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That was the Quo month that was ... February 2017



4th - Marietta interview (part one) in the Daily Mail (UK)

The following article appeared in the UK's Daily Mail on 4th February, titled "His affairs tore us apart... then four days before he died he begged for my forgiveness: Rick Parfitt's first wife reveals he was so magnetic even SHE had a fling with him after their divorce" and written by Rebecca Hardy.

"As Nat King Cole’s soft baritone filled the crematorium where legendary rock ’n’ roll guitarist Rick Parfitt was being laid to rest two weeks ago and mourners filed out past his slate grey coffin, his first wife, Marietta Boeker, stayed in her pew.

‘Even at that stage it seemed so unreal,’ she says. ‘You just think: “God, can this really be Rick going totally out of my life?” You’re lost in your thoughts.

‘The other two ladies [his second wife Patty Beedon and widow Lyndsay Parfitt] were kissing and hugging the coffin. That wasn’t me. I just laid my hand on the coffin and said quietly: “I wish it could have all been different.”

‘Everyone deals with grief in their own way, and who am I to judge? I’d had nothing much to do with Rick’s other wives before, but during the service Patty sat next to me and was immediately stroking my arm and hugging me as if we’d been best friends for years. It felt very odd.’ She shrugs.

‘I went to the funeral because, yes, I wanted to say farewell to Rick, but in particular, I wanted to be there for our son, Richard.’

Richard, 42, the eldest of the Status Quo star’s four children from three marriages, and now with his own rock band, was devastated by his father’s death, but managed to deliver a deeply moving eulogy.

‘He’d written it with a little humour in a way that would have made Rick extremely proud. He’d have realised how much Richard loved his father. Absolutely loved him. But there was too little time in Rick’s life to reflect on those sort of things.’

Marietta stops and shakes her head sadly. ‘I was very glad when the funeral was over. I thought: “I can leave this behind now.” But, unfortunately, things like this don’t move away so quickly.’

Indeed, last Sunday Rick’s widow, Lyndsay, spoke of her fears that his death had left her and their eight-year-old twins, Lily and Tom, virtually destitute.

Marietta doesn’t know what is in Rick’s will nor for that matter is she particularly interested.

‘As far as my son is concerned, the love for his dad was always unconditional,’ she says.

‘He made his own success through sheer talent and dedicated hard work. He and Harry (Rick’s son from his second marriage to Patty) are very close, and I’m sure they only want what is best for the twins. They love their little half-brother and sister.’

In the month since Marietta, 65, learned of Rick’s death from sepsis on Christmas Eve, she has, in truth, been all over the place. Sad one minute, furious with him the next.

For it could, as she murmured in that Surrey crematorium, been very, very different.

Marietta was just 21 when she met Rick in a club in Gottingen, in her native Germany.

Their 12-year marriage ended in divorce in 1985, but Marietta spent much of her adult life trying to save the man she desperately, some would say foolishly, loved from the drink and drugs that ruled his life.

Along the way, she lost her self-confidence, their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, who tragically drowned in the family’s swimming pool, and almost her sanity.

Yet, as we can reveal today, it was Marietta whom Rick called days before his death on Christmas Eve.

‘We chatted for almost two hours about God and the world, including the songs both of us wanted to be played at our funerals. It was a light-hearted conversation, but now . . .’

The sentence trails into silence.

Her love for Rick was always a complicated thing. Take, for example, the fact that five years after their divorce she returned to him for seven years after he decided she was once more, as he wrote in a letter to her, ‘the love of my life’. Marietta doesn’t expect anyone to understand.

For their marriage, at its worst, was truly terrible.

‘Rick got to the stage where he’d take three grams of cocaine a day, with seven bottles of wine and a bottle of whisky to go with it.

‘Need I tell you what that does to a person? He’d go for four days like that and then collapse. I’d carry him into bed with the help of our gardener. He would sleep for two days, wake up in a huge depression and so search for another high.

‘The money was going out of the window as fast as it came in. Most of it went on cars, drugs, big hotels and women.

