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That was the Quo month that was ... March 2011

6th - Francis Rossi show on Planet Rock radio

Francis managed to score himself a weekly show on Planet Rock radio, kicking off on March 6th. The following promo for the show appeared on the official Quo site.

"Francis Rossi is joining award winning radio station Planet Rock for a series of exclusive radio shows. The series will run on Sunday evenings at 6pm-7pm beginning on 6th March.

Each week Francis will be playing the music that has inspired him over the years, with stories from four decades as one of rock's true originals.

"Planet Rock has always brought rock's greatest artists to the airwaves, giving a rock star's perspective to life on the road, in the studio and to hear stories never heard on radio before. Francis has something to say about everyone and everything, the trouble is stopping himÖ. and his choice of music makes the show a must listen" said Trevor White, Planet Rock Programme Director.

Planet Rock broadcasts on digital radio, Sky 0110, Virgin Media 924, Freesat 730, and"

In the first show, Francis managed to play eleven tracks with lots of his usual rambling in between. First up was Muse with "Stockholm Syndrome" and he talked very fondly of the band before the inevitable Eagles track, of "Already Gone". Francis noted the differences between the way musos work in the UK and US before playing one of his favourite Quo tracks, in the shape of "All We Really Wanna Do" (as played on his recent solo tour). He went on to discuss concert 'packages' and how much the band had enjoyed working with Roy Wood recently, as a precursor to playing Wood's "Curly".

Francis went country next with Jo Dee Messina's catchy "Heads Carolina, Tails California" before playing a track from one of his favourite bands, Squeeze, with "Another Nail For My Heart". Next up was Thin Lizzy with the classic "The Boys Are Back In Town", although Francis said he doesn't like this song! He also talked about meeting Phil for the first time, before a couple of great tracks in Canned Heat's "Going Up The Country" and Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars".

In discussing his next choice, "Across The Universe" by the Beatles, Francis confessed himself to be a Lennon man rather than a Macca man, before the last song of the show in Deep Purple's "Black Night ". Francis talked about the first gig Rick did with Quo (The Welcome Inn, Eltham) and claimed that Rick may not even have been plugged in during the gig which was supporting the band 'Episode 6' featuring Roger Glover (with whom the band caught up during the Australian "Double Trouble" tour in 2006).

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11th - Francis interview in Metro magazine

The following interview appeared in Metro magazine on March 11th, entitled "I understand that most people can't stand Status Quo" and written by Andrew Williams. The same edition of the magazine included an article on Crohn's disease, with reporter Vicki-Marie Cossar talking to Rick Parfitt Junior.

What can you do solo you canít do with Status Quo?

"Relax. Thereís a lot of energy required with Quo and if you donít physically commit that energy, it doesnít work. I learned when I was younger from watching Little Richard and working with Jerry Lee Lewis, who was so physically committed to his music he made it move you. I donít have to do that on my own, I can do the songy, poppy things, itís more relaxed. It all boils down to wanting to show off. Brian Mayís very shy but can stand on top of Buckingham Palace playing his guitar. Most of the big stars since the 1950s havenít really been that great.

Look at Madonna Ė she canít sing but she can make a decent record. Her first one, they had to slow her voice down and speed it up. She used the system really well. Spice Girls Ė biggest pile of s*** to hit the planet but what a great PR job. Canít sing, songs werenít very good, they didnít look very good but they used the business against itself. Same with Kylie Ė some innocent child off some Australian soap, she suddenly s**gs Michael Hutchence and her bum comes out and everyone keeps buying her records. We all have this thing of justifying our need to show off but it comes down to wanting attention and wanting people to like us.

What lessons has the music industry taught you?

Itís 95 per cent bulls*** and the other five per cent is bulls***. I didnít realise until I was about 40. Itís not real. Itís like when we did Coronation Street we got fan mail for the actress who was supposed to be our hairdresser. We had people asking where she was when we went on tour. When I was much younger Iíd read music magazines and it took me years to work out you never read an interview with anyone or see anyone on a chat show unless theyíve got some product out.

Do you get the musical respect you deserve?

I understand that people canít stand Status Quo. There are thousands of people across the world who think weíre fantastic but most donít, obviously. Itís the same with anyone. Michael Jackson selling 45million records in America Ė that still means 220million Americans didnít like it. But Ďshowbizí blows it up as important. Mars bars sell better than Michael Jackson records and so do paper clips, envelopes and coat hangers. How come no oneís come up with a song that sells 2billion? Even then, two thirds of the world wonít like it.

Whatís the worst gig youíve done?

Live Aid. We werenít particularly good. We were under-rehearsed and didnít bring in enough equipment. Itís funny when you see these programmes about it now because back then no one knew how big it was until you went on the stage Ė and Iíve never seen so many cameras in my life. But if the West really wanted to feed the Third World it would have happened by now instead of doing some fundraising gigs every 25 years.

What current bands do you like?

