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That was the Quo month that was ... May 2015

4th - Announcement of UK dates for the "Accept No Substitute" tour

The long-awaited UK Winter tour dates were announced on 4th May, disspelling any fears that this annual event might not happen for the first time in years. The "Accept No Substitute" tour (using the "Piledriver" beer logo) is an 11-date arena tour, as follows:

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5th - Francis and Rick on Later With Jools Holland (BBC2)

Francis and Rick made a rare appearance on the popular "Later With Jools Holland" music show on BBC2 on 5th May. They both looked well and both dressed in black. They kicked off talking about "Aquostic", how it came about, and the fan reaction to it. Jools revealed that he bought "Down The Dustpipe" when he was trying to get into boogie music and they then talked about Quo's early influences. A clip of "Down Down" from the "Aquostic" DVD followed, before Rick revealed their lack of after gig parties these days! This was a great little interview on this high-rating show, with even Jools describing "Aquostic" as a "really great record".

The interview can be seen on the FTMO YouTube channel here.

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8th - Rhino interview in Guitar & Bass magazine (UK)

Rhino was interviewed by Lars Mullen for Guitar & Bass magazine and the following interview appeared online on 8th May.

"John Victor Edwards is known to an army of Status Quo fans as Rhino, the powerhouse bassist behind an outfit that are arguably the UKís longest running boogie rock band. Lars Mullen caught up with an excited Rhino, after a recent 17-date European tour promoting a new album, not with the Quo, but his own band, Rhinoís Revenge.

"They were all storming shows", says Rhino, "Taking in nine UK venues starting with a sell-out at the 100 Club in London, then into Germany, Holland and France, finishing back in Britain. I couldnít pronounce some of the names of the cities, in Holland, so I was asking the audience where we were.

"Sure, we played a few Status Quo songs, the ones Iíve written for the band including, Two Way Traffic, Gravy Train, Obstruction Day and Bad News, but most of the material was from my new album, a full 15 years since the last one was released on Eagle records called Rhinoís Revenge, named after the band.

"After a full decade and half of sales, itís now probably just reached iron in the gold and platinum album awardsÖ ha ha. I liked that last album, but in a way, it wasnít quite me. So I wanted this new album which will be released late autumn 2015, and by the way, has the really imaginative name of Rhinoís Revenge II, to be a step forward, and Iím very pleased with the results. Iíd had most of the songs in my head, but I donít get that much spare time off from Status Quo to concentrate on writing, which I actually find quite difficult.

"It doesnít come easy at all, even though Iíve written songs on each of the last three Status Quo albums, which does help to keep my creative juices flowing, but songwriting for me is like letting my brain bleed. I really like to write on my own, the trade off is that you donít have anyone to bounce ideas off, but at the end of the day, itís me thatís coming out with the ideas, for better or for worse maybe.

"I can spend months on lyrics, although some people might think I spend half a minute. I also think itís essential to write the music to match the mood. Itís all about the attention to detail, I also spend a long time on the arrangements which Iíve done throughout the 11 tracks on this new album, leaving the final touches to my producer Mike Paxman who also produced my first album and a host of Quo albums including Aquostic."

So when does a busy bass player find time to get into songwriting mode?

"It ainít easy. Whenever I can really. When I knuckled down with a decision to complete several demos and record the new album to a deadline, I actually found myself writing and recording whilst touring with Quo. Although I got the job done, it wasnít an enjoyable experience, it was a distraction really.

"My recording gear is a bit dated, itís pretty much hands-on, Iím using a Boss BR1200CD digital recorder. I call it Noah, as itís from the ark compared to modern plug-ins, but itís brilliant, I can understand it. I play all the instruments on the demos and just go in wham bang crash to keep them raw. I want them to have the vibe of the song. Iím not one for all this modern fangled loop stuff, where the demo can sound as good as the finished track. It works for some people but none of thatís for me. I donít mind a little layering here and there, but doing it with humans, not loops.

"When Iím on the road with the Status Quo, I donít want to be thinking of anything else. Iíd rather go out for a walk or rummage through the 99p shops rather than have to sit in a room and finish a song. I need to concentrate on the tour, on a day off Iím chilled, on a show day Iím horrible.

"I can theme a song simply by hearing a passing conversation, or simply from a topic Iíve read about. I was in a subway station with a friend a while ago in Moscow for example, and we saw this shrine dedicated to 42 people killed by two Chechen women suicide bombers, theyíre now called The Black Widows. That stayed in my mind and I started to write the lyrics for the track on this album called Black Widows which I finished in about a week.

