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That was the Quo month that was ... June 2006



2nd - Quo concert at Hessentag, Hessisch Lichtenau, Germany

Quo played the annual Hessentag festival on June 2nd supported by, amongst others, Manfred Mann. The 3500-strong crowd witnessed a solid Quo performance in keeping with the current slightly-shortened setlist for festival shows (so no "Belavista Man" or "Proposin'" medley).

Photos from this show can be found here.

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3rd - Quo concert at Wuhlheide, Berlin, Germany

June 3rd saw Quo play to one of their largest audiences for some time, a 30,000-strong audience in an amphitheatre in Berlin. Other acts on the bill included Manfred Mann and Jimmy Somerville and the Quo set was once again devoid of either "Belavista Man" or an encore. Though the crowd was large, their response was quite muted, not helped by the poor sound quality of this outdoor venue.

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3rd - John Coghlan Band gig at Cafť 1913, Frieschepalen, The Netherlands

The John Coghlan Band played an intimate gig at Frieschepalen on June 3rd. The amazing setlist even included a "sit down section" for quieter numbers such as "All The Reasons" and "A Year" (not a dry eye in the house for this song!). The full set was:

Flyer for John Coghlan Band gig in The Netherlands

Photos from this show can be found here.

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5th - Rick Parfitt Jnr article on contactmusic.com

The following article, titled "Dannii splits with Parfitt Jnr", appeared on the ContactMusic website on June 5th.

"Australian singer DANNII MINOGUE has split with boyfriend RICK PARFITT JR after a brief romance. Parfitt Jr, the son of STATUS QUO guitarist RICK PARFITT, met Minogue at her friend's birthday party early in the year (06). Minogue says, "I'm single. I've been on a few dates. I dated Rick Parfitt's son, Rick. He's cute, but I'm going into lockdown mode. The album's coming out. I've got no free time."

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6th - Quo concert at Hacker Pschorr Arena, Bad Tölz, Germany

Some excellent photos from Quo's gig in Bad Tölz on June 6th (supported by Vivian) are available here.

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9th - Quo concert at Arrow Rock Festival, Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands

Quo appeared at the large Arrow Festival on June 9th. Excellent weather greeted their arrival and the bill featured some great acts, including Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Journey, Def Leppard and Ray Davies.

Quo played the main stage immediately before Deep Purple and the whole band seemed to be in a very good mood, with Rick's voice showing no signs of problems at all. The Quo set was again devoid of encore as the crew had to do a rapid pack-away job in readiness for their trip to Denmark for a gig the next day.

Some excellent reviews and photos of all the festival acts can be found here.

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10th - Quo concert at Rock Under the Bridge festival, Middlefart, Denmark

Quo played at the enormous annual "Rock Under The Bridge" festival in Denmark on June 10th. The 23000-strong sell-out crowd saw the usual Quo festival set and Quo were followed by Kim Larsen and Kjukken, with Deep Purple closing the show.

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11th - Quo concert at Silverstone F1 Grand Prix

At the now-traditional after-race gig, Quo performed again at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Supported by Rick Parfitt Jnr (watched proudly by Rick Parfitt Snr!), Quo played the familiar festival set. Fantastic photo sets are available here, here and here.

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13th - Interview with Francis on icWales website

The following interview with Francis - titled "Good old Quo" and written by Gavin Allen of the South Wales Echo - appeared on the icWales website on June 13th.

"I DON'T want to be dead and appreciated," said Francis Rossi as he sized up against Status Quo's detractors.

It was the closing line of our interview and the very personable singer was on a bit of a roll regarding the ageism and critical sniffiness that dogs the Quo.

Despite 40 years of history, despite officially having more hits than any other band in chart history (source: Guinness Book of Records) they are still dismissed as middle of the road, 12-bar rock for old men.

Age was never far from the surface of our conversation and even seemingly unconnected strands of mutual rambling turned back to the most inevitable of processes.

"I like playing Wales, I like the CIA as a venue in particular, but I always remember playing a gig at Cardiff Castle years and years ago on a really weird bill with Hawkwind and some Geordie band," said Rossi.

"But the last time we played there was last Christmas and I remember that because it was the last gig before Rick's illness.

"We are 40-odd years old as a band now but the physical reality of it is that we won't make it to 50 as Status Quo with Rick having had cancer, a quadruple bypass and his throat ripped out.

