Quo played at the Vallemaggia Magic Blues Festival on 2nd August. The setting was beautiful, as can be seen in the photo tweeted by Leon Cave before the show and some good photos from the event (including Quo) can be found here.
Quo headlined the Junction 16 Festival held at historic Betley Court Farm near Crewe on 9th August. They were supported by Mungo Jerry and some professional photos of the band in action can be seen (and bought!) here.Revisit the August 2013 event list
An article about Quo's work with Coles in Australia made it into the "Australia Culture Blog" of the UK's Guardian newspaper on August 14th, titled "Status Quo, there they go – selling shopping all over the world" and penned by Andrew Street.
"Forty years ago Status Quo were known for being long-haired, denim-clad hard rockers. Now they're best known in Australia for giant red hands and a modern reimagining of their biggest hit, Down Down, as a supermarket slogan.
"They were using Down Down for some few years," Status Quo singer and guitarist Francis Rossi says when asked about the band's deal with Coles. "And our manager got a meeting with the people at Coles to discuss an Australian tour sponsorship, and the idea came back, 'Well, perhaps would they do an ad?'
"And it was so successful for them that suddenly it was, 'Oh you Status Quo boys, you're marvellous!'" he says, laughing. "It's been a great relationship. We're doing a couple more [ads] with them tomorrow."
This is what survival looks like for stars of the 60s who failed to die before they got old. What once was sneeringly dismissed as "selling out" now appears to be shrewd monetisation of existing assets.
What should establishment-threatening rock'n'roll rebels do when they become the establishment: compete with younger, cooler versions of themselves, or accept their best days are behind them and take a solid pay cheque churning out the back catalogue on the nostalgia circuit?
Rossi made that decision long ago: cool doesn't send his kids to university. "We are our back catalogue."
Emerging as a psychedelic rock band in 1967 the band originally called themselves the Status Quo, but had before long dropped the definite article along with the beads and flowers, and reinvented themselves as a straight-ahead, good-time, boogie rock outfit. It made them one of the biggest selling bands of the decade with hits such as Whatever You Want, Rockin' All over the World and the No 1 Down Down.
The band briefly disbanded in the early 80s, but have been busy ever since – touring, making albums and now, with Bula Quo!, entering the world of film.
And while the film's soundtrack forms the new Quo album, it's telling that it comes with a bonus disc of re-recordings of their best-known songs.
The way Rossi tells it, the biggest motivation for the band these days is simple: fear. "We grew up in the postwar world of England, which was heavily depressed and we were trying to escape it," he says. "This is a person who didn't get much of an education to make it in this capitalist world; success is what makes the man. And it's kind of sad, but I feel that if I fail with Status Quo, then I'm a failure."
And that is why Rossi sees nothing wrong with playing the old songs night after night. "Lots of acts that have been around a long time have a problem with their catalogue, like they're ashamed of it, and it's so much of a smack in the face for a fan.
"I've always been a keen Everly Brothers fan, or an Eagles fan or Fleetwood Mac, or Muse, or the Killers – and if I go and see those acts and they don't do the tracks I know them for, who the hell are they?"
But doesn't that get … well, boring? Being known around the world for the singles is a problem that lots of people would like to have, Rossi says."So maybe 85% of the set is for what we call the floating punter: he knows the hits and he's happy hearing that. But the hardcore fans, they want to hear the album tracks and the strange B-sides, and whenever we've done that you see these massive question marks over the heads of most of the people in the hall, going, 'What the hell? Who's this?' "
It's OK to appease that muso inside who wants to do something different – but the truth is that the big hits are who Status Quo are, Rossi says. "When you play Rockin' All over the World and it lights the place up, it's fantastic. And luckily it happens every night – which is I suppose why those songs were hits in the first place.
"And yes, when you rehearse them on a film stage in London at 10 o'clock on a Monday morning, oh my god, it's just … " he trails off. "But doing them where they're supposed to be, in front of people, is always a joy."
There are no concerns about the song being sullied as a jingle, he says. "It's one of those things that when you're younger you'd think, 'There's no way I'd do things like that!' "
In the same way young people are determined not to become like their parents, and then find age catches up with them, so things can change. "That 25-year-old angry young man, so adamant about what he was going to be and not going to be, and I'm now one of those short-haired old guys with male pattern baldness.
"Millions of blokes look like that, so what happened to me being unique?," Rossi says, chuckling.
