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That was the Quo month that was ... August 2021



1st - Francis interview on The Michael Ball Show (BBC Radio 2, UK)

Francis was a guest on The Michael Ball Show on BBC Radio 2 on 1st August.

Michael played "Burning Bridges" to lead into the interview before Francis joined him via a poor quality phone line from a "balcony overlooking the sea in Scarborough" (the venue for his spoken word show later that day). He mentioned that this is the "longest the band has ever been off" but the talk tour is "most enjoyable" with bigger crowds now after a slow start (with punters maybe becoming more comfortable going out again now). Francis confirmed that some of the show is ad-libbed and, talking about Quo life after Rick, he said it was "a natural progression, it goes on". He spoke fondly of touring in the big tour bus rather than using hotels and the "real learning curve" that was the experience of being on Coronation Street.

Francis sounded happy and in good form, clearly enjoying being out and about with the different format of the talk show. Michael played out the interview with "Marguerita Time".

Revisit the August 2021 event list  

6th - Interview with Mick Wall about the Francis Rossi spoken word tour on MetalTalk (UK)

The following interview with Mick Wall about his experience hosting Francis's spoken word shows appeared on MetalTalk on 6th August, titled "This tour with Francis Rossi has something extra special" and based on a chat between Mick and MetalTalk editor, Steve Ritchie.

"The Francis Rossi I Talk Too Much tour is back underway, and MetalTalk spoke with the event host and co-author of Rossi's autobiography Mick Wall to find out how the legendary writer was feeling now events are back underway.

MetalTalk editor Steve Ritchie spoke with Mick, who was in Exmouth, outside the Pavilion, readying himself to help with the load in for the evening, "something I always like to help with."

The obvious first question was if Francis lives up to his claim and talks too much? "We should have called the book 'never fucking shuts up'," says Mick, laughing. "He talks too much, but the stories are hilarious. Anyone who has caught a glimpse of him on TV might get a little flavour of it, but trust me, when you have been with him at a two-hour show, you suddenly go 'Oh Wow'."

Francis Rossi playing some songs, showing some videos, and telling his life story is the plan for the night. "It is hilarious," Mick says. "We did a show last night in Camberley, and that must be the 60th show we have done over the last two years, and it was the best I've ever seen him."

"The crowd was fantastic," he says, "roaring with laughter, and in the second half, of the second half, after the intermission, he tells the story of Rick Parfitt. Right up to how he died, and that is some story. We've had two people faint when Francis tells that story at two different shows because it is grim. But at the same time, it is very celebratory of Francis and Rick, as they were very much a double act."

THERE ARE TEARS

The evening is a celebration of all that Rossi has achieved in a long career. "There are tears," Mick says, "but it is a terrific show."

Mick and Francis managed 36 dates in 2019 when the hardback book came out, and in March 2020, they were four shows into the tour, "before we started hearing words we had not heard before; self-isolate, lockdown, coronavirus."

At that time, Fish was ready to tour and only managed a couple of dates.

"We spoke about pushing the tour back to July, but you know what happened. It got pushed back to early '21, then June '21. We started again on 'freedom day', down to 33 shows, and now we are down to 29."

Runcorn next week has been cancelled due to a COVID-19 spike.

But, it is a difficult time. Events are just starting up again, and some people who have bought tickets are still not going to come, due to the obvious worries.

"It has been fascinating," Mick says. "We've been all over the north of England the last two and a half weeks, and we did one socially distanced gig in Middlesborough because of a COVID-19 spike. We had 99 people there. Before the pandemic, we would not have done a show for 99 people."

But things are picking up. "I'm in Exmouth today. You can probably hear the sea. We have about 360 people for tonight. Looking forward, one venue is 480, another one is 460, so it's fascinating. It is picking up again."

EXCITING TIMES

Mick says it is an exciting time to tour such a great show full of anecdotes, memories, and emotions. "After 18 months of going nowhere, to be in a different town every day and see how the different people are coping is quite lovely. We start the show every night by acknowledging what is going on and thanking everybody who has turned up. There is a certain feel-good factor about it, and the people are lovely."

Maybe, in some way, in these times, this Francis Rossi tour is unique.

