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

1st - John and Gillie Coghlan's "Rockers Rollin'" radio show (BBC Radio Oxford)

Another instalment of John and Gillie Coghlan's "Rockers Rollin'" radio show hit the airwaves on 1st May, thanks to BBC Radio Oxford. It was billed as follows: "A tribute to Rick Parfitt - Gillie and John Coghlan and friends share memories of Status Quo's Rick Parfitt. Guests Bob Young, Don Powell, Andy Scott, Alan Lancaster, Alan G Parker & his son Rick Parfitt Jr. remember Rick and play their favourite Quo tracks"

After the introduction, Gillie chose and played her Rick song, "Don't Drive My Car". The first guest was Bob Young, who pulled his earliest memories of Rick back from the "Pictures of Matchstick Men" era. He said Rick was always a joker and his favourite co-written songs with him are "Living On An Island" and "Paper Plane". Bob also mentioned that writing with Rick was not very disciplined, but always a lot of fun!

The next guest was Don Powell (drummer from Slade), who mentioned they first played on the same bill as Quo in Hereford in 1969. He said Rick was the "best rhythm player he's ever heard" and his favourite track is "Roll Over Lay Down".

Alan Lancaster was next up. He talked about the first time he met Rick at Butlin's and that he used to "stand out". Alan spoke fondly of his songwriting partnership with Rick and listed his favourite songs as "Roll Over Lay Down" and most of the "Quo" album. When Alan was asked for a song to remember Rick by, he chose "Just Take Me".

Andy Scott, guitarist from Sweet, said he first met Rick in The Marquee club and later shared a management office with David Walker. Andy said his favourite song is "Down Down" and that Rick "came across as a really nice guy, a lovely bloke".

Next up was the affable Alan G. Parker, producer of the "Hello Quo!" documentary. He said that Quo were one of the first bands he saw and he suggested doing the "Quo story" after seeing them live more recently, but he only wanted to do it if they could get everyone involved. Alan also mentioned that the Shepperton jam session at the end of the documentary wasn't originally part of the plan, but it happened and the rest is history. His favourite Rick track is "For You" but he also loved "Accident Prone".

The longest guest interview came from their final guest, Rick Parfitt Junior. He talked about Rick as a dad, describing him as "challenging but had a very kind streak". Stories of cars abounded as well as the fun had by Rick and John at RPJ's wedding. RPJ listed his favourite song as being "Rain", but also mentioned "One Man Band" and "Living On An Island". After playing "Rain", RPJ went on to talk about Rick's attitude towards his musical career and how much Rick had enjoyed playing with RPJ, both in rehearsals and on stage. RPJ said the Frantic Four was the best form of Quo for him and how much he'd enjoyed the FF reunion gigs. John teared up towards the end of the interview with RPJ.

The show closed with John's favourite Rick song, "Mystery Song".

You can listen to the full hour-long programme here.

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4th - New Coles supermarket advertisement featuring Quo airs in Australia

Just when we thought the association between Quo and Coles supermarkets in Australia had ended, a new advertisement aired across Australia on 4th May! It looks like this ad does mark the end of the era though as it introduces the new performer, Casey Donovan, who will continue with the same "Down Down" tagline.

The latest advert can be seen in full here.

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5th - Rhino's Revenge gig at The Iron Road, Evesham

Rhino kicked off a five-night UK tour with his band Rhino's Revenge in Evesham on 5th May. He had gathered an impressive collection of musos for the tour, with the band consisting of Mr Edwards (on bass and vocals), Matthew Starritt (of the RPJ Band), Jim Kirkpatrick (of FM on lead guitar) and Russell Gilbrook (of Uriah Heep on drums).

Jim Kirkpatrick couldn't make this first show due to a commitment with FM, so Jo Webb stood in for him.

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12th - Rhino's Revenge gig at 100 Club, London

Rhino's Revenge hit London on 12th May with their gig at the 100 Club. The support band was Quo No! featuring Alan Crook and they played a stonking set including "Caroline", "Shady Lady", "The Way It Goes" and "I Saw The Light".

