The following small article appeared in the UK Sun newspaper on 1st August.
Rocker Rick Parfitt has rekindled his romance with wife Patty - seven years after they divorced.
Status Quo guitarist Rick, 53, and Patty, 51, secretly started seeing each other again late last year and have vowed to give the relationship another chance. They made their first appearance together at the launch of Quo's new album on Tuesday.
Rick is buying a London penthouse apartment for the couple, who have a 13-year old son, Harry. The marraige ended badly and Patty wrote a book telling of Rick's drug and booze-fuelled partying and his constant womanising.
But Rick said "We have known each other 30 years and just realised we are still in love. We went out a few times last year and talked things over. We decided life was too short and are giving things another go. But we're not going to get married again. That would put unneccessary pressure on us. Harry is over the moon, which makes us realise we are doing the right thing. I don't care about what's been said during the divorce. It's time to forgive and forget. We're looking for a place to live, somewhere we can be a family again."Revisit the August 2002 event list
The following article appeared in the UK Sunday Mirror newspaper on 4th August.
INTERVIEW: RICK PARFITT - I WON'T SLEEP WITH ANOTHER WOMAN EVER AGAIN. AND THIS TIME ROUND I HONESTLY MEAN IT
Rick Parfitt isn't very good at relationships. He has been married and divorced twice, had a string of affairs and countless one-night stands fuelled by drink and drug binges.
So even he is surprised that he has done something right for a change.
After seven years away from his ex-wife Patty he has won her back. And says Rick, with a big smile - this time they'll be together for life.
The Status Quo guitarist cuddles up to Patty on an enormous hotel bed and makes a bold promise: "I will never sleep with another woman again."
I raise my eyebrows, not least because Patty, at the age of 51, should know better.
She's the woman who wrote a searingly bitter account of how the ageing rocker left her to go back to his FIRST ex-wife, Marietta, in 1995.
She claimed he was just a drugged-up womaniser who put his life of constant partying above herself and their son, Harry, now 13. Then she embarked on a bitter divorce battle that Rick says cost him £1.4 million. He had to pay her £225,000 for a house, plus £25,000 a year and £8,000 a year for Harry.
But at this moment they are rolling around on the bed like a pair of love-struck teenagers.
They have just bought a fabulous penthouse overlooking the Thames, vowing to make a real home together and be a proper mum and dad to their son at last.
Rick, 51, still spritely despite his history of cocaine and alcohol abuse, says: "I don't deny I have enjoyed a complicated love life, but whenever I took Harry to lunch or dinner, I always asked him to invite his mother too.
"The one thing he wanted in the whole wide world was to see us living with him like normal parents, so he always made sure she came.
"I have fancied this bird from the moment I met her as a fresh-faced 19-year-old in 1969. Even in the divorce court when all the s*** was flying I knew she had dressed up for me and she knew I had dressed up for her.
"We were told by our lawyers to slag each other off as much as possible but underneath we didn't mean it. I still fancied the pants off her and I do now. She looks better now than ever."
Patty, an impossibly-tanned, lithe blonde who insists she has never had plastic surgery, tells me of the night in Brighton which sealed their reunion.
"He was touring there and I was at a family funeral. We went to an ordinary pub and after a couple of drinks started snogging like teenagers.
"We didn't care who was looking at us. We had come full circle and everything seemed right.
"Rick promised me he would never sleep with another woman again. I know after everything I have been through I shouldn't believe him, but I do. I had heard the same thing again and again for 33 years but this time I knew he meant it."
But why would he suddenly turn over a new leaf? They answer in unison.
"This time it just seems right," they trill, fixing their eyes on one another again. Suddenly I feel like a spare part.
But why? I ask. "It just is," says Rick, vowing once more: "I am never gonna bed another woman again. You gotta explore the planet before you truly know who 'the one' is." But what if an impossibly-gorgeous groupie, offered herself on a plate. Would he really say no?
"You can look at the menu but you don't have to eat," he says, collapsing into a fit of laughter.
Patty adds more seriously: "He wouldn't do that now. He knows I wouldn't stand for it."
This all seems a bit too Mills & Boon for a rock star with countless ex-girlfriends and a one-time cocaine habit which cost him £1,400 a week at its height. But it seems heartfelt. Maybe that's the quality which attracted his first wife Marietta. They were together for 12 years and she is the mother of his grown-up son, Richard and of his daughter Heidi, who tragically drowned in their pool when she was just two.
Rick started seeing her again in secret after he'd been married to Patty for seven years and he moved back in with her in 1995. It didn't last long. I ask him why he has flitted back and forth between two ex-wives. He looks briefly awkward before saying: "I was not ready to settle down before now but in the last few years I have found the bachelor lifestyle fun but lonely.
