Francis was interviewed by Stephen Foster for Radio Suffolk on December 12th, for broadcast on December 16th. The interview is transcribed in part below.
Stephen Foster: Why have the group felt the need to revisit old hits on your latest CD?
Francis Rossi: You can get a bit sort of paranoid about hurting the originals and whether should we touch it, like with some of the other tracks we did. We called it Supermanís Cape; you donít touch that but, because we do them and Johnís been in the band err Ö. 18 years? So it was about time to put them . . . that was the one thing that was quite good about making the album we could put those tracks down with the band as it is, which we were quite pleased in doing. But it never ceases to amaze me the way the business is - weíve been around a long time, Presleyís been dead 27 years and theyíre still releasing greatest hits and things and putting packages together, well thatís going to go on forever with us anyway so much as I may feel at times that itís not the thing to do, or your milking the audience and youíre over cooking it blah blah blah, but itís just the way of the industry, and itís the way people are, and they will go and get these things, and lots of people are really knocked out with these new versions, some people think itís kind of sacrilegious to go near them, I donít go in either of those two camps, Iím somewhere down the middle. Sometimes when we do "Caroline" on stage itís extremely good, sometimes itís not, and hopefully the takes weíve done on the album are extremely good, people really do like them, so it made it a good deal easier for me to go in and do the project.
SF: Some of the tracks on the album are well known songs by other people, thereís some interesting covers on there - who chooses which songs to do?
FR: We all do, we start making lists, and Mike Paxman, whoís produced our albums for the last few years, sends all these lists along and we tick a few off that we think will be really excellent and end up kind of urgh. Thereís a track on there that I really didnít want to do, "Taking Care Of Business" I think itís called, a Bachman Turner thing, Iíd never really heard it before, and itís got the naffest lyrics in the world, that coming from me they must be naff, and err that worked out quite well. Thatís one thing I do like about this business, things you think are going to be so arenít, it always sidetracks you, you know. We were doing, not "You Really Got Me", the other one "All Day And All Of The Night", which one was it, I think thatís the one we did, and thought it was going to be marvellous, where Rick thinks itís great and I think it's a sack of do-doís. And thatís the other thing about this band, itís like a democratic outfit, one guy will think this is the living end, and another guy will think what is a matter with you. So at least you make an album then thatís going to have a cross feel to it, you know, various people are going to like stuff, we live in that, we work in that relativity thing, some people think itís great and some think itís a pile of Ö itís just the way things are.
SF: So you donít care too much that people say Quo have sold out, doing their old songs, doing cover versions?
FR: No. Itís the way of the world, perhaps a little bit I feel that way, particularly cover versions, covers albums Iím not comfortable, but as I said, it keeps the band alive and so be it. Weíve done other covers over the years that have been really successful, and as for selling out, weíve been selling out since "Rocking All Over The World" apparently. And I think that the moment, well the first time we did a covers album, everybody from Metallica to McCartney, George Michael, I think Aerosmith have got one coming out, which really shocked me, theyíre obviously in a position where they need to try and do something like that. Itís the state of the world, the state of the industry, even Bon Joviís just done a remake of all his hits, I think well why would he want to do that? Perhaps heís looking at us and thinking why they gone and done that? Thereís an agenda there somewhere and people think you should go away, you know, youív earnt enough money, itís enough now. It isnít, you canít help it, itís like a drug, to use that terrible clichť. Rick and I were both sitting there basically saying I donít fancy it tonight, most nights you think oh I canít, but you find after one or two numbers youíre fine and really enjoying yourselves. And I think a lot of it is - I canít imagine getting to where we were last night, at the end, when itís all going, itís all happening, itís lovely, and youíve got that vibe, itís so hard sometimes to whip yourself into it. But take it away from you and youíre going ďNo I want to do it againĒ suppose Iím like a spoilt child really.
SF: Well here we are in the run up to Christmas, back at the Regent Theatre, two nights sold out, and youíre back in Ipswich next summer playing on Christchurch Park.