Rhino and band took the stage - to a recording of "All The Girls Love A Bastard" - at about 9pm and played a set drawn from both Rhino's Revenge albums (including "I'm A Rocker", "My Name Is Stan", "Jungle Love", "Mine All Mine", "Spend Spend Spend", "Famous", "New New New", "Secretary", "Busy Doing Nothin'" and "Lucinda") plus a swag of Quo tracks (including "Bad News", "Obstruction Day", "Bellavista Man", "Get Out Of Denver", "Two Way Traffic", "Paper Plane" and "Jam Side Down"). The gig closed out with an encore of "Roll Over Beethoven".

Some good fan photos from the gig can be seen here.

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18th - Rhino's Revenge gig at Bootleggers, Kendal

The Rhino's Revenge tour continued as the band headed North for a gig in Kendal on 18th May. It was a great gig by all accounts and Rhino said it was the gig of the tour (up to that point, at least).

A clip of "Lucinda" from this gig can be viewed here and some new promo photos of the band taken in Kendal before the gig can be seen here.

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18th - Francis interview on Time 107.5FM (UK)

As a promo for the upcoming Brentwood Festival gig, Francis was interviewed by Mark Dover on Time 107.5FM on 18th May.

The interview kicked off with a bit of political comment from Francis, before turning to some family history around the Rossi ice cream business and his upbringing in Forest Hill. Talk turned to "Rock 'Til You Drop" day and how the music business became more about marketing than music. Francis also referred to the "over-nostalgia" about the seventies.

A lengthy discussion about Live Aid led into playing "Whatever You Want" before some questions from listeners. He was asked who he thought was the world's greatest guitarist to which he replied that he doesn't think there is such thing and he doesn't even really have a favourite guitarist. Francis was then asked who his favourite rock band is and he mentioned Jeff Lynne (ELO), The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. A specific local question came next, asking if Quo had ever played at the Roundhouse in Dagenham to which he replied "yes"! Asked what the best moment of his career has been, Francis twisted the question a little and mentioned how much he loves getting back to his bedroom on the bus after a gig, the highlight of the day for him.

This was a good interview with Francis, he was in a good mood and not overly silly, answering the questions thoughtfully (and sometimes very fully!).

The full twenty-odd minute interview can be heard here.

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20th - Rhino's Revenge gig at Ivory Blacks, Glasgow

Rhino took his band to Scotland for one night only, with a gig in Glasgow on 20th May and the following review of the gig appeared on the Cack Blabbath site.

"Rhinos Revenge at Ivory Blacks in Glasgow was a date that was pencilled into our diaries the moment we got wind of it, then rubbed out, then moved, then pencilled in again. OK, the the date may have slipped by a few months but there was no way on earth we were going to be anywhere else other than here for this one.

And the reason we were so keen to be there? Well that would be last year’s arrival of Rhino’s Revenge 2. We didn’t have any great expectations one way or the other when Rhino’s second solo album dropped into our inbox but, with one spin, we were hooked. To say we weren’t expecting anything quite that good from the long time Quo bassist was an understatement and it’s an album that’s still pretty damn near the top of our “tunes for a long road trip” playlist. The album was recorded with Rhino roping in the kids to lend their musical talents, but for the tour he has put together something of a rock’n’roll super group (or, as he calls it, a soupergroup.. chicken noodle.. but we digress). So the diminutive stage at Ivory Blacks was graced by members of FM, Uriah Heap and, of course, Status Quo.

We arrived at the venue bright and early for an interview appointment with the great man, and we were well looked after by tour manager Mike who asked us in to catch the sound check along with all the VIP meet and greet package folk who definitely got their money’s worth..

