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That was the Quo month that was ... March 2020



6th - "Perfect Remedy", "Rock 'Til You Drop" and "Thirsty Work" Deluxe Edition CDs released

The next batch of Deluxe Edition albums was released by Universal Music on 6th March. This batch consisted of "Perfect Remedy" (3-CD set), "Rock 'Til You Drop" (3-CD set) and "Thirsty Work" (2-CD set). Each release again featured previously unreleased B-sides, demos and live performances with booklets containing rare photos and memorabilia from the band's personal collection plus new interviews and notes. The highlights for collectors are "Perfect Remedy" which includes a previously unreleased 'live' album recorded at Birmingham NEC in December 1989 and "Rock 'Til You Drop" which includes enhanced audio from the four "Rock 'Til You Drop" day mini-concerts.

Revisit the March 2020 event list  

7th - Francis interview in the Express & Star (UK)

The following article appeared in the Midlands newspaper, the Express & Star on 7th March, titled "Sharing the secrets of 50 years in rock: Francis Rossi talks ahead of Midland and Shropshire shows" and written by Andy Richardson.

"He remembers it like it was yesterday. When Status Quo kicked off the biggest gig of all time - Live Aid - nearly two billion people were watching. Rock legend Francis Rossi led the live audience of 72,000 through a joyous sing-a-long and fans in 150 countries were literally rockin' all over the world.

It wasn't the band's greatest show, Rossi says Quo ought to have rehearsed more so that they sounded even sharper. But that didn't really matter. Quo captured a mood of optimism and hope as 40 per cent of the world's population joined together to enjoy great music and tackle Africa's famine.

"I've never known a gig like that," he says. "The energy from the crowd was unbelievable. It was something else. I think it was because it was a charity gig and everyone was there because they wanted to do something."

Quo's decision to go on first - the smartest move of the day - was a last-minute thing. While all of the other bands who appeared that day were squabbling to bag slots as late as they could in the day, Rossi and co were happy to go on first. "We didn't mind at all. We just thought we'd do our gig then get out of there. But it turned out to be the best thing we could have done because when we went on the world's entire press was focused on us.

"We walked onto that stage and I've never seen so many cameras in my life. Everybody was watching us."

Rossi reminisces about his remarkable career in his acclaimed one-man show, I Talk Too Much. The hit production toured the UK in 2019 - and was so popular that he agreed to return for a further 54 shows. It features a mix of remarkable stories and a handful of classic Quo tracks played in a stripped-back and acoustic format.

Fans were dazzled when he took to the road last spring and he'll be visiting all parts of the UK from this month until June. The show coincided with the publication of his best-selling autobiography, also called I Talk Too Much, which was written with the rock writer Mick Wall, who hosts the live shows.

Rossi is centre stage, reflecting on his partnership with fellow Quo legend Rick Parfitt, narrating the way in which he started his career as a boy, telling tales about the highs and lows of rock success and sharing the secrets of 50 years on the road.

"It's a thorough show, we really do look at the remarkable career that the band has had. We celebrate Rick's life, we answer questions from the fans, I do a meet 'n' greet before the show and fans can buy signed copies of the book.

"It's not for me to say whether it's any good or not. But the fans seemed to love it first time round and we've been asked back to a number of the venues that we sold out."

Rossi has watched rock 'n' roll change completely during his years in the game. He's seen the demise of bands who cut their teeth by gigging in small clubs and the rise of here-today-gone-tomorrow pop stars who feature on such shows at X Factor.

"We're into the 'darling' generation of X Factor - 'you're so good, darling' - but they don't realise that most of the time in showbusiness and acting the word you are most likely to hear is 'no'. Can I have a deal? No. Will you pay for the records? No. They only see the yes. That's where the old school acts are strong because we played the bar mitzvahs or weddings or any other gig we could get.

"I remember walking home one night when the Stones were on and weren't selling too well. They were at a rubbish festival in Forest Hill. Everyone always assumes they've always done well - not a bit of it."

He's an obsessive when it comes to Status Quo. While other members have come and gone, he thinks about the band non-stop, working out how they can play better shows, write better songs, please more fans and create better work.

"I'm totally obsessed. All I've been able to see since I was 12 or 13, is this. I'm obsessed with it. It never gets put down, to a failing. I know the rest of the guys don't look at it the same way, in this band and in the old band.

"A lot of people just want to do the nice bit. But I can't put this down. I'm always thinking about where I'm going next, what I'll do, what the set will be next year. I'm always trying to get a happy medium to keep the punters happy, which is impossible. The hardcore want the old, old stuff that most don't know, the general audience wants the stuff we've done for years and some of the others want to hear new ones. The band, sometimes when we're doing the new stuff, can't understand why the fans don't love it as much as us. It's a game that's impossible to win - maybe that's why I love it."

