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That was the Quo month that was ... July 2004



2nd - Quo concert at Legends of Rock Festival, Stadion Bucholz, Üster, Switzerland

The first concert of the "Deep Purple - Status Quo - Cheap Trick Euro Tour 2004" was the Legends of Rock Festival at Üster in Switzerland on July 2nd. The festival featured a line-up of The Beverley Hills Flop, Manfred Mann's Earthband, (German act) BAP, The Scorpions, Status Quo and Deep Purple (though originally also scheduled, Cheap Trick and Thunder did not perform) and was attended by a 15000-strong crowd.

A good series of photos from the festival is available by clicking here.

The following review of this gig - entitled "Rockin' All Over Üster" - appeared on July 3rd in the Swiss financial newspaper "NZZ am Sonntag". The article included a good picture of Francis and Rhino and, more interestingly, only BAP and Manfred Mann got positive critiques in the rest of the article.

"What the Greeks are for the European Championship is Status Quo for Uster! Let's be honest, who would have expected a lot of the simple Boogie-Rock of that lively bunch of Englishmen? Well, wrong thinking Batman, everything turned out different!

The stylish elderly men around Francis Rossi were serving their umpf-umpf-music with so much drive, chuzpe, charm and self-irony that their gig became one of the highlights of this evening!!"

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2nd - Little Egypt at The Green Man, Barnet

The end of a short era - the last gig with Egypt for bass man Ick.

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3rd - Quo concert at Open Air Festival, Schlossplatz, Coburg, Germany

Another festival gig, this time with the full compliment of classic rock acts. First up was poppy-outfit Puhdys, then Thunder, Cheap Trick, Quo and Deep Purple. The 75-minute Quo set included no 'Heavy Traffic' songs, no "Living On An Island" or "Big Fat Mama" and "Paper Plane", "Burning Bridges" and "Juniors Wailing" were all absent from the encore.

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4th - Quo concert at Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland

The famous Montreux Jazz Festival was home to Quo on July 4th. Again billed with Cheap Trick and Deep Purple, Quo appeared on stage at 10.15 to a sell-out crowd and performed the following set.

The gig was broadcast on July 5th via Swiss Radio DR3 and photos from the gig can be found here.

Izola concert poster Revisit the July 2004 event list  

6th - Quo concert at Izola Stadium, Slovenia

This rare visit to Slovenia saw Quo on the bill again with Cheap Trick and Deep Purple. Billed as 5 hours of music (30 mins Requiem, 60 mins Cheap Trick, 90 mins Quo & 120 mins Deep Purple), the concert web site can be found here.

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8th - Quo concert at Schwung Festival, Roeselare, Belgium

This large indoor Belgian festival featured Quo alongside a great classic rock bill including (Australia's) Rose Tattoo, UFO, Cheap Trick, Thunder and Deep Purple. A good set of photos of the festival are available by clicking here.

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9th - Quo concert at Bospop Festival, Weert, Holland

The huge annual Dutch Bospop Festival once again featured Quo, with other acts on the bill being Wishbone Ash, Rose Tattoo, Anthrax, Thunder, Cheap Trick and Deep Purple. Photo sets of a number of the acts, including Quo, can be found by clicking here or here.

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13th - Quo concert at Monsters of Rock Festival, Stadio Sinigaglia, Como, Italy

In their first gig in Italy since 1981, Quo played on the shores of Lake Como at yet another of the Monsters of Rock festivals. They kicked off with "Caroline" and, with Francis' mike out of action, vocals were performed by Rick and Francis singing into the same mike!

Photos from the gig can be found here and here.

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17th - Quo concert at Palacio Vistalegre, Madrid, Spain

Quo made a rare return to Spain as part of this European Summer festival jaunt and played in an old bullring to a sell-out crowd of eager fans. Other acts on the bill included Tea, Cheap Trick and (a disappointing) Deep Purple.

Photos from this gig can be found here.

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18th - Francis interview in Sunday Times "Money"

The following interview with Francis Rossi appeared in the Sunday Times "Money" section on July 18th in the UK.

"ROCK STAR Francis Rossi, 55, has enjoyed an illustrious career with fellow Status Quo musician Rick Parfitt. Over 35 years, their worldwide record sales have exceeded 112m. This summer they are appearing in several picnic concerts. Their next performance is at Audley End, Saffron Walden, Essex, on Saturday, August 7.

Francis and Rick will publish their joint autobiography, XS All Areas, in September, to coincide with a new album of the same name. Then, in October, the group will start a 40-date UK tour.