"There are some wonderful people in this country," Mick says, "and it is great to see them enjoying themselves. We are very grateful, and they seem happy that we are making this effort."

There were many sold-out dates during the 2019 tour, but Mick does not expect many this time. "But this feels better, in a strange way," he says. "It's more, what's the word? There is something extra…." 'Special', we offer?

"Exactly. I hope we have rounded some corner. It feels like most of us have survived this war, and we are now bringing a bit of joy in the immediate aftermath. I think it's a one-off, and we will hopefully never have this experience again, and that makes it special."

Mick Wall and Francis Rossi will be at the Town Hall, Launceston, tonight."

Revisit the August 2021 event list  

16th - Francis article on the 1971 Weeley Festival in The Clacton Gazette

The following article about Francis's memories of the 1971 Weeley Festival appeared in the Clacton Gazette on 16th August, titled "Status Quo frontman Francis Rossi remembers Weeley Festival" and written by Matt Plummer.

"OUR recent nostalgia spread marking the 50th anniversary of the Weeley Festival of Progressive Music has led to an extraordinary follow-up - the memories of Status Quo frontman Francis Rossi.

Mr Rossi recently spoke to freelance journalist, broadcaster, editor and author Jason Pettigrove, based in Holland-on-Sea, and shared recollections of the rock festival that took place across the August Bank Holiday weekend of 1971.

Among the nuggets of information was the revelation that Beatles icon John Lennon was there in secret.

Mr Pettigrove has kindly given us the exclusive after reading our piece written by Gordon Walker, making use of pictures from Ray Clark's book The Great British Woodstock - The Incredible Story of the Weeley Festival 1971.

Status Quo were on the bill with Rod Stewart and the Faces, T Rex, Rory Gallagher, Barclay James Harvest (with 40-piece orchestra), Stone the Crows, Lindisfarne, Van der Graaf Generator, Colosseum, Stray, Mungo Jerry, King Crimson, Curved Air, the Groundhogs, Mott the Hoople, Al Stewart, Caravan, Juicy Lucy, Edgar Broughton and Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come.

"I do remember Weeley quite well," said Mr Rossi.

"I think we were due on at something like midnight.

"However, for everybody trying to get anywhere near the festival, it went completely pear-shaped. There was traffic everywhere and it was murder.

"We tried to get there about eight o'clock in the evening and arrived at probably midnight, maybe a bit after, and didn't get on until about nine in the morning.

"It was ridiculous. We looked out there and everyone was asleep.

"People go on about all-nighters but, no matter what their intentions are, most festival-goers want to go to sleep at some point. We went on and they were all asleep, so I just started shouting at them.

"It was the most messed-up thing ever, starting with the idea of a few thousand people and ending up with loads more.

"I've got no idea if there was any backstage structure, but what I remember is it was total chaos for the most part."

Mr Rossi says he and his band were excited to play at Weeley, which was licensed for attendance by just 10,000 music lovers but ended up attracting between 130,000 and 150,000.

He said: "There was certainly this idea of 'Oh come on let's go to a festival,' and that feeling really started to grow that year (1971).

"We happened to hit the period right.

"It (Weeley) happened to come along at a point when we were developing well.

"Something happened that was really fortuitous for us and that was the perfect timing.

"We hit it dead right, even if we walked on and the punters were all asleep.

"The truth is that in the lead up, there was a buzz going around about the band and word of mouth was much more prevalent in those days."

Weeley was part of the Quo's Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon tour.

"What drove me was the idea you were always fighting for this goal (of fame)," added Mr Rossi.

"Suddenly, we were selling records all over the place and, back then, the band was very creative and 'teamy.'

"We used to do a lot of rehearsing and changing things up between myself, Rick Parfitt and Alan Lancaster. It was magic.

"Weeley was quite a nice sounding set. Our songs were very much of that time and worked well."

Mr Pettigrove asked Mr Rossi about the rumour Lennon was secretly backstage at Weeley.

"It's true," said the Quo frontman.

"I was a bit bashful about going near John Lennon.

"Everybody was like 'You've got to be where Lennon is' and I thought 'No, I can't do that to him'.

"Or should I say I can't do that to me.

"Rick and Rod were big friends at the time and I got on very well with Marc (Bolan) and T-Rex, too."

Revisit the August 2021 event list