The following press release appeared on the official Quo site on 1st December to announce Rick's solo album coming out in 2018.
"When the awful news broke on Christmas Eve 2016 that legendary rocker Rick Parfitt had passed, fans around the world were devastated that one of rock’s most iconic performers had been silenced. However, unknown to almost anyone, Rick had in fact virtually completed his first solo album whilst undergoing a period of recuperation after his heart attack in July. That album, poignantly titled ‘Over And Out’ will now be released on 23 March 2018 through earMUSIC.
Featuring 10 brand new songs, including the title track that broke hearts anew when it was played at Rick’s funeral, this is an album of depth and passion. Created by Rick Parfitt and Producer Jo Webb, the record is a true labour of love and showcases the softer side of Rick as a writer, artist and performer away from the Quo maelstrom as well as the purest rock and roll sound of earlier Status Quo records.
Despite the fact Rick Parfitt had finished recording his guitar and vocal parts, a recording session was planned to happen in February 2017. Certain tracks were not totally finished when Rick died. The call to help ensure that his work could be completed, so that the world could hear it was answered by musicians of the calibre of Queen’s Brian May and Muse’s Chris Wolstenholme, both of whom were close to Rick. Rick’s son, Rick Parfitt Jnr, was also involved in the creative process, as were John “Rhino” Edwards and Alan Lancaster, amongst many others. All of those involved in completing the songs that Rick had written for ‘Over And Out’ have done him proud in bringing his vision to fruition.
Rick´s music always featured two elements - the raw rock and roll sound and a great passion for melodies. “Over And Out” offers the best of both worlds: It has been recorded and written with a band´s spirit between Rick and Jo. They shared various mixes, reflecting the sound of the sessions and the spirit that was present in the “room”.
The album has also been mixed by top producer Ash Howes, offering a different view on the songs but also leaving a dilemma open for interpretation, which one would Rick prefer? The polished, big sounding mixes or the original band mixes, raw and full of musical honesty??Those who were close enough to him over the years would probably say… “both”. This is why the album will be available in its “finished” form, but also as a raw and pure version, for the fans of the rockier side of Rick´s music in special collector´s editions.
This album is the record that Rick Parfitt had been itching to write. His forced departure from Quo’s live performance circuit, whilst very hard for him to take, did at least free up the time that was needed to create ‘Over And Out’.
‘Over And Out’ is but the latest element of the incredible legacy and body of work that Rick Parfitt leaves. A testament to his talent, his winning way with words, an incredible joie de vivre and a spirit that never flagged. He’ll be missed but ‘Over And Out’ is a great way to remember him. Gone but not forgotten."Revisit the December 2017 event list
The following interview with Francis appeared in the Express and Star newspaper on December 1st, titled "Francis Rossi talks ahead of gig at Wolverhampton Civic" and penned by Andy Richardson.
"There’s only one place to start: the death of his bandmate of 50 years, Rick Parfitt. Francis doesn’t mind. He knows he’s got to talk about it, that Status Quo will forever be him and Rick, that their stories and history are forever linked.
And though he’s chipper about being back on the road with Quo – they play Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall on Sunday – he’s dutiful and respectful on the subject of his late, great bandmate.
“It’s been a challenging time and it’s been confusing.”
Rick’s place has been taken by Richie Malone, the band’s new touring guitarist. He’s had a profound effect.
Francis says: “If you’d have said to me this young fella will make a lot of difference to the way the band feels and plays, I’d have said don’t talk rubbish. People said it was all over and we weren’t doing any more show. But things change. I didn’t expect it to happen. We’re enjoying the shows immensely. We’ve just got back from Australia and Dubai and apart from the jet lag that’s been great.
“I’m looking forward to it all. I really did not expect to be in this position or feeling this way.”
He realises he’ll get stick from diehard Quo fans, that they’ll resent him for moving on and not forever wearing black.
“I understand if people are thinking I’m a schmuck. But I don’t want to apologise about feeling good about the band. I don’t know why it’s so good: maybe it’s because there’s something to prove. It’s not the same as it was with Rick, it’s just different. There’s a certain vibe within the band.
“Maybe we’d become complacent. Rick’s health issues were going on for a few years and that made things difficult. Perhaps that happens to all older bands.”
He’s conscious of growing older, of entering the autumn of his career. But he’s proud to be on the road at the age of 68. He’s still got the moves, still got the voice and still loves playing the songs that have stood the test of time.
“It all moves on. The Stones were once the most rebellious band in the world and now they’re 75. They’ve survived.
“I’m sixty-bl***y-eight. But something else is going on. You can tell I’m chipper. My manager is in the desert somewhere. But when I speak with him I’m la la la.
“We’re not sure what’s next. We may do another rock album, which I said I would never do. This business is great at making you go the other way. You say you’re not going to do this and that. As we get older, we’re worried about dribbling, but we go back to being the young person we were. That insecure little show-off in me is trying to prove something.
“I look forward to the gigs much more. That makes me question was I not looking forward to them before. It’s not the same without Rick. It can’t be.”