"When we are on stage we perform a certain way - we don't just stand there like Oasis do - we have to really be committed and do whatever we need to do for the crowd to enjoy it.

"That gets harder as you get older but I was 25 the first time someone called me an old codger at a punk gig in Hammersmith, by this lad who was about 18 at the time, so it's something I'm used to.

"I often wonder whether that lad now considers himself old because I know what I was like at 25-30 was out of the question and at 30 being 40 was ridiculous but I'm 57 now and still here.

"I'll be 60 soon and I'll be exactly the same then, I won't want to be 70.

"It's an odd life really because we as humans are born to live.

"If you die young it's a tragedy but if you live to my age people don't say 'well done', they call you sad old git."

With his concerns over age and health I asked Rossi if the critical disposal of Quo worried him; what musical legacy did he want to leave when he retires?

"The whole point about music is that it's all about taste and some people don't get what we do," he said.

"By the same token some people get all misty-eyed over the mention of U2 but they just don't do it for me and I don't understand that love people have for them.

"The thing is you just know that when we aren't here any more people will get all misty-eyed about us and say, 'Weren't they good.'

"They'll be all over us when one of us pegs it."

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19th - Rick plays with Wayne Morris Band in Kiel, Germany

Rick appeared as a special guest with the Wayne Morris Band at the Rathausplatz in Kiel on June 19th. The show formed part of the entertainment for the large "Kieler Woche" sailing festival and marked the 10th anniversary of the Morris band (who have supported Quo in numerous occasions in recent years in Europe).

Some great photos of Rick in action can be found here.

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19th - Rick article in the Daily Mail (UK)

The following article - titled "I wept with fear when told I had cancer" and penned by David Hurst - appeared in the UK's Daily Mail newspaper on June 19th.

"Last December, Rick Parfitt was diagnosed with suspected throat cancer. Here, the Status Quo guitarist and singer tells DAVID HURST what this meant for him and the group, who have had more hit singles than any other band in British chart history. Rick, 57, lives in Teddington, Middlesex, with his wife Patty and their son Harry, 16. He says:

We were in the middle of our annual tour when I started to notice my voice wasnít working properly. There was a gravelly quality to it which made it hard to hit the right notes. It was the bandís 40th anniversary together, every show was sold out and we were really enjoying it.

We were in Plymouth for a gig and I thought Iíd go to see an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist as a precautionary measure.

I wasnít worried - in the old days when I got a sore throat, a doctor would just puff a spray down it and the next day Iíd be singing again. But it wasnít that easy this time.

The specialist pushed a camera on a tube up one of my nostrils and down into my throat ó which was horrible ó and he then said he was 90 per cent sure I had a tumour on my larynx, and the chances were it was cancerous.

The larynx is also known as the voice-box because itís where our sound comes from. It contains the vocal cords - stretched bands of membrane which vibrate against each other and produce sound. So thatís why I hadnít been able to get to the top notes as usual.

The consultant recommended I see another throat specialist immediately.

My world fell apart. I thought: ĎWhat am I going to do? My career is over and Iím going to die or have my voice-box taken out.í Then I cried my eyes out.

So did several of our road crew when I told them. ĎItís going to be all right,í I said to them, but I didnít know what to think. My head was buzzing.

I think everyone associates the word tumour with dying, and when a specialist puts your name next to it, itís so frightening. Being told I almost certainly had cancer was the most terrifying thing in the world.

I knew I had to stop smoking and drinking. Iíve done both for years, but there was no option this time.

Itís not the first time my rock íní roll lifestyle has conspired against my body ó it was a major reason why I had to have a quadruple heart bypass in 1997.

The vocal pounding Iíve given my voice over 40 years had also finally caught up with me. Vocally, my role has always been to sing the high harmonies above our main singer Francis Rossi.

Iím the screaming voice of the band, if you like, and over the years Iíve given my throat a hell of a battering.

Francis said: ĎWhat are you going to do? If you suspect youíve got cancer of the throat, are you going to go out on the stage and say, ďRight, letís rock!Ē with a big grin on your face?í

So we had to cancel the tour. Letting the fans down was awful, but there was no way round it. I felt too anxious to go on stage.

It was also really frightening for my wife Patty and my sons Richard, 28, and Harry, 16. And it was a whole week before I could get an appointment with another throat specialist in London.

