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That was the Quo month that was ... March 2005

1st - Francis & Rick attend royal tribute at Buckingham Palace

The following article, titled "Music by royal appointment", appeared on the icWales website on March 2 concerning a royal tribute to the British music industry.

"Stars of classical and pop music gathered to perform at a reception hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace last night.

The all star gathering was a royal tribute to Britain's music industry and began with a performance fom Katie Melua.

Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins said: "I can't actually believe I am here in Buckingham Palace.

"I was at St James' Palace last week presenting the Duke of Edinburgh awards so this is my second royal engagement in two weeks.

"I think it's fabulous that the Queen is hosting this reception for us and I'm looking forward to meeting some of my music heroes."

Cilla Black was there as recognition for her pop career in the 1960s.

"It's lovely to be invited, especially as part of the music event," Black said

"People might know me now for being on TV but I was a pop singer in the 60s. And I still hold the record for selling more records than any other female singer - not a lot of people know that!"

Ray Davies of The Kinks arrived on crutches after a recent operation to remove metal pins from his leg.

The star was shot in January last year after giving chase to a mugger.

Davies rarely attends showbiz events and said: "I'm outside the mainstream music industry so it's unusual for me to come to something like this but I thought I would come because it's great that the music industry is doing well for Britain."

Pete Waterman, Pop Idol judge and part of the Stock, Aitkin and Waterman production team was also on the guest list.

"It's great to see something like this happening at the palace for the first time.

"A royal reception is a good thing for the British music industry," he said.

Waterman wrote and produced hits for the likes of Kyle Minogue, Sonia and Steps.

Asked if thought the Queen was a fan of his music he joked: "I don't think anyone is a fan of my music."

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo were delighted to be invited. Parfitt said: "We have met the Queen before but this is our first invite to Buckingham Palace."

Rossi joked: "I hope I get to meet the Queen tonight, especially after I came all this way - I live 14 miles down the road."

Phil Collins recalled the last time he met the Queen at a tribute concert for Nelson Mandela.

"The Queen has heard my music but I don't know if she's a fan," he said.

"Before the Nelson Mandela concert she told me 'I hope you're not going to be too loud.'

"Her only comment afterwards was 'yes it was actually."

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4th - 'A Day In The Life Of Status Quo' documentary (SoundTV)

New TV channel SoundTV kicked off its Quo content with a documentary following Quo on the road in late 2004, entitled "A Day In the Life of Status Quo". Revolving around their gig at Basingstoke Anvil, this awesome two-hour special included extensive interview material with every member of the band, plus input from various crew members and manager, Simon Porter.

A much more upbeat Quo were evidenced in this documentary and the superb live footage from the gig made this a collectors' gem. The show was repeated a few times in the following weeks and was distributed widely by fans as they sought up-to-date live footage and interesting backstage interview material.

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4th - Announcement of Quo cameo appearance in Coronation Street (ITV1)

The announcement that Quo would appear as a wedding band on the UK's most popular soap, Coronation Street, received wide media coverage in the UK. The following coverage is from the BBC web site, titled "Status Quo to make Corrie cameo".

"Rock veterans Status Quo are to make a cameo appearance in long-running soap Coronation Street, at the wedding reception of Les Battersby. The band will appear in "more than one" episode of the show in the autumn.

Actor Bruce Jones, 52, who plays Battersby in the ITV1 soap, is known to be a fan of the band, which is also popular with his on-screen character.

The band will play at Battersby's wedding to barmaid Cilla Brown. Details of the marriage venue are unconfirmed.

Taxi driver Les Battersby entered the hit soap in 1997 with ex-wife Janice and their two daughters from previous relationships.

His character currently lives with barmaid Cilla and storylines regarding their wedding and reception are being finalised.

Status Quo, fronted by guitarists Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, are embarking on a European tour this summer and filming will be tailored to fit around the band.

A spokesperson for Coronation Street said they were "absolutely delighted" with the planned appearance which had been the idea of one of the show's producers.

In response to how many episodes would feature the hit rock band, the spokesperson could only confirm it would be "more than one".

This article, titled "Sweet Corrieline" and written by Brian Roberts, appeared on the Daily Mirror web site.

"ROCK legends Status Quo are to star in Coronation Street - playing at the wedding reception of Cilla Brown and her layabout lover Les Battersby.

