Simon Kirke


1968-1971 Free - drums  
1972-1973 Free - drums  
1973-2010 Bad Company - drums, guitars, backing vocals  

Personal information

Born on: 28.07.1949
Official website

Kirke spent his early years living in the borderlands of Wales. Leaving school at 17, he returned to London and set about finding a drumming job in the booming blues scene. After a fruitless 18 months he was resigned to returning to the country when he met Paul Kossoff who was playing in a band called Black Cat Bones. Kirke was offered the drumming position in the band for which he played for six months. Among others, Kirke played Hayman drums.

Simon and Paul Kossoff left the band and with Paul Rodgers and Andy Fraser formed Free. In the four years Free were together they had an enormous influence on many bands on both sides of the Atlantic. Their biggest hit "All Right Now", a number one hit in more than 20 territories and recognised by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) in 1990 for more than 1,000,000 radio plays in the US by late 1989, and in 2000 an award was given to Paul Rodgers by the British Music Industry when "All Right Now" passed 2,000,000 radio plays in the UK.

After the disbanding of Free in 1973, Simon and Paul Rodgers again teamed up to form Bad Company. They were joined by guitarist Mick Ralphs (Mott the Hoople) and bassist Boz Burrell (King Crimson).

After Bad Company ended in 1982, Kirke was briefly involved with another band, Wildlife. Wildlife toured in support of the Michael Schenker Band around this time in the UK, their album was produced by former Bad Company bandmate Ralphs, and also featured Kirke playing saxophone on one track entitled 'Charity'. Despite being signed to Led Zeppelin's label, Swan Song, and Kirke's high-profile involvement, the album failed to sell. Wildlife's core members, brothers Chris and Steve Overland went onto greater success with the band FM. Kirke returned to Bad Company when it reunited in 1986.

As well as touring with Ringo Starr's All Star Band on three occasions, Kirke is an accomplished songwriter, releasing Seven Rays of Hope in 2005. He has also worked with Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Eric Clapton.

In 1980 Kirke played drums alongside Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham for their two song encore in Munich.

A governor on the board of NARAS (the Grammy Award Committee), Kirke lives in Manhattan with his wife, Lorraine, and his four children. His daughter Domino is trying to follow her father into a musical career.

Kirke made an instruction DVD of hits from Bad Company and Free, entitled Lessons from a Legend: Simon Kirke. The DVD was produced by Rockstarz in 2006.

Kirke is a fan of Aretha Franklin, and a recurring counsellor at Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp.

He toured with Bad Company in 2009. He has been playing with New York rock band Zeta Vang as a side project.