"I would come home from a tour and the bed was still rumpled from when I left home. There would be gone-off milk in the fridge, no food and no one to talk to.
"I would send my clothes out to be washed and cleaned and there would be these tags on them saying 'RP' and I would think, 'Is this what it's all about?' I'm not saying I view Patty as a housekeeper, but I truly appreciate how great it is to come home to someone who knows me as well as she does. Marietta was a lovely girl but I don't know if I ever knew what love is before.""
When he wants to, Rick can be remarkably serious. Particularly where his son Harry, who looks just like him, is concerned. "We didn't enter into this lightly. I would never mess Harry about again. It's wonderful to see him so happy, secure and well-balanced. The fact I have realised his mother is truly the one for me is brilliant for all of us."
But I refuse to believe that her book, ironically titled "Laughing All Over the World", has not driven a deep wedge between them. In it she claimed Rick was a suicidal maniac who believed he was possessed by the devil. She said he threw her across the room and tried to strangle her in a drunken rage. She said he was better at putting on make-up than she was and showed a picture of him wearing one of her dresses.
At this point, Rick, a laid-back, down-to-earth character, shows a flash of annoyance. "I have never read that book and I never will," he says. "I know I treated Patty badly and deserved everything I got but I don't want to know what's in it."
Patty interjects: "We talk about the book from time to time and he complains about me calling him a cross-dresser because that picture was taken at a barbecue where all the men were dressed as women.
"Of course, I regret writing it now. But Rick should read it because in places it is quite funny and not as bad as he thinks. I didn't even make a lot of money from it..."
Rick adds: "We have talked about the past at length and have drawn a line under it. We know each other inside out and have an awful lot of fun together."
He insists he has kicked drugs for good since his quadruple heart bypass in 1997 - and his career is back on track with the Status Quo single "Jam Side Down" being released this week. He says: "I still drink a lot and so does Patty. Some nights we will get drunk and some nights we won't. The difference now is that when I go out Patty comes with me. Before I always felt the need to go out on my own.""
Patty, who has encouraged the rocker to lose three stone on a no-carbohydrate diet, seems unconcerned about their mutual alcohol consumption.
"I can drink Rick under the table," she boasts. Indeed, during our interview, Rick sips slowly at bottles of beer while Patty knocks back vodka and tonics.
But it's hard not to be happy for them, particularly when Harry arrives and flings his arms around his father's neck. Patty looks genuinely happy and Rick clearly loves his son, who shares his talent for guitar-playing.
Rick, suddenly serious, says: "I'm so happy. The heart by-pass gave me a second lease of life which I didn't deserve. I call it my mid-life re-plumb. I really am lucky, especially considering how bad I have been, to have health and happiness."
Patty giggles like a schoolgirl as Rick admits that for the first time in his life he has learned how to romance a woman.
She gushes: "We were in a hotel in Chelsea and there was a pianist playing. I went to the ladies and when I returned Rick said: 'What can I do that would make you really happy?''
At that moment the pianist started to play "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", one of the songs we have always loved.
"I just cried and cried. Rick had arranged it just for me and it was so moving."Revisit the August 2002 event list
The first single to be released from the forthcoming "Heavy Traffic" album was released on August 5th, in the shape of "Jam Side Down". The Britten/Dore composition found its way onto two different CD single releases - CD1 (Universal 019 234-2) contained the track backed with a new Quo track, "The Madness", along with a CD-ROM version of the amusing video for the single as filmed aboard the Ark Royal. CD2 (Universal 019 235-2) contained the single backed with the "Top of the Pops 2" performances of "Down Down" and "Rockin' All Over The World".Revisit the August 2002 event list
The following interview with Rick appeared online at The Metro.
Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi are the only original members in the current Status Quo. The band have sold more than 112 million records worldwide, have had 55 British hit singles - 22 in the Top Ten - and more hit albums (31) in the British chart than any other band, apart from the Rolling Stones. Rick had a quadruple heart bypass in 1977.
Did your heart op turn you from the Wild Man of Rock 'n' Roll into the Mild Man of Rock 'n' Roll?
Only partly. I was determined that life would carry on exactly as before - in terms of rock 'n' roll anyway. My main aim after this blip was to start working again. It took me six weeks from the operation to get back on stage and I've had no problems since. I've cut down on various excesses... and I look after myself a bit more. I still go out for a party with the boys from time to time. It hasn't changed me that much, though I've slowed down a bit.
I guess the wild days of sex and drugs are behind you..
The sex isn't! The rest of it is and I don't drink as much as I used to.