These days, Rossi has ditched many of the things that fans remember him for: the drink, the drugs and even the pony tail. His date with the barber came in 2009.

"When I finally decided I was too old to carry off a pontytail, I had it cut off - then auctioned it for charity. When we played at Glastonbury in 2009, we were treated like the coolest band in the world. It's become almost against the law not to like Quo these days. And I loved that. But I also saw it for what it was. The wheel had turned. What was out was now in and vice versa. Whatever you thought of our music or us you couldn't deny that we were authentic, the real deal. And authenticity is the true currency these days.

"Like when we appeared back at Wembley for the 2007 Concert For Diana. A great day, huge Wembley crowd, we even opened with Rockin' All Over The World again, but it was a totally different vibe to Live Aid.

"This was held at the newly opened rebuilt Wembley Stadium and the crowd was seated. Ten years on from Diana's death, it took place on what would have been her 46th birthday, hosted by Princes William and Harry with all proceeds going to Diana's charities, as well as to charities of which William and Harry are patrons. What's not to like? But the truth is it was a huge publicity splash for all the acts involved. Does anyone really think they cared that much about Diana? I very much doubt it. Now I probably shouldn't say stuff like that but I daresay it's the truth. It was showbiz. Of course we wanted to do it."

Rick Parfitt has loomed large in Rossi's life and in I Talk Too Much the founder of Status Quo will explore that relationship. Parfitt remains a firm favourite of fans - and he was a close friend to Rossi, despite rumours to the contrary.

"Every Christmas after we'd finished our latest tour, Rick would come up to me and ask the same thing: 'We are going to be all right, aren't we, Frame?'

"I'd say: 'Yes, Ricky, of course. We're going to be fine.' And he would go off happy, satisfied that the band would be able to keep going for at least another year. But the truth is, I always knew there would come a day when Rick wouldn't be around any longer to worry about that. And he did worry about things. For someone who had such a sunny public image, Rick became a real worrier. He was always either flying high or crashing down low.

"His health had suffered a great deal. After that first massive heart attack in 1997, he suffered two more cardiac arrests. He came through both and came straight back to the band with the same attitude he'd had to the first. That it was simply a case of getting a bit of biological rewiring done, like putting a vintage Roller in for an overhaul. And he always emerged ready to carry on as he always had before. Rick was a really lovely bloke. He was a darling and I loved him. Except for those times, particularly in the latter years, when he wasn't and I didn't."

Rossi has led one of the most remarkable rock 'n' roll lives. His band sold a reported 100 million records, he put more than a million pounds worth of drugs up his nose - until part of his nose fell off in the shower - and he made waistcoasts fashionable long before England manager Gareth Southgate.

He's been responsible for some of the most memorable and life-affirming rock 'n' roll songs of the past 50 years and during his one-man show he'll tell fans how some of those came about.

He'll also reveal the biggest obsession of his life: Status Quo. "The psychologist and writer Jordan B Peterson says that very successful people tend to be obsessive about what they do, or feel they have absolutely no choice in the matter. I look at my wife Eileen and I realise that if I had not married her I would never have been able to carry on with Quo in the late 1980s. But because she was so important to me, I just knew I had to do whatever it took to keep the show on the road. No matter what. I had to make sure we kept going in the right direction. If that meant giving up drugs, I gave up drugs. If that meant giving up drink, I gave up drink. If that meant being the most unpopular guy in the band, that's fine, that's who I would become too if that's what was needed. The leader is the one everyone relies on to keep things together." Ah yes, Eileen. Rossi has a remarkable relationship with his other half. They love each other - forget the band, forget the success - and have been a constant source of love and support.

"Eileen and I finally made time to get married. It was just a few days after we'd done Wembley Stadium with Rod Stewart.

"We kept it all very low key. We set off from home that morning for Croydon Register Office and went back home in time for lunch. The driver I'd hired for the day and our lovely housecleaning lady were our only witnesses. I didn't even have a best man. I did remember to kiss the bride though. No honeymoon afterwards, either. As far as Eileen and I are concerned, every day we spend together at home is a holiday. I can see a lot of you grimacing at that but it's true. We did try going on holiday now and then, somewhere hot by the beach. Then we came home again a few days later because we were bored."

Rossi will be able to air all of his stories, and more, when he hits the road for I Talk Too Much. The tour will stop off at Wrexham William Aston hall on March 21, Stafford Gatehouse on March 22, and Telford Oakengates Theatre on March 26 before returning to the region in May for shows at Newtown Theatre Hafren and ending at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre on June 7. "I have very happy memories of the Midlands, some of my best friends have come there. And we've done some great stuff in Wolverhampton over the years, it'll be good to be back."

