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That was the Quo month that was ... February 2019



1st - Francis interview on MyLondon

A long interview with Francis appeared on the MyLondon website on 1st February, titled "The former rock 'n' roll wildman who now loves living a 'very boring' life in Croydon" and written by Frederica Miller.

"Back in the 70s and 80s Status Quo were huge. Like, opening Live Aid huge.

If you're too young to have heard of them, ask your mum!

In their prime, their legendary frontman Francis Rossi was about as rock and roll as you could get.

He's reported to have blown a whopping 」1.7 million on cocaine.

But he's now 69 and he's mellowed. To an astonishing degree.

Born and bred in South London, he chatted to MyLondon this week about his life on Croydon's exclusive Webb Estate, where he has lived since 1975.

He must host some wild parties we thought. Imagine the scene. Rock stars from the 80s drinking non-stop for days. Then probably riding naked around the garden on the back of a zebra.

But no. Rossi admits he now lives a "very boring" life on the estate in Purley.

Nowadays he favours jigsaw puzzles over booze and his only expensive indulgence is sushi.

South London born and raised

The singer was speaking to us ahead of a rather different tour of the UK where as well as performing songs from his latest album he will be sharing some priceless anecdotes from the more debauched period of his career.

Rossi was born and raised in Forest Hill where his dad owned a shop and an ice cream van.

But how did he end up in Croydon? Well, it seems he has really fond memories of the town from his childhood.

"We used to go to the first supermarket in Croydon which was Caters," he said.

"And my mum used to love to go to Kennards for lunch and Grants. We used to go to all those a lot for buying Christmas presents and fireworks, all that sort of stuff.

"I've got little old black and white pictures of Purley, Croydon, Coulsdon - they're stuck to my wall.

"I've got pictures of East Croydon station as it was. It's just tremendous. I remember [all of that] from my childhood because we grew up in that black and white, post World War Two [era where it was a] smoggy s***hole of bomb sites.

"But you do remember it affectionately, even though you remember it was cold and you had black soot coming out your nose and the frost on the inside of the windows."

Francis Rossi's tour prep timetable

Far from rock 'n' roll, Rossi describes his life in Croydon as "very regimented".

In the lead up to his tour, his daily routine goes as follows:

It wasn't until much later in life that Rossi moved to Croydon, though, after falling in love with Purley's Webb Estate.

He explained: "In the 1970s my manager lived in Buckingham Way and I was down to see him and was driving around and thought 'I like it here'.

"And then I turned into the Webb Estate, I saw it and I was only 21 or 22 and it made me aspire to do well in the capitalist way. I thought 'earn money and you'll be able to live there' - and I did that."

In 1974, Rossi bought his first home on the Webb Estate. He has since moved, but only over the road where he lives with his wife and four of his eight children.

'The Webb Estate is perfect for me because it's boring'

The Webb Estate is worlds apart from plenty of other parts of South London.

It's a gated community full of multi-million pound mansions. It is close to exclusive private schools and even has a quaint tea room, The Lord Roberts, which was transformed from a struggling post office by Channel Four TV presenter Laura Hamilton.

Rossi said: "There are so many places going up everywhere [else] and I can't cope - and you actually sound like your fricking grandparents or your parents and you swore blind you'd never do that.

"I like the Webb Estate because it's still pretty secluded. I just fell in love with it when I was younger and I'm a person of not too much changed.

"I stay at home as much as possible, indoors. I've never had a rock 'n' roll party while living here. They [his neighbours] were very lucky, people used to complain about things when I first moved in, but they were just lucky it wasn't [his late bandmate] Rick (Parfitt).

"Rick loved to do that - but we were opposites like that. I really don't like parties or gatherings, not at all. I'm a very boring person really - I mean really.

"I don't drink, I never drank when we toured when I was younger. But there was a period when we were in Switzerland recording somewhere and we went to a Mexican restaurant and everyone said 'go on, be a man, have a drink' and I think I had about six margaritas. Not very manly. And drinking led me to cocaine and then, I still don't like drinking, so I don't do it.

"The Webb Estate is perfect for me because it's boring."

But what happens on tour stays on tour, right?

Rossi's subdued lifestyle seems to extend to being on tour these days.

