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That was the Quo month that was ... February 2010



6th - Quo concert at Gulf Bike Expo, Dubai Festival City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Quo headed out to the Middle East for just one gig, at the Gulf Bike Expo on 6th February. The Quo concert marked the end of the week-long cycling event (Nickelback played on the 5th) and excellent press photos of the band in action in Dubai can be found here and here.

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6th - "Just Quo" tribute band gig at Caboolture RSL, Caboolture, Queensland, Australia

Queensland-based Quo tribute, Just Quo, took the stage at Caboolture RSL on February 6th. They entertained a good crowd and featured Roy Lynes on keyboards for a few songs, including "Down The Dustpipe". Photos of the band in action can be found here.

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6th - Rick Parfitt Jnr article in the Daily Mail (UK)

The following article about Rick Parfitt Jnr appeared in the UK's Daily Mail on February 6th, entitled "The stress of my dad's divorce brought on my Crohn's disease" and written by Andrew Williams.

"When Status Quo's Rick Parfitt collects his OBE from the Queen this week, his eldest son, also Rick, will not be far from his thoughts. For although he was invited to Buckingham Palace, the 35-year-old will be cheering his father on from a hospital bed as he recovers from radical surgery to remove a complete section of his gut.

He hopes the operation will be the last he has to endure in a lifelong battle against Crohn's disease, the debilitating condition that affects 90,000 people in the UK.

The illness, which causes inflammation of the lining of the gut, is on the rise, with 4,000 new cases each year. Symptoms include diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain and fatigue, coupled with weight loss due to poor absorption of food.

Rick Jnr says: 'You know how much it hurts when you have a mouth ulcer? Imagine a thousand of those lined up along your gut, eating away at you, and it's incurable.

'I live with extreme pain. It's exhausting. I can't remember what it is like to wake up in the morning and feel normal.' With Crohn's, there can be months or even years without symptoms. But each relapse is usually more debilitating than the last. Eventually inflammation leads to scarring and permanent damage of the digestive tract, as well as abscesses and infection. There is no cure and the condition can mean a lifetime of medication. There is also an increased risk of bowel and colon cancer.

Surgery involves removing the damaged sections of gut and many patients require a temporary or permanent colostomy bag which lies outside the body, bypassing the colon.

'At first I was horrified by the idea of the bag. But it is reversible, and even if it isn't, I have to be pragmatic. A large part of my gut is effectively dead. I knew this would happen at some point. I still consider myself young and it is a massive blow but my main focus is getting back some quality of life.'

While his father was notorious for his rock 'n' roll excesses, Rick Jnr had to live a comparatively saintly existence. Yet, in the depths of his father's depression and drinking following the breakdown of his second marriage in 2005 to Patty Beedon, the guitarist turned to his son for help. For a while the 61-year-old even lived with Rick Jnr.

'Richard would find me in a state of collapse at 3am - on my own. I was in a terrible mess,' Rick Snr admitted at the time. 'He would say, "Come on, Dad, come out with me. Do something."'

Today, his son says: 'You have to be there for your loved ones. I encouraged Dad to get up and go out to the gym. That's how he met Lindsay [ Whitburn, his third wife, with whom he now has two-year-old twins Tommy Oswald and Lily Rose]. She's monster fit and brilliant for him.'

The irony of his father being so cavalier with his health, while he could never afford the luxury of indulgence, is not lost on Rick Jnr.

'My father's injuries were self-inflicted, but I didn't even touch a drink until I was 23,' he says. 'I can't drink - it makes my stomach bad. I have to write off three or four days if I get drunk. I get terrible pains and cramps. It's just not worth it.

'Growing up I was the male version of Saffy in Ab Fab,' he laughs. 'How do you rebel against a dad who is a rock 'n' roller?

'I think he was awarded the OBE for sheer endurance. But I didn't like what drink did to him. Drinking turns people into something they're not. I knew that if he stopped, everything would get better.

'I am annoyed that I will miss out on going to the Palace - I'm so proud of him.'

Crohn's is an auto-immune disease caused by the immune system turning inwards and attacking the body. Doctors do not know why it happens, but genetics are thought to be a factor. One in ten sufferers has a close relative with inflammatory bowel disease.