Actor Bruce Jones, who plays Les, is thrilled about the autumn storyline. He is a huge Quo fan and has met his heroes at several gigs. On screen, Les is also a fanatical follower of the band, fronted by Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. They will break off from their European tour to visit the Manchester studios

In one hilarious scene recently, Les was seen searching a tip after Cilla, played by Wendi Peters, threw away all his possessions.

Suddenly he found the one thing that mattered to him. "It's here!" he cried. "Twelve Gold Bars by Status Quo!" A Corrie insider said: "Bruce was ecstatic when he heard the news. He won't be able to contain himself when they turn up on set."

Corrie publicist Alison Sinclair said yesterday: "It's a huge coup for the show. The group are very much Coronation Street fans."

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7th - Release of second five remastered CDs

Eleven of Quo's albums produced between 1973 and 1981 and originally released on the Vertigo label have been reissued by Universal on their Mercury label. All have been digitally remastered with the best quality edits, no track omissions (as in previous releases) and with bonus tracks. On 31st January 2005 the first phase was released, to include Piledriver, Hello, Quo, On The Level, Blue For You and Live. The second phase of releases took place on 7 March 2005 and features Rockin’ All Over The World, If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Whatever You Want, Just Supposin’ and Never Too Late.

'Rockin' All Over The World' (Mercury 9825969) comes with the 'All This and World War 2' cut of the Beatles song "Getting Better" as a bonus track, which appears officially for the first time on CD. This album perhaps benefits most from the remastering efforts, fixing up as it does some of the weak production of the original. 1978's 'If You Can't Stand The Heat' (Mercury 9825941) gets a solitary bonus track, in the form of the single edit of "Accident Prone", which already appears on the CD in its album format.

The pick of this batch of reissues in terms of bonus tracks is 'Whatever You Want' (Mercury 9825968). The usual track listing is embellished with a total of six additional tracks - demo versions of "Hard Ride", "Bad Company", "Another Game In Town", "Shady Lady " and "Rearrange" (all from the 'Whatever You Want' studio sessions from Trend Studio in Dublin), plus the single edit of "Living On An Island". Whilst the LP demos have been previously released as part of the "Rockers Rollin'" box set, the six bonus tracks on offer make this CD of the reissue collection a must have.

We're back to a single bonus track on 'Just Supposin' (Mercury 9825967), that being "A B Blues" (flipside of the "What You're Proposing" single from 1980). Finally, 'Never Too Late' (Mercury 9825843), the last Parfitt/Rossi/Lancaster/Coghlan effort also comes with a solitary bonus track, the single edit of "Rock ‘n’ Roll".

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20th - Quo performance at Malaysian Grand Prix after-race party

Astro's promo for the after-race party

At short notice, Quo announced that they would perform at the after-race party following the Malaysian Grand Prix on March 20th. In the lead up to the event at the Sepang International Circuit, their appearance received wide publicity in Malaysia (not least because this would be their first ever appearance in the country). Malaysia's The Star Online had two separate articles on the Quo appearance during the week before the show. Firstly, this from Jason Cheah, entitled "Rockin’ time at Astro’s F1 Party".

"Satellite network Astro’s F1 Party features an eclectic line-up this Sunday after the race is over. From veteran rockers to the rising Asian and Malaysian stars of today, there’s bound to be something for everyone.

Indeed, old time rockers are getting a field of a concert when veteran British rock outfit Status Quo makes an appearance here in Malaysia for the party.

More than 40 years in the running, rock veterans Status Quo do not seem to want to fade into obscurity. Fronted by the core duo of Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, along with long-time member Andrew Bown (keyboard, guitar and bass guitar), John “Rhino” Edwards (bass) and Matt Letley (drums), these rockers are still a top draw.

Count yourselves lucky that in the midst of a heavy touring schedule Status Quo is able to make a rare appearance this side of the globe. Last year’s release of XS All Areas – The Greatest Hits includes two new songs recorded by Status Quo and proves that there’s still more to come from the outfit.

What the band will sing is anybody’s guess but you can be sure to hear the likes of Down Down, Rockin’ All over the World, Marguerita Time, In the Army Now, Whatever You Want and Pictures of Matchstick Men.

Also performing at the Astro F1 concert will be Asian star from Thailand, Tata Young. From Indonesia, vocalist Shanty is set to take the stage as well, while Malaysian artistes will be spearheaded by soul R&B quintet V.E, along with rock group Spider. Also in the act are Frequency Cannon and K-town Clan. deejays JJ and Rudy will host proceedings."

