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That was the Quo month that was ... May 2016



1st - Quo concert at Hala Stulecia, Wroclaw, Poland

Quo played only their second gig of 2016 in Wroclaw, Poland, on 1st May. There were no setlist surprises and a couple of fantastic professional photo sets of the band in action can be found here and here.

Revisit the May 2016 event list  

1st - "Dog of Two Head" beer and "Down Down" cider launch

Following Quo's foray into the celebrity beer market with "Piledriver", the band announced a couple of new ventures, in the shape of "Dog of Two Head" ale and "Down Down" cider. The announcement appeared via a number of outlets on 1st May, including the following on MusicNews.com.

"Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo are delighted to announce another great double act! They have teamed up with a pair of great British producers to create a duo of classic drinks: the ‘Dog Of Two Head’ ale and the ‘Down Down’ cider. Both will offer a refined pedigree, based on character and tradition; qualities that define Status Quo. Both ‘Dog Of Two Head’ and ‘Down Down’ are being made available, bottled, nationally through the Spar chain from 18th May. ‘Dog Of Two Head’ will be available to buy on draught at selected outlets from June. ‘Down Down’ has been selected for Wetherspoon’s National Cider Festival which runs from Friday 8th July.

‘Dog Of Two Head’ ale was created in conjunction with Hobsons Brewery in Shropshire, ‘Down Down’ cider is crafted by the Celtic Marches company in Herefordshire. The band have been involved in the brewing process and cider making right from the off, visiting the facilities, working with each of the relevant teams in choosing the individual elements that give each product their satisfying and refreshing quality – and even spending a day harvesting apples for the cider.

Francis Rossi said, “We know what we like. And we know what our fans like. And I think we can all agree that we like these!” Rick Parfitt added, “It’s no secret that over the years the band has enjoyed a drink or three. Finally, we’re actually seeing a return on those wasted hours by creating something useful. We love it!”

‘Dog Of Two Head’ is a chestnut amber traditional ale, with a modern citrus twist delivered by the British hops. This is a subtle ale deftly uniting and balancing the influences of malt, hops and natural bitterness. ‘Dog’ is created by Hobsons from British malting barley, and a blend of UK-grown Fuggles, Challenger, Goldings and Progress hops.

‘Down Down’ is beautifully-rounded golden, medium cider, with a well-balanced finish. Drawing on generations of heritage and expertise, ‘Down Down’ is made with the finest fresh-pressed cider apples which are grown on the Celtic Marches family farm. The cider will be available in three formats: Carbonated in 500ml bottles and 30 Litre keg, and Still in 20 Litre boxes.

Both ‘Dog Of Two Head’ and ‘Down Down’ will be available online. The beer can be purchased from www.hobsons-brewery.co.uk/statusquobeer. The cider can be ordered online from www.celticmarches.com/detail/status-quo-down-down-4-6-herefordshire-cider.

Status Quo are a band that are known for delivering creativity, entertainment and consistency at the highest level, and in that they feel a kinship with their chosen partners on this Drinks range. The band have already proved that they know this market, launching the ‘Piledriver’ beer brand, which went on to sell over a million and a half pints in the UK alone! This ale and cider are sure to be enjoyed by Quo fans, but also by anyone who loves a great British product."

The Shropshire connection saw the following article appear in the Shropshire Star newspaper, titled "Status Quo launch their new Shropshire-brewed beer", on 5th May.

"Members of the rock band looked to Shropshire when they wanted to create an official ale.

And Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt didn’t have to be asked twice to come and taste the brew for themselves. They travelled to Hobsons Brewery in Cleobury Mortimer to sample their Dog Of Two Head ale, named after the 1971 album of the same name.

Parfitt said: “It’s great to inspire a beer and it tastes really good.”

Their Dog Of Two Head ale, after the 1971 album of the same name, has been created by Hobsons at Newhouse Farm and will be officially released on May 18.

The beer will be available to buy bottled through the Spar supermarket and convenience store chain across the country, as well as on draught in selected pubs from July.

However, rather than bearing the Hobsons name, it will be labelled Status Quo’s own brand, together with a cider called Down Down, after the band’s 1975 hit single, which has been created by Herefordshire firm Celtic Marches for the rock legends.

Francis Rossi, lead guitarist and singer with the band since their formation in 1962, said “We know what we like. And I think we can all agree that we like these.”

Rick Parfitt, rhythm guitarist and singer who formed the Quo’s with Rossi in the mid 60s, added “It’s no secret that over the years the band has enjoyed a drink or three. Finally, we’re actually seeing a return on those wasted hours by creating something useful. We love it.”