He said: "[On tour] I get on a tour bus, and get off at the venue about 10am in the morning and get back on the bus whenever the show finishes that evening, and sit in my room [on the bus] basically."

Where do you go out in Croydon?

While Rossi doesn't like to let loose on tour he does enjoy visiting restaurants in Croydon.

He said: "Osushi's (in South End) is my favourite but I also frequent Bagatti's and Navaratna. Osushi's is run by a British-born Chinese guy and a Vietnamese guy. I've been going there about 11 years and it's fantastic. I go as frequently as possible, I'm addicted to sushi."

According to Rossi his favourite dishes are tuna and sea bass nigiri, and prawn tempura.

He said: "My children are very much into sushi too - so I spend far too much money on sushi but there we go."

Family man

Of Rossi's eight children, four still live at home while the other four live nearby in South London.

Rossi said: "I like them being at home and I like them being nearby. It's an Italian thing, we all sort of live in one big friggin' house."

But fame and fortune doesn't come without sacrifice.

Rossi explained: "You have to be so cut throat. All I've ever done is focus on this to the detriment of my children's lives, they barely know who I am I suppose. I'm lucky my wife allows me to do so much. I'm obsessed with my job - and still am.

"I remember my dad telling me, he ran a shop, that you never ever don't make it into work - even if you're feeling unwell, you've got to. Work never goes away, my mind's always working."

'Jigsaw puzzles and crosswords help me unwind'

While Rossi maintains he's constantly working he does find rare moments to unwind and loves doing jigsaws and crosswords.

He explained: "I find puzzles very therapeutic, I do my jigsaw puzzle every afternoon. I do a lot of Mike Jupp who does strange crazy scenes. I'm not someone who does jigsaws or crosswords as a challenge. I enjoy it, I do the Times and the Guardian each day and work on a 1,000-piece puzzle.

"I don't think much about work at that time, it'll be finished by this afternoon and then I'll try and start another one."

Rossi has a studio in his garden where he's been practicing in preparation for the tour.

He said: "I tend to start at 10 in the morning and I finish at five, then I work out, I eat at six, then I do a bit of the puzzle then I practice for an hour or two and then I play patience and go to sleep again - I'm very regimented."

Rossi's tour will feature music from his We Talk Too Much album and he will be joined by vocalist Hannah Rickard. There will also be stories from his I Talk Too Much autobiography.

He'll be bringing the tour to Hayes's Beck Theatre and Bromley's Churchill Theatre as well as dozens of other UK locations."

Revisit the February 2019 event list  

9th - Francis interview in the Watford Observer (UK)

Francis was interviewed by the Watford Observer newspaper and the interview was published on 9th February, titled "Rock royalty Francis Rossi to host music night in Watford" and written by Rory Butler.

"The phone rings several times before Francis finally answers. This is my second attempt. When he does there痴 a beat before he starts singing: 的知 sorry I知 late, I知 so sorry I知 late (chuckling)... No but really I am sorry I知 late. I知 fairly certain these lyrics are entirely original.

Our interview was scheduled to begin just over ten minutes ago, which is nothing really - so I was rather touched to have British Rock royalty warbling an amusing apology into the mouthpiece in a seemingly sincere tone. And in the notoriously Devil may care world of rock 創 roll I壇 say the man has done well to even be up at all this early on a Thursday morning.

I知 chatting with bona fide Rock legend and Status Quo frontman, Francis Rossi because the 69-year-old from Forest Hill is gearing up for a 36-theatre UK road tour which will land in Watford this April, marking the release of a collaborative album with vocalist Hannah Rickard entitled We Talk Too Much and a new autobiography written with Mick Wall.

Rossi and Rickard met when Rickard worked with Status Quo on the hugely successful Aquostic project.

The I Talk Too Much spoken word tour in Watford promises to be a night of unprecedented intimacy as the paragon of British Rock shares the extraordinary secrets of his 50-year music career before fielding questions from his adoring fans in whatever shape or form they take.

When I asked Francis what people can expect, he said: 的 have no ideaI am hoping something will happen on the night, a lot things went on back then.

撤eople will surely ask me about Rick; I may do If You Were the Only Girl (In the World) or the tune to Coronation Street - who knows. If these things die when I知 out there they won稚 go in the next night. I知 happy to see what happens.

