recorded so much material, there could well be things in the vault from those sessions, too. And Royal Studios is a little bit shabby around the edges, to be honest. It’s funky and it smells a little dusty from the ‘50s and ‘60s. But once you get going — like the way a jukebox is — all the valves get warmed up, that thing rocks. And as the night wore on, the spirits arose of all the music that’s been made there down through the years. It was beautiful.
IF YOU GO
Bad Company, Joe Walsh
Where: Concord Pavilion, 2000 Kirker Pass Road, Concord
When: 7 p.m. May 17
Tickets: $25 to $125
Contact: (925) 676-8742, www.livenation.com