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That was the Quo month that was ... April 1996

1st - Quo release "Don't Stop" single

The title track from the "Don't Stop" album was released on April 1st on three formats; 7" picture disc, cassette single and CD single (with catalogue numbers on Polygram TV of 576634-7, 576634-4 and 576634-2 respectively). The 7" picture disc was again a limited edition special, featuring the familiar 'Radio News' banner adorning the CD and cassette covers. The tracks are "Don't Stop", another new Quo track "Temporary Friend" and (on the CD 'maxi single') "Don't Stop" (extended fade).

The two 'versions' of "Don't Stop" are disappointing, at 3:10 and 3:27 for the extended fade version, but the new track "Temporary Friend" (Parfitt/Rossi/Bown/Edwards/Rich, 4:13) more than makes up for it. This has all the classic Quo ingredients - great driving rhythm, Rick on lead vocals and impressive guitar solos - and it fits together so well. The sound and style is reminiscent of the 1986 period B-sides (like "Don't Give It Up" and "Heartburn") and that's no bad thing! The rhythm produces subconcious foot-tapping and the guitar solos inspire air guitar!

A great bonus track (for a change) and a welcome return to form after the dire "Mortified" from "Fun Fun Fun". I wonder whether the title "Temporary Friend" is an oh-so subtle dig at Radio 1?! Whatever, "Temporary Friend" is the best Quo-penned song for at least two years - great stuff.

The single, disappointingly, entered the chart at number 35 then sank from the Top 40 the following week.

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15th - Quo interview in Daily Telegraph

The following article appeared in the Daily Telegraph's 'Style' section on Monday April 15th.

Proud To Be Unfashionable - Status Quo veterans Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi don't mind being called dinosaurs, but they do want their music played on Radio 1, says Hilary Alexander.

Francis Rossi arrived at the studio glowing from swimming his regular 40 lengths of his indoor pool and asked for a banana and a cup of tea. Rick Parfitt bounded in, wanting a coffee and a chocolote chip biscuit. Wild men of rock? Status Quo's front-line hell-raisers for 30 years? Fresh from a month long, sell out tour of Scandanavia and Benelux, the pair seemed as fresh as daisies.

"I think we're healthier now than we've ever been," said Rossi, 46, chomping thoughtfully on his banana. "We used to go on tour just to get wrecked. These days we're in training for it." "If you get below a certain level of fitness, things start to hurt when you get up on stage; we're very physical," said Parfitt, 47. "It must be nice to have an act like Clapton. He goes on in an Armani and doesn't even sweat."

Parfitt and Rossi, guitar flailing grandees and founder members of the Quo, are used to having publicity for their music. In three decades they've had worldwide record sales of 110 million and 50 British hit singles - more than any other band. This year they have made headlines not such much because of their music - or even their off-stage excesses or marital ups-and-downs - but because it is not being played.

In March, Parfitt and Rossi took on the might of the BBC. They issued a writ alleging breach of contract and seeking damages because Radio 1 had refused appropriate airtime to their 30th anniversary album, ironically entitled "Don't Stop", and its two hit singles, 'When You Walk In The Room' and 'Fun Fun Fun'. The case turned sour and was followed by a further writ for libel against the BBC and Radio 1's head of production, Trevor Dann. The writs went up for judicial review last week. Win or lose, Parfitt and Rossi are pleased to have made a point. "Radio 1 may not like us or our music but that is irrelevant," says Parfitt. "They are a Top 40 station, paid for by the people. It is their job to respect the record-buying public - and our records sell in the millions."

Parfitt and Rossi are often colloquially termed the 'grandfathers of rock', but although both men are reborn family men, neither is, in fact, a grandfather - yet. Rossi, married to Eileen, his second wife, since 1988, has seven children and an eighth on the way. Parfitt has two ex-wives and a son by each; a third child, a daughter, drowned in 1980. He enjoys a long-distance relationship with his first wife, Marietta, who lives and works in Germany, which he describes as "light, airy and easy".

They pooh pooh the notion of being ageing sex symbols - "We've never been symbols of anything much except great music" - and they are happy to admit they have never come anywhere near the cutting edge of style. They may wear suits off-stage (Parfitt buys Mugler and Montana; Rossi favours Armani) but the trademark jeans are as much an institution as the Quo themselves. Rossi wouldn't go on stage without them - "It wouldn't be rock 'n' roll" - even if he sometimes has to wet the waistband to do them up. Parfitt has two jeans wardrobes - waist 30 inches on stage, 32 when he's not touring and can indulge in a few curries.

"We've always been unfashionable," said Parfitt. "When we started out, it was all frilly shirts and flares and panstick make-up. We rebelled. We started wearing jeans, T-shirts and trainers because that was what our audience wore and we wanted to be comfortable."