His memories of Rick’s passing are vivid. “It started in Turkey. As much as he died on Christmas Eve, really, he died in front of us in Turkey. He was on the floor and the medics told me he’d gone. I uncrossed his feet, they were crossed over. I watched what those people were doing to him. Our relationship was well documented. It was frosty sometimes but generally it was quite good. The PA who was with him saved him in Turkey.
“It was really quite horrible what the medical profession did to bring him round. He left the room dead but by the time we were back in London, he was sitting up and having a cup of tea. But then it was clear there was something that was wrong. That was when I thought ‘Oh no’. So we got the new boy in. Rick said: ‘If I kick the bucket, get him in’. We laughed about it, that was the relationship we had.”
The relationship between Francis and Richie took a while to develop. At first, Francis was frosty with the incoming, looking at him as though to ask what he was doing standing in his partner’s place? But the ice slowly melted and the band moved on.
“It happens. We die and everything carries on. I’ve lost two aunts and an uncle recently. As soon as I come out the funeral, I go to the studio and carry on. But the thought was difficult, carrying on. As I said, something happened. Some people think we shouldn’t carry on, but we had to.”
He is amused at the man that he’s become. Once a hellraiser and firmly anti-establishment, these days he sports an OBE and spends time in the garden. “Getting the OBE was a huge honour. If I’m really honest, I don’t feel people like us deserve it. I think the midwife in Leeds does but not us. But we maintain the profile of the honours system. No one really is going to ask the nurse or the milkman what they think – they don’t get the media attention. The fact that Rick and I and various others in our business get them helps to raise the profile of the honours system.”
He’s unsure what the future holds. There may be more records and more tours, though they may take time out in 2018 to reassess and consider where they’re going. If they do tour again, the Black Country and Birmingham will be high on their list of places to visit.
“I’ve said this before but my best friends in showbusiness are people like Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne, Robert Plant and a truck driver whose name I’m not going to tell you – and they’re all from your neck of the woods. Everybody I know from the area is fabulous, genuine. There’s also a couple of rasta guys who do the NEC. I see them occasionally, any of those people I meet, it’s like it was only yesterday that we saw each other. I might not see them for years, but I consider them friends. I feel comfortable around your lot.”Revisit the December 2017 event list
The Quo entourage rolled into familiar territory on 2nd December with yet another gig at the Bournemouth International Centre. A review of this well-attended gig appeared in the Bournemouth Daily Echo on December 4th, titled "Status Quo rock the BIC with latest line-up" and written by Louise Makey.
"LAST year Status Quo announced that they would be retiring from Electric shows due to Rick Parfitt's health, and the 2016 tour would be the last chance to see them loud.
Rick's untimely passing changed all that and they have plugged back in again and given the fans what they wanted. Supported by the amazing Cats in Space, the yearly winter tour was on.
The BIC was packed and the Quo chants were ringing out loud as the lights dimmed. From the second the first notes of Caroline rang out the atmosphere was charged. The Quo were back, loud, full of energy and outstandingly perfect. They don't rely on lots of stage gimmicks.
Francis Rossi, well what can you say? He still has it. The charm, the banter and, most importantly, the voice. He is still up there with the best guitarists around. He knows how to work a crowd - he had the audience laughing and hanging on his every word.
He warns us he's 'getting on' then goes headfirst into Paper Plane, loud and heavy. The solo start to Whatever You Want is nothing short of perfection and you can see why he alone can fill a venue.
The nod to Rick was there with the classic Don't Drive My Car with Andy Bown and Rhino ensuring the vocals were covered well.
Andy Bown is on keyboard ,where he has been since the early 80's, and is now providing vocals on some of Ricks old songs. Andy is involved a lot more and you get to see what a versatile musician he is.
Rhino Edwards is the bass powerhouse at the heart of the band, and he also is covering Rick's vocals comfortably. Richey Malone fills the guitar place like he has been there a decade.
It was a setlist packed full of solid hits - I don't think there was anyone in the crowd not singing along. The medley included the old favourites - Just Supposing, Down the Dustpipe, the sublime Wild Side of Life, Railroad and Again and Again. In the Army now was slightly haunting and still sounded good.
Rocking All Over the World is still as good as the first time they played it. The latest line up has really invigorated the sound and style of the Quo whilst retaining everything that made them the best at what they do. I am sure Francis and the boys will be playing the winter show at the BIC for many years to come."Revisit the December 2017 event list
Some excellent professional photos from the gig at Wolverhampton's Civic Hall on 3rd December can be seen here.Revisit the December 2017 event list
The following interview with Francis appeared in the Newcastle Chronicle newspaper on December 4th, titled "Status Quo's Francis Rossi on the death of Rick Parfitt ahead of Newcastle City Hall gig" and written by Gordon Barr.
"Christmas Eve 2017 will mark a year since the death of Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt.
His long-time Quo partner and founding member of the band Francis Rossi still has his moments when he has to take stock of what happened.
Not only were they band members, they were best friends and for five decades the pair were the face of the rock group.
Status Quo are at Newcastle City Hall on December 6 and as I chat to Francis on the run-up to the gig, it is clear he is still mourning the death of his pal.
