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

1st - Francis and Rick awarded OBEs

Much to their surprise, Francis and Rick were finally added to the New Years Honours List for 2010 when they were both awarded OBEs. The announcement of their honours received wide press coverage, with an example from the BBC being reproduced below entitled "Status Quo stars Parfitt and Rossi appointed OBEs".

"Status Quo rockers Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi have been appointed OBEs for services to music and charity.

The band, whose songs include Rockin' All Over The World, first had a hit in 1968 with Pictures Of Matchstick Men.

Rossi, 60, said he was "not sure we're worthy" while Parfitt, 61, said he had "given up hoping" for an honour.

Ex-Shadows bassist Jet Harris and wildlife presenter Simon King are among other entertainment figures in the New Year Honours list.

Harris, 70 - who left The Shadows in April 1962 before scoring hits as part of a duo with the band's former drummer Tony Meehan - is appointed OBE.

King, who appears on the BBC's Springwatch and Autumn watch shows, also becomes an OBE as does film producer Graham King, whose 2006 movie The Departed won a best picture Oscar.

Parfitt said the pair deserved their honours because of their hard work ethic and "what we have done for charity".

The band have helped to raise funds for charities including the Prince's Trust, the Heart Foundation and Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy.

"I thought there had been a chance that we may have got something but I had kind of given up hoping," he said. You start off rebellious, a teenager in a band, but you end up being part of the establishment."

"Particularly with my wild past, if they'd reviewed some of my old newspaper cuttings.

"To be perfectly honest, with all the hard work we have put in over the years, I accept it graciously."

He and Rossi - the two remaining original members of Status Quo - had tried to keep the news a secret from their fellow bandmates, he said.

"I think the rest of the band knew something was up - we dropped some hints.

"We would walk around the dressing room and talk about what we were going to eat and say, 'just One Boiled Egg'.

"The clues were all there."

Rossi, meanwhile, said he was "so made up it's ridiculous".

"My partner [Parfitt] is even more excited about it - he's probably blubbing.

He added: "No matter how you feel about these things, it means that people have recognised what we've done."

Earlier this week, Status Quo were named the hardest-working band in British music by PRS for Music, the body that collects royalties for songwriters.

It said they performed to more than 250,000 fans at 27 arenas in 2009 - more than any other British band."

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4th - Francis interview in the Birmingham Mail (UK)

The following interview appeared in the Birmingham Mail newspaper on January 4th, entitled "Status Quo's Francis Rossi prepares for solo gig at Birmingham Town Hall" and written by Andy Coleman.

"THEY have both just been awarded OBEs in the New Year Honours list but Status Quo frontman Francis Rossi is preparing to go on stage without Ďother halfí Rick Parfitt for the first time in 42 years.

Francis is releasing a solo album, One Step At A Time, next April and to promote it heíll be performing six shows around the UK, including Birmingham Town Hall on May 13.

Rick and the rest of Status Quo wonít be with him but an eight-piece band has been recruited to join him on tour.

His son, Nicholas, and the son of Quo bassman John 'Rhino' Edwards, Freddie, are the guitarists, and they will be joined by drummer Leon Cave, bass player Gary Twigg and keyboardist Paul Hirsch.

There will also be three female singers, Amy Smith, Una Connor and Amber du Platel, the daughter of Lenny Zakatek from the Alan Parsons Project and Gonzalez.

"Iíve always wanted to sing with girls," admits Francis, adding that the addition of female voices will be the fundamental difference between the solo record and the albums Quo release.

"Anything I write is obviously going to be similar to Quo and if I have a male singer with me it looks like Iím trying to do ĎRick and meí.

"But as soon as I put a female on the record it encouraged me and I thought ĎIím going to go with thisí."

The 60-year-old rocker says he has been wanting to do a solo project for some time.

"The first time I wanted to do it was when I was in my early 20s but Rick asked me to focus on the band instead so I dropped the idea. Then I was going to do it again in the nineties and I released a solo album, King Of The Doghouse, but it ended up being so s***e I just left it.