"I'd never done a talking tour before but I've quite enjoyed it. More to the point, the audiences have told me they've really enjoyed it too."

Flush from the success of Status Quo's most recent album, Backbone, and riding the crest of a wave, Rossi's tour is a must-see show."

Revisit the March 2020 event list  

8th - Francis interview in the Basingstoke Gazette (UK)

The following article appeared in the Basingstoke Gazette on 8th March, titled "Francis Rossi talks about how he's not maintaining the Status Quo" and written by Ryan Evans.

"Undoubtedly one of the most recognisable faces in rock and roll, Status Quo frontman Francis Rossi will come to Basingstoke next week.

The brains behind anthems such as Rocking All Over The World and In The Army Now will take to the Anvil stage for a calmer, more personal evening of chat - named 'I Talk Too Much'.

"Well, the title is a clue!" Francis says. "Seriously it's an evening full of stories about my life and career and a few musical interludes along the way.

"Mick Wall [music journalist] is there as compere to ensure that I don't go hopelessly off topic for the whole evening but it's very much off script so even I'll get the odd surprise!

"These shows are totally different to a Quo show. I get to sit down for a start.

"It's not a concert in any way, the vast majority of the show is me talking away, though I may do a couple of acoustic tracks if I feel so inclined!"

Despite the musician appearing at some of the biggest music events in the world - like Live Aid and Glastonbury - Francis says that he prepares for every show, no matter how big or small, exactly the same.

"People always say to me, 'Live Aid must have been great, how amazing to do Glastonbury'. And yes, these are all things I look back on with some pleasure, but at the time it's just a show.

"I treat every show in the same way, each needs to be as good as the last and if it's not then I beat myself up and push even harder. That's one of the reasons we've lasted I suppose, we've never stopped pushing ourselves and never taken anything for granted.

"Also, the fact that we were never fashionable has really helped, though it annoyed me at times, because we could never become unfashionable!"

As the mainstay of a band that has been as successful through the decades, it's fair to say that things have changed a bit since he and Quo started out.

Francis says: "Fame used to be a product of talent. That's not always the case these days. I think that taking the quick route via some internet initiative or something like the X Factor can often lead to pain or failure because those involved haven't learned their craft or paid their dues.

"Things can blow up overnight these days and it's not always a good thing."

However, he says that technology can make things better.

"It's easier than ever to actually make a record. I love that. I'm certainly not afraid to embrace a lot of the new ways of working. Then again, for me music is all about connection, making people feel something. That's why I love playing the songs live. I don't think that will ever change."

Revisit the March 2020 event list  

15th - Announcement of postponement of remaining 2020 Francis's "I Talk Too Much" spoken word shows

The following press release appeared on the official Quo website on 15th March to announce that the remaining dates on Francis's 2020 speaking tour were being postponed.

"We're pleased to announce that every postponed date from Francis Rossi's 'I Talk Too Much Tour' has now been rescheduled. And all of your tickets for the 2020 shows remain valid for the 2021 shows. Please retain your tickets.

Those who have meet 'n' greet packages, VIP packages and standard tickets can look forward to seeing the show in their local venues in Spring 2021, when we all hope that the threat of Covid-19 has passed.

Francis was one of the first British entertainers to postpone his tour - making the decision before the Government asked people to avoid visiting theatres. He did so to avoid the risk to fans - and is now looking forward to repaying their faith in him by touring next year and meeting thousands of fans across England, Scotland and Wales.

Francis said: "It was a tough decision to postpone the tour, but the health and welfare of our fans was the top priority. We've worked very quickly to reschedule the dates - making sure that has been done within 48 hours.

"So the message now is simple: fans can hold onto their tickets and we can all catch up and have a good time in spring next year. It's not too long to wait - and I'd rather be meeting fans when it's safe to do so for everyone. See you on the road. It won't be long. Stay safe."

Revisit the March 2020 event list  

22nd - Francis interview in The Argus

The following article appeared in The Argus on 22nd March, titled "Quo's Francis Rossi is determined to keep on rocking" and written by Kate Parkin.

"Francis Rossi has been rocking all over the world with Status Quo for half a century. Now, he is hitting the road for his first spoken word tour, where he will face his fans with little more than an acoustic guitar. Alex Green speaks to the veteran rocker about fame, family life and his greatest regrets.

"I've become known as the bloke that spills the beans," whispers Francis Rossi before emitting a sharp cackle.

Status Quo's guitarist and songwriter is explaining the premise behind his latest venture - a tell-all tour aptly titled I Talk Too Much.

He, of course, is best known as the man behind the stadium-sized riffs of In The Army Now and Pictures Of Matchstick Men.