The drugs are a terrible thing. That's one of my biggest regrets. I lost ten years of my life. And that was basically responsible for giving me the heart condition. There comes a time in your life when you have to turn it around and start taking it a bit more seriously. Life goes on but the drugs have stopped.
You and Francis have been together for 30 years. How do you endure?
We set out in this business to achieve what we've achieved. It's something very, very special to us and we're not going to give it up easily. Obviously there are times when we have to give one another a bit of space - we do have our arguments, our days when we don't speak to one another. Little things sometimes: you know, somebody wants the air-conditioning on in the bus, somebody doesn't. He'll want it on, I'll want it off. You have to learn to give and take. It's kind of like a marriage without the sex. We strike up a happy medium. We've never come to blows. Close!
You're a Libra. Does that make you the balanced one?
I'm up and down like a toilet seat at a mixed party. I do have my days. I get depressed like anybody. It's very difficult to be well-balanced in the life that we lead because you never quite know what's going to happen from day to day. But I try to be happy and I guess I'm the Paul Gascoigne of the dressing room. I like to see people laughing and we have a wicked sense of humour in the band. We get out on the road with the intention of having a good time. But also a 100 per cent commitment to that we do. We've learned to balance that now and it can be really fantastic on the road. We love it - which is why we're still out doing it. It's such a rewarding thing to do for your heart and your soul. It pays well, too, so it's not a bad life.
Are you still the best live band in the world?
We consider, on our day, that if we go out and give 100 per cent and leave people with a smile on their faces, then we've done our job properly. We certainly are, these days, a very good, very powerful band. It's got better over the years and our new drummer, Matt Letley, seems to have put the band in the pocket that it's wanted to be in for many years. It's finally there. It's really kicking arse and it's such a pleasure to play live.
Is your Telecaster guitar your most precious possession?
It has to be. It's my lifeblood. Your own Telecaster becomes part of you. As soon as you put it on, it just feels right. You can put an identical guitar on - built in the same year, an identical spec - and it won't feel the same. I don't quite know what we'd do if anything were to happen to either one of our Telecasters. I don't know how we'd replace them. In fact, it would be impossible.
Three chords are the basis of rock'n'roll but you guys get a lot of flak about it. Why?
I think it's more tongue-in-cheek. Anybody who thinks that's serious wants testing. You literally cannot get away with three chords. It's a tag that I think is amusing. It doesn't annoy us any more because the band is a far, far better one than lots of people realise. If people really think we play just three chords, they should catch one of our live gigs and see that there are in fact four in there.
What shampoo do you use?
Anything. The worse the shampoo the better, really. It doesn't like posh stuff or conditioner. The only time I condition is when I have it cut, which is about once every three months - really just trimmed. It doesn't want to be pampered. Any old hotel shampoo will do.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
An engine driver. I really enjoy that Bluebell railway. I loved the steam era, the smell of it.
What are you proudest of?
My family. It's a corny answer, but I'm very proud of what Quo has achieved. And long may it roll. Or rock. Status Quo's new single, "Jam Side Down", is out now.
Are you happy?
t's the secret?
Fulfilment. Doing what you want. Finding what you want. Getting satisfaction out of it. Not only in your social life but in your professional life. As long as you're fulfilling your dreams, you couldn't want for any more. I've been very fortunate in being able to do that.
Did you worry that Prince Charles' approval would be the kiss of death?
I didn't really think about it. It was quite an honour to be chosen as the first rock concert that Charlie had ever been to. The ovation he got when he came into the arena was incredible; everyone appreciated that he was going to get his head down and get into a bit of rock'n'roll. And why not? I think the Quo fans were thrilled that he'd picked their band. He did indeed enjoy it and we've played four or five times for him now - or with him there, shall we say. He's always very nice, very keen and very knowledgeable about what we do. He's obviously done his homework.
Who's done the best cover version of a Quo song?
I don't know anybody who's ever done a cover. We're not very coverable. Maybe people have had a go and found it just doesn't work. Because our music is, if you like, relatively simple, it has to be given 110 per cent. You have to put your heart behind it and if it's played from the heart then it will work. Otherwise it comes out but it doesn't mean anything. You've got to hit it hard and mean it or it don't work.
You changed to in-ear monitoring a while ago and reduced the size of your amp stack on stage. Why?