Francis and Rick with a Red Bull car on the grid at Sepang (copyright World@Sutton) The next article in The Star - written by Rizal Johan and titled "Status Quo to boogie at Sepang F1 concert" - included interview input from Francis Rossi.

"Legendary British boogie rock outfit Status Quo will be the last thing to take you home on F1 race day this Sunday. The band is set to rock the night away at the Astro F1 Concert at C2 Hillstand, Sepang F1 Circuit in Selangor. Also known as “an institution” in Britain, Status Quo has been “rockin’ all over the world” for 40 years now and according to founder/frontman and guitarist Francis Rossi, the group is going to keep on rocking for as long as it can.

“I’m surprised we’ve been here for this long,” said Rossi, 55,in a phone interview from his London home last week. “I always wanted to last a long time but I never thought we’d be doing this for this long.”

The London-based Status Quo was formed way back in 1967 and originally began its career as a psychedelic outfit and topped the British charts with singles like Pictures of Matchstick Men and Ice in the Sun. However, the band failed to replicate its success with the aforementioned genre and by 1970, abandoned it for the bluesy boogie rock sound.

And it was that sound which made all the difference as Status Quo’s popularity skyrocketed at home in Britain.

The group reached the height of its success throughout the 1970s spawning such hits as Down Down, Roll Over Lay Down, Rain, Wild Side of Life and its most recognisable tune, Rockin’ All Over The World, which happens to be a cover (the song was originally penned by former Credence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty). To date, Status Quo has recorded some 60 hit singles in Britain and worldwide record sales have exceeded 112 million units.

For a band with so much rock history to its name, it is no mean feat that the various changes to its line-up have hardly slowed down its momentum. Rossi and guitarist Rick Parfitt remain the driving force of this rock outfit and they are the only original personnel. Besides the duo, Status Quo is now rounded off by keyboardist Andy Bown, bassist John “Rhino” Edwards and drummer Matt Letley.

Status Quo has also earned a reputation for being a prolific live band. In 1991, the group made it into the Guinness World Book of Records for playing four separate shows all over Britain in 11 hours and 11 minutes.

So what can Malaysian audiences expect at the Astro F1 concert?

“We’re looking to have a good time on stage and it’s going to be a high octane evening with a rock tempo and I reckon it’s going to get quite loud,” said Rossi.

And what are the songs they got in store for the night?

“Well, Rockin’ All Over the World is very well known and we play it regularly on our shows, so that’ll be there. We’ll belt out our other hits. I think we have about 60 odd hits or so. That’ll definitely get a reaction from the audience depending on the singles like Whatever You Want or Down, Down.”

What audiences won’t get to hear at the concert though, are Status Quo’s early psychedelic hit songs and Rossi explains why.

“We played Pictures of Matchstick Men three years ago, and when the audience first heard it, they were all excited as were we but as the song went on ... it just didn’t feel right anymore. We’re not that band anymore. When I listen back to our psychedelic stuff, I hear a band that was still searching for its style and sound.”

And since the band found its boogie style, it has stuck with it ever since and Malaysian audiences will for the first time hear the British phenomena on March 20. The free concert (yes, that’s right, for F1 ticket holders and the general public) begins at 5.30pm and will feature other acts such as Thai pop sensation Tata Young, Indonesian diva Shanty, Malaysia’s own vocal group VE and rock band, Spider as well as Frequency Cannon and local crunk trio, K-Town Clan."

Francis and Rick with Red Bull boss Christian Horner (copyright CRASHNET) Another article, also including some comments from Francis, appeared on the Malaysian Sun2Surf website, entitled "Status Quo Still Rocks" and penned by S. Indra Sathiabalan.

"Rock legend Status Quo will be taking the Sepang F1 circuit by storm during the Astro F1 Concert on March 20. From its first hit Pictures of Matchstick Men in 1968 to the last big hit Jam Side Down in 2002, Status Quo is proving that even after four decades (the band was officially formed in 1967), it still has the chops to come out with a hit song. In fact, the band is still touring around the world on a regular basis.

Fans would remember the guys behind mega hits such as Rockin' All Around the World, You'll Come Around, Thinking of You, Whatever You Do, and Downtown. Status Quo was the opening act of the 1985 Live Aid Concert, singing its anthem Rockin' All over the World.