'My grandfather on my mother's side suffered from colitis [a similar condition to Crohn's in which ulcers develop in the gut],' recalls Rick Jnr, whose mother is his father's first wife, Marietta Boeker, from Germany.

Environmental factors probably play a role, too. Diets low in fibre or high in sugar, as well as smoking, could increase the risk of developing Crohn's.

But Rick believes it is no coincidence that his problems first started during his parents' high-profile divorce battle, when he was nine years old. The death of his two-year-old sister Heidi, found drowned in the family swimming pool in 1980, can only have exacerbated this. Rick admits his childhood was 'a crazy time'. A boarder at Amesbury, a preparatory school in Surrey, he says he did not see his father much.

'Mum didn't want me to. I remember being very upset by the divorce. There was a lot of bitterness and when you're young you don't understand.

'Of course, now I know it was the right thing for them to do. But I feel that stress brought on my illness. Stress causes stomach ulcers, and that is basically what Crohn's is. I think you have to be susceptible and that trauma is the trigger.' The symptoms came on without warning. 'It is like a wave of excruciating pain. Once, while playing football, I had to rush off the pitch and lock myself in the toilet.'

For six months, Rick was 'in and out of hospital, having tests. I missed a lot of school and had to repeat a year. Mum was there all the time, and ferried me around, desperately worried'.

There is no single test for the disease, which is usually found in the small intestine or the colon. Dr Ian Shaw, consultant gastroenterologist at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, explains: 'Blood tests are used to assess levels of inflammation, whether there is any infection and whether patients are malnourished, which is common in Crohn's patients.

'Stool samples are taken and a colonoscopy is performed, in which a thin flexible tube carrying a camera is inserted through the back passage into the colon to allow doctors to view the gut lining. During this, tissue samples are often taken and then tested in a lab.

'A small bowel enema is also carried out - during which a tube is inserted through the nose and threaded into the small intestine, coating it with barium, a radioactive liquid, which allows the lining to be viewed using an X-ray. 'The results often highlight areas of narrowing and inflammation caused by Crohn's disease. The exhaustive process is far from pleasant. However, once diagnosed, treatment can begin.'

In its very early stages, Crohn's can be controlled through diet, but more often powerful steroid drugs are needed. The side effects of these can be severe and include acne, facial swelling, insomnia and mood swings. Long term, they can cause thinning of the bones (osteoporosis), cramps and even cataracts.

'My face did swell up, and my joints hurt,' says Rick. 'I was also iron-deficient, because my gut wasn't absorbing food properly, and the doctors told me to eat raw liver which was disgusting. I also had to drink this horrific tasting syrup with iron in it.'

After 18 months, Rick was taken off steroids and given an immunosuppressant, in order to help reduce inflammation on a longterm basis.

'I had a few years of feeling all right,' says Rick. 'There was the occasional grumble but it was manageable.'

Growing up, Rick was self-conscious about performing simple tasks such as going to the shops. 'I had to carry a Crohn's card, so shopkeepers would let me use their toilets,' he says. 'I was reluctant to go to parties in case there'd be a couple snogging in the toilet and I couldn't get in. And then it started to get worse again when I was in my late teens.'

Things came to a head while Rick was studying music technology at Leeds University. 'Anything I tried to eat caused my stomach to spasm.'

At his lowest point, Rick, who is 6ft, weighed just seven stone and while visiting his father, who was performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London, he collapsed. 'Doctors put me back on steroids but I knew it was just delaying the inevitable,' he says.

'I'd tried homeopathy and all that. The last thing I wanted was surgery but I had no other options.'

Fifty per cent of Crohn's sufferers need surgery within the ten years of being diagnosed and of those, half will face further operations to remove sections of bowel.

Aged 21, Rick had an infected part of his intestine removed by surgeons at St George's Hospital in Tooting. Complications resulted in internal bleeding and Rick required further surgery the following day.

In 1996, a study from South Glamorgan reported a doubling of the number of children diagnosed with Crohn's disease between 1983 and 1993. In 1999, a study in Scotland reported a 50 per cent increase over ten years in the incidence among those aged 16 or under.