We wanted a better quality of sound out front for the audience. So we had to turn it down a bit on stage. But if you do that, you don't get the guts. So we went in-ear so you can have the mix that you want in your ear and still be very punchy. You're not relying on the back line to give you that punch; you can get it from the in-ear system. We cut the Wall of Death and our sound man was more than thrilled because he can get a much better quality of sound now because it's not deafening on stage. If you think about it, everything's feeding down every microphone when you go to sing. If it's as loud as it was on stage, it's just a nightmare for him. It goes down every mike and the sound suffers and indeed the audience suffers because they don't get the quality that they could get. Also, the sight lines are so much better without all those boxes on stage. All that's gone so you can have a really clean stage. So the good outweighs the bad. The only drag is that you lose a bit of the vibe from the audience because there's so much going on in the ears. You're not getting the audience feedback. But the sound is much better for the fans, so we can live with it.
A collection of photographs from the Newmarket concert can be found at Pete Quoling's web site.Revisit the August 2002 event list
Following its release on August 5th, "Jam Side Down" entered the official UK Top 40 at number 17 on August 11th. This significant event gives Quo a unique position in chart history, as the only act to have Top 20 hits in five consecutive decades! The event drew huge media attention and forced a Radio 1 play on the chart rundown show on this Sunday afternoon.
Introduction to "Jam Side Down" on BBC Radio 1 Top 40 rundown
By Mark Goodier: "A new entry from one of the most successful British bands of all time. They've sold in their career over 112 million records since their first hit in 1968. This is their 56th UK success, Status Quo - "Jam Side Down" entering here at 17."
Article on dotmusic.com
Presenting then a mini chart commentary theme. The shock return of far too long in the tooth British rock bands. Status Quo of course need little in the way of introduction with a chart career that now stretches back 34 years from their early incarnation as psychedelic strummers to the crunching and often unfairly maligned 12 bar rock and roll that gave them so many hits during the 70s and 80s. In recent years they have been more of a joke than ever, still churning out singles and the odd album but along the way developing the attitude problem that seems to afflict many acts who try to outstay their welcome, one which reached its nadir when they attempted to take legal action against Radio One(!) for not playlisting their music. Of their last 10 releases, just one has made the Top 30 and their last release, a cover of "Mony Mony", made Number 48 in May 2000 becoming their third successive chart single to miss the Top 40. So it is against this background that the veteran act make what is nothing less than a shock return to the upper reaches. "Jam Side Down", actually proves that there is life in the old dog yet. The old formula may have its detractors but it has also helped them produce a huge legacy of famous songs and memorable hits and the sentiment and rather appealing nature of "Jam Side Down" suggests that they are not as big a joke as some would have you believe. This Number 17 placing is their highest chart position for almost 12 years, beaten only by the Number 16 peak of the "Anniversary Waltz Part 2" which made Number 16 in December 1990.
ITV teletext (P316)
Veteran rockers Status Quo have entered the UK Top 20 again - meaning that they have achieved hit singles in five decades.
Jam Side Down claimed the Number 17 spot to become the bands 56th hit - more than 34 years after their chart debut with Pictures of Matchstick Men.
Guitarist Rick Parfitt, 54, declared: "To have had hits in five decades is incredible and very special to us."Revisit the August 2002 event list
The following article, entitled "Status Quo strikes a chord with another generation", appeared in The Guardian newspaper on 12th August.
Not much changes for Status Quo. The legends of dinosaur rock made another rude gestre to the passage of time yesterday when they layed their way way back into the Top 20.
"Quo" has now registered hits in each of the past five decades. 'Jam Side Down' went into the charts at number 17 bringing its tally to 56.
The notes have not changed much, with the band happy to serve up the same brand of "three chord rock" that has had critics sniggering into their beer for more than 30 years. Quo threatened to sue Radio 1 when the station took its records off the playlist in the 1990s.
But singer and guitarist Rick Parfitt, one of two original members, claimed status Quo was better than ever. "To have hits in five decades is incredible and very special to us," he said. "We are a very powerful live band these days and have got better over the years. If we leave people with a smile on their faces, we have done our job."
The band, formed by a group of teenagers from the south London suburbs, had its first hit with 'Pictures of Matchstick Men' in 1968. Since then there have been 22 singles in the Top 10 including 'Rockin' All Over the World', in 1977. Never viewed as the wildest of the great 1970s rockers, their achievements also include a record number of apearances on Top of the Pops.
The new Status Quo album, 'Heavy Traffic', comes out next month and will be followed by a British tour. Again.Revisit the August 2002 event list
Two different articles appeared in two separate editions of the London Evening Standard on 12th August. They are both transcribed below.
First edition - Quo mark five decades in the charts by Luke Leitch, Arts Reporter
They are the oldest rockers in town but Status Quo - collective age 253 - scored their 22nd chart hit this weekend when their new single "Jam Side Down" went straight in at number 17.
Their reappearance in the UK charts means that the band have notched up a top 20 hit in each of the past five decades.