He’s not in the slightest bit morbid – in all the years I have interviewed Francis, who is now 68, he has always been the joker, upbeat and an interviewee I have always looked forward to chatting to – but he is keen to talk about Rick, and it’s a more serious (for much of the time) Francis you get these days.
Status Quo were playing in Turkey last June when Rick suffered his second heart attack. Francis admits he thought it was the end then.
“He died then, as far as we were concerned at the time. As much as he was kept going and everything else, I would not have liked to see that done to anyone,” he tells me.
“I reckon you could bring a lump of wood back to life, let alone what they did to Rick. When he left the room, he was dead, and we went to our rooms.
“In the morning we had a mail saying he was on a drip feed, life support and he probably wouldn’t make a day. If he did make the day he would be incapacitated or brain damaged perhaps.
“We then get to London and our phone goes as we are landing and Rick was sat up having a cup of tea. That’s the tough old b***ard that he was. I just don’t know how he survived that heart attack.”
It was now that Francis and the other band members had to really take stock. “They said he wouldn’t be able to come back to work. That was one issue, where I had to initially get used to that idea. We had already committed that next period to doing other stuff with the acoustic tour and other things.
“We went back to the electric tour in the UK, as people wanted that as opposed to the acoustic. And we needed to raise the profile.
“Initially I just thought there was no point. But, they bring this young guy in and I’m thinking `I’m not sure about you mate’. The grumpy old sod that I can be.
“But he’s made us....maybe because it wasn’t going to be a temporary thing. When we started rehearsing and getting on stage, he was doing things how we used to do it.”
That guy was guitarist Richie Mallone, and the energy he brings to the shows saw Status Quo deciding to quit the Aquostic tour of the UK and going electric once again, with the Plugged In Live and Rockin’ tour – so it will be Status Quo at their loudest best at Newcastle City Hall .
“One of the things that helped a lot was Richie got a call from Rick around September last year saying `well done, you go out and do that, I don’t want anybody else to do that, you’re the perfect man for it’,” recalls Francis.
“Which he was. We watched him grow up, he would come and see us. We were watching him play at one point and Rick said `when I die we can get him in’. That was quite some time ago. We laughed, that morbid kind of humour we had. Then he said he had a better idea – get a lookalike of me and we could send the two of them out while we sat at home and watched the telly (laughs).
“That was the kind of humour people don’t understand him and I had.”
I suggest to Francis, though, that it must be tough at times playing on stage without Rick after all those years.
“Something has happened. Whether it’s a challenge or I am trying to prove that we can still do this and it is still going to be a good act,” he replies.
“It’s still the same material. But Richie is well aware it is no good trying to do a `Rick’ and perhaps that helped him and Rick’s phone call helped him as he’s become his own thing, which I really didn’t think could happen. But it did.
“Perhaps older bands become complacent. Perhaps we did! Perhaps at the beginning I was a little unfair to Richie and perhaps I was giving him a hard time, I don’t know.
“But I know at the moment this is good – he is good!
“Rick went out in the June, so that was really tricky. We were mid-flow, and then he got a bit better and we would get the odd call from him.
“But when we got home Christmas Eve last year and they told me he had died, it was awful. I could hear him in my head saying `there you go Fran, because he called me Fran, at least I didn’t go on a show day’.
“I could hear him chuckle the way he did. I can almost be sure that he hung on and knew he didn’t want to die on a show day. We were so indoctrinated and so institutionalised in showbiz over the years that you know you can’t do that. It will mess the whole thing up and put a bad vibe out.
“That was tricky Christmas Eve, as somebody I had known so long, and never tired of, as we got along so well and was just the same all the time I had known him, since I was 16, had suddenly gone.
“We were extremely close, as people but we have also lived close together. I’d known him longer than my children and either of my wives.
“Suddenly take that out of the equation, and we had all this stuff committed. Now what do we do? And it reminded me of my own mortality.
“I do wake up in the mornings and think `oh, OK then’. And there are times when I get a bit low and think `what’s the point?’.
“But, something about the music and being on stage with everyone at the moment is really getting me through and I’m really quite excited about it all. Otherwise I would say sod this.”
Plus he knows how good a reception he and the band are guaranteed in Newcastle . “When you go to Newcastle City Hall, and the atmosphere and the way that audience goes historically, it’s off the planet.
“It’s always been `you’ve got to play Newcastle City Hall’.”Revisit the December 2017 event list
The following interview between Rhino and Dave Ling appeared on the TeamRock website on 5th December, titled "Rhino Edwards: Status Quo's bass man on his strange route through rock".
"Status Quo's Rhino Edwards on Rhino's Revenge, why some Quo fans want him dead, why some call him the "Frank Sinatra of rock", and why the first Frantic Four gig was a "f**king shambles"
“My nickname’s The Rhino because I like to bang and crash around,” laughs John Edwards, the bass player of Status Quo since 1986 who today is upping the profile of his own group, Rhino’s Revenge. “I don’t do too many interviews,” he divulges during the course of a hugely entertaining dialogue. Principally, one suspects, this is because journalists prefer talking to the band’s official spokespersons, Francis Rossi or the late Rick Parfitt, who died last December, though as you will learn, when it comes to tact and diplomacy, this rhino also refuses to tippy-toe around the difficult issues.