‘One girl, I don’t even know her name — she wasn’t what I’d call a very nice girl — I found in bed with Rick in our home when I came home early from a shopping trip in London.’

‘I told her to leave immediately. Rick just laughed and said that it didn’t mean anything. His standard lines were “Trust me” or “I’ve got it under control,” ’ she rolls her eyes in a sort of how-could-I-have-been-so-naive way.

‘The thing with love is that it doesn’t just die from one day to the next. It gets dismantled, like when you take a wall to pieces, stone by stone.’

For make no mistake, Marietta loved Rick deeply.

So much so, in fact, that as one of two daughters born to a phenomenally wealthy German industrialist, she signed away her right to a £2 million inheritance to marry him.

We meet in her house in the town of Beverungen, near Dortmund. It was her childhood home and inspired the Brothers Grimm with its fairy-tale castles and enchanting countryside.

Marietta’s father employed 300 workers locally and many others from neighbouring towns in his furniture and plywood factories, which funded her Roman Catholic boarding school education.

When she married Rick on September 15, 1973, all the shops in the town closed for the day to join in the celebrations.

‘My father was a very strait-laced businessman and a bit of a tyrant at home. It was a very conservative upbringing,’ she says.

‘Rick was so different. He had this tremendous zest for life. He was the kind of person who was going to go for life no matter what and he had the freedom to do so, which I didn’t.’

Marietta was studying in Gottingen when Status Quo performed there in July 1972. She and Rick met in a club. ‘Rick told me right from the beginning: “I’m going to marry you.”

‘I just laughed. I thought it was hysterical, but two days later he sent me a huge bouquet of red roses, and four weeks after that he just appeared on my doorstep.

‘He kept telling me I was wonderful and lovely. The added bonus was he had no idea where I came from or what I might possibly have.’

When Marietta told her parents she’d fallen in love with an English rock musician, her father was appalled. He offered to buy her an apartment — anything to stop her from having a relationship with the then virtually penniless guitarist.

‘Eventually my parents decided they were going to invite him for Christmas. Now Christmas at our house, particularly Christmas Eve, was quite an elegant affair.

‘Bearing in mind Rick was extremely poor at this stage, I asked him if he could borrow a dinner jacket. He appeared on Christmas Eve in a white satin suit with white platforms and blond curls. He looked as if he’d come straight off the top of the Christmas tree.

‘I remember Mummy saying to him: “Well, I always wanted a boy — now I’ve got one and he still looks like a girl.”

‘It was two worlds totally colliding. I think for Rick the attraction was that I wasn’t just another groupie who would sleep with him immediately. Our first night together was months later when we went to [Status Quo drummer] John Coghlan’s wedding.

‘We stayed at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington. I didn’t know what to expect — I’d never made love before. As a Catholic, for me making love to someone was such a commitment,

‘Rick was very understanding of that. I thought: “This man is so wonderful. I want to spend the rest of my life with him.” And Rick felt the same.’

Within three months, he had travelled to Germany to ask Marietta’s father for her hand in marriage.

‘My father didn’t speak English and Rick didn’t speak German, so I sat between them translating. Dad said: “If you insist you’re going to marry this man, we’re going to the solicitor’s tomorrow and you have to sign a piece of paper saying you’re going to give up your inheritance.”

‘I didn’t care. I was totally in love with Rick. I was prepared to give up everything for him — my home . . . my country.’

Two days after their wedding, Marietta and Rick arrived at his mother’s two-bedroom house on a council estate in Woking, Surrey, with a huge wooden box that contained her trousseau, which included 144 crystal glasses, a canteen of silver cutlery, crockery and damask tablecloths.

The box was deposited in the garden shed and that afternoon Rick left to go on tour.

‘He didn’t want to take me,’ says Marietta. ‘It wasn’t the done thing for Status Quo to take their wives on tour.

