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That was the Quo month that was ... March 2017

1st - Australia & New Zealand "Last Night of the Electrics" tour dates released

The exciting news that Quo would return downunder for one last time as part of their extended "Last Night of the Electrics" tour was announced on 1st March. The short tour comprises one date in Auckland plus three in Australia around the "Rock The Boat" cruise, as follows:

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4th - Francis interview on Rebel FM (Melbourne, Australia)

Francis was interviewed by Dave Holleran on Rebel FM on 4th March. He sounded excited about the prospect of visiting Australia again, especially looking forward to the good food. The Coles ad inevitably got a mention. Dave had read an article while researching for the interview about crazy festival stories and Francis talked about a Scandanavian festival where they found a guy covered in blood saying "I've just killed my friend", he wondered what really happened! On the passing of Rick, Francis said they'd lost his "presence" and he'd become much more aware of his own mortality, ending by saying it's "still weird" that he's gone. To close the interview, Dave asked him what was the first record he'd bought as a fan, to which Francis replied that it was either "Walk Don't Run" (John Barry Seven) or "Cathy's Clown" (Everly Brothers).

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9th - Francis interview on Breakfast with Red Symons, ABC 774 radio (Melbourne, Australia)

Francis was interviewed by Red Symons on ABC 774 on 9th March in yet another promo for the Australian leg of the "Last Night of the Electrics" tour. Talk immediately turned to the Coles ad and Francis mentioned that the band occasionally sings the "Prices are down" lyric in places like Sweden, something of an in joke for the band. He also said "I've been thinking about stopping for at least the last 20 years" and that he definitely still suffers from imposter syndrome, saying he gets "frightened, not nervous" before going on stage these days. Red asked about Francis's preferences when listening to music and he replied that he enjoys listening to Italian opera with Andrew (Bown) on the bus. Rick's passing was briefly mentioned before the interview wrapped up.

You can listen to Francis's entertaining short interview with Red Symons here.

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9th - Article about Massive Wagons tribute to Rick Parfitt on Planet Rock website

The following article about a band's tribute to Rick Parfitt appeared on the Planet Rock website on 9th March.

"Lancashire rock n’ rollers Massive Wagons have unleashed their new single in tribute to their musical hero Rick Parfitt.

One of the dizzying zeniths of their phenomenal Saturday night set at Winter’s End last month, the track is aptly entitled ‘Back To The Stack’ and, musically and lyrically, it’s packed full of deft nods to the late Status Quo legend.

A truly fitting homage to Rick, two minutes in vocalist Baz Mills urges: “Why don’t you raise your glass for Rick, cos I’m raising mine!”

Released globally on Monday 24th April along with the accompanying video, all proceeds from sales of ‘Back To The Stack’ will go directly to the Teenage Cancer Trust. You'll be able to buy it from Massive Wagons site.

‘Back To The Stack’ is the first tasty musical morsel to emerge from the writing sessions for Massive Wagons’ fourth studio album.

The band are currently working on the follow-up to 2016’s critically lauded Welcome To The World alongside playing a series of shows.

Their live schedule includes an appearance at Stone Free Festival at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday 17th June where they’ll perform on the Big Entrance Stage. Headlined by Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, the event also boasts performances from Blue Öyster Cult, Sweet, The Answer, Gun and more."

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27th - Francis interview with Neil Foster & Cara Thorpe on BBC Radio York (UK)

Francis was interviewed by Neil Foster and Cara Thorpe for BBC Radio York on 27th March. Standing in for Adam Tomlinson and Joanita Musisi, Neil and Cara did a good job and were very enthusiastic about interviewing him.

They started off by talking about Rick's death and Francis seemed more willing to discuss this topic than in other recent interviews, saying he's "sort of used to it" and that he "argues with [Rick]him in my head". He acknowledged that they sometimes clashed, but that they were "OK" at the end. The lighter topic of the upcoming York Barbican Aquostic gig came next with Francis commenting that the electric set had "got safe". The Aquostic 2 version of "Hold You Back" was then played.

In talking more about touring Aquostic, Cara referred to it as a "solo tour" a number of times and, bizarrely, Francis didn't correct it. He talked about having eight kids, with five still being at home, "I like them being there", and most of them are musical. He talked about the coffee shop venture his sons recently started up near his home. The Aquostic 2 version of "That's A Fact" was then played.