With unnecessary cheeriness Edwards volunteers: “I know that there’s a small but vocal minority of Quo fans who would rather that I stopped breathing.”
For some, this is can be attributed to the trademark short hair and effeminate looking headstock-less bass, but for others Edwards is guilty of a far more heinous crime – not being Alan Lancaster, the co-founder who was acrimoniously forced out of the group following Live Aid in 1986. And yet the bottom line is that Rhino has been a member of Quo for seven more years than the man hardcore fans call Nuff (excluding the latter’s spell with the reunited Frantic Four).
“This will look bad in print, but there’s no other way of saying it,” Edwards says of his predecessor. “I feel really sorry for Nuff that he can’t let it go. I watched a recent interview with him and he was still incredibly bitter. After more than 30 years I would hate to think that I might still harbour a grudge over something. Life’s too short.”
Rhino probably knows he’s already said too much but can’t resist a follow-up: “Look, Alan’s a lovely guy; I’ve met him a few times. He seemed great. I also like Spud [Quo’s co-founding drummer John Coghlan] which is quite bizarre as not too many people do.”
Before going further, let’s stress that the truth – or his own interpretation of it – is important to John Edwards. He’s also a determined individual who’s worked hard to reach where he is in life.
“This is all I ever wanted to do,” he smiles. “Ever since seeing Free at Richmond Athletic Ground on November 7, 1969, I was absolutely certain that I would end up in a successful group. My first band was at ten years old and I played my first gig at 11. In every band I was with, I was keener than anybody else.”
For the casual rock fan, Rhino’s career began with a spell in Judie Tzuke’s band during the 1980s.
“I really wouldn’t want anyone to know what I did before Judie,” he guffaws. “I backed Sandie Shaw, I backed an Elvis impersonator. I was in a band called Space who had a hit called Magic Fly [which reached Number Two in 1977]. Look it up, I was the one who resembled a cosmic ice cream salesman.”
Born in Chiswick, Edwards began in several local bands including Rococo before receiving a call suggesting he gave up the day job and headed to France for a month to play on an album by Gallic megastar Nino Ferrer. “It was a no-brainer,” Rhino recalls. Ferrer suggested the bassist should join him in a group called The Spamm Band. A self-titled offering, released in 1976, Edwards freely admits ranks among “possibly in the top ten worst albums of all time.”
Whilst in Paris he met Didier Marouani and joined Space, whose brand of electronic pop was rendered quirkier still by the wearing of ski-suits and astronaut helmets.
“It was strange. They’d call in my bedsit in Teddington the day before a gig or a TV show,” he remembers. “After collecting a first class ticket and doing what was necessary I’d be back home by that same evening.”
Later on, whilst his next band prepared to play “the hippest club in France, the Nashville Rooms”, Edwards happened upon Steve Marriott in a nearby café.
“He asked: ‘Have you got any drugs?’ I didn’t but I knew a man who did,” Rhino beams. “Steve ended up playing with us for an entire week. One time John Bonham walked in – the band that night was Simon Kirke on percussion, Boz Burrell playing tambourine, Bonham on drums, Marriott on vocals and myself on bass. That ticked a few boxes.”
Back in England, Edwards met Mike Paxman, producer of Tzuke and, eventually, Status Quo, at a party. An admirer of Edwards’ musicianship, Paxman had already had a conversation with Judie about hiring him as soon as a budget became available. Lo and behold, said party took place on the very day that such funds became available.
“It was one of many coincidences to affect my life,” he states. “Mike and I were completely drunk and he said: ‘If you can remember my number, call me tomorrow and the gig’s yours.’ At 9am, I was there: ‘Good morning’.”
For a while Edwards rotated between the bands of Tzuke and former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, appearing on the latter’s 1980 album Little Dreamer, and also playing with the Climax Blues Band.
“Peter Green was living locally to me at the time but he was a complete and utter down ‘n’ out. He was in a bad way; it was awful,” John sighs. “Then a guy called Peter Vernon-Kell [who produced the album] stepped in and looked after him. Peter would only sing songs written by his brother Mike, which weren’t the best of tunes if I’m honest. He would occasionally stop playing and stand motionless during a take. It was so sad I thought: ‘This guy shouldn’t be here’ but at other times for 20 seconds or so he’d play a solo so incredible, I almost came in me pants.”
In 1982, following another recommendation, Edwards joined Dexy’s Midnight Runners, the self-styled young soul rebels riding high in the charts. “Literally the following day we were on a set alongside the cast of The Young Ones to film a version of Jackie Wilson Said,” he marvels. “It was the first series, nobody had seen that show before… what an anarchic experience.”
Dexy’s leader Kevin Rowland famously struggled with the pressures of fame, but Edwards didn’t exchange a crossed word with him “until he sacked me. He rang up and I mistook him for another Kevin. I was moaning about how we didn’t need to rehearse, and he replied: ‘If that’s how you feel, John, I’ll put that to the other guys in the band’. That’s when I went, ‘Oh, you’re that Kevin’!”