Actually, the trip into Glasgow for the soundcheck alone. It’s always at these things that you get a feel for the chemistry, or lack of it, in a band and we got to see first hand the real passion and camaraderie between the band members. There were some gremlins to iron out as Rhino had wireless mic problems and had to get his flight bag out looking for batterie… Two minutes later we had the unusual sight of a rock’n’roll legend standing, boxers on his head, running some tasty bass riffs to check everything is working.

We like this man. We like him a lot.

Impromptu chats and ad-lib between the sound guy, band members and his special guests, we knew this was gonna be a HUGE thumbs up. We were treated to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock’n’roll” and no fewer than three attempts at nailing “My name is Stan”. One of which came to an abrupt end with a *motorboats* ppfpfpfpfpfphhhhhht..

The Soundcheck over Rhino went round the assembled fans and took the time to chat to each and every one of them. Honestly, he couldn’t have been nicer to these people and many autographs and selfies followed.

After that it was interview time, which you can read elsewhere This guy, it’s fair to say, has been about the block a few times. The interview was a joy to do, even though he’d probably answered our questions a million times before.

We headed out for a coffee, and by the time we got back the place was pretty packed for such a small venue. Unsurprisingly there were a lot of fans of the Quo, judging by t-shirts, and what we shall call a more mature audience. We watched on as support band Quo No (a tribute band, believe it or not) blasted through some Quo standards. This certainly got the crowd going but for us it was all a bit too much Quo… a quoverdose :))

(I had to get that line in, it made me laugh at the time. Is there a band called Quoverdose? and if not, why not??)

After Quo-No’s performance, the crowd where geared up for the main event and the place was buzzing.

Let’s do this.

Things kicked off with Rocker and went straight into a raucous performance of My Name Is Stan (go spotify it, you will not be disappointed). The band members once again looked as though they were having a blast on stage. Over the evening we were treated to Rhino’s Revenge tunes mixed in with a few covers from Quo and others, with Lucinda in particular getting the place bouncing. No complaints from us about the fact that there was loads of materiel from the latest album. Busy Doing Nothing and New New New went down like a storm in an Ivory Blacks sized tea cup! That all too familiar riff at the start of Secretary made us jump about and dance like looneys. Rhino’s music has always had a vein of social commentary and Spend Spend Spend was a welcome addition to the set list, encouraging us to part with our money and talk to the merch man and buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have. A few more Quo songs including Paper Plane and Jam Side Down. But we were still hungry for more…

By the time we reached the encore there was still something missing, Black Widows. They HAVE to do Black Widows right?. Maybe they have just forgotten. I guess that tales of Chechen suicide bombers may have dampened the atmosphere a bit but as we ended on a high for an encore of “Roll over Beethoven” we’ll let him off.

A homage to pioneer of rock n roll, Mr Chuck Berry, what a way to round things off. Superb. That is how it is done. Of course Rhino is the center of attention but this was simply one of the best bands we’ve ever seen in Glasgow. Uriah Heep’s Russel Gilbrook the crazy animal drummer laying down the beat. Long time Rhino mate Matthew Starritt on guitar and then there’s Jim Kirkpatrick, guitarist of the mighty FM, who riffed and soloed like a bonafide guitar hero. This doesn’t feel like Rhino and hired guns, it feels like a genuine good time Rock’n’Roll band. As the great man put it himself, “WE ARE RHINO’S REVENGE”…

And they nailed it! Cackblabbath never tire of wee gems like this and it was one of the best nights out in Glasgow we’ve had in a while. Safe travels guys and hope the remainder of the tour is as awesome as Glasgow was, you made a lot of people extremely happy.

Til next time...

Tomorrow is Today!"

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25th - Rhino's Revenge gig at Crossed Guitars Festival, Ma Kelly's, Frieschepalen, The Netherlands

The first of two non-UK gigs on the short Rhino's Revenge tour saw the band playing at the Crossed Guitars Festival in the Netherlands on 25th May. A packed house at Ma Kelly's witnessed a loud and very hot performance and some fantastic photos of RR in action can be seen here.

Next up were well-known Dutch Quo tribute band, Status Quotes, and they played an amazing set based around the "Blue For You" album. Their setlist follows.