Singer and guitarist Rick Parfitt, 54 - who recently suffered a repetitive strain injury in his chord-twanging arm - said: "We set out in this business to achieve what we have achieved. To have hits in five decades is very special to us. We are a very powerful live band these days, and have got better over the years. If we leave people with a smile on their faces, we have done our job."
In 35 years the Quo have played more than 5,500 gigs to more than 24 million head-banging fans, and they show no sign of stopping. They have sold more than 112 million records across the globe and scored 56 UK hit singles, with 22 of those reaching the top 20.
Their first hit, "Pictures Of Matchstick Men", reached number seven in 1968. Other memorable gems include "Whatever You Want", "Caroline", and "Down Down".
Francis Rossi, 53 and Parfitt are the only members of the original line-up left. Keyboard player Andrew Brown, 56, joined in 1976, John "Rhino" Edwards, 49, bass guitarist, joined in 1986 and drummer Matt Letley, 41, arrived two years ago. However Rossi and Parfitt have always been the mainstay, writing many of the songs and always leading the band.
The exact amount of their fortune is unknown, but it is estimated Status Quo's profits run into hundreds of millions of pounds - not bad for two lads who first got together at Butlins in Minehead in 1965.
According to David Roberts, editor of the Guinness World Records British Hit Singles, the Quo formula is simple. He said: "They work very hard. In terms of live performing they have always been extremely dedicated. Perhaps there was a time when Status Quo seemed a bit of a laughing stock - but now people are starting to love them all over again."
Second edition - Why they've stood the test of time by Pete Clark
In a whirligig pop world, it is good to be able to hang on to something stable in the shape of Status Quo.
The appearance in this week's chart of their tongue-in-cheek ode to pessimism, "Jam Side Down", means the group have secured a hit in each of the past five decades. The Rolling Stones, for all their durability, cannot match a record like this.
The secret of their success has been a careful avoidance of fixing something that is not broken.
The Quo have been playing the same couple of chords for half an average lifespan. They claim to be on good terms with a third chord, but a team of experts who have been investigating this claim since 1974 still have not reached any firm conclusions.
The fact is that we like it simple. The Quo have a distinctive rhythm - a medium-to-fast chug - which sets the toes atapping. They also have the gift for catchy melodies which lodge firmly in the brain, like lice attached to a dog. This is the combination that gives their music its adhesive power.
Ironically, when the Quo first gatecrashed the public consciousness, they were a bit of a fraud. Their first hit was a ditty called "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" (1968) and archive footage of the group on Top Of The Pops shows them pretending - none too convincingly - to be in the grip of flower power.
The public soon tired of this transparent con and, with much relief on both sides, Status Quo reverted to type.
The uniform was established early on as jeans and plimsolls - we are in the pretrainer era here - and very long hair. The Quo liked to get down and boogie, which meant them disappearing behind a wall of thrashing hair while they beat the hell out of their guitars. I saw them first at the Reading Festival in 1972 where they stole the show with a display of unremitting brio and bonhomie. I saw them last at their 25th anniversary in Minehead in 1992, and they were just as good, probably because they played exactly the same set. There was a rumour that they were even wearing the same jeans.
This latest hit is sweet revenge for the band.
A couple of years ago, Quo mainmen Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt threatened to sue Radio 1 for not playing their records. They got no satisfaction at the time, but now is a moment for them to savour.
We also owe the Quo a big thank-you for never having once ascended the soapbox to deliver their opinions on matters of great import. The boogie never preaches, it just goes on for ever.Revisit the August 2002 event list
The following review of the Quo gig at Newmarket racecourse, penned by Andy Strickland, appeared on dotmusic.com.
And so with the horses on their way home, our money in the bookies' pockets and the evening drawing in, no fewer than 19,000 people are crammed in front of the members' stand and tatterstalls at Newmarket Races for a rare chance to see Quo play beneath the stars - well the threatening clouds anyway.
With a new album, 'Heavy Taffic', on the way and the racecourse looking for artists to attract the Friday night crowds, Francis, Rick and the boys are keen to play and to remind us that they're still here despite the opportunity for puns about 'the knacker's yard' and Rick Parfitt being in a 'stable condition' that abound. But when the famous opening riff of 'Caroline' pumps out - Rick looking all the world like Spinal Tap's David St. Hubbins, barbour and denim jackets come together as one by the finishing line and we're reminded that these ageing rockers can still sound great, and are a lot more fun than many of today's pretenders. Stereophonics anyone?