Chris Hewlett, the band’s PR manager said: “The band have been involved in the brewing process and cider making right from the off, visiting the facilities, working with each of the relevant teams in choosing the individual elements that give each product their satisfying and refreshing quality – and even spending a day harvesting apples for the cider.

“Status Quo are a band that are known for delivering creativity, entertainment and consistency at the highest level, and in that they feel a kinship with their chosen partners on this drinks range.”

“This ale and cider are sure to be enjoyed by Quo fans, but also by anyone who loves a great British product.”

He said it was not the first time the band had backed a beer, previously launching the Piledriver brand which went on to sell over a million and a half pints in the UK alone.

Dog of Two Head is described as a chestnut amber traditional ale, with a modern citrus twist created by blending of UK-grown Fuggles, Challenger, Goldings and Progress hops.

Down Down is described as a rounded, golden, medium cider, with a well-balanced finish, and has been selected for Wetherspoon’s National Cider Festival which runs from July 8.

Both will also be available to buy online."

Revisit the May 2016 event list  

19th - Announcement of Quo's performances on the Rock The Boat 2017 cruise (Australia)

It was a surprise (or shock!) to see the announcement that Quo would form part of the bill on the 2017 Rock The Boat cruise out of Sydney in October 2017. The first promotion appeared on 19th May, with full details and bookings available from 23rd May. Quo will play "Aquostic" with 16-piece backing band and a huge array of mainly Australian bands will complete the impressive line-up on offer during this South Pacific cruise.

The following related article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on 19th May, titled "Status Quo hoping this boat won't go down, down" and written by Bernard Zuel.

"Unkind people have sometimes described cruise boats as floating RSL clubs, for their emphasis on cheap and cheesy entertainment such as cover bands, questionable carpet choices with all you can eat buffets and the sense it may be the alternative home for retirees/post-superannuants or those who like to be moving slightly while gambling.

Also often knocked are veteran rock bands touring their hits from 40 years ago, especially if these days some of those songs are best known for tacky TV commercials or an ironic cover. Those bands will often be seen playing RSL clubs of course.

What would those unkind people make of a cruise which offers fans not just a floating RSL club and not just seven days of their favourite veteran rock band's songs but instead of a cover band, the original band itself?

Called Rock The Boat, because of course it would be, the music festival afloat is returning with Status "down down, prices are down" Quo for a week long cruise to New Caledonia in October offering "a personal and relaxed encounter with world-class musicians aboard". Having appeared on the cover of their most recent album Aquostic (Stripped Bare) naked but for strategically placed guitars, the two remaining members of British band celebrating 50 years since the debut single, Pictures of Matchstick Men, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, presumably have few inhibitions left.

Very popular in the USA, with Caribbean cruises for veteran acts, heavy metal bands and alternative country artists, the idea has had a slow start in Australia. This cruise will be the first such journey for Status Quo who won't be travelling alone. And that's not just because their "stripped down" acoustic show – called Aquostic Live, because of course it would be – will feature a 16-member version of Quo with backing vocalists and a string section.

Also on the "luxury" cruise bill, playing in the full spectrum of the ship's venues, are the Radiators and Angry Anderson of Rose Tattoo, Baby Animals and Jon Stevens of Noiseworks, Jack Jones, Mark Gable of Choirboys, "many, many more", and a Led Zeppelin cover band. A Zeppelin cover band? Because, why not?

Rock and roll."

Revisit the May 2016 event list  

19th - Quo announce "Dog of Two Head" beer donations to the Dogs Trust (UK)

The following press release appeared on the Dogs Trust website on 19th May, titled "Rocking All 'Rover' The World! New Status Quo beer to raise pounds for Dogs Trust hounds".

"Tails are wagging at Dogs Trust thanks to the launch of a new British premium ale created by Status Quo and Hobsons Brewery, who will donate 5% of the profits to the UK’s largest dog welfare charity to help dogs in need of new homes.

British rock legends Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt have worked with Hobsons Brewery to craft a traditional chestnut ale, named after the band’s 1971 album ‘Dog of Two Head’.

To celebrate the launch, ‘pint’ sized pooches at Dogs Trust’s West London rehoming centre greeted Rick and Francis with licks and wags and enjoyed some cuddles as they were given a tour to learn more about the charity’s work. The band also had fun meeting their ‘doggy doppelgangers’ picked out by Dogs Trust staff.