"I also get a lot of inspiration from reading books, oh, and my dog Stan, bless him. Thereís a chorus in there that goes ĎMy name is Stan I am the man, top dog you understand, I lick my balls because I can, you donít mess with Stan the man.'

"We completed the album working 13 hours a day for twelve days at The Chapel studios near Louth in Lincolnshire. We went flat out, so we didnít have time to get precious about anything."

Whilst some bands donít get on well as a team , they still produce great music, but thereís something special that Rhino feels is a vital ingredient within Rhinoís Revenge, as he explains.

"Yeah my kids. How cool is it to have your own kids in your own band? It was a real team effort with my sons Freddie on guitar, Max on drums, and my daughter Mae guesting on vocals. We also have multi-instrumentalist Matthew Starritt on guitar and occasional trumpet. My kids have evolved into first class musicians, itís amazing to have them in my band, not because they were cheap to hire of course. Max is a solid drummer and Freddieís a great guitarist that was apparent when he stood in for Rick Parfitt at Status Quoís Clumber Park concert in Worksop, Nottinghamshire in August 2014. Like Quo, touring and recording with this band was a total pleasure.

"Theyíre obviously younger, but they pick it up so quickly and I donít mind passing on the live concept, where to put the weight, fill the gaps and where to leave a hole. Iíve learnt a lot playing Quo, itís been a hardworking band for decades, a riveting journey."

Sharp-eyed Status Quo fans may have noticed a backline change in the bass department in recent months...

"The last time I gigged in Europe with Rhinoís Revenge, I used a Markbass rig from another band on the same bill, and it blew me away, I was smitten. So when I got home, we hired Shepperton Studios near London and fitted it out with a host of the big names in the bass amp world. The Markbass stood out a mile as the best for my style of playing. Iím using the F1 bass heads and four ported 4◊10 cabs with horns, ideal for a rhino. On this recent tour, we had a row of AC30s on top for Freddie and Matthew split so they could hear and control each other, but they couldnít control meÖ ha ha, I was loud. It packs a punch that just suits my playing, it looks cool and itís lightweight, a totally portable transistor built bass head.

"Like all amps though, it has far too many knobs, I just want one that says Ďvery loudí. I never used pedals, this is bass, it needs the front end loud and clear, and I know itíll be reliable, as itís transistor built. It sounds amazing, I donít go for all this warm valve shit in the bass amp world."

Rhino is still using the aptly-named Status Graphite basses, built by Rob Greene, and thereís certainly not going to be any changes, now or in the future.

"For me, thereís no better bass out there. Iíd been using the Status Series 2 model in Status Quo from way back in the 1980s. This became my flagship signature model called the Charger launched around 2004, also with the Red Claret finish, optional LED position markers and back-lit Rhino horn at the 12th fret. I would never use anything else. They floor me every time, they just do it all live and in the studio, and first choice for this album and the tour. I wouldnít use anything else.

"When I recorded the Black Widows demo track I used my í63 Gibson EB3 to experiment with a really beefy overdriven sound, but I couldnít emulate this in the studio for the album, so we used the bass track from the demo. Itís a bit of a low-end mean bass, which I bought from Vintage & Rare, London. I walked in the shop saw it on the wall, and thought, what an idiot I am, why have I never owned a cherry red Gibson EB3 in homage to my hero the late, great Andy Fraser.

"At a young age he could play with such a groove and invention, and how lucky it was for him to meet Simon Kirk. Like all really good drummers, Simon plays the song and just keeps it heavy and steady. Together, they were an awesome rhythm section, which of course is my role within Quo.

"I find this essential when recording, as long as I have the drive underneath, the guitars or keyboards will float on the top. Bass players always moan about being too quiet, so Iíve mixed myself way up front on this album. Saying that, Alan Lancaster in the early Quo was really loud in the mix using a Travis Bean bass and a punchy Fender Mustang.

"Bands were really loud back then, thereís no doubt about that, but there was so much headroom within their live sound which allowed the instruments to have their own space. Nowadays we have such massive guitar sounds, that everyone is competing and fighting for their own territory."

A lot of bass players have to use a pick to create the tight, low-end rock mantle for the mid-to-high range of Rossi and Parffitís Telecasters to float on. For Rhino, itís all in the fingers.

"Iím at home using my fingers, my hands and wrists are strong and I do play quite hard, so I can get more of a rock sound within a low end cutting edge if I need to. There are some amazing finger bass players out there, Steve Harris from Iron Maiden and Black Sabbathís Geezer Butler for example.