"Iíve put this new album together in the last couple of years and as well as the six shows in May I may do more in September.

"The thing is, I now have responsibility for two bands and I may start worrying about looking after them, making enough money so they get paid.

"Iím looking forward to it but sometimes I get extremely nervous and think Ďwhat are you doing?í But then at other times I get enthused and want to do it. Iíve only ever been in Status Quo and this will be the first time Iíve been on stage without Rick since 1967."

One Step At A Timeís title track was co-written by Francis and Guy Johnson and thereís a co-write on the album with long-time collaborator Bob Young.

Adds Francis: "Iíve nicked a song from my son, Nicholas, one that he did with his band Little Egypt, but other than that all the songs are mine."

And in concert?

"Obviously, Iíll do some Quo stuff and Iíll probably publish the setlist on our website."

Among the Quo songs he plans to perform are Claudie from Hello!, Twenty Wild Horses from Under The Influence, Tongue Tied from In Search Of The Fourth Chord and All We Really Wanna Do from Rock ĎTil You Drop.

"Theyíre songs Iíve always loved and thought were fantastic. The slight worry is that if they were as good as I thought they were people would have been telling me so for years Ė but they havenít so I could be going out and doing one of those sets that people just think Ďquite nice tunesí.

"But Iím doing it and itís a very strange feeling to be almost going back to square one, saying Ďplease come and see me, please like me!"

Talking about his OBE, he says: "Iím not sure weíre worthy. Iíve followed these things for so long and you see all these people and you sometimes think Ďoh, Iím not sure about themí.

"Us, of all people! Iím not sure that we deserve it, but Iím so made up itís ridiculous.

"You hear about people refusing them because itís not rock and roll but thatís a dickhead approach."

Like many recipients, he was intimidated by the official looking letter.

"It frightened the pants off me when I got the letter because it comes from the Government. No matter how you feel about these things, it means that people have recognised what weíve done."

Recent figures showed Quo as Britainís hardest working band after notching up more major concerts this year than any other group, playing to more than 250,000 fans at 27 arenas in 2009.

They have a combined total of 415 weeks in the British singles chart, and a worldwide tally of more than 118 million sales worldwide."

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22nd & 23rd - Quo concert at New Theatre, Oxford

As part of a nine show run to the end of January to cover gigs cancelled in November and December 2009, Quo hit Oxford for two nights on January 22nd and 23rd. The New Theatre was rocked by support band Carousel Vertigo, before Quo did the honours with the familiar "Pictures" tour set. Photos of the band in action can be seen here and here. John Coghlan was spotted in attendance at the show on the 23rd and apparently sported a huge smile, so presumably he enjoyed the gig too!

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26th - Quo concert at International Centre, Harrogate (cancelled)

The second night of rescheduled gigs at Harrogate on January 26th was cancelled at very short notice. The following press release appeared on Quo's website: "Quo were forced to cancel their concert scheduled for Tuesday 26th January at the Harrogate International Centre due to illness. Keyboard player Andrew Bown was struck down by the Winter vomiting virus. Andrew first began feeling unwell at the venue around 17:30 but hoped to continue, however, by around 19:45 it was painfully obvious that there was no chance that he would be able to leave the dressing room, let alone perform."

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27th - Francis interview in Time Out (Abu Dhabi)

The following interview with Francis appeared on the Time Out website for Abu Dhabi on January 27th, ahead of Quo's gig in Dubai on February 6th.

"In his frankest interview in years, Status Quoís Francis Rossi talks to Jon Wilks about Pamela Anderson, Spinal Tap and how he learnt that three chord trick.

The legendary ponytail is now hanging on some fanís wall. Donít you find that a little bit creepy?

Thatís not where they hung it. Where they put it is even more creepy. The fanís a female. Got the drift?

Have you ever been obsessed with a musician to that level?