The topic of three chords got an airing as usual and then back to playing in York, Francis still sounded unsure and nervous about the live Aquostic gigs, calling them an "unknown entity" and booking smaller venues was safer for them. Talking about longevity, he said it's "better than being dead" and that he sees a "trainer nearly every day of the week". When the hosts brought up Bula Quo, he said "we messed up", but did say that being on Coronation Street was "wonderful" and that they all learned something from both of their TV/movie experiences.

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29th - Francis at the launch of the Rolls Royce Wraith “Inspired by British Music” series (London)

A few members of the UK rock music elite, including Francis, assembled at London's Sanderson Hotel on 29th March for the launch of a very exclusive series of Rolls Royce Wraith models.

The following coverage of the launch appeared on the Robb Report website on 30th March, titled "New Rolls-Royce Wraiths That Really Rock" and written by Viju Mathew. (Note that Francis's car will be revealed later in the year.)

"When craftsmen of classic rock and Rolls-Royce band together, the result is a syncopated aesthetic of refinement and rebellion, as evidenced by Wraith “Inspired by British Music”—the marque’s new series of nine one-off examples. Those that provided both their names and creative talents to the cars include Roger Daltrey of the Who, Sir Ray Davies of the Kinks, Ronnie Wood of Faces and the Rolling Stones, Francis Rossi of Status Quo, vocalist Dame Shirley Bassey, and songwriter and producer Giles Martin. The initial four vehicles debuted at London’s Sanderson Hotel, on March 29, and were created in collaboration with Daltrey, Davies, and Martin. A portion of the sale amount from each car will go to a charity of the respective artist’s choice.

Although the Who was renowned for its anti-establishment anthems, its lead singer chose two of the marque’s iconic symbols of luxury as his canvas to pay tribute to the group’s Hall of Fame history. One of his Wraiths features the band’s bullseye logo on the dashboard clock and backseat “waterfall” section, and copper door flights engraved with lyrics from the songs “Join Together” and “I Can See for Miles.” Headrests bare Daltrey’s embroidered signature on the front and, on the back, a depiction of the infamous moment that the late Keith Moon’s drum set exploded on television in 1967 (not the cause of the drummer’s demise).

Daltrey’s second selection draws its theme from the group’s 1969 rock opera Tommy and showcases the work of the album’s cover artist Mike McInnerney. His original abstract piece, a latticework of cloud-specked sky woven over a black background, is replicated on the Wraith’s hood. In addition, the coachline is graced by the images of flying birds similar to those found on the album’s sleeve. Inside, the center of the backseat area is adorned with the embroidered design of a pinball machine in reference to the song “Pinball Wizard.” And the door flights are festooned with lyrics from “Tommy Can You Hear Me?” and “See Me, Feel Me.” Some of the sale price for both vehicles will go to a cause close to Daltrey, the Teenage Cancer Trust.

More than a well-respected man musically, Sir Ray Davies kicked up quite a sonic stir with his band the Kinks and continues to inspire fans with solo compositions that often mix sardonic humor and insightful sensibilities. His Wraith reflects the artistic license that made the group great and features lyrics to “Shangi-la” and “Driven” on the door flights (etched in Davies’ own handwriting) and ones from “Sunny Afternoon” detailing the doors’ integrated umbrellas. More customized callouts include the Kinks’ lettered logo embroidered on the backseat and Davies' autograph stitched on the headrests.

Rounding out the bespoke quartet of cars that premiered was an automotive homage to the man behind the Beatles, Sir George Martin. His son, Giles, helped design a Wraith that incorporates the 30 hit singles his late father was responsible for. These appears as a list embroidered at the back of the cabin’s interior. Further flourishes include the senior Martin’s signature on the headrests and, on the door flights, engraved lyrics from the Fab Four’s song “Yesterday” and Martin’s insightful saying, “The recording is not what one hears, but what one must make others hear.”

Constructed under the guidance of Rolls-Royce’s design director Giles Taylor and designer Matthew Danton, the cars contain common elements that include the artist’s name on the tread-plates and on the base of the hood’s Spirit of Ecstasy ornament, as well as the Union Jack emblem on the C-pillars. But even without the affiliation with monumental musicians, these Wraiths are impressive performers. Each elegant coupe carries a 623 hp, 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 (with 590 ft lbs of torque), the most powerful engine found in any of the marque’s models, and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The power train propels the car from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and allows it to cruise at up to 155 mph.

The remaining right-hand-drive examples from the Wraith “Inspired by British Music” collection will become available in the ensuing months and will be sold only in the United Kingdom. But while the starting price for a standard Wraith begins at about $315,000, these unique instruments for philanthropy should strike a much higher monetary note."

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