FR: Thatís it, thatís what it was, I knew thatís what it was, yeah weíve got an email about this ainít we, yeah we did these things last year, around the country, and people made strange remarks like itís going to be very odd to play a forest or castle. Itís something that seems to have cottoned in England in the last three to five years, whereas in Europe, ever since I can remember, particularly in Scandinavia, where it gets so dark up there, in the summer they just want to stay out in the open. I think Denmark has something like 250 of these every year, it seems that these kind of gigs, which we really enjoy, Ďcos theyíre different, youíre outdoors. I was reading a review on one today, on the bus, we did at Lincoln Castle, where they bring their little chairs and stuff, younger people may think thatís daft, but we ainít younger people, ha ha. We are in the majority at last, among the people. Weíre looking forward to that (Christchurch Park) immensely, Weíve done various things in this area in the past. We looking forward to what thatís like, to see if there is a difference between the hardcore that come to these shows, whether the crowd multiplies and how they react. So again itís all, Iím 54 and Iím still trying again - yeah come on letís go and do something.Revisit the December 2003 event list
A selection of photos from this gig are available here.Revisit the December 2003 event list
Quo's show in Aberdeen was reviewed by ALan Gorham in the "Press & Journal" - to view this, erm, interesting review, click here.Revisit the December 2003 event list
The following review of the Usher Hall show appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News and was penned by Martin Lenon.
CHRIS SCHMITT and Ralf Oehmichen, together known as Who's That Girl, stood like giants in front of the huge black screen filling the stage of the Usher Hall last night.
With top-notch playing and whirlwind vocals they sang Beatles, Tina Turner and even Beautiful South songs, not so much warming the audience up as setting them on fire.
So it just needed the lights to dim slightly for the crowd to stand and roar. As the screen dropped, they got so loud they almost drowned out the mighty Quo as they blasted off with "Caroline".
Status Quo have been together for over 35 years, but they looked neither tired or burned out. Francis Rossi and especially Rick Parfitt both look more or less the same as they did in the early eighties when the band opened for Live Aid and, despite their age, they bounced around the stage like kids, at the drop of a hat.
The audience, surprisingly made up of both older and young fans, followed suit, pogo-ing and punching the air in time to all the hits - "Roll Over Lay Down", "Whatever You Want" and of course, "Rocking All Over The World". For fun, during "Gerdundula", the guitarists played one another's guitar necks, while strumming their own - not a new gimmick but still worth seeing again. But this wasn't really a night for showing off - this was simply rock íní roll, boogie and maximum R&B as only the old guard of rock seem to be able to pull off convincingly.
Their records may sometimes seem a little poppy and they certainly don't take themselves as seriously as others, but live, Quo come into their own. Relevant today or not, the audience didn't care, they just got Down DownRevisit the December 2003 event list
Quo featured twice in the December issue of Classic Rock magazine. The "Quo Live!" album was ranked at number 24 in their Top 50 live albums, whilst Mick Wall (author of the forthcoming Quo book, due early in 2004) gives a full page colour review of Quo's concert at Guildford on October 29th.Revisit the December 2003 event list
There was a Quo-related question in the "Buzzcocks Quiz" in the Christmas issue of the UK's Radio Times.
"Why did Status Quo cancel gigs in 2002?
a) Rick Parfitt had left his favourite jean-and-jerkin denim combo at home, and refused to perform without them.
b) Francis Rossi caught the flu after riding on the log flume at Alton Towers.
c) Rick Parfitt had damaged his arm by sleeping too heavily on it.
The answer says: c) The Band were forced to cancel six gigs because Rick slept too heavily on his arm in a hotel in Braunschweig, Germany, trapping the radial nerve and leaving him unable to move his left wrist. Ironically, the gigs had already been rescheduled for February 2002 following previous postponements during Quo's massive 39 date 'Never Say Never' UK Tour in November and December 2001. These were as a result of either Rick's earlier elbow injury or Francis Rossi contracting flu and bronchitis."Revisit the December 2003 event list