As dog lovers themselves, owning eight dogs between them, Rick and Francis chose to support Dogs Trust because of the charity’s commitment to care for dogs for as long as it takes to find them a home.

Francis Rossi says: “Dogs Trust is a cracking charity doing brilliant work to help all kinds of dogs. We like that they won’t put a healthy dog to sleep so we wanted to give something back. I have three dogs of my own who enjoy the good life and without being able to adopt any more, for now anyway, this is the next best thing we could do to help.”

Rick Parfitt says: “My wife and I are ‘owned’ by five pint sized dogs – they tend to get whatever they want, whatever they need! They bring us a lot of laughter with their cheeky antics. We sponsor two dogs being cared for by Dogs Trust so Francis and I wanted the sales to help the dogs they look after. We hope the profits go some way to finding more dogs new homes.”

Dogs Trust’s CEO, Adrian Burder, says: “We’re incredibly grateful for this support from Status Quo. Our staff strive to affect the status of dog welfare through campaigning to improve the lives of all dogs, so it’s a privilege to be able to show Francis and Rick the work we do to find dogs loving homes.”

Revisit the May 2016 event list  

21st - Quo concert at Wirral Rocks, Tranmere Rovers Stadium, Prenton Park, Wirral

Quo headlined the second day of the Wirral Rocks festival on 21st May. Held at the Tranmere Rovers football club stadium, the event raises money for a local hospital and Quo were supported by The Christians and Insanity Beach. Some excellent professional photos from the gig can be seen here.

The following article appeared in the Wirral Globe newspaper in the lead up to the event, titled "Quo's Francis Rossi tells the Globe why they're looking forward to rockin' all over the Wirral" and written by Peter Grant.

"I DIALLED the number.

The person on the other end answered and said: “Fill me up with four star.”

I said: “sorry …what?”

The voice said with a sigh: “Fill me up with four star.”

But before I could say “wrong number” the voice laughed out loud.

“Got you, didn’t I?”

It was the famous dulcet tones of Francis Rossi, who along with Rick Parfitt OBE, has made Status Quo one of the rock world’s most enduring and popular bands.

I have interviewed Francis and Rick many times over the years and enjoyed meeting the denim-clad, down-to-earth superstars.

Their sense of humour is legendary as is their work ethic and respect for their loyal fans.

They haven’t changed their sense of fun and professionalism in a 50-year career.

Francis, 66, talking to me while on the road again said: “How are you Pete. “Sorry about that phone bit. I can’t help myself having a laugh but I got you.

“I was always messing around at school and having a laugh. Trying to make others laugh.”

Status Quo go back as far as 1962. They are now calling an end to one format of their live shows this year.

They won’t be playing their electric gigs after 2016.

This Saturday they are rocking all over Wirral and on December 23 the band play Liverpool’s Echo Arena with the Last Night of the Electrics concert.

After that they go unplugged with acoustic shows.

“We write most of our songs on acoustic guitar. We have done that since we started out. I can still remember those battered old acoustic guitars. Then we transferred them on electric guitars.”

For now Francis is thinking about Saturday’s gig.

“I am looking forward to playing Wirral I really am.

"We play everywhere and we don’t get territorial saying any one place is better than another but we love every gig we do.

“We have played Wirral before just can’t remember where though.

“I am really pleased that we are helping Wirral Hospice St John’s through Wirral Rocks.

“All hospices do a magnificent job.

“I look forward to playing to all the Wirralians.

"I have strong Merseyside connections because my mother was from Liverpool and I spent many happy times visiting relatives there.

"I love the sense of humour and loyalty of Merseyside audiences”

In their stunning 50-year career Status Quo have never been out of the news or off our screens and radios.

“The music scene has changed since we started out, “ says Francis.

“It’s much more about marketing and we are lucky that we had a great publicity man, Simon Porter, who is now our manager.

“We play our music and he concentrates on raising our profile.

We enjoy being out there supporting our music. We are still here.”

Quo’s publicity campaigns were unique and inspired in a music industry that was taking itself too seriously.

It included launching albums in an RAF camp; a bowling alley, playing four concerts in one day in four different cities.

And who can forget Live Aid and the Queen Wembley shows?

Quo never were and never will be predictable.

The band seem to have a celebratory anniversary every year Next year it is 50 years since they changed their name from “The Status Quo” to just Status Quo.

I ask the lead guitarist and lead singer does anything ever upset the status quo?

“No not really, we are musicians who are just like our audiences. We are one of them.”

So what can the audience expect when the band play Prenton Park?

“Some Rolling Stones, a bit of Pink Floyd. Only joking.