It was producer Pip Williams who asked Edwards and drummer Jeff Rich to play on Recorded Delivery, a solo album from Rick Parfitt that remains unreleased.
“When Quo got back together, Rick said to Francis: ‘I’ve got this rhythm section’ and it was all very seamless, though I completely understand that some people said: ‘Who’s this twat?’” chuckles Rhino. “But look, I’m a Quo fan. I saw the band in 1971 at the Winning Post in Twickenham, Thin Lizzy were supporting. It was a golden age for bands. I saw them and thought, ‘That doesn’t look too difficult’ – until I joined, and then you realise that it really is.”
Did Quo ask you to grow your hair?
“No,” he responds, spluttering with laughter. “At the beginning, Francis and Rick used to have their own spotlights and I wanted one too. I was told I could have one if grew my hair and I did try but it made me look like Worzel Gummidge.”
The following decades saw Rhino and Parfitt develop an incredibly close friendship.
“I must have spent more time with Rick than any of his wives and he was the funniest man I know – knew, sorry,” he says, correcting himself.
Asked whether he was taken aback by the full scale of the love generated by Parfitt’s death and Rhino shrugs: “Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention. I got an hour’s notice that there was something serious afoot, and afterwards I don’t recall much of Christmas. I was in shock.
When did the pair’s final conversation take place?
“Quite near the end. When he was in the UK I would go over and see him, and he seemed to be getting better. He’d realised that coming back to the band wasn’t an option because… well, he’d had a few knocks. He didn’t listen to his body and it had called out to him a few times. He’d had his collar felt in June [when Parfitt died for a few minutes following a heart attack] and he was possibly on borrowed time.”
Edwards mentions that he has just played on a number from Parfitt’s second solo album. “It’s a rocking song,” he enthuses. “There was a track that I knew Rick had wanted me to play on, so I did that. It’s a proper hardcore shuffle.”
This revelation will come as music to the ears of Quo’s hardcore faithful. The record, Over And Out will see the light of day on March 23, 2108 on earMusic.
However, those of a more casual persuasion may be unaware that Edwards actually campaigned internally for the Frantic Four to reunite for the first time in 2013.
“I felt the original four guys had unfinished business,” he explains. “They needed to go out there and do something, and then they could either put it to bed or keep on going – and put me out of a job. Of course, I went to see it, the first of the Hammersmith shows.”
And what was your verdict?
“Being brutally honest, musically it was a mess. It was fucking appalling,” he sighs. “Rick kept the whole thing going. But for sheer excitement and atmosphere it was also one of the best gigs I’ve ever attended. The guys could have got their wangers out and the place would have gone ballistic. There was a real outpouring of love. I went a second time and it was much better… but still not magical.”
Edwards has admitted that the Frantic Four’s reunion may have put him out of a job, but it didn’t happen. And yet Quo have found it impossible to put the genie back into the box. To some fans, the group ended after the Frantics signed off second time around in Dublin.
“To be honest, do I care a shit if people think that?” he retorts. “It [the reunion] ran its course, and now we’re back to the Status Quo of 2017. We still play a lot of those old songs but the Frantics really was all about nostalgia. If they had done an album I don’t think it would have been very good – not at all. Maybe Nuff will want to punch my lights out for saying that because I know he was very keen to do it, but they’re not as young as they were and the band has become something different to what it was back then, whether that’s a good or a bad thing.”
That’ll set the message boards into hyperdrive.
“Again, do I give a fuck?” he shrugs. “Those places are full of people who write: ‘I’d like to eat Alan Lancaster’s shit, Quo are the best band ever’. It’s ridiculous.”
However, Edwards fully understands why some Quo fans are irate that the band’s Last Night Of The Electrics tour, completed with a stand-in for Parfitt before he died, is no longer their last electric tour at all.
“I totally get that,” Rhino acknowledges, “but it’s hair-splitting, really. Our announcement said it was the end of electric touring. What we’re doing now is gigs [and not tours]. I understand why it might annoy people that bought tickets [for those farewell shows] but personally I’m thrilled that we’re carrying on. That doesn’t really answer your question, does it?”
Not fully, it doesn’t. So instead let us ask you point blank – should Quo really be continuing at all after the loss of Rick?
“Cor,” he winces painfully. “I know exactly what you’re saying, but… you’ll have to give me a minute to think about that. [After a few moments]: Yes, I think that we should. And that’s because when Rick wasn’t doing it last year, a lot of people still came. The one conclusion we can draw from all of this is that Francis is the only indispensable remaining member of Status Quo.”
But Rhino still can’t resist one final gag: “However, I am starting a campaign to get Francis’ son to take over from him when he retires.”
Horny Bastard: Who are Rhino’s Revenge? You’ve described the music of Rhino’s Revenge as “a bit more of a punky bluesy style than Quo, and less subtle.”
I don’t think people understand how subtle Quo’s music is, but mine’s quite different. It’s loud and aggressive. But it’s also it’s all about the words. A lot of thought goes into those.