Quo have an hour tonight and have tailored a special, fat free, break-neck speed set that crams in as many songs as possible - 'The Wanderer' starting a massive dance party before 'Paper Plane' now 30 years old rips into the air. The less familiar 'Mystery Song' segues into an ancient and heavy 'Railroad' as the Quo army makes itself known and Francis plays impossible solos, bending notes across that battered old Telecaster with one arm pointing to familiar faces in the crowd. He's loving it.
'The Wild Side Of Life' keeps the crowd pleasing at max, but then Quo pull a fast one and launch into an extended 'Gerdundula' - a bizarre, gypsy style reel that has been around for ever but is not always played live. It culminates in a four-guitar frolic including keyboard player Andy Bown and confuses the racing punters no end. 'Roll Over Lay Down' is still a 'heavy mutha' and 'Down Down' rips off of a disguised intro before the Argos catalogue song, aka 'Whatever You Want', pumps its way around the course. Who would have thought Quo could be this much fun in 2002 - and no sign of the new single or album tracks.
'Rockin' All Over The World', the band's Live Aid opener, prompts a mass singalong and all those beaten favourites and dodgy tipsters earlier tonight are forgotten. Posh blokes in private boxes are holding champagne bottles and playing air guitar - great stuff.
A rollercoaster, rock and roll medley featuring 'Let's Dance', 'No Particular Place To Go', 'I Hear You Knocking' and 'Great Balls Of Fire' - the sort of thing you might hear at a great wedding - rounds off the night before Francis launches into a closing 'Bye Bye Johnny' and they're gone... like your hopes of picking a winner in the 8.20. A bizarre night but regular race-goers reckon Quo put 14,000 on the gate. At £11 a ticket it was a cheap night out for fans and a great party for the horsey set. Weighed in!Revisit the August 2002 event list
The following article, entitled "Grey-haired rockers still have their fans", appeared in the Western Mail newspaper on 13th August.
They may be grey-haired and old enough to be the grandfathers of today's chart-topping pop stars, but some of the music industry's veteran rockers are now staging a comeback.
Status Quo have returned to the Top 20 singles chart, which means they have now had hits in five decades.
Rod Stewart, Def Leppard and Bruce Springsteen are also still selling records and packing out concert venues as they continue to appeal to generations of music fans.
Status Quo's new single, "Jam Side Down", which is at number 17, will be followed up next month by the band's new album, "Heavy Traffic", to be released just before they embark on their 40-date UK tour.
So why are people still enjoying listening to bands who were topping the charts when Pop Idol singer Gareth Gates was still a twinkle in his father's eye?
For those who grew up listening to the likes of Status Quo and Rod Stewart, today's big names could not begin to match them.
While many people agree that Pop Idol winner Will Young has a good voice and stage presence he, like many other of today's performers, was plucked from obscurity and groomed for stardom by a team of industry insiders. He has gained chart success by singing cover versions rather than original songs.
On the other hand, musicians like Status Quo spent their youth crafting their raw talent and original material. Their continued success also has much to do with the fans.
Years ago people were loyal to their favourite groups, while music-lovers today are more fickle. Although pure pop songs may now sell the most records, Iestyn George, music editor for Maxim, believes there is still plenty of room for rock music.
He says that niche radio stations and television channels which cater for rock audiences keep that type of music in the public arena. "The market for music is now almost half a century old," he said. "I personally know Status Quo fans in their late 30s and early 40s who still believe they are the greatest rock and roll band in the world, so they certainly have an audience. Without a doubt they will carry on for years to come.
"They don't say anything new to anyone but I don't think people buying their records want anything new. Radio and TV stations are keeping bands like Status Quo in the public arena. There are outlets for every kind of music now."Revisit the August 2002 event list
Quo made a record-breaking live appearance on the UK Top of the Pops on Friday 16th August, with their Top 20 hit in "Jam Side Down". The band performed live vocals and were enthusiastically introduced and received. The following promo appeared on the Top of the Pops website in the week leading up to the show.
"Get your tight jeans, white t-shirts and leather waistcoats out. Oh yes, after rockin' all over the world, the almighty Quo are back!
The pony-tailed rockers have recorded 55 British hit singles, 22 of which have claimed Top 10 status. With over 100 TOTP apperances banked already, the boys are back for more with their new single, "Jam Side Down". You can tell this twangy little tune is from Francis and the fellas a mile off, and guess what? We like it, we like it, we la la la like it!
So, get ready for a guitar rockin', long-hair shakin' performance. Oh, and watch out for the dandruff."Revisit the August 2002 event list
Quo played to a sell-out crowd of 10000 at the Tufertschwil festival in Switzerland on August 16th. They played a shortened set - the usual "Mystery Song Medley" and "Juniors Wailing" were dropped and only "All Stand Up" and "Solid Gold" made it in from "Heavy Traffic".