A study of incidence of Crohn's in South Wales from 1996-2006 suggests this dramatic increase is levelling off. It is likely that an inherited susceptibility interacts with unidentified environmental factors to induce the disease. Particular genes may also help to determine the severity of the illness. Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (MAP), an organism that causes Johne's disease, an infectious wasting condition in cattle, may trigger Crohn's. About 35 per cent of UK herds are infected, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It is transferred through contaminated milk, and can survive pasteurisation. These mycobacteria are said to be present in about half of Crohn's disease patients. Some scientists believe other environmental factors such as smoking and Western diet are responsible for the increase. Stress is also thought to exacerbate the illness.

'I was in hospital for three weeks. Mum was in Germany and Dad was away so I went home to my grandparents' house in Woking to recover.

'It took a good seven months but then it was like I had my life back. I'd never felt so healthy.'

Rick says he made up for his lost teenage years. 'Everyone has a wild phase. Mine was just a bit later than most. I never did finish my degree.

'I'm pretty clean-living now. I go to the gym three times a week and play football. I try not to eat dairy and red meat, which make my stomach worse, but sometimes I can't resist a Sunday dinner.'

Today, Rick enjoys the lifestyle you would expect of a son of a millionaire rock star; a career in the music industry, a previous competitor in international motor-racing events, and showbiz girlfriends have included Dannii Minogue. But in the past three years his health has deteriorated.

'I've lost weight, going from 11 stone to about 9. It's not good. But that's Crohn's - it comes and goes. The idea of more surgery scares me but you have to ride the storm, and hopefully it'll be the last operation.'

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is about to approve new drugs for the long-term management of Crohn's. They prevent inflammation and target the autoimmune response, and are more effective than the older medicines. But at a cost of 10,000 per year per patient, there are concerns that many NHS trusts will be unwilling to pay.

Rick has now launched a foundation to raise money for research into Crohn's disease. 'We need to find a cure,' he says. 'It is debilitating. But I hope I can also show other sufferers it's possible to have a life and a career with Crohn's.'

The RPJ Crohn's Foundation's Rock Ball is at The Hurlingham Club in London on March 17."

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12th - Francis and Rick collect OBEs at Buckingham Palace

Francis and Rick had an appointment at Buckingham Palace on 12th February to receive their OBEs from the Queen. The Quo frontmen dressed very smartly and looked nervous as they waited and then collected their OBEs. As they collected their awards, the orchestra played a few bars of "Rockin' All Over The World"! Video footage of them meeting the Queen can be found from the BBC here, while some fan photos capturing Francis and Rick arriving and leaving the Palace can be seen here. The event received much press coverage in the UK and, as an example, the following article appeared in the Telegraph newspaper.

"Status Quo rockers Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt described being awarded OBEs by the Queen today as the most "exceptional" moment of their musical careers.

The legendary musicians, who have been entertaining crowds for more than 40 years, appeared humbled by the experience of receiving the honour from the monarch at a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony.

Rossi, looking smart in a dark pinstriped suit, said as his music partner nodded in agreement: "This is the most exceptional moment of our careers. There's no two ways about it.

"Live Aid was contrastingly very different and important and there was a great euphoric feeling on the day but nothing can make you forget this.

"It's part of the establishment which is everything that's been around us since we were little and it's something to aspire to.

"Whether you're a royalist or not you cannot take away what the Queen and the Royal Family do for us."

Status Quo have become one of the UK's best-loved rock bands since releasing their first hit single, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, in 1968.

Singer-guitarist Parfitt, 61, and lead singer Rossi, 60, have gone on to chalk up 22 British top 10 singles, including Down Down in 1974, Rockin' All Over The World in 1977 and Whatever You Want in 1979.

The group has spent nearly eight years in the UK singles chart as well as scoring 32 hit albums, more than any other band apart from the Rolling Stones.

Parfitt, originally from Woking, Surrey, and Rossi, from Forest Hill, south London, have also raised millions of pounds for charity over the years.

Status Quo launched the first Prince's Trust concert in 1982 and three years later they opened the original Live Aid concert with Rockin' All Over The World.