So for seven days I sat with my head in my hands, thinking: ĎIs this the end of everything?í When I finally saw the specialist at the Princess Grace Hospital in London on December 15, he put another camera down my throat and told me he thought there was a tumour on my right vocal cord and a lesion on the left vocal cord.

The next day, at 8am, I went into the operating theatre to have the growth removed by laser, as Patty waited outside.

When I woke up an hour later, the doctor said: ĎYouíll be pleased to know the growth is benign.í It was the best possible news ó I felt such relief.

He told me if I hadnít had it checked when I did, the next stage could have been cancer.

It turned out that my vocal cords had swollen so much from all my singing over the years, combined with smoking and drinking, that they had stuck together. Consequently, I had no vibration there to make my voice.

By 11.30am the next day, I was home having a cup of tea. It had all happened so quickly, and it wasnít even sore.

The doctor told me not to talk for two weeks and even though I didnít have much voice I still forgot the next day when the phone rang. I went to answer it and, when I opened my mouth to speak, nothing came out.

Slowly, though, my voice started to return, but as the days went by I was still struggling to make myself understood, which I found very frustrating.

I had regular sessions with a voice coach in which he got me to do gentle low-key humming, graduating to scales. He also steamed my throat every day, which I still do.

I boil some water in a container that has a tube coming out of it, put that in my mouth and breathe in the steam.

The vocal cords need to be moist, because if they get dry they tend to stick together, and thatís when your voice doesnít work. Steaming frees up the vocal cords so they can vibrate and make a noise.

My throat problems have been far worse than my quadruple heart bypass.

Iíd woken up with chest pains and my doctor sent me straight to hospital, where tests revealed I had narrowing in the arteries.

I had to have immediate surgery because the doctors said a heart attack was imminent. It was terrifying, but it all happened so quickly. I was in and out of hospital in 11 days, and 12 weeks later I was back on stage.

I didnít have time to think about it, while with my throat I had an agonising week of sitting around worrying I had cancer.

Since the throat operation, Iíve had to learn to sing from my diaphragm to take the strain off my throat.

The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle under the lower ribs that contracts to draw air into the lungs.

To sing from it, you need to take a deep breath into your stomach. This Ďstomach breathí is your diaphragm pulling your lungs down and out so increasing lung capacity, which pushes your stomach out to make room for the extra lung space. This means you can hold your breath longer and control it better.

My first gig since the operation was in April in Switzerland. But I got a shock at my first solo ó nothing came out except a croak! It was the worst moment of my rock career.

I fought through the gig and my voice improved slightly, but there was no tone or pitch. I had to talk instead of sing.

I thought: ĎThis is it: I canít sing any more ó my career is over and Status Quo will have to pack it in for good.í Our next gig was in Australia a month later. I developed insomnia and was very stressed in the lead-up.

But neither the other band members nor my voice coach advised me to pack it in, so I thought I would just go for it.

As it turned out, my voice was OK, not 100 per cent, but not far off. And since then, weíve played in the Middle East and my voice has started to get stronger. Iíd say itís 97 per cent there now.

Now I feel my voice is repaired ó and that I donít have cancer ó Iíll even have the odd social drink. My vocal coach said thatís OK as long as I donít overdo it.

After my heart bypass I felt my heart was renewed and ready to go again, and thatís the way I feel about my voice now.

Iím due for a check-up when Iím back home in London later this month, but I donít think thereís anything to worry about.

I had thought I was going to have to say: ĎThatís it.í But once again Iíve come through ó and Status Quo can keep rockiní all over the world."

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21st - Quo article on BBC website about termination of "Top of the Pops"

This article appeared on the BBC website following the announcement that the world famous long-running music show "Top of the Pops" was to be axed.

"Quo hold the world record for most hit singles, with 62 chart entries. Rock group Status Quo appeared on Top of the Pops more than any other band, notching up 87 performances during the show's 42-year history. The band's first appearance on the programme came in 1968, when they were in the charts with the psychedelic song Pictures of Matchstick Men.

Since then, they have performed the majority of their singles on the programme, and were invited back to play on both the 25th anniversary and the 2000th edition of the show.

Lead singer and guitarist Francis Rossi recalls the group's best, and worst, times on the pop programme.

"We did Top of the Pops for the first time in 1968 when you used a backing track and did a live vocal.

It was just a thrill to be in there. You knew the programme was the best place to get your record aired. The first time we did it, it was in Manchester, and when we tried to get out we got mobbed. Girls would tear you apart trying to get in and out of this strange church in the middle of nowhere.