“The hits of course and some banter not too much. We like to pack in as many songs as possible.”

The much-travelled Quo after Wirral will play all over Europe.

So I ask are you in EU or out?

“Don’t get me started on politics – we’d be here all day. I want balanced arguments about Europe letting the people know the facts.”

He says that the band have enjoyed branching out with a book, a film and even their own brand of cider.

Though teetotal Francis doesn’t partake anymore he says fans will realise they don’t put their name to anything that doesn’t have the Quo trademark of value for money

But the music is their driving force.

“Even when I come off stage I go and find a room and play my guitar. I am always looking for that great new song. It’s the carrot on the stick for me and Rick. I always carry a radio with me – everywhere and this morning I was listening to Little Richard and still thinking wow!”

So will there ever be a musical like Queen’s s We Will Rock You that tells the Status Quo story?

“We have thought about it but we would only do it when the electric shows stop. We certainly have the songs.”

Quo are enjoying being as popular now as when they had their first hit Pictures of Matchstick Men in 1968.

The band have changed line-ups but co- founders Francis and Rick are the famous frontmen who still love music ever since their childhood days in Catford.

As long as there is a music scene Status Quo will be there.

Francis adds with a laugh: “Our motto is: ‘Keep on going on...and on...and on and on.’”

The following review of the Wirral Rocks gig appeared in the same newspaper, the Wirral Globe, written by Craig Manning.

"STATUS Quo had their fans rocking all over Prenton Park as part of a concert weekend that has raised thousands of pounds for Wirral Hospice St John's.

From the moment they walked on to chants of 'Quo-o, Quo-o, Quo-o' Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt and co didn't disappoint - taking their army of fans old and young on an Anniversary Waltz through the hits that have sealed their status as rock legends over the last 50 years.

Among their set, lasting well over an hour and 40 minutes, were classics Roll Over Lay Down, Whatever You Want, Something 'Bout You Baby I Like and the recent Burning Bridges (On And Off And On Again) and In The Army Now.

Returning for the encore, they brought the show to a close in fine style with a stomping version Rockin All Over The World, proved that The Party Ain't Over Yet and that they could quite easily rock 'til they drop.

As the tour bus made its way from Prenton Park for the next leg of the tour, the band's legion of fans - and I count myself firmly among them - wanted more.

Rick Parfitt was electric, playing the guitar at a frenetic pace and Francis was his usual humorous self, thanking the fans for coming out to see the show on a typical summer's night - it had been cloudy, but the sun made it through.

The football pitch became an ideal rock venue - with thousands of fans, many playing inflatable guitars.

Hopefully, it will be the start of many more. It was the band's first gig in Wirral for a long time - too long, in many fans' estimations.

For Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt it was one of their last ever full-on electric shows as, before they start on an acoustic tour.

They’re hanging up their electric guitars at the end of this year and pull the plug on their electric set.

Supporting them in explosive style were Wirral rockers Insanity Beach - with excellent covers including Guns & Roses' Sweet Child of Mine - and Liverpool band The Christians - with hits Ideal World, Forgotten Town and, of course, Harvest For The World.

The exact figure raised by the weekend is not yet known, as the proceeds are still being counted.

Teresa Nightingale, head of fundraising Wirral Hospice St John's told the Globe: "It was an amazing weekend; went really well and all the bands raised the roof off Prenton Park.

"We could not have put this event on without the amazing support of Tranmere Rovers Football Club, who let us use their fantastic venue for free.

"We're waiting for the final figure, but we raised £5,000 in raffle tickets alone on Saturday night.

"Our volunteers did a phenomenal job - we had people aged 16 to 80 helping on the night.

"We'd like to do something like this as an annual event."

Revisit the May 2016 event list  

21st - "The fest test: Francis Rossi v Ghostpoet" article in The Guardian (UK)

The following article, comparing the festival experiences of Francis with those of Ghostpoet, appeared in the UK's Guardian on 21st May.

"Who’s had the wildest festival experience? The veteran Status Quo frontman takes on the Mercury-nominated musician

What’s the most ridiculous thing that has happened to you at a festival?

Rossi: We were working a festival in Scandinavia once, and this guy with long, blond curly hair came up to us, and he was covered in blood. He said: “I’ve killed my friend,” and the organisers said: “Yeah, wait a minute, mate, we’ve just got to get the band on.” I’ve got no idea what happened to the bloke. (Score: 1)

Ghostpoet: A stage invasion. Is that ridiculous? It was my stage that got invaded. I think it was when I did Leeds. I just let it happen. It was a really mad gig. (Score: 0)

What’s the strangest outfit you’ve ever worn to a festival?