A few technical problems plagued their set, resulting in parts of "4500 Times" and "Rain" being performed in the dark!Revisit the August 2002 event list
The following article, entitled "Sex, no drugs and suburbia" and written by Cosmo Landesman, appeared in The Sunday Times on 18th August.
As wrinkly rockers Status Quo make yet another comeback, Cosmo Landesman finds it's more Times crosswords than girls.
The 1970s was a glorious era for Status Quo. They sold albums by the millions and played to packed stadiums worldwide. But things turned bad in the 1980s. "We lost direction and our confidence," Quo man Francis Rossi tells me. "It was the drugs," says his sidekick, guitarist Rick Parfitt.
Anyway, the hits started to dry up and fans to disappear. Parfitt, 54, had a quadruple heart bypass operation and Rossi, 53, finished one tour on a walking stick.
By the end of the 1990s, Quo looked like golden oldies with one foot in the grave. They'd been banned from Radio 1 for being too old and dumped from the "Whatever You Want" Argos ad. Quo, the band time forgot and taste would never forgive, seemed finished for good.
Well, those middle-aged, grey-haired, blue-jean boys in their trademark white T-shirts are back in the charts with their single "Jam Side Down". For the first time in 12 years they're appearing on Top Of The Pops. Even Radio 1 - which they attacked for "ageism and elitism" and then sued for banning their records - is playing the single. Could it be that after decades of derision, Britain is ready to take the unhippest band in the history of rock to its collective heart? Rossi thinks so. He's the balding one with the silver earring and ponytail. In person he's a charming mix of Spinal Tap - he talks about their drummer who had an unfortunate accident - and south London geezer. All paternal pride, he says that with the new album "Heavy Traffic": "We've got the old Quo vibe back."
The return of Status Quo comes at an interesting time. Wrinkly stars are shining brighter than ever before. Bruce Springsteen, 51, has just topped the British album chart with The Rising and Phil Spector, 62, has come out of retirement. At the same time there's talk of the Britneys and Geris burning out - and that's before they've hit 30.
So what's with the younger generation? Do they lack stamina, or the creative substance, to endure for nearly 40 years like Quo? "The trouble is that bands today don't have time to develop musically," says Rossi. "The Spice Girls showed that all you need was image management and good marketing for overnight success. In the old days you had to work the circuit, build your material. That's all gone now."
Rossi has a jaundiced view of today's pop pretenders. "What is all this fuss about Kylie's bottom, eh? Look, cover your arse up, love," he says, sounding like John Thaw in The Sweeney. As for the antics of Oasis's Gallagher brothers, Rossi tells me with a shake of his head: "Going around acting like you're angry young men at 32? It's not true, love. Wake up!" So what does Parfitt say to critics who think rock music is wasted on the old? "Bollocks with a capital B."
I turn to Rossi: does he ever feel too old to rock'n'roll? A weary look passes across his face.
"Would you say that to BB King? Would you say it to a carpenter, a plumber or a writer: 'You're over 30, so pack it in'? No, you wouldn't."
For one of rock's premier crinklies, Rossi looks in great shape. His wild days are in the past.
The man who once confessed to having spent £1,200 a week on cocaine for 10 years is now coping with another addiction: crossword puzzles. "Every morning I start with The Times," he admits.
There is the small matter of his dabbling in Viagra. "It's like sulphate," he tells me, pointing out that recent press suggestions that he needed help in that department were a diabolical fabrication.
"Thank God I don't need it - yet!" reveals a relieved-sounding Parfitt.
Sitting with Rossi in his modest - by industry standards - mansion in Surrey it's hard to imagine this Mass-going Catholic and father of eight was once a wild man of rock. But he's got the scars to prove it. "I blew my nose away," he says. "People get me to put a cotton bud through the hole in my septum to put their teenagers off drugs. Believe me, it works."
Rossi damaged his nose, Parfitt almost destroyed his life. So has he turned his back on wild times? "Of course I haven't. I still love the rock'n'roll and the sex," says Parfitt. "But I've had to leave the drugs out. I used to wake up on the floor not knowing what floor or where I was. But I can still party with the best of them."
There are many things to blame Status Quo for. One is writing catchy tunes that stick in your brain like buried shrapnel. Two: they're responsible for an entire generation of men playing air-guitar in front of the bedroom mirror. Three: they're the ones who got Prince Charles into rock music.
"The first pop concert he ever saw was Status Quo at the NEC in Birmingham," Parfitt tells me.
Does his royal highness know how to boogie? "Oh, definitely," he adds. "The last time he came to one of our gigs he had the jacket off and had the chauffeur get the gin and tonics. He even stayed through the encore."