‘When Rick returned a few weeks later, he was nice to me — of course he was — but he said: “Quite frankly, I don’t think I should have got married. Now we’re getting famous, the talent” — that’s what the group always called the girls — “is getting more interesting.”

‘Then the drugs started to filter in. The favourite drugs of the day were Mandrax and Quaaludes — heavy sleeping pills. He’d throw tantrums, get aggressive. With alcohol it was even worse.’

A Beethoven piano concerto plays on the sound system as Marietta talks. She’s curled her legs beneath her on the sofa as she sips Prosecco.

‘Only ever one glass,’ she says. She’s never taken drugs either. Forget two colliding worlds — she and Rick were from two different universes.

‘I thought: “Oh my God, have I done the wrong thing? I can’t possibly go back to Germany. I’ve got to get through this. It’s probably just a phase. I love this guy. Carry on.” ’

Her father had deposited £100,000 in Rick’s bank account when they left for England.

Marietta was determined a home of their own would resolve their problems, so they bought a chalet bungalow a few miles from Rick’s mother’s home. The following spring, Marietta was overjoyed to discover she was pregnant.

She invited the other Status Quo wives over to her home to share the good news.

‘We were sitting in our little lounge when the other wives warned me Rick was out with other girls and having a gazillion affairs.

‘I was totally devastated. I said: “This can’t be true. I’m expecting his baby.” ’

Rick’s success and wealth grew as swiftly as her baby bump. They moved to a larger house with a swimming pool, but Rick was rarely at home.

‘Most nights he was out in town.’ There is no anger when Marietta says this, just a palpable sadness and you sense how much she suffered in her marriage.

Richard was born two months prematurely on October 18, 1974. Weighing only 2lb, he was in an incubator for six weeks.

Within two days of his birth, Rick went on tour to Australia. Newspaper reports about him being caught in a lift with a blonde soon started appearing.

‘What do you do? I couldn’t reprimand him because drugs had so taken over he couldn’t remember what he’d done,’ she says.

‘He couldn’t remember if he’d smashed the furniture or why I’d got a couple of bruises. When people are completely drunk or out of it on cocaine or whatever, it totally changes their nature.

‘I remember once Rick came home from a festival and threw the entire dining room suite into the swimming pool.

‘It’s not just upsetting, it’s frightening because when people are like that they don’t know what they’re doing, but they take on a different strength.

‘On one of those nights in Hydon Ridge [their beautiful nine-acre estate in Hambledon, Surrey], he was in such a foul mood and I became his target.

‘He pushed me. I fell and hurt myself. He said “Get up” and began to carry me upstairs, but because he was drunk, he dropped me and I hurt my back. There were quite a few nights like that.’

So why on earth did she stay with him?

‘Two things,’ she says. ‘First, I really felt I’d made a promise in church. Second, I really loved that man and felt when things got worse and worse it was my task to try to save him.

‘At some stage I remember saying: “If I can get him to the age of 45, I’ve done really well.” I just felt this commitment. I was trying to save the marriage, but I was also trying to save Rick.

‘But I was actually wasting my time. He had countless affairs. I tried to cope with it, but didn’t do very well. I cried a lot. How could I compete with the supermodels?

‘I was pregnant with our daughter when he had an affair with a well-known model.

‘When he was with her, I never knew where he was living. I had to go through a third party to contact him if I needed to. He’d come home for a while and then disappear again.

‘Every time he went away, I’d pack his suitcase beautifully to make him realise he had a wonderful home and a wonderful person who loved him.

‘I’d hide a couple of little hearts in his clothes and a loving letter to make him realise how I felt.’

She stops, swallows collects herself before she continues.

‘He used to write me lovely letters, too. I truly believe deep inside him he did care, but there were so many people leading him astray. The thing you have to remember is that so many of those rock stars in the Seventies were from very humble beginnings. Suddenly — almost overnight — they had wealth and adulation.

‘Everyone wants to be in their orbit and no one contradicts them. It’s like taking a child who’s been deprived of sweets and letting them loose in a sweet shop.

