Free and Bad Company drummer is special guest at convention

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A VERY special guest will appear at a convention which brings together fans of two classic British rock bands this weekend.

The annual Free Convention, organised by long-time fan Bill Flynn, is being staged at the Park Hotel in Tynemouth on Saturday.

This year’s event has the added attraction of a guest appearance by Simon Kirke, the drummer with Free and Bad Company.

Paul Rodgers, the legendary singer with both bands, has also donated items for an auction which will raise money for the Willows Animal Sanctuary.

Kirke is also the only drummer to have appeared alongside the late John Bonham in Led Zeppelin’s glory days, when Bad Company were the first band to be signed to Zeppelin’s own Swan Song record label.

The band were formed by Kirke and vocalist Rodgers after the break-up of their seminal band Free.

The Free Convention is the celebration of that band’s lasting legacy.

This year’s will feature performances from Bonham’s sister Deborah’s excellent band and the UK’s number one interpreter of Free’s music - Freeway, who are based in the region.

Kirke has agreed to guest on a series of songs with both bands during the evening.

Promoter Bill Flynn is excited by New York-based Kirke’s appearance at the convention.

“Simon was a key member of both Free and Bad Company, and this year we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of Bad Company’s first album.

“We will have lots of excellent Free music during the night, but there will be something for Bad Company fans too.

“We always get a great reaction to Free’s music when we hold the convention in the North East, so to have both Simon and the Deborah Bonham Band at Tynemouth is a dream come true.”

Freeway guitarist John Buckton is excited at the prospect of Kirke sitting in with his band.

“I’ve spoken to Simon, who’s a real gentlemen and he is going to be at the convention,” he said.

“It will be fabulous to have the man who was the backbone behind the Free and Bad Company sound with us on the night.”

* Advance tickets are £15 from Bill Flynn at or on (01282) 868352 or (07948) 017380.