The Quo founder did say audiences can expect laughter, revelations and hitherto unheard tales of some of the biggest names in Rock.

Francis bites into an egg sandwich which, by the sound of it, is steeped in a mayonnaise so thick you could use it to hang wallpaper. 徹ff you go, he chomps.

Had you always wanted to be a musician - and could you ever have imagined you壇 be the lead man in one of the most successful Rock bands in the world?

的 didn稚 initially want to be a musician. It sounds like a lofty thing musician. I just own a guitar. I saw the Everly Brothers and wanted to do that. I知 still practicing and trying to catch up.

的 just wanted to escape that post-World War Two bomb-scarred 50s shit. And I didn稚 want to go into the family business of retail or selling ice cream.

的f I could go back, I would probably learn more. But I was a sickly child, I missed a lot of school and my dad was always encouraging me - he said, 選f you can play an instrument, you値l be welcome anywhere. He died in 75, dropped dead at the stop of the stairs.

的知 just the bloke who was in Status Quo who was very lucky. I have this X or Marmite factor some days people are like, 蘇e痴 alright, some days they say, 蘇e痴 great.

的致e been listening to Jordan Peterson a lot recently and I watched him take on Cathy Newman when she said the top people in companies are all men and he took her to bits.

滴e said 奏hese people are cut throats, they池e dedicated - and that痴 me.

溺y wife and my children suffered for my talent. I am obsessed with Status Quo, always have been.

Which Status Quo song do you most enjoy performing and why?

典o be honest the ones we do in the States set are great and in fact anything we do is enjoyable. But I love doing Don稚 Waste My Time. I went off for it for while but I致e recently gone back to it.

釘eginning of the End I like, but I always enjoy going back to the old ones.

Who were some of your musical influences - who do you admire?

的 really admired Jeff Lynne but mainly The Everly Brothers. Jeff was doing things we all wanted to do - choirs and opera singers etcetera. The Everly Brothers I admired for the tunes and the harmonies.

鏑ittle Richard because, wow, if you look now it is still really steaming. Jerry Lee Lewis too, he was difficult to work with but look at him go.

釘ut nearly everything has been of some influence and some of those things were very positive - Stan Webb's Chicken Shack, Fleetwood Mac for instance.

溺y Dad was an influence too because he also loved music and had very wide taste. I played something to him at 17 - told him he壇 love it, and his body contorted with pleasure and that痴 how I feel - that way. I can feel it, it hurts. I almost don稚 intellectualise.

Tell me about the tour?

典he reason I apologised when I got on this phone call is because I was yacking with this other journalist and I致e realised I like talking - I talk a lot and that痴 what this tour is.

的致e worked with Hannah Rickard of course. But it feels strange people are interested in what I have to say. It痴 very much a suck it and see, this tour. There will be quotes from the book and during the Q&A people can find out about the various decades we lived through - the music, the drugs, my relationship with Rick.

鄭m I looking forward to it? Yes and no. I知 a Gemini. The Geminis are twins. Each star sign has a left and right and Gems have four sides. With 鼠ooking forward to the gig I have to be careful because if my ego kicks in I値l fall flat on my face.

的 was doing an acoustic set in Hanover last year which I thought was going well, I thought 訴t痴 f**king happening, we致e got it. But I said to Hannah at the time, 選 am so pleased with it, tomorrow we do this we do that, and in the end I made so many f**k ups and I was a let down.

的t crops up occasionally. It痴 perhaps attributable to my Gem personality.

典he insecurity of the show, the Gemini side and the Jack the Lad are at odds. It depends who turns up in the middle of the gig.

Can people expect some Quo songs in there?

的知 not doing songs per se, although I will be doing certain tunes to explain how we wrote Matchstick Men which was inspired by Jimi Hendrix, and other songs

的値l probably show the audience about the funny new guitar noise I致e developed which might be interesting.

的 might do Marguerita Time if there are any hardcore songs lovers out there, or maybe If You Were the Only Girl (In the World). One thing you don稚 do in show business is fall on your arse.