The likes of Cougar and Famous boast some clever and funny lyrics.
Thanks. That’s where I get off. I perform songs, as opposed to singing them. I’ve been called the Frank Sinatra of rock because I get to the note eventually but usually it takes some time. I’ve never claimed to be a great singer.
The current line-up of Rhino’s Revenge includes FM guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick and Russell Gilbrook, drummer of Uriah Heep.
When I called Russ to pick his brain over people to approach he said, ‘I’ll do it’ which was amazing because he’s my favourite drummer. We’ve got a young instrumentalist called Matthew Starritt who plays trumpet and harmonica. He’s also a better bass player than me, though I don’t like to let him know that.
Do Rhino’s Revenge perform any Quo tunes?
It’s a mix and match. We do a lot of the stuff that I wrote, and funnily enough things that I wrote with Rick Parfitt. I think it’s important to keep his legacy alive, that’s why I sang Rain [on Quo’s Last Night Of The Electrics tour]. People might think that I cheerfully murdered that song, but my whole point was that I wanted to keep it out there.
Status Quo are currently on tour. Rhino's Revenge hit the road with King King in January, while the band's album Rhino's Revenge II is out now."Revisit the December 2017 event list
Quo played to a decent crowd at the Newcastle City Hall on 6th December. The following review of the gig appeared on Metal Express Radio on 7th December, written by Mick Burgess.
"Those preferring a pre-show pint in the newly refurbished bar of the City Hall may well have just missed one of those all too rare, “I saw them as a support band” moments. Cats In Space have been making quite a name for themselves over the last couple of years and with a growing reputation on the road with Deep Purple and Thunder they have become something of a must have touring partner. It`s easy to see why with their hugely infectious, melodic `70`s style of Progressive Hard Rock that sees them pulling in influences as diverse as Queen, ELO and Sweet with a delightful dose of the quirky Jellyfish sprinkled over for good measure. The lush multi layered harmonies shining brightly on Mad Hatter`s Tea Party and Greatest Story Never Told. While set closer Five Minute Celebrity nodded towards the raised defiant fist of KISS`s Flaming Youth. This was one of the finest support shows seen at the City Hall in many a year with Cats In Space delivering a classy headlining show in all but name.
Anyone expecting Quo sitting around strumming acoustic guitars may have been caught unawares as they stomped on stage to a very plugged in and a most definitely electric, Caroline, having decided on a change of plan from the original Aquostic shows to a full-blown Rock show due to overwhelming demand from their fans.
Quo were certainly fired up for it right from the start as Something `Bout You Baby I Like and the vintage Rain locked into gear. Maybe it`s the intimate atmosphere of the City Hall or maybe new guy Richie Malone has integrated more fully into the band since the sad loss of Quo legend, Rick Parfitt but whatever it was the whole feel of the show was far more upbeat than last year`s performance at the Metro Radio Arena.
The loss of Parfitt also impacted on bassist Rhino Edwards and long-time keyboardist/guitarist Andy Brown who both stepped up to the microphone to take lead on Whatever You Want and Creepin` Up On You while Brown`s vocals on Parfitt`s signature tune Don`t Drive My Car smoked with a raw Bluesy edge.
Francis Rossi of course was the star of the show with his wry wit and cheeky banter, trading blows with the crowd and loving every minute of it. Rossi and new partner Malone gelled together like they`d been on stage together for years and Malone himself must take great credit for the unenviable task of stepping into Parfitt`s large shoes.
Quo had the crowd up and rocking in the aisles with the promised mix of huge hits, old classics and newer songs. Rain, Little Lady from `75`s On The Level and Softer Ride drew from the depths of their catalogue while The Oriental and Creepin’ Up On You brought some modern Quo to the proceedings. A smart medley threw Railroad headlong into Down The Dustpipe and Again and Again cramming a few more songs into the set.
It was the hits however, that brought the biggest cheers from the crowd and how can you argue with the foot stomping Down Down, Whatever You Want and the evergreen Rockin’ All Over The World that had a thousand heads banging and air guitars strumming. It was quite a sight and for one brief moment people were 16 years old all over again and that in a nutshell is the enduring power and popularity of Rock`n`Roll, pure, unashamed escapism and Quo duly delivered."Revisit the December 2017 event list
The following press release appeared on the official Quo website following the late cancellation of the first "Aquostic" gig of the German tour on 11th December.
"It is with great regret that STATUS QUO are forced to announce that tonight’s show at the Friedrichstadtpalast in Berlin has had to be cancelled due to Francis Rossi being taken ill.
He appears to have picked up a chest infection which has left him incapacitated and unable to sing. He is currently receiving medical attention in Germany and has left it to the last possible moment to cancel in the hope that he would be able to recover enough to perform, but unfortunately that has not been the case.
Status Quo would like to sincerely apologise to the fans planning to attend the show.
Ticket holders should wait for a further announcement in due course.