Rossi: Denim – that was as weird as we ever got. When we started, you couldn’t wear it anywhere – you’d get asked to leave a restaurant. So it was like: “Wow, these guys are wild! They’re wearing denim!” (0)

Ghostpoet: I wouldn’t say I’ve worn an outfit. I just wear black all the time and that’s pretty much it. I’ve always said I would dress up, but I just haven’t. (0)

Have you ever had a spiritual experience at a festival?

Rossi: No. The buzz of playing music is fabulous, but I’d be bullshitting if I said it felt spiritual. (0)

Ghostpoet: No, but there have been moments where I’ve played live and it’s almost like I’ve let go completely and I’m just one with the music. (1)

What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without sleep at a festival?

Rossi: I don’t know. Couple of days, I suppose? That’s a young person’s thing: look how long I can stay up! (1)

Ghostpoet: No more than 24 hours. Probably one of the first festivals I went to, possibly Glastonbury. I wanted to see as much as possible. (0)

Have you ever been injured at a festival?

Rossi: I’ve fallen off stage at a few places, but not particularly at festivals. (0)

Ghostpoet: No, touch wood. I had to cancel a gig from illness once. But never injured. (0)

Who’s the strangest person you’ve ever got talking to at a festival?

Rossi: There was a festival we did in America once, and I remember being sat next to this extremely large woman – and I don’t mean tall, I mean in every which way. She was the nicest woman I’d ever met – I must have sat three or four hours with her. I felt perhaps that was a learning curve for me. I can still see her face. I knew I’d never see her, ever again. It was strange for me, because I don’t like large people. (0)

Ghostpoet: I was at a festival in Germany, and I was at the bar trying to get a drink. To the right of me, an American voice said: “Ah, is that Jimi Hendrix on your arm?” and I turned around and it was Flea, from Red Hot Chili Peppers, with exactly the same tattoo on his arm, pointing it out to me. So I got chatting to Flea, chatting about Jimi Hendrix and our matching Jimi tattoos. He’s a funny man. A really, really cool guy. Slightly kooky, but not strange. (1)

Have you ever seen a riot at a festival?

Rossi: Yeah, a few. Once in Yugoslavia, years ago, these people charged the stage and the police beat the shit out of them. It’s not nice. (1)

Ghostpoet: No. I’ve seen people being riotous but no riot behaviour, no. (0)

Results

Rossi: 3 points – enough to take the crown, thanks to a riot and a (suspected) murder.

Ghostpoet: 2 points – surprisingly close. But a chat with Flea isn’t quite enough.

Status Quo play the Isle of Wight festival and others. Ghostpoet plays British Summer Time and others."

Revisit the May 2016 event list  

21st - Francis interview on The Ali Jones Show (BBC Radio Oxford)

Francis gave a phone interview on BBC Radio Oxford as part of the Ali Jones Show on 21st May, in the lead up to the Quo gig at Kingston House Par in Estate, Chinnor on 29th May.

The interview started off by talking about Quo's biggest ever gig (at the "Last Tattoo", a farewell to British troops in Germany to an audience of 350,000), then went on to discuss the secrets of Quo's success. The inevitable Francis line of "insecure show off" was repeated frequently, but he suggested that, rather than being nervous before each show, these days he is frightened something will go wrong. Talk then turned to Quo's role in Live Aid and Francis was asked what his favourite song is to perform (to which he replied "The Oriental"). Ali's question about Axl Rose joining AC/DC revealed that Francis really doesn't like him very much! The interview concluded by talking about "Aquostic" and Francis mentioned that the band were currently in the studio working on "Aquostic 2" (and that a third incarnation would eventuate if the seconf one is successful).

The full interview can be heard on YouTube here.

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26th - Quo concert at Hessentag Festzelt, Herborn, Germany

Quo headed into Germany for a gig at the Hessentag Festzelt in Herborn on 26th May. The show saw about 4000 fans packed into a tent at this large festival. A superb set of professional photos from the gig can be found here.

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29th - Quo concert at Kingston House Park Estate, Chinnor, Oxfordshire

Francis was made to work on his birthday with a gig at the Astonbury Festival held at Kingston House Park Estate in rural Oxfordshire on 29th May. The band were supported by Wilko Johnson (featuring Johnson Dylan Howe & Norman Watt-Roy). A fantastic set of photos from the gig can be found here.

Revisit the May 2016 event list