"Iíve also become friends with Chris Wolstenholme the bass player in Muse who also supports Rotherham, thatís how we met. He often plays with controlled distortion which inspired the overdriven bass on a track called Take ĎEm Down, a very serious song with B-movie overtones.

"Iím pleased with all the tracks including Today Is Tomorrow, which is all about giving up drugs, and another called All The Girls Love A Bastard, which speaks for itself. They all say something, well except One Note Blues maybe, which is all about one note, as in, a fast A minor little finger job, very much in the Quo musical genre.

"Itís all about Ďgetting to rockingí, my new catch phrase, as in playing very loud and showing off, itís just the best feeling. Fingers and noiseÖ long may it last I say."

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9th - Quo appearance at the "VE Day 70: A Party To Remember" concert, London

Quo made a special appearance as part of the national celebrations for the 70th anniversary of VE day. The event draw mass media coverage and the following press release appeared in preparation for the concert by the BBC.

"VE Day 70: A Party to Remember, will be a star-studded concert featuring a spectacular line-up including some of the biggest recording artists, performers, stars and celebrities in live entertainment. The concert, taking place at Londonís Horse Guards Parade Ground on Saturday 9th May will be a focal point of the national celebrations for the 70th anniversary of VE Day. This one-off event will be broadcast that night on BBC One and hosted by Chris Evans.

BBC One will step back in time to the 1940s to bring audiences a unique night of entertainment for the whole family - broadcasting live from a specially designed stage on the world famous Horse Guardsí Parade. Seventy years since the end of the Second World War in Europe, weíll be celebrating one of the most significant moments in modern British history with a spectacular party of music and entertainment to echo the sentiment of that joyous day in history: the day when our grandparents danced in the Mall and jumped in the fountains at Trafalgar Square Ė and The Queen and her sister escaped from Buckingham Palace to join the celebrations Ė and thereís just as much to be thankful for 70 years on! As well as VE Day itself the concert is also going to reflect aspects of war life including life at home as well as life as a member of one of the services."

Acts on the bill in addition to Quo included Pixie Lott, Gregory Porter, Laura Wright, Katherine Jenkins, Rebecca Fergurson, Alfie Boe, Jamelia, Blue, Elaine Paige, Status Quo, Diversity, Alexander Armstrong, Status Quo, Chas and Dave, Elaine Paige, Strictly Come Dancing professionals and Collabro.

Quo appeared towards the end of the show for just one song, "In The Army Now" (the 2010 version of the lyrics). The band were all dressed very smartly and Francis's live vocal performance was excellent. A good quality video of the band in action can be seen here.

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9th - Quo article in the Belfast Telegraph

The following article appeared in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper on 9th May, title "Quo relationship 'like marriage'".

"Status Quo star Rick Parfitt has compared working with bandmate Francis Rossi to being in a "marriage" after admitting the pair's relationship "isn't always as healthy as it should be".

The musicians, whose careers have spanned six decades with hits including Rockin' All Over The World and Whatever You Want, were reportedly no longer speaking outside of the band after falling out last month.

The ageing rockers are about to embark on a tour later this year as well as perform tonight at a concert in London to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

Speaking backstage, Parfitt, 66, said: "Francis and I have known one and another for a long time. As happens with lots of other groups, it's a partnership that isn't always as healthy as it should be.

"Most of the time it is enjoyable but you obviously have your times. It's the same in a marriage - you have your times.

"At this particular time now, we're getting on like a house on fire. Next week we might not be. It's just the way it is.

"I personally would like to make the 50 years, which I think we probably will. That will be in 2017. We'll aim for that and see what happens the day after."

He added: "We're working our arses off.

"We'll be working between now and Christmas and then see what happens."

Status Quo were forced to cancel a series of gigs last year after singer and guitarist Parfitt suffered a health scare following a problem related to his quadruple heart bypass.

But today Parfitt said: "Generally I feel great, I feel fit, I feel healthy, so everything's fine."

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15th - Quo concert at The Bluebell Hotel, Burton Agnes, Yorkshire

Quo played their first (public) electric gig of the year with the first of two nights at The Bluebell Hotel in Burton Agnes on 15th May. Fine weather ensured a good crowd of about 3000, who witnessed the carry over set from late last year and support from Lindisfarne. A large set of professional photos from the gig can be seen here.