At my age theyíve got to be around for about five years before I hear of them so I like Muse, Snow Patrol, Killers. I love Lady Antebellum. I donít understand people whoíll just listen to one genre of music.

Has anyone said theyíre a fan that has surprised you?

Actually, Matt from Muse came to play a soundcheck with us in Plymouth once. Itís odd when people come out of the closet Ė itís a big thing when people admit to liking Status Quo.

Have you got any plans to retire?

Yes, but I donít know when. Two days after coming off tour I usually miss being on the road. I havenít had that yet. Maybe itís a sign. You look forward to the end of the tour, you come off, youíre on the bus, then itís, what are you going to do now? Itís part of being human Ė this rush towards whatís next."

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12th - Rhino appearance at The London Bass Guitar Show 2011

The following announcement appeared on the Quo web site in the lead up to the 2011 London Bass Guitar Show.

"Rhino will making an appearance at the London Bass Guitar Show at Olympia this Saturday 12th March. Rhino says "As the Status of Quo I felt it was about time I put in a shift at the Status Graphite stand, so will be there between 1 and 3 pm to chat about the most important part of any band, that's right folks, the bass guitar, and all things Quo." Potential attendees of a nervous disposition should know that a life size cut out of Rhino will also be in evidence. You have been warned!"

The Status Guitars website also gave Rhino a mention, with "World renowned Status Quo bassman, John "Rhino" Edwards, will also be around on Saturday afternoon for a chat."

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13th - Francis Rossi show on Planet Rock radio

The second instalment of Francis's stint as a presenter on Planet Rock radio hit the airwaves on March 13th. He kicked off this show with "Start Me Up" from the Rolling Stones and commented that "I wish Keith had learned to play guitar"! He then talked fondly about meeting Heart in Canada in the early 70s and played their classic "Barracuda". Going back in time even further, he talked about the Gene Pitney tour of 1968 and meeting Amen Corner, leading to the playing of "Hello Susie". Next up was Led Zep's "D'yer Mak'er" with a rambling story about time off in LA in the 70s...!

Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like A Lady" took Francis down the "Quo not doing it in America" route and talking about touring with Aerosmith. Next up was Neil Young with the classic "Heart of Gold" with Francis talking about putting "Down Down" together with a girl in LA, then working with Bob on it, along with a general talk about the process of putting lyrics together leading into the playing of "Down Down" itself.

"Red River Rock" from Johnny and the Hurricanes was immediately followed by Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" which Francis described simply as a "fabulous song". His adoration for Jeff Lynne (the closest thing he has to a "hero") saw "Free Falling" (Tom Petty in collaboration with Jeff Lynne) and ELO's "Secret Messages". The show was rounded out with "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" by The Who.

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14th - Release of Francis "Live at St Luke's" CD, DVD and Blu-Ray

Almost six months after the event, Francis's solo concert at St Luke's, London, was released on March 14th. The live set was released on CD, DVD and Blu-ray formats by Edel's international rock label, earMUSIC distributed in the UK & Republic of Ireland by Absolute via Universal. As well as the full concert, the DVD and Blu-ray boast excellent bonus features. The DVD has an interview with Rossi, plus the promo video for the 'Faded Memory' single. The Blu-ray additionally has a "behind the scenes" documentary, which also features interviews, plus the promo video.

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20th - Francis Rossi show on Planet Rock radio

The third instalment of Francis's stint as a presenter on Planet Rock radio hit the airwaves on March 20th.

He kicked off with "Spiders From Mars" by Ziggy Stardust before The Faces with "Had Me A Real Good Time". Francis said that Rick was good mates with Rod and Steve Marriott was the first person to give Francis a joint. Francis's dad knew Kenny Jones too. The Quo track for the week was "The Wanderer" and he talked about the recording process for the song. Tours of old brought back memories of working with Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack and Francis claimed that Fleetwood Mac were the first band to be successful at selling both singles and albums. The classic instrumental "Albatross" was the Mac offering, followed by Chicken Shack's "Get Like You Used To Be".

U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" sparked memories of Ireland and how he "lost a car in Dublin one night when my daughter was born", with Francis describing this track as "one of those tracks that I don't understand the sacred thing about them". A ramble about Bruce Springsteen (summed up with "I rather like this guy") led to "Born To Run" with T-Rex's "Ride A White Swan" up next (from around the same time as "In My Chair"). Harking back to London roots, next up was Chaz N' Dave with "Ain't No Pleasing You" which Francis described as "real cor blimey, it's a lovely song"! Queen's "I Want To Break Free" was fondly described as one of his favourite Queen songs and Francis said "Freddie truly was a great frontman", before the show was rounded out by "Lost In Space" from the Steve Miller Band (with Steve being described by Francis as "a very strange man").

