AS Paul Rodgers prepares to bring his solo tour to Manchester, Messenger talks to the rock legend about his long and distinguished career.

It’s a career with numerous highs, including touring with one of pop’s most important and influential bands, the mighty Queen.

Q. What sort of set can we expect when you come to Manchester?

A Cross section of the songs that I've written from Free, Bad Company, The Firm and new Solo material but because the UK fans are heavily into Free I will lean the set more towards Free songs.

Q. What’s your favourite song to play live and why?

That varies from night to night. It depends on the fans, the band and how inspired we are and how inspired they are.There really is an energy field and exchange between the band and the audience.Infact, that is probably the addictive factor as an artist.

Q. What was it like to be involved in such an important decade for rock music, i.e. the 70s?

Looking back there was an incredible explosion of music worldwide. A very creative time for music indeed.The depth of truth in the music touched the fans hearts and souls and is perhaps why many of those fans still come out to shows today some 40 years later.

Q. What was it like touring with Queen and did you ever get to meet the late, great Freddie Mercury?

I met Freddie briefly on the stairs of Peter Grants office, our manager at the time. We nodded and said hello. I wish that I would have known him I have nothing but respect for him and the body of music that they created. Touring with Queen was everything that one would imagine it to be and then some.

Q. Of all the people you’ve met/worked with, who made the biggest impression on you?

Of all the people that I've met, Nelson Mandela made the biggest impression. He is a living icon of peace with an aura that reaches out beyond himself.

Q. What do you think of today’s rock bands, and have you been influenced by any of them?

As a songwriter I'm usually playing guitar or piano and creating so it leaves little time to listen to music. Of todays rock bands my knowledge is limited except to say that I recently saw Nickelback perform and they were fantastic.Great music and a very relaxed stage presence their audience went wild.

Q. How do you look after your voice?

I do everything possible to care for my voice and my health. I have found through the years that if I care for my health it makes singing much easier. So I take the time daily to exercise, meditate, eat nutritiously, organic whenever possible, drink throat coat tea and ginger tea which helps the larynx. I avoid smoke and pollution at all costs and pollen in the spring time. I realize my voice is a gift and feel blessed to have be given this gift.

Q. If you could put together your own fantasy rock band, who would be in it?

Pino Palladino on bass, Jason Bonham on drums with Nils Lofgren and Jeff Beck on guitar and if I could be the singer that would be my fantasy band.

* The Paul Rodgers Solo Tour comes to the 02 Apollo in Manchester on April 21. Ticket details are available from