Yet in recent years, the south London-born musician of Italian-Northern Irish descent, has also earned a reputation for honesty.

Rossi's 2019 autobiography - also titled I Talk Too Much - gave an unguarded, sometimes uncomfortably intimate, insight into the highs and lows of his 50-year career.

It explored the success of Status Quo, who have released over 100 singles and 33 albums, the depths of his alcoholism and cocaine addiction, and the recent loss of Rick Parfitt, his bandmate and partner in crime.

Now Rossi is preparing to embark on an intimate tour combining acoustic songs and storytelling, from the Isle of Wight to Dundee.

He wants to explore the myth of show business in close quarters.

"You know those hospital gowns you see?" he enquires.

"You are all covered up at the front but it's all undone at the back with your ass hanging out. That's showbiz to me."

Rossi, who celebrated his 70th birthday in May last year, is full of witty impressions, with a mind that is constantly probing and questioning. To illustrate his point he adopts the voice of a compere.

"Don't let them backstage," he cries.

"Because if they find out this is all b******s they won't be coming back."

But there is a catch. We speak just weeks before the coronavirus outbreak forces Rossi to postpone his tour over safety concerns.

A few days later his team send over a statement confirming that, due to some rapid re-booking, Rossi will be back on the road in 2021.

All 60 dates on his mammoth UK tour are being rescheduled - good news for disappointed fans.

"My team started rescheduling dates immediately, and that work is almost done," Rossi explained in a statement after our interview.

"In days, we will be announcing rescheduled dates and I am delighted to announce that this tour will start on February 18 at the Shanklin Theatre on the Isle of Wight, continuing through into May."

Preparing for the I Talk Too Much tour entailed a great deal of soul-searching for Rossi.

I ask him what he is most proud of.

There's much to choose from. An enviable career in music has spawned classic songs, a vast family and fantastical tales of rock and roll excess.

But Rossi is cautious.

"One has to be careful," he answers.

"Don't tap into my ego. I have enough trouble with that as it is.

"What am I proud of? The other day I was thinking that I was proud to be British, but isn't there a saying about pride before a fall?"

"Probably just lasting. Still being here," he says after a pause.

"And as a capitalist, I was proud that the band was that successful.

"As a songwriter, I was proud that I had some hit songs, albeit not particularly complicated songs.

"I am proud that I have got eight children and I didn't f*** them up too much."

And his regrets?

"Drinking," he says without a pause.

"Alcohol led me to cocaine. People telling me: 'Oh have a drink. What kind of man are you?' All that stuff I remember from when I was younger."

Like many interesting people, Rossi is full of contradictions.

He is a rock star who embraces his band's reputation for being "uncool", an unerringly polite man who turns the air blue with his words, a celebrity honest about the shallowness of fame.

It is perhaps this unlikely everyman quality which has drawn so many listeners to Status Quo.

Writing an autobiography also meant confronting old memories of Parfitt, who died from sepsis on Christmas Eve 2016.

Parfitt lived a life of excess and had suffered a heart attack and throat cancer scare, although when he passed, aged 68, he had not used cocaine for over a decade.

"That bit is difficult to talk about," Rossi admits with characteristic honesty.

"It was difficult when I talked about it before, because you live it again. I don't want to sound dramatic, but you really live it again.

"There are moments with his last heart attack, which were really not very pleasant. I would get annoyed and... not emotional necessarily."

Rossi's most colourful language is reserved for his ruminations on age.

"Roger Daltrey was wrong," he chuckles before quoting My Generation, The Who's anthem for doomed youth.

"I hope I die before I get old... No I don't. I'm trying to hang on now.

"I'm extremely fit. I look after myself. Anything to stay alive."

Rossi is not joking. His teetotal daily routine features swimming, healthy eating and workouts before rehearsal.

Life, he explains, is worth sticking around for because of the kids.

Rossi has eight children from two marriages, some who play music professionally, and they have prompted him to think about how his generation has treated the world.

Talk turns to the planet and Greta Thunberg.

"Remember in the late Seventies, they said: 'Prepare for an ice age.'

"Well, now they are telling us it is the other way round.

"Then that young girl... If she really thinks my generation and the generation that are now 40 got on this planet and said: 'Let's f*** it up everyone...'

"We didn't. We thought we were doing well... We thought we were going to do the right things.

"We thought we were going to make it better and if she thinks her generation are going to get to 50 and 60 and go 'We didn't make any mistakes', she is mistaken.

"That's how it goes."

Francis Rossi's I Talk Too Much tour will now begin on February 18, 2021, at the Shanklin Theatre on the Isle of Wight. He will also tour the UK and Europe with Status Quo between October and December 2020.

Revisit the March 2020 event list