The band's status as a national treasure was confirmed in 2005 when they appeared on Coronation Street and were chosen as a specialist subject on BBC quiz show Mastermind. "

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21st - Francis interview in the Herald Sun (Australia)

The following interview piece appeared in Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper on Sunday 21st February. The full-page article appeared in the glossy magazine supplement, was titled "Francis Rossi - In My Own Words" and was written by Hannah Rand.

As the frontman of Status Quo, this 60-year-old lived life on the road before settling into the role of family man. Now he and his bandmates are rocking all over the world again

As a kid, I had a large head for a small body. If I stood at the top of the stairs, I'd topple down. When I hit the ground, I'd cry, and mum played Guy Mitchell records to calm me down.

I've always had a thirst for knowledge. But I was a dickhead at school. You had to be rough to survive my school.

My brother, Dominic, and I were given guitars one Christmas. He changed his mind about being in my band and wanted to build a train set instead.

The Everly Brothers got me into music. I didn't want to just play lead guitar, though. I wanted to sing as well as strum that bugger.

Status Quo have been going since 1962. The secret to our longevity is persistence and stubbornness. We realised one record wasn't a career and we desperately wanted to be anything other than a one-hit wonder.

After the first hit, we just kept our heads down. Then you turn around and you've had 30 hit singles. Next time, you've had 60. You think that will be enough, but it isn't.

I didn't realise how much work it would be. There have been competitions where fans have won a place on tour with Status Quo and the most they last is four days.

Sometimes I think, I can't do this night after night. But once you start, the adrenalin kicks in. I still go on stage without expectations.

I've been performing since I was 13. Nowadays we have a big bus and Rick [Parfitt, Status Quo rhythm guitarist] and I have bedrooms at the back. We've stayed in the flashest hotels, but they're all a bit depressing in the morning.

I've had my green '57 Telecaster since 1968. People make a fuss about it, but it's just a half-painted guitar. I was restoring furniture and decided to sand it down, too. I painted it black and it looked horrible, so I sanded it again and stained it green. I only finished one side because we had to go to a gig.

There's no day off from music. I play two or three hours a day. Musicians - if you can use such a grand word - are a bit sad, really.

If a kid asked for my advice about getting into the music business, I'd tell him "Don't". But if he were really going to make it, he'd never listen. In this business, you need to have so much drive and tenacity that you'll ignore anyone who says you should do otherwise. There was nothing else I wanted to do.

Us rock 'n' rollers are all little show-offs. We have a need to be onstage. We crave it.

The classic Quo guitar move comes from not knowing where to stand onstage. When we started out, the promoter would tell us specific places to stand and we'd forget. Half the audience wasn't listening anyway, so Rick and I stood near the amps, put down our heads and played. I've heard Tina Turner doesn't know where to stand, either, so I don't feel too bad.

If we did it on purpose, we'd look silly. Males in rock look silly - all that pouting and gesturing. But when you're doing it, you're oblivious.

It was a joy to cut off my ponytail; it looked like a wizened piece of old shite. My wardrobe girl said we could stick on a false one, but I wanted it off after I heard that a man who'd been impersonating me said he cut his off because he was too old for it. A fan won the ponytail in a competition. That's a bit creepy.

People talk about our fans as though they're dickheads. It's easy to think of the dedicated supporters as crazy, but they're true music fans.

I hate the myths about rock 'n' roll, but younger bands need to believe in it. If you throw a TV out of your hotel window, they'll just buy a new one and charge it to your bill. If you trash your room, your manager has to go downstairs, say sorry and pay for it - out of your money.

I have eight kids but only two are still at home - Kiera Tullulah [16] and Fursey [13]. I thought Fursey was an odd name, but we couldn't think of a better one. Now it's stuck.

Patrick [21], the oldest from my second marriage [to wife Eileen], has learning difficulties. But Pat has such a way about him, he'll do better than the others in some ways. He tries so hard.

I've become quite reflective since turning 60. It wasn't on the cards to reach 60. I didn't think I'd last past the big 3-0. It's weird to think I've come this far, but I'm grateful.

Rick and I received OBEs this year. It's a great honour but also humbling. We call it the Old Bloke Entertainer or One Boiled Egg.

Rock 'n' roll is an illusion. It's like those gowns they give you in hospital - all fabulous at the front, but your bum is hanging out the back.

Revisit the February 2010 event list