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



19th - Rick interview in The Press and Journal (Aberdeen)

The following interview with Rick appeared in Aberdeen's The Press and Journal newspaper on 19th November, titled "The Quo accept no substitutes" and written by Martin Hutchinson.

"Martin Hutchinson caught up with guitarist Rick Parfitt before he and the rest of Status Quo head north to perform to their Granite City fans.

Yes, it’s that time of year again, that time when the mighty Status Quo take their unique brand of no-nonsense rock aroundthe country in their now traditional UK Winter Tour.

Following the success of their “Aquostic” tour earlier this year, Messrs Rossi, Parfitt, Bown, Edwards and Cave are going back to what they know best – classic rock ’n’ roll.

And guitarist Rick Parfitt couldn’t be happier, as he tells me.

"I found the acoustic tour a refreshing change to go out of your comfort zone. I really enjoyed it, but I am pleased to be going back to the rock side.

"I do like it loud and vibrant and I wouldn’t be opposed to doing another such tour, but I wouldn’t want to do it full-time. It frightened me a bit."

Speaking on the day the band got back together to rehearse for the forthcoming tour, Rick says that everything is good in the camp.

"Yes, it was nice to see everyone today, we’ve had a few weeks apart and all of us have loads of stories to catch up on."

Despite their seemingly endless touring schedule, he insists that the band do need to rehearse.

"Absolutely, we still need to warm the engines up as it were. It was a bit rough, but by the tour we should be up to full power."

The band have had major success since their 1968 hit Pictures of Matchstick Men; and throughout the subsequent decades they have had spectacular hits with the likes of Caroline, Roll Over Lay Down, In The Army Now and Down Down to name but four.

Add to that a host of chart-topping albums such as Hello, Quo and Blue For You PLUS over 100 appearances on Top of the Pops – more than any other act – it is apparent that Status Quo have always been a hard-working band.

But that success came at a price, as Rick knows only too well. After a quadruple heart bypass some years ago, he had another scare a couple of years ago when he had a second heart attack in Croatia.

"Yeah, I’ve had a couple of wake-up calls. The second attack came as a bolt from the blue, but I finally saw the light." Rick explains.

"My heart surgeon told me that I needed to stop smoking and drinking and from that day I haven’t. I’ve lost a load of weight and I feel much better.

"In fact," he laughs, "I haven’t been on an operating table for six weeks."

And he’s not kidding.

"No, I’ve had to have an operation on my left shoulder as all the tendons were mashed. I’ve been having physio and have crammed six months’ recovery into six weeks.

"It’s still painful, but at least I can play."

As for the forthcoming dates, it’ll be a full-on hit-fest.

"We considered an acoustic spot, but the logistics are astounding. The stage is set up for a rock set and acoustic is a totally different animal, and for us the sound is everything, so we won’t be doing that.

"There are a couple of things that we’re putting in that we haven’t played for a while, but I don’t want to say what they are as we like to surprise people."

As for Quo’s longevity and popularity, the blond guitarist is in no doubt as to why the band have remained such a popular live attraction and have lasted so many years.

"Pleasing the audience is what it’s all about and we go head over heels to do that. The energy levels may not quite be there all the time, but we all give it everything and on a good night it still rocks.

"Plus we have honest fans and they’ll always let us know what they think, and with us, it’s ‘what you see is what you get’, we do what it says on the tin. They’re very special our fans."

With such a colossal output over almost 50 years, Rick does have a favourite album.

"I’m always tempted to say the Hello album. We just sat there and vibed. We upped the ante on that one, really cranked it up."

And then there was the Bula Quo movie.

"You go as far as calling it a movie?" Rick laughs.

"I’m flattered. I think it’s the second worst film I have ever seen. (It was the first until I saw Oh What a Whopper with Adam Faith).

"Actually, we all thought it was quite good when we were making it, but we didn’t see the finished film until the premiere and I was a bit embarrassed when we saw it.

"It’s a joke," he says simply.

Not content to rest on his laurels, Rick would like to do more recording.

"I’d like to do another out-and-out rock album," he says.

"There are some songs knocking about; I have a couple of songs and Francis always has some ideas. I’d have to say that at the moment there are no plans to do one, but watch this space."

In the meantime, there is a new career retrospective comprising a multi CD and DVD package.

"Yes, I’m slightly annoyed that we had no input whatsoever, but fingers crossed that it’ll do alright."

And for the future?

"We have a lot planned for next year with a couple of tours of maybe Europe and Australia as well as the odd festival in the UK. But I’m not exactly sure what and when.

"But we like to keep busy."

The Accept No Substitute UK tour visits the AECC GE Oil & Gas Arena, Aberdeen, on Wednesday, December 2."

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20th - Release of "Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits" CD and DVD packages

Yet another greatest hits package appeared on 20th November, this one being the definitive one apparently, entitled "Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits" and releases in triple CD and double DVD formats (with a double vinyl to follow). The press release was as follows.

"Released on 20th November 2015 through Universal Music, the Status Quo career retrospective releases ‘Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits’ 3CD and ‘Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits & More’ 2DVD are a true celebration of the entire body of work of one of the world’s greatest ever rock acts.

For the first time ever, all of the eras across six decades that make up the incredible career of this truly seminal British act are presented together, along with some previously unavailable material on the DVD.

The 3CD collection entitled ‘Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits’ features 54 Quo classics. Drawing a line through from the earliest days, right up until the present time, this is an in depth journey through time. ‘Accept No Substitute’ is a treasure trove of hits, certainly, but also finds space for tracks that provide a narrative of the band’s story.