的 have no ideaI知 hoping something will happen on the night, a lot things went on back then. People will surely ask me about Rick, I may do If You Were the Only Girl (In the World) or the tune to Coronation Street - who knows. If these things die when I知 out there they won稚 go in the next night. I知 happy to see what happens.

What in your life are you most proud of?

鄭gain, I think that would lead me to stumble. Again, I am so proud of my children but they池e just my children. I知 proud of them in their way, they池e there, they were born. Should people like me be allowed to have a career and kids? I知 a dad.

鉄ome of the songs I like most of all I知 proud of. I致e got the song I wrote called All We Really Wanna Do (Polly) or Marguerita Time I thought was going to do well but there you go.

Lastly, how was that sandwich Francis?

擢**king beautiful.

The I Talk Too Much tour will land at the Watford Colosseum on April 27.

Francis will also be signing copies of his album, We Talk Too Much - due for release on March 15 - and his book written with Mick Wall after the show. His autobiography, I Talk Too Much, is due out on March 14."

Revisit the February 2019 event list  

9th - Francis interview on the "Stage & Screen Show" on Calon FM (UK)

Francis was interviewed by Andy Snowden on the "Stage & Screen Show" on Calon FM on 9th February, as yet another promo for his spoken word tour, book and album with Hannah Rickard. True to his word, Francis talked a lot and the interview ended up lasting about 35 minutes.

The interview was immediately preceded by Jackie Lynton痴 "Live" album introduction before Andy reeled off some Quo history and vital statistics. Discussion started off with Quo's longevity, with Francis saying he's "approaching 70...and I just keep going" and noting how much he now appreciates seeing multiple generations in the audience.

The first Top Of The Pops appearance came next and Francis said that he already felt "grown up at 19" by being on that show and he also confirmed the story about writing "Pictures of Matchstick Men" on the toilet. The track was then played.

Inevitably, Francis mentioned the "insecure little show offs" in show business (including some DJs in that!). He thought "success" with the first hit would change everything, but really "nothing changes". He pointed out that it's part of the human condition to look forward to stuff, but that's often the best bit and better than what actually eventuates. Francis said it's the same with gigs, so he treats them all the same because if he looks forward to it, then the gig never lives up to it. He mentioned that he finds it particularly strange that people say your wedding day will be the best day of your life!

Talking about Live Aid, he said he just wanted to "get on and get off" and he couldn稚 even remember which songs they played! When talk turned to the recent Frantic Four reunion shows, he said he was "very embarrassed by it" and they "could have been a lot better", but he recognized the outpouring of emotion and nostalgia. He said it was "very difficult musically" and he "was really glad we did it and that [Alan and John] earned the kind of money they did".

Moving on to Rick, he said that other people "will never understand our relationship, I never will and I was there!" He told a story about one of their first gigs, where Rick mimed and almost got sacked from the band - I've never heard that story before! Francis repeated that he and Rick were "very close" in the early days and that "there were turbulent times and there were fabulous times" over the years since.

Andy has interviewed Richie Malone twice since he joined the band and this interview turned to talking about him. Francis said it was "destined to be" in terms of Richie replacing Rick and that he is "a delightful bloke". He said he understands the people that don稚 want to see Quo now, but he believes there's "something special and it痴 not all down to the Irish git"!

Eventually, they got to promoing the book, album and spoken word tour! When Andy asked about a Christmas tour, it was an emphatic "no" unfortunately but Francis did say there's a "possibility of an album" so it wasn't all bad news. The interview concluded and played out with "Under The Influence".

Revisit the February 2019 event list  

24th - Francis interview on Absolute Radio

Francis was interviewed by Leona Graham on Absolute Radio on 24th February.

Revisit the February 2019 event list  

24th - Rhino's Revenge appearance at The Guitar Show 2019, New Bingley Hall, Birmingham (UK)

Rhino's Revenge performed at The Guitar Show 2019 on 24th February. The show was held at Birmingham's New Bingley Hall on 23rd and 24th February.

Along with drummer Richard Newman and "special guest" Freddie Edwards, Rhino's Revenge played a short live set on Sunday afternoon preceded by a short interview. Rhino then signed autographs and chatted at the Rockano Productions stand (manufacturer of the guitar Facelift product).

Some photos of the band in action can be seen on their Facebook page.

Revisit the February 2019 event list