And we thought Quo fans were all spotty, greasy-haired teenage boys. Apparently not. "These days we get all sorts," says Rossi. "Lately we've picked up a lot of bank managers for some reason."
Teenage fans apart, the enduring joke about Quo is that here is a band that has sold 110m records (including 55 chart hits) on nothing more than three chords. "I'm 53," complains Rossi. "People have been saying that since I was 28. Last week I walked into a shop and some bloke said, 'Three chords!' I said, 'Do you know how many notes it takes to make a chord, do you know the difference between a sixth, a ninth, an augmented fifth?' He hadn't a clue." Rossi's smile is triumphant.
Just as every soap star dreams of doing Hamlet, I wonder if Rossi has a secret ambition to break away from three-chord pop songs and write a concept, triple-album-rock-jazz-opera-odyssey-type thing with meaningful lyrics that say something about the human condition? "Nope," he says. There is no chance, either, of a change of image. "I can't stick all this Madonna-like reinvent yourself stuff," says Rossi. "We do what we do. For some reason it works." Still, I was surprised to discover that when sitting at home the king of three chords has a passion for playing show tunes such as Hello Dolly! More shocking still, he has been having secret guitar training, mastering complex jazz scales, for years. "I do two hours every day," he says. Later, I witness what no Quo fan will ever see: Rossi's fingers flying across the frets in one of those 20m-notes-a-second guitar riffs.
While it's easy to mock, there's something admirable about Status Quo. Some call them dinosaurs but I reckon they're more British bulldog - defiant and down to earth, they simply refuse to give in to the tyranny of trends. "A lot of people wish we would just go away. But I wouldn't give 'em the satisfaction," says Rossi.
Indeed. They'll just keep rockin' all over the world - whether we like it or notRevisit the August 2002 event list
Two interviews with Francis appeared on Yahoo! music during August. They are transcribed below.
Article 1 - Rossi - Quo Isn't "rocket Science"
After a self-confessed lean period, Status Quo will return with a new album this September, that's entitled "Heavy Traffic."
Francis Rossi spoke to us last week and explained why he's happy to admit that the 'Quo are still serving up the same classic rock sound after 35-years.
"There's very few people who'd go up to BB King and say, 'Why have you only ever done blues?' He'd knock you out!" Rossi argued, "Or ask Bob Marley, 'Why you only doing reggae, Bob?' He'd say, 'Don't be a schmuck!' Or ask an electrician, 'Why are you being an electrician all day?' I'm not saying 'Quo is rocket science or it's going to change the world, it's just what we do. Either you like it or you don't."
Although Francis has become used to the 'Quo being ridiculed as three-chord bores, he doesn't always let journalists get away with it, as he explained: "You're aware that you're in Status Quo and that there's kind of a stigma attached to being in it, because of all the things that have been said about it. It's one of those bands people can easily knock. But I was being interviewed by a woman last year, she wasn't too young, and she said, 'Are you still using the same three chords?' so I said, 'Well, tell me about chords...' She said, 'What do you mean?', immediately on the defensive. I said, 'Tell me about chords. Can you tell me how many notes there are in a chord?' She said, 'No'. I said, 'Can you tell me how many chords would be good music?' She said, 'No'. I said, 'Do you know what a chord is?' She said, 'No. I'm being very silly aren't I.' I said, 'Yeah.'"
Article 2 - Quo Regain Their Status
With their first album of new material in four years now complete, Status Quo are ready to rock again and frontman Francis Rossi says they're out of their recent rut.
"Lots of things seem to have changed in the band," Rossi told us this week, "the attitude, the tempo that we play - everyone's kinda goin' 'Whoa - this is exciting again!'"
So what's been wrong with the 'Quo in recent years? After 35 years of riffing, during which they've shifted 112 million records and made more than 100 appearances on Top Of The Pops, could it be that their hearts just weren't in it anymore?
"I think it was from the heart possibly, but confused," Rossi said, "We'd gone through this period of trying to be an American act for many years, probably since Rockin' All Over The World, and trying to make records like somebody else."
However, factors outside the music have also influenced the 'Quo's change in impetus, as Rossi explained. "Our manager died very recently and, it sounds a terrible thing, but it's probably fortuitous that he did because me and Rick [Parfitt, guitar] and everybody else were handing everything over, whether it was album titles, material, promo ideas, and so we'd end up like the tail was wagging the dog, really. But various things have come together now. It's as good as playing with your knob at the moment."
Quo's forthcoming album, Heavy Traffic, is due on September 23rd.Revisit the August 2002 event list