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That was the Quo month that was ... January 2014

26th - Rick article in The Telegraph (UK)

The following article appeared in the Personal Finance section of the UK's Telegraph newspaper on 26th January and was written by Busola Evans.

How did your childhood influence your attitude to money?
I learnt never to gamble. My father was a gambler so once I started gigging I was always bailing him out. I was only about 17 and he was forever getting in trouble and coming to me crying. It was terrible. I probably ended up giving him a couple of thousand quid in total. Back then, that was a lot of money.

Are you a saver or a spender?
Definitely a spender. Iíve never been one to save. I live for the moment and Iím fairly extravagant when it comes to people around me.

What was your first job and how much did you earn?
When I left school at 15 I got a job performing at Sunshine Holiday Camp in Hayling Island, Hampshire, and earned £5 a week. I was over the moon. That was my first professional gig as a solo artist.

How did your earnings grow when you joined Status Quo a year later?
I remember arriving home at 4am from a gig at Links Pavilion in Cromer, Norfolk, and had £400 in my pocket. I woke up my parents and threw the money up in the air in their bedroom. It was exciting. When money started to flow, it was a very warm feeling.

You have sold more than 130 million records. How did your finances change as you became more successful?
When I married my first wife in 1973 we bought a house in West Byfleet, Surrey, for £32,000. But by the late Seventies I bought a mansion in Hambledon, Surrey. It cost me £192,000. That was when I became, in my own head at least, the big rock star. I had acres of ground, a swimming pool, my own recording studio and a billiard room. It was beautiful.

What was your biggest indulgence when the money started rolling in?
Cars. I could not resist buying them. I had a stable full of them Ė American cars, sport cars, limousines, everything. I spent hundreds of thousands on them. I had about eight or nine at any one time. The cars were just strewn all over the drive. Iíd come out every morning, look at the weather and think, what car should I drive today?

What was your most extravagant purchase?
In the Seventies I bought myself an aeroplane and learnt to fly. I found that fantastic. It was about £27,000 I think, which is about £270,000 or £300,000 now. Iíve always flirted with boats, too. Iíve had five boats and the last one, which I recently sold, cost nearly £500,000. I loved it but the kids came along and it just became a very expensive item that I wasnít using.

Status Quo is renowned for its hedonistic past. How much did you personally spend on drugs?
Throughout the Eighties it was about a grand a week. But that was just the cocaine. You would consume a humungous amount of vodka also because the two went together very well Ė vodka and tonic and a line of cocaine. I drank two or three bottles of vodka a day, which probably cost another £500 a week. I enjoyed every moment but Iím pleased Iíve come out of the other side. Itís not buying the drugs that is the most expensive thing Ė itís the divorce which taking drugs eventually leads to. I wasnít easy to live with and ended up giving the mansion to my first wife when we got divorced. So those few grams of cocaine ended up costing Ė in 1982 or 1983 Ė £380,000, which the house was roughly worth then.

You now live in Spain with your third wife, Lyndsay, and your five-year-old twins Tommy and Lily. Was that a tax decision?
Not at all. When we got married in 2008 we decided to move here. The weather is a big factor, of course, but it is just a more relaxed way of life.

What are your biggest financial indulgences these days?
Schooling for the kids and looking after our house. We have a fairly substantial house here in Spain and have two houses back in England. Oh, actually we have three houses in England, I just remembered. Two are rented and I use the other as a bolt-hole.

Do you think you have enough money?
Yeah, of course I have. Well, I hope I have. I havenít checked for a long while.

Donít you know how much is in your bank account?
No. As long as the phone doesnít ring and someone [from the bank] goes ďRick, youíve got to slow downĒ, I just live my life the way I want to. Iím not silly the way I was in the Seventies with cars and boats, but I like to live in comfort and style. We have everything we want. I donít wish for any more.

Do you ever look at your bank statements?
Never. My wife does but doesnít normally tell me. I know thereís enough money there so Iím not really bothered. If I was going to make a huge investment to the tune of a couple of million pounds then I would probably need to check, but I donít spend that kind of money on any one thing now.

