Rock singer Paul Rodgers recently spent a few days at his South Surrey home recording songs and preparing for a rare local concert date with his band.
He hits the stage Saturday night (March 17) at Red Robinson Show Theatre, at Coquitlam's busy Boulevard Casino.
"It's actually been six years or so since I've played in this area," Rodgers, the former singer with Bad Company, Free and The Firm, told the Now in a phone interview.
"Last time I was here (in concert), it was at the Coliseum with Queen, so it does vary in terms of my schedule."
Tickets start at $79.50 for the gig in Coquitlam, to feature Rodgers backed by his touring band of Marcus Wolfe on guitar, Todd Ronning (brother of former Canuck Cliff) on bass and Rick Fedyk on drums.
"I play about 20 shows a year, because I don't really like to do a zillion shows," Rodgers said. "I like to keep it fresh for myself and for the band, too, and for the fans, really. I do those 20 shows internationally, so this is part of that run."
In concert, Rodgers rolls out a "best of" collection of past hits, plus new material.
"It's a very creative time for me. I'm working on several projects," Rodgers said.
While in Surrey last month, he added lyrics to songs he's co-writing with Steve Cropper, guitarist with Stax Records' legendary house band, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, and The Blues Brothers band. The music will most likely fuel a Stax tribute he's doing in Memphis in May.
"That's the music I really love - Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett-," Rodgers said. "I used to hear those songs in the clubs (of northeast England) when I was 14, you know, and they'd let me in because I was in the band, in places where I shouldn't have been. That's definitely where I cut my teeth."
With Adam Lambert currently fronting Queen, Rodgers wishes the American Idol finalist best of luck in a gig he had for a five-year run in the 2000s.
"Queen and I got together because it was a good chemistry we had, and it felt good when we played together," Rodgers said. "I actually stayed way longer than I had planned to. We toured the world a couple of times and we made lots of DVDs and CDs together.- I thought it was as far as I needed to go with that and get back to doing my own thing now."
The last time the Now caught up with Rodgers, in October 2011, he led a crowd of fellow new Canadians in a version of O Canada during his citizenship ceremony at the Central City tower in Whalley. "They surprised me a bit by asking me to do that," he said. "It was an honour."