No. Iím not like that about anybody, and the closest I get is with Jeff Lynne. But Iíve known Jeff since I was 16. If it was going to be some hero, it would be him, or the Everly Brothers. But I learnt years ago, you donít need to meet your heroes because itís show business. What we actually think is the person, isnít, invariably. So you donít need to go and meet your idols, or whatever, because theyíre going to go and say something totally human and put you off.

So it was the Everlys that got you going?

The Everly Brothers and Little Richard, yeah. I still look at clips of Little Richard Ė ĎGood Golly Miss Mollyí or ĎLucilleí Ė and the f*****g band! Theyíre seriously happening! Everybodyís physically committed to it. And I think thatís where him and I get it. You work to get up there. Donít stand there looking bored s**tless, pretending youíre mean, moody and marvelous. Youíre up there! Come on! Letís f*****g go!

Thereís almost an Everlys thing to the harmonies you and Rick sing, isnít there?

We always wanted to do that two-part thing. Sometimes, him and I, our voices blend. Sometimes you can hear this very commercial thing, something very pleasing on the ear. When we did Glastonbury this year, I got home in the afternoon and my wife was watching it. I couldnít deal with it, so I went in the shower, came downstairs, and it was up to the point of ĎWhatever You Wantí. Rick plays the intro, and I come in, and we do that Ďda dadala dumí [sings the main riff], and just for a split second, I could see. Itís a great image: the blonde guy, the bald guy, the way the guitar sounds. I could see. But then it goes again, and I lose it and go back to being insecure.

That image is awfully similar to the one in Spinal Tap, wouldnít you say?

Certain areas I think, definitely. Lots of people would like to say, Ďwell, thatís about usí, but we were never anywhere near being anything in America. [Spinal Tapís] thing is they were something once. With us, the whole thing in America just never was. Initially I used to say, Ďno, itís nothing to do with meí, but then it became that groovy thing Ė ĎHave you seen Spinal Tap?í ĎOh, yeah. Itís us!í But, to be honest, I donít know. Our PA, when she first joined us, thought it was us. Sheíd say, ĎI canít believe that. Itís so like you two.í But itís so like Jagger and Richards or whomever else. In lots of bands, itís two people that are the thing. And any two people, so much like a marriageÖ itís going to be like Spinal Tap.

Despite your longevity, nobodyís ever taken the Quo terribly seriously. Do you ever feel youíve been overlooked as a musician? As a lead guitarist, perhaps?

Not really, no. Iím about as good now as I shouldíve been when I was 25. That, to me, is pathetic. I was such a cocky little sod and weíd become successful, so I decided, ĎI donít really need to do that s**t.í I wish I had done. I always practice for two hours every day. I always practice before we go on. Anything to get better. Itís a bit late in life, but I donít care. Thatís what Iím going to do. So, no, I donít think I missed out at all. Weíve done extremely well. A lot of people love us to death. Itís not that important to me to be the whizzy whizz. It was the Everly Brothers that got me, so gimme an acoustic guitar, a bunch of chords, and I wanna sing something.

Youíve shared the stage with the likes of Clapton and Brian May. Didnít you get intimidated?

Yeah, theyíre brilliant, those people. I donít get intimidated anymore because Iím a better player than I used to be. But I was fascinated where all these people learnt all this blues s**t, because I never heard it! When I started up, I heard pop records. In the í60s and í70s I heard all these interviews with Eric and everyone else, all talking about these really obscure black guys that Iíd never heard of. So whenever I did it I was quoting some white guy who was influenced by a black guy.

Ironic, considering your dependence on the 12-bar blues thing.

Yeah, really! Well I learnt it off white guys. I canít pretend otherwise. Itíd be good for the image to say [adopts American accent] ĎOh, Robert Johnson and Muddy WatersÖí No. I learnt some of ours off Rory Gallagher, Stan Webb (of Chickenshack) and Fleetwood Mac. Thatís where I learnt my s**t.

