Free Bassist Andy Fraser Details His AIDS Battle
Free bassist Andy Fraser has been living with AIDS since the '90s, and quite understandably, the rocker says that his diagnosis was a serious wake-up call.
Speaking with Classic Rock magazine, Fraser recalls that things started to unravel for him after the demise of both his band and his marriage, and the realization that he was gay. He says that he decided to rid himself of a lot of things in his life, so he purchased a motorhome and traveled the country. But as time passed he began to get increasingly ill.
"They tested me and it came back: hepatitis B -- and HIV. You're frozen. I was frozen for five minutes, and that night was a sleepless night from crying. But I'm proud of how quickly I said, 'Okay, you have less time than you thought. Prioritize. Cut out the crap.'"
Fraser said he was fairly close to death as at one point he was down to one T cell. He explains, "The healthy person should be 400 up to 1100. If your viral load is 10,000, they put you on medication. Mine got up to 4.3 million. The doctors were climbing the walls."
The bassist says one of the hardest parts was letting go of his music. He was unable to play his instrument for three years while trying to find the right prescription to get him back to health.
These days, Fraser has gotten back to a healthier lifestyle and he says he's never suffered a relapse of any kind. He's recently offered up a new solo album, 'On Assignment,' and has been working with his record label launching the career of a new artist named Tobi.
The bassist concludes in a positive way: "I'm so privileged to have a second chance. I gotta keep it together."