Youíve had a few big health scares Ė a quadruple heart bypass in 1997, a throat cancer scare eight years ago, and a heart attack in 2011. How have those experiences affected your attitude to money?
It made me realise health is the real wealth. I should be looking after myself a lot more than I do; I donít exercise other than when I go on stage. But Iíve always been quite healthy to a degree, which is probably why Iím not dead. I donít drink as much as I used to and I donít do any drugs Ė Iím completely clean now Ė but I still want to enjoy life. So I have a few cigarettes here and there and enjoy a bottle of wine with my wife in the evening.

Have you ever worried about money?
Yes. I was going through a very acrimonious divorce after my second marriage ended in the Eighties, and at one stage I didnít have anywhere to live. I was struggling because the divorce cost me an awful lot of money. How much? Iíd rather not say specifically, but it was more than a million Ė a lot back then. It really slowed me down for a while. For a year or so I couldnít have what I wanted and had my accountants telling me to sell my cars. Anything but that. But for the last 10 years I have been a lot more stable in my life.

So how much are you now worth?
Oh, I donít know, but even if I did know I wouldnít tell you [laughs].

Ten million pounds?
I donít know [laughs]. It may be less, it may be more.

Who looks after your household finances?
My wife Lyndsay does some but I have a personal assistant who takes care of most of it because Iím not very good at admin.

Do you have a pension?
Yes. But I donít know anything about it. I just know Iíve got one.

Do you pay with cash, card or cheques?
Cash and card. I use the hole in the wall a lot. Am I not tempted to look at my balance? Of course not . You just get out what you need. And if youíve got two cards you get double. Then you b***** off and enjoy yourself.

Do you give to charity?
Yes, lots.

Are you a generous tipper?
Yes. Sometimes people think that Iím too generous. I go over the recommended 10pc a lot because if Iíve had good service, I think why not.

Do you have any investments?
Yes, my houses, and I have an investment in a futuristic data centre. More than that I cannot say.

Whatís been the best financial decision you have ever made?
My properties. I know itís a boring answer but property is always the best way to go. Iím thinking of buying another house in Marbella. In years to come they will all go to the kids.

And the worst?
I was trying to disgorge myself from the British tax system, so four or five years ago I set up my own companies in Gibraltar. One word: disaster. It cost me a fortune to get out of it. Did I lose thousands? I canít be exact but it was much more than that.

What is the biggest current financial drain on your resources?
Probably the electricity bill from keeping our quarter-sized Olympic f****** pool warm. I have three heat pumps on it all year round. It costs an absolute fortune Ė about £1,300 a week. But the children like it warm, the missus likes it warm and I like it warm. I keep saying Iíll put solar panels on it but I havenít got around to it yet.

What are your financial plans for the future?
Just to keep my lifestyle going and see the kids through school. Iíve worked hard for my life Ė and Iím still working Ė so I make no apologies for it. Iíve been lucky to achieve what Iíve wanted to achieve.

Revisit the January 2014 event list  

undated - Release of "Piledriver" beer announced

The following announcement of Quo's "Piledriver" beer appeared in the Publican's Morning Advertiser on 30th January, written by Jessica Mason.

"Rock 'n' roll legends Status Quo are launching a beer with Wychwood Brewery. Piledriver, a 4.3% ABV beer, takes its name from the band's fifth album which was launched in 1972, and is a "traditional malty amber ale balanced with a bold fruity hop character."

Wychwood said it had approached the group as it wanted to make a British beer with a classic British band.

Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Rick Parfitt said: "Piledriver is renowned as one of those albums where it all went right: the chemistry was perfect and the fun flowed. Wychwood Brewery has helped us create a beer with the same ethos; and a huge blue gorilla as a truly arresting logo. It was a great experience. I'm more than happy for it to be out there. I think it's great."

Lead vocalist and guitarist Francis Rossi added: "Music and beer go well together. Anyone denying that has never been to a gig - and certainly not a Quo show. We wanted to create something special for the fans, and us of course, to enjoy. Piledriver is it. It's a serious project. We had an album with a British bulldog on it with two heads and called "Dog of Two Head", so there might be a follow-up beer called that too."

The brewery, best known for its flagship ale Hobgoblin, will begin its rollout of Piledriver across Wetherspoon's pubs from February 17th in bottle and cask. It will go on wider release in April."

Revisit the January 2014 event list