A few photos of Status Quotes in action can be seen here, while a video clip of Rhino playing on "Rollin' Home" with them can be watched here.

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27th - Quo concert at BMW PGA Championship 2017, Wentworth Golf Club

Quo played to a crowd of about 5000 immediately after close of play on the penultimate day of the BMW PGA golf championship at Wentworth on 27th May.

Richie posted a few pre-gig photos here.

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27th - Francis interview on Saturday Night with Pete Graham (Australia)

Francis gave a short phone interview with Pete Graham for Macquarie Media on 27th May. After wishing Francis a happy birthday (for the 29th), talk turned to the band's start at Butlin's in Minehead, with Pete describing these camps as "caravan parks on steroids". Francis then talked about the family ice cream business and now thinks it wouldn't have been such a bad life had he stayed in the retail business. Talking of retirement, he said he didn't think they'd be doing electric shows again in Australia.

The five-minute interview can be heard in full here.

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undated - Rhino interview at Eon Music

A long interview between Rhino and Eamon O’Neill appeared on the Eon Music site in May.

"Bassist John ‘Rhino’ Edwards has been holding down the bottom end for Status Quo for over three decades. A member since 1986 joining in time for ‘In The Army Now’ – the album that relaunched them into a new era – Rhino has survived the changing tides of the band, including the death of founder member Rick Parfitt last year. About to hit the road with his solo band Rhino’s Revenge, we caught up with John for a chat about the band, the future for Quo, the passing of a friend, and much more besides. On the level; Eamon O’Neill.

How are you doing today?

I’m dreadfully hungover, but thank you for asking.

A man of your rock and roll vintage shouldn’t get hungover, surely?

I’ve been hungover for the last two days, mate, and I’ve decided that I’ve got to do something about it, so I’m not going to drink tonight. We’ve got a show, and it’s no fun doing a show when you’re hungover. Since Rick [Parfitt]’s not been there, I’m doing a lot of singing, and all of a sudden the microphone’s looking like a serpent!

You’re on the road with Status Quo now, but you’re gearing up for some Rhino’s Revenge dates; you must be excited to be taking the band on the road.

I am. I’d be more excited if more people wanted to come and see it, but it’s okay, I’m not complaining. It’s like the Irish jazz musician who was only in it for the money; if I was only in it for the money then I wouldn’t be doing it. I’m just looking forward to going out and playing with people of that calibre, who are really enjoying it. We’ve only had one rehearsal and we start rehearsing again before the first gig, but they’re loving it. It’s really thrilling for me, because they are people I really want to play with.

Although for live work the band differs, you kept it very much in the family on the second Rhino’s Revenge album.

Yeah, I’ve been doing it with my kids, which is great. Obviously, you can imagine the vibe. On my ‘Rhino’s Revenge II’ album, that’s me and my kids, basically; that’s me and my sons and my daughter. What a fantastic time that was doing that; going away to a studio to record. But I do think that people would take it a bit more seriously, I think, given the pedigree of the players that I have live – not that my kids aren’t wicked! ?

What was it that made you decide to do something outside of Status Quo?

My writing efforts were basically with Status Quo, but about 1996, I wrote this song, and I played it to a friend of mine, and I said; “I don’t know what to do with this, because I really like it, but it’s not suitable for Quo”, and he said; “Well why don’t you do an EP?” And he was the guy who produced it – he’s actually did a lot of production for Quo, Mike Paxman, and it just turned into an album. I used to play with a girl called Judie Tzuke, and whenever I had a bit off spare time, I just went over to her studio. I did all the templates for them and then we put the drums on, and that was that. But, I’m really thrilled with both of my albums, I have to say. There’s probably one song that I skip off both of the albums, so that can’t be bad – not that I ever play them!

‘Take ‘Em Down’ is being released as a single; it’s quite a hard hitting track.

