Free men lead Andy Fraser tributes

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Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke have led tributes to former Free bandmate Andy Fraser, who died on Monday aged 62.

His passing was confirmed last night. No cause of death has been reported, but he’d been dealing with AIDS and cancer for many years.

Singer Rodgers said simply: “Losing Andy is very personal. No words. Sad day.”

Drummer Kirke said: “Andy didn’t think of himself as a bass player, more a musician who could play anything to ‘get the thing going.’ When I last saw him he took me for a spin in his car, while he played some tracks he’d written. He’d played everything, but it was his singing that surprised me the most.

“He was a consummate musician. A unique player. We will never see his like again.”

Quireboys frontman Spike tells TeamRock of his shock just as his Spike’s Free House project was preparing to tour with Fraser. He says: “Andy was so looking forward to playing with Simon again and reviving those old Free classics and the work of Frankie Miller.

“Everyone was getting ready for rehearsals in May. The flights were booked, the studio space was set aside and we just couldn’t wait to get going.

“I just can’t believe it. It’s too early to even think about what we might do now. Everyone needs time to reflect. It’s a sad time for fans of Free and the whole of the rock world – Andy was a supreme musician and very brave man, and he’ll be sorely missed.”

Glenn Hughes, who’d been planning a collaboration with Fraser, said: “My biggest bass-playing influence. Honoured to have shared the stage with you. You are loved, my brother.”

Joe Bonamassa reported: “I’m extraordinarily sad – Andy was one of the greatest and I was proud to call him my friend.”

Fraser’s daughter Hannah hailed his “fearless commitment to honesty and justice” through his work with the Rock Against Trafficking charity, the Occupy movement and his standpoint on gay rights and ecological issues.

She added: “Andy was a survivor who overcame some of the most challenging health issues in his life. He left this earth healthy, happy and full of plans to make this world a better place for us all. It’s alright now, and he’s finally free.”

TeamRock Radio will pay tribute to Fraser this evening. The Classic Rock Magazine show is dedicated to his work, complete with an in-depth interview conducted by host Nicky Horne, in which the musician discussed frankly the ups and downs of his life.