Born in Forest Hill, London, Francis was four when he had piano accordion lessons. He attended the local comprehensive school until he was 15, by which time he had already formed a rock group.

He started work as an entertainer at Butlins, where he met Rick Parfitt, who later joined the band. In 1968 they recorded Pictures of Matchstick Men, which reached No 7 in the UK charts, and they never looked back. Other hits include Down Down, No 1 in 1974, and Jam Side Down, No 17 in 2002.

In 1985 they opened Live Aid with the song that was to become the event's anthem, Rockin' All Over The World. In 1990, Quo's Rockin' All Over the Years album went triple platinum, and total sales exceed 7m. A year later Francis and Rick unveiled waxworks of themselves at Madame Tussauds. They now feature in the exhibition's Rock Legends Hall of Fame.

Francis is married to Eileen, also a musician, and they have three sons and a daughter. He has three sons from his first marriage, and a 20-year-old-daughter from a previous relationship. His children's ages range from 36 to seven, and he has two grandchildren, aged five and 12. The family lives in Purley, Surrey.

How much money do you have in your wallet?

I don't have any cash because I don't carry it. If I want money, I go to Eileen. When I go to work, the band's PA is there, and she has a cash float for lunches.

Do you have any credit cards?

I'm down to one gold Barclaycard that I use mainly for petrol. I used to have them all, from gold this to platinum that and Amex.

Are you a saver or a spender'?

I think I'm a balance between the two because I can be sensible for a spell. I don't think I'm a waster, though I have been in the past. When I was doing cocaine and drink I was wasting 1,200 to 1,400 a week on coke alone, apart from anything else I was doing through the 1970s and 1980s. It all stopped by 1988 when I married Eileen. The habit just went. I was very lucky that I could do that. I was a lot better off financially and healthwise.

How much did you earn last year?

Suffice to say we did extremely well, making a seven-figure income. I would never have thought I would be earning so much at this age, 55.

Have you ever been really hard up?

When I was younger we were not well off but not poor. My parents were Italians who worked very hard. They were in the ice-cream business. At times we were short because my dad worked all through the summer, then would run out of money the following spring. I was married when I was 17 or 18 and I was poor, living on 1 a day, but in the mid-Sixties that's how it was.

What is the most lucrative work you have done? Did you use the fee for something special?

I don't really know. Certain albums, like the Hello album in 1973, were very big. That one allowed me to buy the house we are in now.

Do you still own the property?

Yes. When I bought our home in Purley in 1974, everyone thought it cost a ridiculous amount of money, 50,000. The royalties from Hello covered the purchase outright, which was a fantastic thing to be able to do. Today it is worth more than 3m. I also have some investment property. I used to have a lot more. It went in my divorce settlement and various bad financial deals.

Do you invest in shares?

Here and there, yes, but I don't want to talk about them. It's only people who are au fait with the whole system who seem to make money. I think it's best to leave shares to people who know what they're doing. I only really know about the music business, not shares.

Do you have a pension, or other retirement plan?

I did, but I stopped contributing some years ago. I don't really believe in pensions. I remember taking out a policy when I was 20. I paid into it until I was 45, in 1994, and it was worth only 85,000, which was not a lot of money.

Do you believe pensions are a good thing?

I think that pensions are the biggest con we've ever been sold. Now they say you've got to work until the age of 70. The money we receive does not have the value it did when the policy was sold to us.

What has been your worst investment?

About 10 years ago I bought a state-of-the-art recording console that cost me more than 200,000. I didn't like it and really needed one that was less complex to use. Eventually I sold it for peanuts.

And your best?

Our home was the wisest investment. It's a nice house in a private estate in Purley. I think I've now got 11 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and a studio. it started off as a four-bedroom house in two-and-a-half acres.

Do you manage your own financial affairs?

My brother Dominic looks after my finances. He has been my accountant for the past five or six years. He's a pedantic wally but he's good, and has got me into a very healthy state in the last few years. For most of our rock career we've had duff advice and people have tried to fiddle us. I know we lost more than 6m between 1979 and 1983. We lost it through bad advice. In the 1970s we were paying more than 80% tax. At least we thought it was being paid but it wasn't and we still owed it. And we always thought we were one of those bands who were not getting ripped off. We never told anyone else about our problems and nobody else told us about theirs.

What aspect of our taxation system would you change?