‘They’re not going to just take one or two — they’re going to stuff their mouths with as many sweets as they can. When you can have whatever you want whenever you want, possessions and people lose their value. You become easily bored, so you are continually in search of new kicks.

‘I used to try to invent things to keep Rick off the drugs. I’d think: “What can I do that will excite him so much that he’ll find me interesting instead?” I couldn’t be promiscuous — that wasn’t me.

‘Then I suddenly had this bright idea of learning to fly a plane. I took lessons for four weeks.

‘He was thrilled when he found out, but, of course, Rick being Rick couldn’t have his wife flying and not him, so he took lessons, too, which meant he had to stay off the drugs and booze.

‘That lasted for six months and our relationship was fantastic. And that’s how I got pregnant with Heidi.’

Marietta stops and takes a break to stretch her legs. She returns with a silver framed photograph of her enchanting two-year-old daughter.

Heidi drowned in the family swimming pool on August 10, 1980. Within two years, Marietta had filed for divorce."

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6th - Marietta interview (part two) in the Daily Mail (UK)

The following article appeared in the UK's Daily Mail on 6th February, titled "Hours after our perfect baby girl drowned, Rick spent the night with his mistress: In the final part of a heart-rending interview, Rick Parfitt’s first wife on the Status Quo rocker’s most shattering infidelity of all" and written by Rebecca Hardy.

Status Quo rocker Rick Parfitt was on tour in Germany when his first wife Marietta went into labour with their second child, Heidi, a few days after Valentine’s Day, 1978.

‘I phoned him in his hotel room to tell him. A girl answered. She said: “Rick’s in the shower.” It was like somebody had punched me in the stomach.

‘I just said: “Can you just tell him I’m going into hospital because we’re having our baby?”’

Marietta pauses. Rick did not return to see his newborn baby daughter for two months, and then only briefly to avoid having to pay tax (as a British resident).

‘Status Quo were at the height of their fame. Rick was so lost in his world that his children and his wife became secondary. I think that’s why, when we lost Heidi, he suffered a big guilt complex because he suddenly realised it was too late to spend time with her.

‘He needed a scapegoat to alleviate that feeling and the scapegoat was God, who he blamed for everything.’

Marietta has never spoken about her 2½-year-old daughter’s desperately sad death 37 years ago. The pain of losing a child never disappears. She still thinks about her little girl every day.

‘When I pass a woman in the street who’s the age Heidi would have been, I think: “I wonder if Heidi would be like that.” Whether she’d be married? What she’d be doing? She was such an incredible little girl. Heaven knows what would have become of her.’

Marietta was preparing lunch on that hot Sunday at their beautiful home set in nine acres of rolling fields and woodland in Hambledon, Surrey, in August 1980. Rick, who’d risen late, was watching television in the sitting room with the couple’s six-year-old son, Richard.

‘We’d taken the cover off the pool because I was going to go swimming with the kids after lunch,’ says Marietta. ‘Heidi was in the kitchen on the worktop having titbits as I cooked.

‘Once I started doing the gravy, I put her down and said: “Go to Daddy and tell him dinner is going to be ready in five minutes.”

The sitting room was next to glass doors that led out on to the terrace.

‘After laying the table, I went into the lounge. It was only a matter of minutes later, but she wasn’t there.

‘I said: “Where’s Heidi?” Rick said, “She’s not here.” We both went calling for her right through the house, but she didn’t answer. Then I suddenly I heard our little Yorkshire terrier barking outside.

‘He was running round the pool. At that stage, your heart sinks. You run down there, there was . . .’ She stares out of the window.

‘There was just this little baby girl in the pool with her cardigan floating on the sides like wings.’

Marietta adds: ‘To be perfectly honest, a lot of it I can’t remember. I just have this picture of my lovely girl face down in the pool. I screamed like an animal that’s been mortally wounded. It isn’t a human sound. You’re totally out of control. You feel as if you’re being shredded, as if somebody is ripping out all your organs.