I just think, in a way, it’s the times we live in. It’s the job of an artist to reflect life really, and I just watched the battle for a town called Kobane, and I just thought the Kurds were showing such incredible bravery. That’s why I wrote it. I actually wrote it walking along a beach on a really hot day in Sussex, and I came up with the line “take 'em down”, and it didn’t take long from there. If you’ve got something to write about, it’s not that difficult. I try to put myself in someone else’s shoes.

It’s obviously important for you to do something different, and not replicate what you’re doing in Status Quo.

Yeah, I mean, I love being in Quo, I really do, but if you listen to the songs on my album – like ‘Take ‘Em Down’, you could hardly Imagine Quo doing that, really.

Last year it was thirty years since you joined Status Quo; did you ever imagine that it would last that long?

Well, I’ve always had an inbuilt belief in my own ability, so it was never an option for me that I wasn’t going to have a successful career playing in big bands. I never failed an audition. I met an old friend recently from one of my early bands, and he said; “We all thought if anyone was going to make it, it would be you. You were keener than any of us.” If I didn’t do that, I’m sure I would have been in prison a few times by now. I was quite a problem child; I had special schools and all that, but bizarrely, rock and roll, as such, has saved me, as opposed to being the ruining of me.

You were originally signed up to work on a Rick Parfitt solo album, but ended up joining Status Quo.

It was being a session player, I suppose, was how it came about. It nearly didn’t happen because my car died on the way to a session at Chipping Norton Studios that I’d been asked to do, and it would have been cheaper for me to just blow out the session and go home, but I thought; “No bugger that, I’m going the keep doing it”. So I got there, albeit a tad late, and the producer said; “if you’re interested, I’ll do something else with you”, and the guitar player on that was Pip Williams [Status Quo producer and songwriter], and Pip asked if me and Jeff Rich [Status Quo drummer 1986 – 2000] would like to do a couple of tracks on Rick’s solo album. We were just going to do one or two tracks, but it gelled so well that we ended up doing the whole of his solo album. So when Quo got back together again, because Francis [Rossi, Status Quo band leader] didn’t want to work with Alan Lancaster [original Quo bassist], Rick said to Francis; “I’ve got these two guys, I think they’d fit perfectly”, and here we are, thirty-one years later. ?

When you joined it was quite a different Quo that emerged; a very shiny and polished band compared to the earlier incarnation.

When I joined the band, that was the direction that I think that Francis and Rick were willing to go in, and also the record company. Don’t forget, in those days, record companies had a big influence, and I think they were thinking about the band becoming a pop band again and maybe having a go at breaking America. Of course, when ‘In the Army Now’ was a big success, then it was sort of a no-brainer to continue along that path for a while. Funnily enough, we’d actually recorded the John Farnham song ‘You’re The Voice’. It had come out three times before and done nothing, and we thought, after ‘In the Army Now’, that would be perfect; “that’s it!”, and as we recorded it, we watched it going up the charts until it was a hit, which was a real pisser.

That’s never been released, has it?

Oh, that’s back in the days of tape. I mean, it was never mixed; it would be rough as a badger’s arse, I think! We used to take a lot of time recording in those days.

‘Ain’t Complaining’ from 1987 is probably the band’s most pop-oriented album.

Well you know, it’s of its time. ‘Burning Bridges’ is on that album, and I didn’t even think it should have been a B-side, so what do I know?! It’s one of the most popular tunes we do now, and it’s a very Quo, catchy song. When the record company were thinking more along the America lines, they wanted something glossy.

Moving on, and the loss of Rick Parfitt must have been devastating for you.

It was weird, having already literally seen him dead in Turkey [after collapsing following a gig in June 2016], when he had a heart attack. Myself and Francis were with him, and the paramedic just looked at me, put her finger across her throat and just said; “Dead”. And then they resuscitated him.

Were you and Rick close?