But it was always a good day out. You got a bit of a curry and, at the time when I was drinking, you could have a drink.

That's why [guitarist] Rick Parfitt fell into the drum kit during [a performance of the 1983 single] Marguerita Time.

We'd end up in the dressing room at ten in the morning, and it was kind of a day off for us, so we used to get some curries from up the road.

A couple of times we left a dodgy fish curry in the roof because we thought we were being wild.

But I remember being late once, and we got told off so bad. We were only young - 18 or something - and I think our manager told the producer to go in there and tear us apart. And he really tore us apart. "Who do you think you people are?" and that sort of angle - and it really worked. Ever since then Rick has always been early!

People all over the world would talk about Top of the Pops, and say they'd done it.

Every so often new pop programmes would come along but Top of the Pops seemed to carry on, so I would probably hang on if I were them.

It's a cyclical thing and perhaps it would become groovy again but it's probably a fact that there aren't that many people watching any more."

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25th - Quo concert at Knowsley Hall, Prescot, near Liverpool

A rowdy crowd endured rainy conditions to witness Quo's concert at Knowsley Hall on June 25th. Supported by "Frame of Mind", Quo performed their usual set and photos of the show can be found here.

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30th - "Piledriver" cover band gig at The Greyhound, St Kilda, Melbourne

After a two-month drought (well, except for Quo's visit of course!), Melbourne was treated to a night of live Quo, courtesy of local outfit, Piledriver, in another double header excursion with Twin Lizzy at The Greyhound pub in St Kilda.

A decent crowd had assembled in the band room, escaping the chilly Melbourne evening and Piledriver took the stage at 11:45pm.

Kicking off as always with "Caroline", the band quickly got into their stride and it wasn't long before the usual air-guitar crew were mobilised down the front.

Highlights of the night were Wayne's masterful lead solos (most evident on "Don't Waste My Time" and "Roll Over Lay Down"), Andrew's signature excursion into the masses to jam with the air guitarists and the killer "Railroad" into "Dustpipe" medley.

Proving just how accurate they wish to be, the band included "Belavista Man" on their setlist and then dutifully didn't play it! Co sported a new look (but rocked hard despite only returning from Europe shortly beforehand). Sadly the usual "Big Fat Mama" encore was cut due to time constraints.

Another great show from the 'Drivers and their on-stage personas are really starting to shine through now with definite signs of relaxation and enjoyment being pushed out into their audiences. The only downer is the lack of local support, half a dozen or so Quo diehards in a decent central location on a Friday night simply isn't good enough so let's try and rally better support from the significant Quo fan base at their next outing.

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undated - Announcement of Rick appearing on Motors TV

Rick was filmed at the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone by Motors TV for a documentary to be aired on July 5th. The announcement of this show was as follows.

"The front-man of legendary rock band Status Quo, Rick Parfitt, will be honoured on Motors TV throughout July, thanks to an exclusive programme filmed at the Silverstone circuit. During the interview, Parfitt will talk about his 40 year music career and his passion for motorsport.

Born in 1948, Rick Parfitt is one of the faces and voices of Status Quo, playing alongside Francis Rossi. The band has sold over 110 million records since its first hit, Pictures of Matchstick Men in 1968 and has played more than 5,500 live concerts. Status Quo is also the British band with the highest number of singles in the charts during the 1960s, í70s, í80s, í90s and the new millennium.

In 1985, Status Quo was chosen to open the legendary Live Aid concert, with their iconic tune Rockiní All Over The World. In 1991, Parfitt and the other members of the band entered the Guinness Book of Records, when they played four live concerts in less than twelve hours, in four different towns in the UK. There are very few people who havenít heard their greatest hits: In The Army Now; Down, Down; Caroline; What Youíre Proposing; Whatever You Want; Roll Over, Lay DownÖ

Rick Parfitt has been a fan of motor racing for many years and even competed in a celebrity race before the first Grand Prix of the 2006 season in Bahrain. Since then, he has continued to develop his driving with tuition at the Silverstone circuit, which is where he gave this exclusive interview to Motors TV.

The programme, called Motorsport Backstage with Rick Parfitt is illustrated with several concert clips from Status Quoís recently released DVD, The Party Ainít Over Yet, and will be broadcast for the first time on Wednesday 5th July at 22h20."

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