‘We got her out and Rick tried to revive her. I ran to get a blanket and called an ambulance, but being in the country it didn’t arrive for 20 minutes. I had this child in my arms wrapped in a blanket and she didn’t open her eyes any more, she didn’t breathe.’

Rick and Marietta followed the ambulance to hospital in Guildford, where medical staff were unable to revive her.

‘You don’t accept it. They told us to go home. I said: “I can’t go. I need to take my baby with me.” It was . . .’ There are tears in her eyes now.

‘When we got home, there were dozens of reporters. It was terrible. I went indoors and called my parents. They loved my children beyond anything. Having to say for the first time this word “dead” was a killer. It reverberates in your head like an echo, which goes on and on and on.

‘Rick phoned a gazillion people and the house filled up. I don’t remember who they were. I just made endless cups of tea.

‘Then Rick just disappeared. He didn’t come home that night. I think he went to see one of his old girlfriends and stayed there.’

The next few weeks passed in a blur. ‘I remember meandering through the streets buying her a white gown. I asked as many people as possible to wear white to the funeral. I thought: “I’ll never be able to give my little girl the wedding I wanted, so this is to be my celebration for her.” I didn’t want to wear black.

‘When the autumn came and the frost set in I had this panic she was going to feel cold. I could see the churchyard from our house. I couldn’t stop myself from putting a blanket on her grave. You do silly things.’ She says her son, Richard, saved her. ‘One day, he said: “Mummy, if it’s true what you said to Heidi and me that when a child dies it goes straight to heaven to live with the angels and has fun, why are you crying all the time?”

‘There’s this six-year-old looking up at me saying this. That poor little boy. God only knew what he was going through. He’d lost his sister and was losing his mum. From that moment I decided to really, really try to keep Richard safe and away from a lot of things I felt he wasn’t fit to see.

‘People dealing with their pain in the way Rick was doing cause so much chaos. I put Richard in a boarding school three miles down the road.

‘Our divorce wasn’t because of Heidi’s death. It was because of what had become of Rick and me.’

Following an on-and-off affair with a well-known model, Rick started a relationship with the Hot Gossip dancer, Debbie Ash, the sister of actress Leslie. The hellraising escalated with wild parties. Fights. Violence.

‘At the end I was physically and mentally exhausted. Rick would come home at 5am or 6am, get clean clothes and go back to town — back to Debbie Ash or whoever else he might have taken a fancy to.

‘I was getting weaker and weaker. You accept so much that in the end it kills you as a person. I didn’t know who I was any more.

‘I thought: “If I don’t get out now, I won’t survive this. What will happen to Richard then?” That’s when I knew I had to change my life. I had to file for divorce.’

Three years later, they faced each other in court. ‘Rick had a lawyer, and then more lawyers, and then a QC. I thought we were having the court hearing about finances, but when I got into the stand the first question his QC asked me was: “Mrs Parfitt, tell us how you satisfy your husband in bed?” ‘I wouldn’t and couldn’t address a subject like that in public.

‘I looked at my QC, who asked the judge to intervene. The judge declined. There were 15 men sitting there in that courtroom. I thought: “What are they trying to do to me?”

‘It went on for two hours. The same happened the following day. I finally broke down and wasn’t able to say a whole sentence without stammering. Eventually, I turned to Rick and said: “You’ve taken everything I have. The last thing left to me is my dignity. Do you really want to allow these guys to take that, too?”

‘They totally and utterly destroyed me and he let them. Nothing mattered to me after that. I didn’t care what financial settlement the judge might or might not award. I just wanted to get out.’

Marietta walked away from their marriage with a £168,000 lump sum and £2,600-a-year child maintenance after their gorgeous family home had been sold. She was told Rick was in terrible debt, mostly to the Inland Revenue.

‘Status Quo were at the peak of their success at the time. Goodness knows where all the money he was earning went.’

Marietta began renovating houses to make ends meet and didn’t see Rick for years. ‘Richard didn’t see him either. There were no Christmas presents. No birthday presents. Rick would arrange to see him and then not show up. That was very difficult for him.’