To date, Status Quo has had more hit albums (a total of 32) in the British album charts that any other band except the Rolling Stones, and have sold more than 112 million albums worldwide.

During a round-table tele-conference held in conjunction with Status Quo's much-anticipated concert here, lead guitarist (and vocalist) Francis Rossi talks about the band's repertoire as well as future plans.

Rossi and Rick Parfitt (rhythm guitar and vocals) are the only original members in the current line-up of Status Quo. Keyboardist Andrew Bown joined in 1976 while bass guitarist John "Rhino" Edwards and Matt Letley (drums) joined in 1986 and 2000 repectively. This will be Rossi's first visit to Malaysia and he's looking forward to sampling some of the local cuisine.

What can we expect from Status Quo at the concert?

"It is going to be a high-energy uptempo rock 'n' roll. We hope people will enjoy it. It will be loud, uptempo, high-energy rock 'n' roll affair."

Are you a fan of Formula One?

"Not really, actually. To be honest, they drive past too fast for me and I can't see what's happening. I like cars but I am not keen on Formula One. I am not keen on sports generally. The only thing I like is to go to the gym. But I appreciate the value and the whole glamour of Formula One. I think it is quite unique that it has that kind of attraction all around the world."

What keeps the band going, even after almost 40 years?

"I don't know. I have to admit that it is great to be in a band that is popular. There is something about performing 'live' on stage. It feels good (and) there is nothing quite like it. The only way you can get that feeling is to do concerts. Just playing in front of people. It always different when you play in front of people -- the excitement, the exhilaration, the interaction between the audience and the band."

Do you normally get many young people at your concerts?

"We get a good mixture. It's got to a point that maybe 10 or 15 years ago, it was mainly people over 30 or 40. But we now, we tend to get a nice mix with young people being brought along to the concerts by their parents or grandparents.Now we get teenagers and people in their 20s. I suppose the longer you're around, the more you will pick up young people in the end because they have heard your old stuff and become interested. We don't really mind who comes, whether they are young or old, as long as they are enjoy the show and music."

How is Rick by the way?

"He is pretty good. He is wild in his ways (laughs). He might be a little more sensible this week, but he tends to get a little bit wild, I suppose."

After all these years do you still get butterflies when you get on stage?

"I still get butterflies. If you get nervous, that is a problem. Sometimes in the afternoon or early evening, you feel that you can't really do this, or you're not interested, particularly after a long tour. Sometimes you get out there, and then something happens. If we knew what it was, we would try to manipulate it, I suppose. We would try to make every gig as good as it can be."

What musical era would you consider was the best in terms of music?

"I could say it's the 70s but I know of good records from the 80s, the 90s and now. I think it depends what age you are when you first become very aware of music and it becomes very important in your life. That, to you, is the best. I think there is usually good music in each decade and there are stuff you don't like as well."

What is the biggest myth about being a rock star?

It is all a myth! It is showbusiness! We put on a show for people; the whole industry puts on a show for people. For people to know what it is really like -- it can end up like any other job. It can get boring. It is no good telling people that. Entertainment is to take people away from all that and forget the problems in their lives."

The following post-gig review appeared in The Star Online again, written by Rubin Khoo and titled "A little bit for everyone at the Astro F1 concert".

"It may have been just 500, at best, who attended the Astro F1 concert, but it was still adrenalin pumping action at the Sepang circuit as rock legends took to the stage at the post-race concert.

“How many of you have ever partied on the racetrack?” asked the emcees, Rudy and JJ from, who were joined intermittently by Paula Malai Ali.

Not many obviously, which meant that it had the potential of being one of those “great atmosphere” concerts.

And it certainly would have been if even just a fraction of the 100,000 fans who were at the race earlier in the day had stayed on for the show.

Maybe it was the sweltering heat or the massive traffic that kept the crowds away but the fact that they did is probably their loss, especially since the event was free.

That, however, did not dampen the spirits of rock legends Status Quo. The band members took a break from recording their latest album to make their way here specially for this concert.

While many of those present may not even have been familiar with Status Quo’s music (they had their first hit in 1968), the band still did a great job of keeping energy levels high.

When a band has been round that long, it usually means that it is pretty adept at pleasing the crowd. Status Quo did this in a laidback and relaxed style that proved that bands like these are really about the music.