The band are primarily known for their touring and live shows, and the cancellation of shows is always a last resort. Status Quo’s manager Simon Porter added, “We hate to have to cancel shows and hope that the fans realise that these situations are outside of our control. There’s absolutely no way that Francis could take to the stage and deliver the kind of performance that the band’s fans expect and deserve”.Revisit the December 2017 event list
Following the announcement of Rick's solo album "Over and Out", it was Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2 who managed to be first to publicly air a track from it, in the shape of "Without You" on 11th December. Although this is a previously recorded song from Rick's 80s solo effort "Recorded Delivery" (on which it was named "Richard's Song"), the mix has been significantly improved and it was great to hear a teaser so early in the campaign leading up to the album's release in March 2018. The track can be heard as a recording from Ken Bruce's show here.Revisit the December 2017 event list
The following press release appeared on the official Quo website on 12th December following the decision to cancel the next two "Aquostic" gigs on the German tour.
"Further to the cancellation of the Berlin show, it is with great regret that QUO are forced to announce that both tonight and tomorrow’s show at the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt and the Festspielhaus in Baden Baden are also cancelled due to Francis Rossi's illness.
Francis has a chest infection which has left him incapacitated and unable to sing. He is currently receiving medical attention in Germany and had hoped that he would be able to recover enough to perform at these shows, but unfortunately that has not been the case.
Status Quo would like to sincerely apologise to the fans planning to attend the show."Revisit the December 2017 event list
The following press release appeared on the official Quo website on 15th December following the decision to cancel the entire German "Aquostic" tour due to Francis's ongoing sickness.
"Further to the cancellation of shows in Berlin, Frankfurt and Baden Baden, it is with great regret that QUO are forced to announce that the remaining dates in the German Aquostic tour will also be cancelled due to Francis Rossi's ongoing illness.
Francis is currently receiving medical attention in Germany for a severe upper respiratory infection. It was hoped that he would be able to recover enough to perform the rest of the dates of the tour from tonight - Friday Dec 15th but unfortunately that has not been the case.
Status Quo would like to sincerely apologise to the fans planning to attend the shows.
Ticket holders should apply for refunds from their original point of purchase."Revisit the December 2017 event list
The following article appeared in the Harrogate Advertiser on 19th December, titled "Rock legends help Harrogate man's new record label" and written by Graham Chalmers.
"It’s not every day of the week a Harrogate music fan with no prior experience launches a boutique record label from the “back of a beer mat” in the Coach and Horses pub with the help of a Status Quo legend.
So how did ex-IT professional Jason Hodgson manage to pull off not only the formation of Barrel and Squidger Records but also the release of a new EP featuring both ex-Status Quo drummer John Coghlan and The Wildhearts’ guitarist CJ Wildheart in aid of children’s cancer charity The Shona Smile Foundation?
A combination of natural ‘blagging’ skills, a deep knowledge and passion for rock history and a little bit of luck!
Jason, who is well known locally from his lengthy stint working behind the bar at The Empress on the Stray, said: “I’ve always thought it’s worth asking for things. The worst thing that can happen is that someone says ‘no’.
“I put my ideas for the label on the back of a beer mat and I now run it from my bedroom at home.”
With orders coming in for the EP already from as far away as Australia, things are looking good for Barrel and Squidger Records which is named after Jason’s pub quiz team at the Coach and Horses pub in Harrogate.
A massive Status Quo fan and hardcore collector of rock music releases for 25 years, Jason noticed there had been no real tribute record to Rick Parfitt since his death a year ago.
That he ended up rewriting an obscure Quo track himself, then singing lead vocals on the recording and having CJ Wildheart playing lead guitar on the track is down to good taste and good connections.
Jason said: “I’ve been a researcher for the official Status Quo fan club magazine for years.
“I even interviewed Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi on a train from Stoke once so I knew I’d have to get the permission of their manager to do it.
“I knew CJ Wildheart already because he lives in Knaresborough these days and he had to borrow my record deck once to check out a test pressing of one of his songs.
“I only did the singing as guide vocals at first until CJ said that it had a “good narrative quality” and said I should keep them.”
Produced by John Shepherd of Harrogate’s Homefire Studios, the end result Christmas Eve (Nanana) comes complete with a slick video shot at Berties bar in Harrogate.
It’s just one of three tracks on the new EP which has its official vinyl release on Christmas Eve.
Both of the other tracks are equally notable - Status Quo’s John Coghlan appears on Walkway’s cover of Quo hit Rain, the drummer’s first vinyl release in 30 years, while hard-hitting rock n roll band Massive Wagons provide another Quo tribute - Back to the Stack.
Jason said: “It’s amazing. I used to see these bands when I was at Liverpool university in the 1990s, now I’ve got them on my record label.”
Rock Remembers Rick had its digital release last Friday (15th December) via basr.tmstor.es and is also available via Amazon and iTunes. Vinyl pre-orders can be made at the same web address."Revisit the December 2017 event list
On the anniversary of Rick's death, Barrel And Squidger Records released the vinyl version of "Rock Remembers Rick". As per their press release:
"Collaborating to mark the first anniversary of the passing of Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt on Christmas Eve 2016, the sensational triple A-side “Rock Remembers Rick” EP couples genuine rock legends with some of today’s greatest up-and-coming artists.