So what would he say to that 25-year-old self? Rossi laughs again. " 'Don't be a dickhead.' "Revisit the August 2013 event list
The latest advertisement featuring "Down Down" for Coles supermarkets in Australia went to air on 21st August. The new promo for frozen food sees Rick and Francis kitted out in cold weather gear, playing on ice with double bass from a polar bear and drums from a penguin! This amusing new ad can be seen below (from YouTube).
Quo's last gig of August was an outdoor affair at historic Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. The UK Summer delivered a wet day, but this did little to curb the enthusiasm of the decent crowd who enjoyed the usual Summer setlist, with support from the well-received Blockheads. Some pro photos from this performance are available here.Revisit the August 2013 event list
John and Gillie Coghlan were guests on BBC Radio Oxford for a one-hour special called "Rockers Rollin'" aired on 26th August. The special kicked off with them playing Lindisfarne's "Mr Dream Seller" and John said he would have liked to play drums with the band and he also mentioned touring Australia with them (in 1973). A track from John's favourite band, The Rolling Stones, was up next in the shape of "Under My Thumb".
It was then time for their first guest, Bob Young. He talked about meeting John during his tour with Amen Corner (when Quo were touring with Gene Pitney) and how he became their roadie. He went on to talk about electrocuting himself while setting up one day and the fact that he threw John out of many hotels and other places over the years as Quo's tour manager! He was asked to choose a song as a memory of happy times with John and so then played The Diesel Band's "Turn Me Loose".
Bob continued with memories of being on the road with John in his capacity as tour manager before talking about his more recent management jobs. The talk then moved to the recent reunion tour and how it came about. Bob spoke very fondly of the tour and how it was received. He also said it looks like happening again next year!
They then played a live version of "April, Spring, Summer and Wednesdays" from one of the reunion shows before Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town". John spoke fondly of working with Phil Lynott and recording with him in The Rockers, before playing Ian Dury's "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick".
The next guest was then introduced, Phil May of The Pretty Things, who reminisced about early gigs together with Quo and some he told great stories from the heyday of the Pretty Things. Fittingly, "Honey I Need" was then played, before them talking about the Diesel Band again and their album recording in Sweden. Approaching the end of the show, Quo's "Accident Prone" got a spin with Gillie reminiscing about the filming of the video for the song in Holland before closing out with The Beatles and "Help".Revisit the August 2013 event list
The following review of the forthcoming vinyl release of the Frantic Four reunion shows from Glasgow in March 2013 appeared on GetReadyToRock.
"Anyone with even a passing interest in Quo will know the special relationship the group have with the city of Glasgow and, in particular, the late, lamented Glasgow Apollo. Many ageing rockers in the Glasgow area go misty eyed when recounting Quo gigs at the Apollo back in the day with most claiming to be heard on the group’s seminal album ‘Live!’ recorded there in October 1976.
Fast forward 37 years and The Frantic Four were reunited and back in Glasgow once more. Unfortunately The Apollo was torn down years ago to make way for a cinema and an Australian themed bar, so the O2 Academy stepped in as an able replacement and for two nights Glasgow rocked to the original eight legged boogie machine once more. This double album perfectly captures the atmosphere of those two nights and finds Quo in fighting form.
The set list contains most of the tracks from the ’76 album plus some tracks that haven’t seen the light of day for years. Kicking off with ‘Juniors Wailing’ the band sound like they have never been away, Alan Lancaster in particular is in great voice throughout. John Coghlan is a powerhouse behind the kit and he and Lancaster lay down a solid backbeat whilst Rossi and Parfitt crank out the twelve bar blues like no one else can. The crowd, not to be outdone, add backing vocals throughout obviously loving every minute of the show.
Most of the eighteen tracks featured will be familiar to all including ‘Rain’, ‘Most Of The Time’ and ’Forty-Five Hundred Times’ but it is tracks like ‘Blue Eyed Baby’ and ‘(April) Spring, Summer and Wednesdays’ that are a joy to hear again.
This release is a ‘must have’ for any self- respecting Quo fan and a perfect reminder of why Status Quo have endured over the years and retain such a loyal following. As well as this album, which will also get a vinyl release in a nod to the ’76 album, there will also be a live DVD /Blu Ray recorded at Wembley, a double CD recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo and a 120 page earBOOK. The earBOOK will also contain the DVD and live recordings all in one exclusive package, one for the collector then.
The Frantic Four reunion was mooted as a one off, but judging by this album and the reaction to the tour as a whole I wouldn’t bet against another couple of nights in Glasgow in the future, here’s hoping!"Revisit the August 2013 event list