For the first time in our interview Marietta seems angry.

‘Richard began to suffer with terrible tummy pains,’ she says. Numerous medical tests followed and he was diagnosed with the horribly debilitating Crohn’s disease. He received treatment but, at 15, the condition flared up again.

‘The doctor said that although not much was known about Crohn’s it was believed to be connected to stress. I wondered if Richard was suffering because he wasn’t seeing his father. I didn’t want Rick back in my life, but I knew, for Richard’s sake, that I had to contact him.’ Rick, who was by now with his second wife Patty, agreed to meet Richard and soon father and son forged a loving relationship. Marietta concedes she found this tough.

‘We had a nice little house and little car, but his dad booked flights to football matches and raced cars. When you’re a 15 or 16-year-old boy with a father like that, of course you want to be with your dad. I didn’t cope very well.

‘Eventually my son, who is very wise and very kind, said to me: “If you can’t cope with the past, why don’t you and Dad sit down and talk it through?”’

Rick and Marietta finally met on neutral territory in a hotel in Weybridge, Surrey. ‘We went through our marriage together and Rick said, in absolute amazement: “No, did I really do that?” He genuinely had no recollection.

‘I walked out in a compete daze and thought: “Good God, I’ve spent all these years and given all I have and he doesn’t even remember. Was it worth anything at all?

‘But I had to cope with it for Richard. Rick being Rick decided he was freshly in love with me again. He told me he’d separated from Patty and showered me with presents. This went on and on. He said: “I really want us to get back together.” ’

Surely she told him to take a hike? Marietta looks down at her hands.

‘No,’ she says quietly. ‘Rick could be very charming. I agreed to give it a try. If nothing else, I thought it would be really good for Richard — and Rick can be the most charming man in the world when he wants to be.’

The relationship continued for three years with shared moments in Germany, where she had begun to work for her father, and England.

It ended as dramatically, and cruelly, as in the early days.

Marietta recalls: ‘One weekend in 1997 I was due to meet a friend in London, when she phoned to say: “Don’t worry if you can’t make it, you’re obviously in the hospital.”

‘I asked her why and she said: ‘Don’t you know? Rick’s in intensive care. He’s had four heart bypasses today.’

Marietta drove immediately to the Wellington Hospital in St John’s Wood, North London.

‘He was there with all the tubes and everything. He was really weak. I held his hand and said: “Don’t speak. I just want you to know I’m here.” The next morning, I got a call from the group’s management saying: “Please refrain from visiting Rick. He’s got a new girlfriend and you’re not doing him any good.”

‘That’s how I got to know our relationship had finished. I was unbelievably sad because I hadn’t expected that at all and to be told by management rather than him . . .

‘But what can you do? My phone calls to him were blocked and I had far too much dignity to cause a scene. Once Rick made up his mind, there was no point of return.’

Marietta never met Rick’s new girlfriend. Within three years he had returned to his second wife Patty, but left her again when he became secretly engaged to fitness instructor Lyndsay, whom he married in 2006.

Yet still Rick and Marietta weren’t able to sever their bond completely, and would speak and visit each other occasionally.

Marietta last spoke to Rick four days before he died on Christmas Eve at the age of 68 when he Skype called her in Germany from his home in Marbella.

Two days later, Richard called from Miami where he was on holiday with his wife Rachel to say he was flying to Spain because his father was dying.

‘I said: “Come on, don’t be stupid, Dad’s not dying. I spoke to him a few days ago.” He rang me back an hour or so later. Rick had died. I couldn’t believe it.

‘I was sad and angry because I thought: “Why didn’t he slow down? There was so much he had to look forward to: a new album, an autobiography and, of course, all his children.”

‘And, why now? Why at Christmas? Then you think: “This can’t have happened.” You feel helpless because you can’t turn the clock back.

‘What makes me really cross is I’m absolutely certain that had I received more support from people around him when I was trying so hard to wean him off the drugs, he’d still be alive today.