When he was in England, he was living near me, so I would go around and see him fairly often. We had been very close, Rick and I, very, very close. He moved to the town I live in because I told him to. He was looking for somewhere to live after a couple of years of me being in the band and I said; “You want to come and live in Teddington, it’s great here!”, so he did, and we were the ‘Teddy Boys’, as we knew each other. There was a time, up until he moved to Spain, when we were very, very close, but when he met [third wife] Lyndsay, he changed a bit as a person. But in the band, Rick was the one I was closest to, and obviously it was still a dreadful shock. I was literally in shock when I heard about it. I got an hour’s notice. I was talking to Lyndsay, finding out what had been going on, and as I was talking to her, she got a text from the hospital saying; “You’d better come now”, and he was gone, half an hour later.

It’s no secret that Rick had put his body through a lot over the years.

I always used to think in the band; “Okay, who will be first to go”, and I don’t know why, but I never thought it was Rick. He used to say to me; “I’m made of steel”, but you know, you can only ignore your body so many times. The bottom line, really, is I’m feeling like it’s that scene from ‘The Life Of Brian’; “he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy”, and that’s the kind of vibe I’m on with Rick at the moment. He was the architect of his own downfall, and I think he would be incredibly pissed off to know that he was dead. ?

As well as being your friend and bandmate, Rick was also your song writing partner in Status Quo.

Well yeah, and then he started writing with someone else and the songs weren’t as good, in my opinion. He started writing with Wayne Morris, who is very good, but I just don’t think the songs were very good, to be honest. The thing about Rick and I; he would provide the inspiration, and I would provide the perspiration. So, because of that, there was a lot of quality control, especially on the later songs. I wasn’t going to let any shit go out, especially lyrically. Lyrics are very important to me; they convey a mood.

It must have been bittersweet for you when Rick’s place was taken, for a while, by your son Freddie.

Freddie only did twenty shows with us, and it was brilliant, but he’s got his own band, and he just decided that he would rather through his lot in with them, even though he gets [financially] in a month with them what he was getting on a gig with us. But I’m so thrilled for him that he’s decided to do that. I miss him on tour like mad though. He’s twenty-six, and I’m sixty-four, and he doesn’t want to be working with his old man, really, I don’t think.

Did you go and see any the ‘Frantic Four’ shows, where Status Quo performed with their original line-up?

Yeah, a lot of it was my idea. I said to them; “You really ought to - you’ve got some unfinished business here, you lot”. I went to see them, and I’ll be totally honest with you; it was appalling. They were really crap, I’m sorry; I don’t care what anyone says. But I have to say, it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. It didn’t matter that they weren’t good; there was so much love in that room, it was amazing. The atmosphere was absolutely incredible. Musically, it was a mess, but Rick was really good. Rick kept that band together.

The regular version of Status Quo returned to play a truly barnstorming set Download Festival a short time after the ‘Frantic Four’ reunion.

I was pleased that they didn’t ask for the Frantic Four for those gigs. Yeah, we had a lot of energy there. We’re doing Waken this year, and we did Hellfest the day after, or two days after Donington. The thing is with Quo, especially at a metal festival, the tunes are fantastic, the songs, so it’s a bit of light relief from all that growling.

There seems to be a real dividing line between fans of the old Quo, and the ‘new’ one.

There was a time, around 2003 when we did an album called ‘Heavy Traffic’, where I think we really did give the classic line-up a run for its money, big time. We were amazing for a while. But we closed the old message board down because the people who liked the old band were just ruining it for everybody, and so we thought we’re not going to take this anymore. All these keyboard warriors.

Status Quo last year announced the end of electric performances.

We’re loud – I like it loud! The electric tour, I wish we’d thought of the title that Deep Purple thought for their farewell tour, which is called ‘The Long Goodbye’ – that’s fucking brilliant! It’s whatever we decide, really. I know there’s stuff in for next year, and I think there’s other stuff slated for Francis that doesn’t involve the band, so I’ve no idea.

Finally, can you see Status Quo continuing on and on, following Rick’s passing?

I’ll refer you to my previous statement; what will be, will be. None of us can foretell the future. You never know what’s around the corner."

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