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27th - Francis Rossi show on Planet Rock radio

The fourth instalment of Francis's stint as a presenter on Planet Rock radio hit the airwaves on March 27th. First up was "Slither" from Velvet Revolver and Francis talked about Slash and Guns 'n' Roses and the whole turning up late thing. He also remembered the "Out In The Green" festival in Switzerland at which Quo appeared on the same bill as Slash's band, Snakepit, and said that the band got on well with Slash. The relatively obscure Genesis track, "Dance On A Volcano", came next and he mentioned being mistaken for Phil Collins by an autograph hunter at Live Aid!

The next track was "Hold Me" by PJ Proby and Francis remarked that "even his trousers split"! He also remembered scoring a gig on the same bill as Proby at the Nelson Imperial. Having driven up and slept in the old Ford Thames van, PJ Proby asked them in for a whisky, a gentlemanly act according to Francis. Moving on to talking about the Pat Barlow-inspired name change to Traffic Jam, he then played Traffic's classic "Hole In My Shoe". Next up was "Sweet Home Alabama" from Lynyrd Skynyrd, who Francis described as becoming "a corporation" but did remember playing The Warehouse in New Orleans where Skynyrd also played. He then introduced "another Welsh act" who have only caught his attention with their last couple of singles, in the Manic Street Preachers with "(It's Not War) Just The End of Love".

Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" came next and Francis said he likes the chord sequence in this track. Rather than a Quo track, he went on to play one from his own "One Step At A Time" album instead, in the shape of "Crazy for You" which he claimed could have been a Quo thing and satisfied his desire to sing with girls. Next up, the Foo Fighters with "Times Like These" and, although Francis claimed not to know much about them, he did mention that Rick saw them and was extremely impressed. The next track needed little in the way of introduction, The Beatles with "Lucy In The Sky", followed by "Picture of You" from Joe Brown. Francis talked about touring arenas with Joe recently and that he was an "extremely nice man". To round out the show, it was Hendrix's "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" and the inevitable discussion of how "Pictures of Matchstick Men" was inspired by Hendrix. Francis also talked about seeing him on a TV show and a news item showed him with effects pedals, which led to Francis buying pedals and using them on "Pictures of Matchstick Men".

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31st - Quo headline "The Rock Ball" at the Hurlingham Club, London

Quo headlined The Rock Ball at London's Hurlingham Club on Thursday March 31st. The special show was in aid of Rick Parfitt Jnr's charity for victims of Crohns disease: 'The RPJ Crohns Foundation'. The event received broad press coverage both before and after it took place (including interviews with both Rick Parfitt Jnr & Snr on BBC Breakfast News and Sky News), the following example comes from Sky News on April 1st by Lorna Blount.

"Status Quo bandmates Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt are helping to increase awareness of Crohn's disease - an illness suffered by Pariftt's son. The Rock Ball was organised by Rick Parfitt Jnr who set up The RPJ Crohn's Foundation to raise funds for Crohn's Colitis UK.

Rick Jnr revealed his struggle - which began when he was just nine years old - at the event, hosted by Top Gear's Richard Hammond.

A general lack of understanding of the illness in the UK meant the 36-year-old was misdiagnosed several times.

The singer has spent years in excruciating pain but has managed to stay incredibly positive.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "Crohn's disease is a hugely painful, embarrassing and debilitating disease which for me involved countless operations and still does to this day."

The main symptoms of the illness are pain in the abdomen, urgent diarrhoea, general tiredness and weight loss.

Rick Jnr said: "But I am a big believer in positive mental attitude - it is tough with Crohn's - but you're dealt with these cards and I want to put it out there that if you suffer with the disease, it shouldn't hold you back."

The ball was supported by a set from Status Quo and featured performances from Rick Parfitt Jnr and his band RPJ and a fashion show by Sophie Anderton and supermodel Jade Parfitt (unrelated).

Crohn's is still a big part of Rick's life, but he isn't letting it stand in the way of his rock and roll dreams. His father told Sky News he is extremely proud of what his son has achieved. Rick Snr said: "I've seen what Rick's been through and it's an awful disease to have. I'm so proud of him and it's been quite hard to deal with as parents, but he does great and he's a very brave boy."

The 2011 Rock Ball was the second fundraising event for the disease held at the Hurlingham Club."

Quo played a seven-song set in the shape of "Caroline", "Something Bout You Baby I Like", "Rain", "Proposing Medley", "Roll Over Lay Down", "Whatever You Want" and "Rockin' All Over The World" ("Down Down" was also on the setlist but was not played due to late running of the event). Some fan photos of the event can be found here.

The following snippet appeared in the Daily Mirror newspaper's "On The Grapevine" section on April 3rd (written by Dean Piper): "Congrats to Rick Parfitt Jnr for ≠raising £100,000 for his RPJ Crohnís ≠Foundation at the ≠fabulous rock ball. Guests including Richard Hammond and Sophie Anderton turned out and were treated to an exclusive set by his dadís band Status Quo. Rick told me: "Having suffered with Crohnís disease all my life itís important to be raising money to hopefully find a cure." I tip my hat..."

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