‘I know Rick was a grown man who should have thought more about those of us who loved him when he chose the life he did.

‘But more than him I blame the people who facilitated and encouraged that life. To my mind, having lived through it, they are just as responsible for his death.’"

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17th - Francis interview on BBC Sussex

Francis gave an interview from his home studio to BBC Sussex which was broadcast on 17th February. The interview kicked off talking about Francis's involvement with the Frankie Miller "Double Take" record (on which he did "Gold Shoes") and he spoke glowingly of the project, describing it as "a most enjoyable project". The interview went on to talk about Francis living in Surrey, his "downsized" house and the studio (with his old analogue mixing desk). They concluded by discussing Quo's plans for 2017 - in talking about "Aquostic", Francis obviously still has a fear of people not liking it and hence playing smaller venues) and he commented about how unusual it will be to finish the year in Germany (as opposed to the traditional pre-Christmas UK tour).

The video of this interview can be found on the BBC Sussex Facebook page here.

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23rd - Tickets for Quo concert in Dubai on 27th October go on sale

A surprise gig in Dubai (UAE) was announced on 23rd October, to take place on 27th October on the band's return from Australia (for the "Rock The Boat" cruise and Australia/New Zealand tour). The following press release appeared on the Dubai Opera site to announce this one-off gig.

"STATUS QUO ANNOUNCED FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY IN OCTOBER 2017

‘Electrical Storm’ expected as legendary rockers hit the Dubai Opera stage this year

Dubai UAE 23rd February 2017: Following an incredible reaction and success of the current European Tour and a huge number of requests from fans and promoters, Status Quo has announced an extension to its current tour which will take in one night at Dubai Opera on 27 October 2017.

‘Last Night of the Electrics’ began in 2016 and is a thunderous electric live show featuring Francis Rossi, Andrew Bown, John ‘Rhino’ Edwards, Leon Cave and Richie Malone. Throughout their six-decade career the band has enjoyed over 500 weeks in the album charts and sold more than 118 million records worldwide!

With the release of 43 albums since founding member Francis Rossi was joined by Rick Parfitt to form Status Quo in 1967 the Quo became one of the biggest English rock bands of all time, spending a total of 415 weeks in the British singles chart. Racking up over 6000 live shows and performing to an estimated audience of over 25 million people, the boys, now continuing to perform without Parfitt who died at the end of 2016, have extended the tour dates to honour his memory.

Both founding members Rick and Francis were awarded an OBE in 2009 for services to music and charity and have a huge following worldwide. This amazing opportunity to see one of the greatest rock bands in the world is expected to generate rapid ticket sales and so the advice from Dubai Opera is to snap them up quick to avoid disappointment.

Dubai Opera’s Chief Executive Jasper Hope commented: “Status Quo are the ultimate live performers – and in a space as intimate as Dubai Opera, I expect their show will quite literally raise the roof this October. For anyone who’s been waiting for us to turn up the volume, this one’s for you, rock on Dubai.”

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23rd - Rhino guest appearance at "Kossoff - The Band Plays On" gig, The Half Moon, Putney (UK)

Rhino made a guest appearance with a Free-related band at The Half Moon in Putney on 23rd February. His cousin, Clive Edwards, was on drums in the band and Rhino played on two songs in their second set, in the shape of "I'm A Mover" and "Mr Big".

A full review and photos from this gig appeared on the Metaltalk website on 24th February and can be read here.

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24th - Rossi family article in the Croydon Advertiser (UK)

The following article about a Rossi family venture appeared in the Croydon Advertiser on 24th February, written by Mark Davison and titled "Status Quo legend opens new coffee shop in Coulsdon which will be run by his sons".

"Rock superstar Francis Rossi officially opened a new coffee shop in Coulsdon today (Friday) which will be run by two of his sons.

The legendary Status Quo frontman cut a gold-coloured ribbon and declared Rossi's coffee shop, on the Clockhouse estate, officially open.