Can you remember when you first laid eyes on Rick Parfitt?

Yep. I thought he was a flash, blonde little git with a quiff. Actually, he was talking to me about it last night Ė he was a little bit tired and emotional. I was playing what we called a rock íní roll ballroom in Butlins in Minehead [UK] and we used to have to play two and half hours in the afternoon and three hours at night every day. F*****g hell! You think itís hard work now? Invariably nobody would come through in the afternoon Ė the odd person, you know Ė and in came Rick. I donít know if youíve ever seen this at gigs; when the band is sound-checking, people stand and watch in a totally different way than they would if the show was on.

Like, ĎGo on. Impress me?í

Something like that, yeah. Anyway, he was looking like that. I thought, ĎCocky little s**t. Who are you?í But he said, and he said it to me again last night, ĎI saw that and I thought, thatís what I want to do.í Heís said it many times. ĎThatíll do me.í Heíd been floating around in cabaret and stuff, and he always thinks Iím using that as an insult, about him doing cabaret. But itís just another form of training. Itís still music to me. Itís why that whole thing about us and the three chord trick is so funny. Rick couldnít have done all that cabaret and still only know three chords. Iím not saying he knows what theyíre all calledÖ

Those three chords have thrown up some classic songs, but Iíve often wondered how you cope with having to play ĎRockiní All Over the Worldí every night of your life.

I was talking to Roy Wood last night about this. [It only gets boring] when youíre rehearsing or doing it on television. When you do it in front of people, itís like showing someone Pamela Andersonís [chestal frontage] when theyíve been mad for her for years, and suddenly theyíre presented with them right in front of you. And thatís what itís like when you play the songs that they love.

Youíve been involved in a lot of publicity stunts over the years. Is there anything you wouldnít do for Status Quo?

Yeah, there are lots of things that come up that get turned down. But, and I was saying this to Manfred Mann last year (Iíve always liked Manny Ė we get on well), I said, Ďwe seem to have prostituted ourselves every f*****g inch of the wayí. Thatís what you do. Anything to keep that name and that band alive. It becomes its own entity. Itís got nothing to do with Francis Rossi or Rick Parfitt. Weíve got to protect that f*****g name. Thatís all anyone else does. Why do you think Presleyís council is so careful? Why do you think McCartney is so protective of that Beatles catalogue? You protect it. It becomes something. You start out with this little band and youíre pissing around in the front room, and you end up playing to massive venues and itís a big business. So you protect it, and youíd be f*****g stupid not to.

And after all these years, is there anything left to aspire to?

Better. Always better. The last single we had out, I forget what number it got to, but we were like, ĎYes!í Doesnít mean anything in sales, and it doesnít do anything for the band, and compared to what we used to sell itís probably a quarter of a morningís sales. But thereís that insecure little show-off in all of us that needs that affirmation of success. I think the chart, which is still a sign of success, it means f**k all financially these days. In fact, it probably costs us. ButÖ ĎYes! Did it! Yes!í Itís quite pathetic in some ways, because itís these insecure little showoffs. I know so many people in our business, when they walk into the room, people have to look at the ground. Oh, go away, for f**kís sake! When you were desperate all those years ago: ĎLook at me, look at me, look at me! Take my photograph! Anything! Just put me there!í Now itís, ĎDonít look at me, donít look at me, donít look at me!í We talk a bunch of arse, us people.

What will finally bring the Mighty Quo to its knees?

Iím f***ed if I know. Thatís a damned good question. Showbusiness is a very, very strange thing.

Youíve done alright so far.

But thereís still time to go yet.

Status Quo play the Gulf Bike Expo, Dubai Festival City, on Feb 6."

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28th - BBC article about the "Goin' Quoin'" book

The following article appeared on the BBC Suffolk website on January 28th, entitled "Status Quo book gives £5k to Shona's Smile Foundation" and written by Andrew Woodger.

"Proceeds from a book about Status Quo are being given to an Ipswich-based children's cancer charity.