"My eldest son [Simon, 28] summed us up," said Rossi. "He told me, 'Dad the trouble with Status Quo is that you're not pretentious enough.' I think he was right. Image? I don't think we've ever had one."

It's certainly too late to start now, they both agree. Confronted these days by a selection of the sort of train-spotter-meets-nerd look favoured by bands half their age, Parfitt and Rossi found it hard to stop laughing. "Look at this stuff," muttered Rossi, sifting through a pile of checked trousers and floral shirts, "I used to have one just like this. The wife had a skirt made to match. Liberty print I think it was."

Parfitt swooped on a powder blue striped jumper. "We used to borrow our mum's jumpers and cardigans and they were just like this. We thought we looked really wacky."

"Wacky indeed," he muttered, as he caught a glimpse of Rossi dressed in image-mode. "You look just like my old man did before he died."

"We don't mind being called dinosaurs - they're big and old, just like us," said Rossi. "And we'll certainly be around for the millenium. After that, we'll see what happens."

Revisit the April 1996 event list  

27th - '4 Bills And A Ben' at Bancroft School, Woodford Green

How soon a year can pass! 12 months on, another glorious Spring day welcomed '4 Bills And A Ben' back to Bancroft's School, Woodford Green - previously home to Jeff's son, Mark. The support band was a talented five piece by the name of 'Spicy Melon', familiar to the Teddington contingent of the last 4 Bills gig. These five youngsters, including the aforementioned guitarist Mark Rich, played a super half hour set (from 8.40 to 9.10) of guitar-based rock. Their choice of songs was slightly different this time around and was not quite so successful. Standard material included Jimmy Hendrix's "Purple Haze", Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way", Free's wonderful "All Right Now" and their own song "Trapped". An astoundingly well-performed blues number brought out the talented best of all the guitarists and Terrorvision's "Perserverance" was very well done, but the effort at Skunk Anansie's "Weak" was a little too brave. The band clearly had many friends in the audience and were well-received by all in the crowded hall. With a cocky lead singer and technically-able backing, 'Spicy Melon', could go far.

A 40 minute break gave a welcome opportunity to enjoy the Spring evening along with replenishment from the bar and barbecue. The 4 Bills took stage at 9.50, their line-up being as at Teddington but with a few image changes - Johnny Warman sported a rather dapper check suit jacket and trousers, while John 'Rhino' Edwards showed off his new shorter haircut. There followed a frantic 90 minutes of the 4 Bills at their best, helped along by the eager crowd of youngsters and Mums and Dads, the more mature members fo the audience lapping up the rock 'n' roll numbers. Yet again, "Proud Mary" stood out and is increasingly better than Quo's version. Rhino continued his more dominant role and gained lead vocals on one song during which he displayed a surprising vocal range, not all all like his usual raucous efforts! Part one of the set was closed in style with "I Just Wanna Make Love To You", performed brilliantly by Warman and Co - each band member got the chance to shine; Andy Hamilton on sax, Paul Hirsch on keyboards, Jeff Rich on drums, Steve Byrd on guitar and John on bass (stealing the show!).

The inevitable encore was preceded by a touching speech from Jeff Rich to assure the Bancroft audience that, even though he'd now moved out of the area, he would be returning - this news was clearly welcomed and drew a huge cheer! Another four songs (and fifteen minutes or so) really did bring the show to a close, leading Rhino to close with the fact that we were the best ever Bancroft's audience.

John and Jeff showed no signs of tiredness after their Scandanavian tour with Quo and the 4 Bills again produced a thoroughly professional and energetic performance - much to the delight of both young and old (and those in-between!) at Bancroft's School. Till the same time next year then!

Revisit the April 1996 event list  

undated - Quo in "Guitar Techniques" magazine

The April 1996 issue of Guitar Techniques magazine features Rossi and Parfitt in colour on the cover wearing their "Don't Stop" regalia. A four page interview with Rossi includes five large and one small colour photograph. The bulk of the interview concerns the "Don't Stop" album and technical chat about guitars, pedals and amps. There is also some background about "Caroline" in readiness for the next section and Rossi concludes by talking about his recent practice regime.

The magazine's "Easy Like..." feature is on "Caroline" and includes the lyrics, examples from the sheet music, tabs and hints on playing the song. The feature is nicely accompanied by an archive colour photo of Francis and Rick.

The magazine's accompanying CD has a track devoted to the playing of "Caroline." There is a 90-second snatch of the song's intro, verse and chorus using drums and guitar only. There is also a short backing track to play along to. The sound is very close to Quo, maybe a bit too clean.

A number of adverts for the "Quotographs" book also appear throughout the magazine.

Revisit the April 1996 event list