The coffee shop and sandwich bar is a new venture by Rossi's sons, Patrick and Kieran, who are both former pupils of John Fisher School, in Purley.

Their proud dad said: "I am delighted that the boys are putting their heads together on this new venture.

"And while it's more soup and a roll here rather than rock and roll, I'm delighted to perform the honours."

He added: "My family history is very much tied to the food industry, particularly the ice cream business, so it's in the Rossi blood."

The shop on Hillcrest Parade had lain empty for some time and it was Kieran who initially came up with the idea.

The 38-year-old engineer, decorator and business entrepreneur told the Croydon Advertiser he often worked from home "just round the corner" and was tired of having to drive down to Coulsdon town centre to get something to eat at lunchtimes.

"I've had too many beans on toast at home lately," he quipped.

He discussed the idea of taking over the shop with brother Patrick, who is 28.

Patrick had worked as a chef in London, including at The Ivy; Le Caprice, in Mayfair; and J. Sheekey's.

But with the frequent cancellations of trains and endless waiting on platforms trying to make a takeaway coffee last for an hour, he was fed up with commuting, he said.

He liked his brother's suggestion of opening a coffee shop and the siblings approached Sutton Borough Council with a view to taking over the empty unit and acquiring the lease.

Now, some months later, it has been refurbished to provide a comfortable place for residents and passers-by to stop by for coffee, sandwiches, cakes and light bites.

The regulations mean that hot food such as soup and toasted sandwiches can be provided but full hot meals cannot be cooked on the premises as there are flats above and other restrictions.

Patrick said: "We know what people want from an operation like this; we will be offering top quality food and drink, served with a bit of flair. We can't wait to get started."

The café opens to the public tomorrow (Saturday).

Patrick, preparing a latte for one of the visitors, smiled and remarked: "It got mental in London with all the hours I had to work. Sometimes I was only getting about six hours' sleep in three days."

The Rossi family have lived in the Woodcote area of Purley since the 1970s.

As the last of the hoovering took place before the opening, Keiran, looking relieved, said: "We'll see how it goes and expand what we offer when we find out what people want.

"We may try out some Italian dishes in the future."

The coffee shop will be open from 7am to 4pm on weekdays and from 8am to 3pm on Saturdays. The lads will have Sunday off to have a well-deserved rest.

A rock legend

Francis Rossi's father's side of the family were Italian ice cream merchants responsible for the Rossi's Ice Cream parlours.

He was born in Forest Hill and went to school in Sydenham.

When at secondary school he met Alan Lancaster, with whom he formed the band The Scorpions - a predecessor to Status Quo.

He became close friends with future Quo bassist Lancaster while playing trumpet in the school orchestra.

The Scorpions were later renamed The Spectres and in 1965 they played at a Butlins holiday camp in Minehead.

It was here that Rossi met his future long-time Status Quo partner Rick Parfitt, who was playing as part of another band called The Highlights.

The two became close friends and agreed to continue working together.

In 1966, The Spectres signed a five-year deal with Piccadilly Records, releasing three singles that failed to chart. The group again changed their name, this time to Traffic Jam.

In 1967, Traffic Jam changed their name to The Status Quo but would eventually drop the definite article.

Rossi had written a song called Pictures of Matchstick Men, which hit the charts in both the UK and the US.

Shortly afterwards, Parfitt joined the band, completing the original lineup, and beginning an almost 50-year partnership with Rossi until Parfitt's death in 2016.

After some years of minor success, the band came to fame in 1972 with their album Piledriver.

Rossi became famous as their charismatic frontman.

Quo would continue to enjoy major success in the UK, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand through the 1970s and 1980s.

They were the opening act of 1985's Live Aid and Rossi wrote and co-wrote some of their most famous songs, including Caroline and Down Down.

In 2013 and 2014, Rossi and Parfitt reunited with original Quo bandmates Lancaster and John Coghlan for a series of reunion concerts.

To this date, Quo have sold over 128 million albums worldwide."

Revisit the February 2017 event list