Tax should probably be fixed at 17% or 18%, then people would not try to dodge it. The Revenue could cut out the admin, bureaucracy and cost of employing investigators to catch tax evaders. There should also be a cap on how much we can earn.

What is your top financial priority?

I try not to think like that. If I prioritise I might get into trouble. You can write things down on a piece of paper but sometimes they don't work out. I just let things happen. When I was young I had this fixed thing in my mind that I was going to be part of a band. And I was. I just carry on doing what I do. I don't think directly how much each project is going to make, but I'm lucky to have royalties coming in all the time. I like stream income. It's safer financially to get royalties trickling in. If I had the money all at once. it would be gone.

Do you have a money weakness?

If I find clothes I like I can end up spending thousands, then I put them in wardrobes and I don't wear them. I am most vulnerable on a day off on a tour. Directly opposite our hotel in Berlin was a fantastic shop with Boss clothes, and I went mad. I've still got shirts all over the place in bags. They look so good in the wrappers.

What is the most extravagant thing you have ever bought?

Probably cars. I just buy BMWs - I bought two Porsches once and I didn't like them. I buy cars new. I've had my present BMW for nine years so I'm getting more sensible. It's done only 20,000 miles, because it's always in the garage. I nearly bought another one last week, but I realised I didn't need it. I'm quite pleased with myself in this respect.

Do you play the lottery?

I don't as a rule, but I might play if there is a rollover. If I won 10m I would have to watch my wife, who would like to open a primary school locally. I would put the money into property and help my kids on their way.

What is the most important lesson you have learnt about money?

It's not that important, but we should not be ashamed to say we love money. Why shouldn't we? It means that we can take care of our children and parents and do all the things we want."

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24th - Quo concert at Christchurch Park, Ipswich

Supported by The Hamsters, Quo played an outdoor gig to 7500 fans in Ipswich on Saturday 24th July. The gig received the following review in the East Anglian Daily Times.

"A NATIONAL institution rolled into town and was as reassuringly predictable as other symbols of British life.

It is one of the comforts of modern life that some things never seem to change and Status Quo fall into that category. You know roughly what songs they will play, they come to perform, they deliver the goods and you walk away with a feelgood factor.

But entering the grassed arena at Christchurch Park in Ipswich on Saturday was almost like attending a classical concert.

Mature couples sat in their chairs with wine and savouries, one man read a Colin Dexter novel while a boy played with a Gameboy, and one stall sold sun tan lotion and aftersun although who they thought was going to buy that during an evening concert, I do not know.

It was perhaps inevitable that as the evening wore on the manufacturers' inflatables became toys for the crowd.

After a European tour including Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy and Spain, Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt and Co took to the stage in front of thousands of adoring fans, and no doubt a few curious bystanders who wanted to know what made the band such a success.

The formula was simple. Say a few words, refer to the fact that the group was in England and therefore everyone could understand what they said/sang, blast through the olden goldies, add in a few newer songs from the 2002 Heavy Traffic album and end on time at 10.15pm with Bye Bye Johnny, bid the exuberant crowd farewell and then look in the diary to see where the next stop is: Epsom race course.

Status Quo are horses for courses. The fans want to hear their favourite songs and in certain places within the show. Quo give them that and then everyone is happy. There is also lots of eye contact, smiles and laughs as the band interact well with the crowd.

After the Hamsters support group had played an hour-long set to an appreciative crowd, Quo took to the stage at 8.30pm with Caroline and the rocking had begun.

Pony-tailed Rossi, 55, soon ditched his waistcoat and the hits just kept on coming with Rossi, Parfitt, and bass guitarist "Rhino" Edwards working the crowd.

As darkness fell at 9.30pm, the tempo was upped and Big Fat Mama, Roll Over Lay Down, Down Down, Whatever You Want and Rockin' All Over The World led to the three-song encore.

Rossi says a show is like sex and if you push the right buttons in the right sequence, it is fantastic. Well, it was great for us. How was it for you Rossi?"

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29th - Quo concert at Epsom Downs Racecourse

Quo played a shortened set after the day's races at Epsom at July 29th. The 80 minute set was well-received, with many of the horsey set remaining to catch the band's performance. The set list was as follows.

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31st - Quo concert at Delamere Forest

Repeating last year's successful event (with the aid of the Forestry Commission), Quo played in Delamere Forest in leafy Cheshire on Saturday July 31st. The support act was ex-Alarm frontman Mike Peters who managed to win over the large crowd with his simple but well-executed performance. Good photos from the Quo set can be found here and here.

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