Quo fan Pete Gill set up The Shona Smile Foundation to help youngsters with rare forms of the disease. His 10 year old daughter Shona died in 2004 and her story is in a collection of fans' memories called Goin' Quoin'.

Bassist John 'Rhino' Edwards is presenting a cheque to Pete at the Ipswich Regent when the band play a rescheduled gig in January 2010.

Shona Gill met Status Quo backstage at their open air gig in Christchurch Park, Ipswich in 2003.

"It was a dream come true," said Pete. "It only happened because some people came up to us and said 'Look, we haven't got any money - have our backstage passes'."

Shona lost her life to the rhabdomyosarcoma form of cancer and the Shona Smile Foundation was set up in her name. Its aim is to provide children with either a gift or useful piece of equipment up to the value of £500.

The charity also aims to help parents and has a long term goal of being able to raise money for cancer research.

Goin' Quoin' collects together tales of fans' experiences following the band and it stretches from Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt's first meeting at Butlins in Minehead in 1965 up until they got their OBEs in the 2010 New Year's Honours.

The book has been compiled by Yvonne Hanvey:

"I came across Shona's story on a Status Quo message board and that same year I met Pete at the Ipswich Regent on the first anniversary of her death and we got talking and became friends.

"When I got the idea for the book, I didn't feel able to make money out of Quo fans' stories, so it just seemed the best idea for all the money to go to Shona's Smile.

"I'd been in Newcastle and, wherever you go, people want to tell you their Quo story and all these stories would just get lost, so that's where the idea came from.

"Unfortunately, the book is 'unofficial' and I'm not allowed to sell them at the merchandise stand so it's really just standing outside, but Rhino has put a bit on his tour blog on the Status Quo website.

"I spoke to Francis Rossi about it at Harrogate and he's really enjoyed reading it. It's brought back some memories for him."

The Goin' Quoin' book costs £14.99. It's sold 500 copies which means a first cheque of £5,000 for the Shona Smile Foundation.

Pete Gill first saw Quo in his native Scotland when he was 11 or 12 and he's been following them ever since.

He insists he didn't impose his taste on his daughter!

"It actually came as a surprise. I came home from work one evening to find Shona listening to Rockin' All Over The World and she took great delight in trying to tell me that this was a really good band and dad should listen to it!"

Pete's story is in the Goin' Quoin' book. "I've got two entries in there. One which is my first memory of seeing the band in Glasgow in 1971 or 1972 and one with Shona's memory."

The book will be on sale outside the Ipswich Regent on Friday 29 and Saturday 30, January, 2010 before and after Status Quo's shows."

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29th - Quo concert at Regent Theatre, Ipswich (cancelled)

The last three rescheduled gigs (two at Ipswich and one at Stoke-on-Trent) were cancelled due to Rick being ill. The following press release appeared on the official Quo web site.

"Quo have been forced to cancel three sell-out concerts due to illness. Rick Parfitt has been diagnosed as suffering from upper respiratory tract infection.

The band bitterly regret having to take this course of action and apologise to all fans affected, but there was no alternative.

Francis Rossi added, "We're really sorry to have to let the fans down, but Rick has picked up an infection and is in no fit state to take to the stage and the last thing we would ever want to do is to give a substandard performance".

The affected shows are Ipswich Regent on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th and Stoke-on-Trent on Sunday 31st.

Due to the band's schedule, it will not be possible to re-schedule these shows. A full refund is available at the original point of purchase. "

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31st - Quo Special on Belgian Radio

A Quo one hour special, including a recent exclusive interview with Francis Rossi, was aired on the Belgian National Radio RTBF/Classic 21 on Sunday 31st January. The show, called "Les Classiques", was hosted by Marc Ysaye with well-known Quo fan and writer, Philippe Duponteil, as his guest. The interview material from Francis was recorded backstage at Montreux and included discussion of the Montreux DVD, Quo past and present and his forthcoming solo album and tour.

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