Although Status Quo was one of several performers that night, band members sang 15 songs making their segment a full-blown concert by itself. But when you’ve been together for close to 40 years and with an anthology of more than 60 British hit singles, that’s really nothing.

Rick chats to Red Bull engineer on Sepang grid (copyright CRASHNET) Nonetheless, all-time favourites like Caroline, Roll over Lay Down, Whatever You Want, Down Down and Rockin’ All over the World had the audience going for the set that lasted about two hours. Also performed were songs from 2002’s Heavy Traffic album: Sold Gold, Oriental and Creepin’ Up on You.

While they didn’t really make a big deal of trying to interact with the crowd, they still came across as jovial and pleasant, poking fun at the audience and themselves.

“Do you want this?” asked Francis Rossi, one of Status Quo’s original members, holding a towel before wiping his face, underarms and crotch.

Rick Parfitt, the band’s other original member, meanwhile, spent the evening playfully posing for photographs.

Rossi also took quite a few jibes at his age, sighing “what am I doing” quite a few times during the performance. But while most of those who were at the concert would probably have been in diapers during the band’s peak in the 1980s, there appeared to be no generation gap at all.

During the acoustic-sounding Gerdundula, Rossi and Parfitt joined bass player John “Rhino” Edwards and keyboardist Andrew Bown for a completely guitar session during which they interchanged the playing – Parfitt played the chords on Bown’s guitar while he strummed his own and vice versa. Rossi and Edwards did the same.

That’s something you can do only after 40 years of experience, remarked a colleague.

Prepping the crowd well for the rock artistes was the busty Tata Young from Thailand who teased the crowd in an outfit that revealed a lot. With her flirtatious style, she got the crowd going with her mischievous moves during numbers like Sexy, Naughty, Cheeky and Crush On You and cheeky banter.

“It’s so hot,” she said at the start of the show and then added: “I’m wearing practically nothing already. You guys are not going to get that lucky.”

While her music, which was very pop, was a huge contrast to Status Quo that is really a pure rock band, she was a refreshing addition to the concert, adding an element of light-hearted fun to the show.

Earlier in the evening, Indonesian artiste Shanty took to the stage. She interspersed covers of Destiny’s Child’s Lose My Breath and Gloria Estefan’s Get on Your Feet with her hits Hanya Memuij, Oh Kasih and Pilihlah Aku. But as she was one the first few artistes to perform, she had her work cut out for her in trying to get the audience going.

Local acts were not outdone. Among those featured in the line-up were Blast Off! champions Frequency Cannon and K Town Clan. While being practically newcomers to the scene, Freqeuncy Cannon pretty much held its own with lead vocalist Kua Chee interacting with the audience and thrilling the crowd with stage antics.

The group sang five songs, including Second Chance, Girl and Fame and Glory. Some would say that they even overshadowed local hip hop group V.E. who performed three songs, one of which was its hit Party Like This."

Photos of the Quo gig are available here and here. Some short movie clips of "Something 'Bout You Baby I Like", "Break The Rules", "4500 Times", "The Oriental" and "Creepin' Up On You" are also available here.

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20th - Quo special on German internet radio, RMNradio

German internet radio station, RMNradio, broadcast a two-hour Quo special on March 20th. The show included interview material as well as input from German-speaking fans.

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undated - Review of 'Hello' remastered CD in Mojo magazine (March issue)

The following review of the recent 'Hello' remastered CD appeared in the March issue of UK magazine, Mojo.

"The 21 year hangover since the nadir of Marguerita Time has seen the Quo legend tarnished further by fair-to-dire albums, the celebrity support of Corrie's dad-rocker Les Battersby and a set of Hi-De-Hi!-styled shows. In this light it's easy to forget that between the release of Piledriver in January 73 and the dawn of the 80's (which saw the release of faltering Never Too Late), the Quo were unrivalled in terms of popularity and unassailible in terms of productivity. In that time they released a remarkable run of 11 albums, all of which went top 5 in the UK, all of which are remastered and reissued with bonus tracks. September 1973's Hello! their first number 1 album, underlines the evergreen appeal of their three-chord boogie wallop. Roll over lay down, Forty five hundred times and Caroline remain British rock classics on what is a definitive, dandruff liberating set."

Revisit the March 2005 event list