Walkway featuring John Coghlan – “Rain”
Having supported Status Quo on numerous occasions, Walkway were due to collaborate with Rick Parfitt on the solo album he was working on before his untimely death. Here they team up with legendary original Quo “Frantic Four” drummer John Coghlan on a cover of Parfitt’s Quo classic “Rain”. His appearance here marks multi-million-selling Coghlan’s first UK single release in over thirty years.
CJ Wildheart, Boss Caine, Ben Marsden and Jason Hodgson
with Sound Of Status and The Quo Choir – “Christmas Eve (Nanana)” A radical reworking of the 1971 Status Quo album track “Nanana”, adapted with the permission of original songwriters Francis Rossi and Bob Young. This is a reflective and celebratory Christmas Eve ode to Parfitt with new lyrics by Jason Hodgson, writer and researcher for From The Makers Of… (FTMO…), the Official International Status Quo Fan Club. Iconic Wildhearts guitarist CJ is accompanied by Hodgson, York Americana stalwart Boss Caine and The Main Grains’ Ben Marsden, before Swedish sensations Sound Of Status lead a 1000-strong crowd in an outro singalong recorded at the recent Status Quo Fan Club convention.
Massive Wagons – “Back To The Stack” *
Winners of the 2017 Hard Rock Hell “Rising Stars” award who have just signed a worldwide recording deal with Earache Records, massive Quo fans Massive Wagons have contributed their self-penned Parfitt tribute track “Back To The Stack”, which received rave reviews upon its original digital-only release earlier in 2017 in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Respect and gratitude to all artists involved and Harrogate’s Homefire Recording Co studio, for giving their time and efforts for free in order to raise funds for The Shona Smile Foundation. Shona Gill was a young Quo fan who lost her battle with a rare form of cancer in 2004 aged ten. The Foundation established in her memory helps other children with cancer, and has long been FTMO’s adopted charity."
John and Gillie Coghlan presented part one of a two-part special edition of their "Rockers Rollin'" show on BBC Radio Oxford on Boxing Day, 26th December. The show was billed as "Highlights from the Status Quo Fan Club Convention in Minehead - Part one. Includes chats with organiser Yvonne Hanvey, musician Jackie Lynton, compere Mick Wall, fans and tribute bands. Plus, at the end of the show, we'll chat to and have live music from our very special guest, Rick Parfitt Junior."
The show kicked off with Gillie interviewing Yvonne about running FTMO and organizing the convention and Yvonne chose to play "How Can I Be Sure" by David Cassidy. Next up were some short interviews with fans entering the convention before a longer interview with Jackie Lynton. John and Jackie are old mates and Jackie talked fondly about how they first met, how introducing Quo on stage came about, forming the Diesel band, and his longevity (now 77). Jackie chose to play "Suppose" by Elvis Presley.
A short interview with Quo tribute band Quo-incidence followed before Gillie interviewed Mick Wall. He talked about his history with Quo and getting into journalism, his current project with Meatloaf, and doing the Q&As at the convention. Mick chose to play Quo's "Down Down". A short interview with a couple of "JCQ superfans" came next before the show was closed out with a long interview with Rick Parfitt Junior. He spoke very fondly about being invited to play at the convention and learning the songs properly and how best to perform them. He also talked about his successful racing career and the emotions of meeting diehard Quo fans around Butlin's. A great clip of RPJ singing "Rain" with JCQ at the convention rounded out the interview.Revisit the December 2017 event list
John and Gillie Coghlan presented part two of a two-part special edition of their "Rockers Rollin'" show on BBC Radio Oxford on 27th December. The show was billed as "Part two - More highlights from the Status Quo Fan Club Convention in Minehead with the fans, stage manager Russ Chad, author Andy Flemmings, musicians Bob Young, Mickey Moody, and Johns band JCQ, Plus live music and a chat with our very special guest, Alan Lancaster, who joined John Coghlan's Quo on stage for the Sunday finale".
The show started with Gillie interviewing Russ Chad, stage manager at the convention, and how he came to be doing the job. He said that the hardest part of the job "not drinking!" and he chose to play Quo's "Slow Train".
A funny interview with John, Bob Young and Mickey Moody came next. They talked about the bands they'd been in, Diesel, and working together over the years. Bob said he's been writing with Francis, ready for an album in 2019. Mickey chose to play "Do It Again" by Steely Dan.
Gillie then interviewed a Dutch fan Wilbur, who roadies for JCQ in Europe. Next up was my good friend Andy Flemmings talking about his awesome "4500 Gigs" book, how he got into it doing and the fans' reaction to it. He chose, of course, to play "4500 Times".
More intervews with fans at the convention followed before an interview with the current members of John Coghlan's Quo. A great clip of "Backwater" from the end of the convetion was played, featuring Alan Lancaster on vocals and bass.
To wrap up the show, Alan was interviewed and he sounded so excited about playing live again. He was then joined by Bob who also sounded like he'd had a great time at the convention. The show played out with "Bye Bye Johnny" from the convention finale (with John on vocals after he asked Russ Chad to stand in for him drums!).Revisit the December 2017 event list