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16th - Quo concert at The Bluebell Hotel, Burton Agnes, Yorkshire

The second night at The Bluebell Hotel on 16th May drew a similar crowd and support this time came from Katrina (of "Katrina & The Waves" fame). The performance on this second night was more polished as Quo settled back into "electric mode". The following article in the Hull Daily Mail appeared shortly after Quo's time in Yorkshire, entitled "Status Quo: We'll return to Bluebell Hotel" and written by Danny Longhorn.

"VETERAN rockers Status Quo say they will return to an East Riding village after wowing thousands of spectators in a hotel car park.

Burton Agnes was bouncing on Friday and Saturday night when the band, which first started performing more than 50 years ago, performed in The Bluebell car park.

Francis Rossi OBE, co-founder of the band, said: "It was really enthusiastic crowds, true Quo fans that's for sure.

"We all enjoyed the gigs and, from the energy we got back, and indeed the people we met, it seems like the audience did, too.

The gig brought visitors from as far as Australia and the US to the East Riding.

Lis Mindested travelled from Denmark to watch the performances on Friday and Saturday night. She sang along to the likes of Whatever You Want and Rockin' All Over The World.

She said: "I've seen Status Quo 104 times. They are always great and this one was spot-on.

"This is one of the strangest places I've seen them Ė on a farm with cows nearby."

It is the latest in household names to be attracted to Burton Agnes, a village near Driffield.

Last year saw the likes of Katherine Jenkins perform at the venue.

In August, the village will welcome Grammy Award-winner Michael Bolton.

Alan Wilson, owner of The Bluebell Hotel and event organiser, said: "It was outstanding.

"Lindisfarne (special guests) wowed the crowd and Quo really had that wow factor and magical sound.

"We think we got it right. It was an up-close-and-personal gig and I was delighted with the stage and set-up.

"I think they will be a difficult act to follow as they are one of the best rock bands on the planet.

"One thing it shows is that we are in a league of our own when it comes to an east coast outside entertainment venue."

Also among those watching the show on Friday night was Sarah Gray, of Mustard Catering in Fraisthorpe.

She said: "It's brilliant that Status Quo have come to the area. There has been a good vibe."

She was joined by her friend Jaqui Jewitt, of Flamborough, who said: "It's a brilliant venue, but it's helped that it has been dry."

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18th - Quo perform at Thomas Gottschalk's 65th birthday TV show (RTL, Berlin)

Quo helped popular German TV presenter (and self-confessed huge Quo fan), Thomas Gottschalk, celebrate his 65th birthday at Berlinís Admiralspalast on 18th May. The birthday party was broadcast on RTL television.

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23rd - Quo concert at Tunes in the Dunes, Perranporth, Cornwall

Billed as their last ever gig in Cornwall, Quo played on the sands of Perranporth beach on 23rd May, at the Tunes In The Dunes festival. It was a cool and misty evening for the band and fans, with the unique location being captured well in this YouTube clip.

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24th - Quo concert at Lechlade Festival, Gloucestershire

Quo played the Lechlade Festival in Gloucestershire on 24th May. The following review of the gig appeared in the Gloucestershire Echo newspaper on 25th May, written by Charlie Koncher.

"As the sun was setting on the final day of this year's Lechlade festival, there was a feeling of bittersweet jubilance in the air as an entirely new group of people descended on the festival site, a small army of people of all ages and backgrounds who all had the same thing on their mind: The Quo.

Fifty years after they formed, these classic rock giants still have a massive following. In the quiet riverside town of Lechlade, when a name like Status Quo comes to town, the entire place stands still. A short walk outside the festival ground before their set was a surreal experience - all the pubs were empty, with everyone stood outside waiting for the music to start. Word had certainly got around.

With what seemed like the entire festival wearing Status Quo shirts, and the town essentially frozen, only one question remained: could they live up to the hype?

While pondering this, the lights dimmed and the crowd flew into a frenzy. Not a single note had been played and the once-quiet riverside town erupted into cheers. Rick Parfitt took centre-stage and immediately began playing the iconic riff from Caroline - joined by Francis Rossi and the rest of the boys. Thousands of hands clapped along in unison - a few seconds into the set and the crowd, although small by Quo's standards, were already the most lively they'd been all weekend.

The hits flowed, showing that even after all these years, Quo still genuinely enjoy being on stage and performing.

It was a true fans' set, including some lesser known songs along with the ones that everyone knows. Quo never slow down, they play like they are trying to prove a point - perhaps trying to dismiss those questioning whether they can live up to the hype and still perform in their late Sixties."

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