The gem in the ‘Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits & More’ 2DVD set is the never-before-seen full 27 minute epic improvised performance of ‘Is It Really Me / Gotta Go Home’ from the Beat Club Session in Germany in 1970.

The 2 DVD also offers an incredible 67 (sixty seven!) of the promotional videos for a swath of Quo classics, plus some extra special moments from throughout the years – 24 tracks of unseen material. The story is brought bang up to date with more exclusives that have never been on DVD before; 8 storming tracks recorded at Wembley in 1996 and then 7 tracks from the band’s rapturously received Download set in 2014. For Quo fans it’s unmissable.

‘Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits’ and ‘Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits & More’ collate and define the Quo legacy. These landmark releases serve to collect, document and celebrate the output of one of the world’s most loved and influential rock acts."

In the lead up to these releases, a six-part series of short videos - under the banner "Down Down The Decades" - appeared on YouTube, featuring comments from Francis and Rick: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

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20th - Quo appearance on This Morning (ITV)

Quo appeared on ITV's morning TV show, This Morning, on 20th November as a promo for the greatest hits package release. They kicked off by performing an 'exclusive' medley of "What You're Proposin'"/"Down The Dustpipe"/"Whatever You Want" and the whole band looked in good form. Francis and Rick were then interviewed by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford and they were in a playful mood, playing "we've got a new album out" bingo throughout the good natured interview.

Some professional photos from this appearance can be found here, while a YouTube clip of the live performance can be viewed here.

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22nd - Francis article in the Daily Mail (UK)

The following article on Francis appeared in the UK's Daily Mail newspaper on 22nd November, titled "Rock till I drop: Status Quo star Francis Rossi says that with five grown-up children living at home he can't afford to retire" and written by Chris Hastings.

"He's been rocking with Status Quo for half a century – but Francis Rossi says he can’t even think of retiring because he has five children still living at home to support.

The 66-year-old admits he is wealthy by most standards, but says he still has to finance a big family, with those still sharing his Surrey mansion aged from 19 to 43.

‘We are well-off. We are rich people,’ he said. ‘But I have got eight children who have all been university-educated. Five of them at the moment live at home. I like all that. I love the whole family, but it needs funding.’

Rossi, who is worth an estimated £10 million, has a total of eight children from three mothers.

He and his second wife Eileen are currently sharing their eight-bedroom property with 19-year-old university student Fursey; 25-year-old Fynn, who works in finance; 21-year-old Kiera, a veterinary nurse; 26-year-old Patrick, who is a chef; and Nicholas, 43, who runs a decorating business and is between homes.

Rossi met his first wife, Jean, at Butlin’s in Minehead when he was 15 and she was 18. The couple married in 1967 and had three children – Simon, Nicholas, and Kieran – before their divorce. He then had a three-year relationship with rock publicist Liz Gernon, who gave birth to their daughter Bernadette in 1984. He has been married to Irish-American Eileen since 1992.

Rossi’s candour will strike a chord with parents whose children are becoming increasingly reliant on the bank of mum and dad.

Rossi admits that he and his bandmates would also be reluctant to give up the lifestyle they have become accustomed to since coming to fame with their first hit, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, in 1967.

He said: ‘I know we have entered the establishment and I don’t want to take a step backwards. I don’t want to come out of the lifestyle I am used to.

‘It’s very strange that the punter tends to think you have got £2 million in the corner of the bedroom in notes. You’ve had umpteen divorces, you drank like a fish, you live in a fabulous multi-million-pound house, you have got three or four or five cars...

‘They never figure that we do the same things as they do. I have got to think of where next week’s money is coming from, because it all needs maintaining. That is why we keep going.’

Rossi spoke during rehearsals for the British leg of the band’s Accept No Substitute tour, which kicks off in Blackpool next Saturday.

Rossi and his bandmate Rick Parfitt both admit they would have even more money now if they hadn’t blown it on booze and drugs. Both are now clean and teetotal, but Rossi once snorted so much cocaine that a piece of his nasal septum fell out.

Parfitt, 67, who has suffered a series of health scares including a quadruple heart bypass, now admits he is now lucky to be alive.

He said: ‘I don’t know why I’m still here when others like [Thin Lizzy frontman] Phil Lynott are not.’

‘Cocaine ruined my life,’ the father of four added. ‘I was making decisions about houses and deals when I was coked. A couple of days later someone would say, “About that deal you made...!” and I would say, “What deal?” But it was too late by then.’

The two men – who have just released new greatest hits CD and DVD sets, also entitled Accept No Substitute – have fond memories of being teenage heart-throbs in the 1960s and 1970s, but admit that times have changed.

Rossi said that in recent years he has become nervous about taking to the stage.

He said: ‘I get more and more and more frightened and I don’t know why. I am frightened I will f*** up. It’s the pressure of carrying the band. I don’t mean I am carrying the band. Its just that someone has to have the focus.’

Parfitt said: ‘In the early days you would walk slowly out of Top Of The Pops to try to get mobbed. It was almost, “Do you know who I am? Come and pull the tassels off my jacket.” But nowadays you try and do anything to avoid it.

‘When I fly now I dress down, I put reading glasses on and wear a beanie hat. You have to get away from it all somehow or it would drive you insane.’

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23rd - Francis and Rick on Steve Wright in the Afternoon (BBC Radio 2, UK)

Francis and Rick were interviewed on BBC Radio 2's Steve Wright in the Afternoon show on 23rd November. Mark Goodier was standing in for Steve Wright and he did an excellent nine-minute interview.

There was the requisite promo of the new greatest hits packages and tour to kick it off and they again mentioned the special pressure they feel when planning and approaching the British tour (and they also hinted at subtle setlist changes).

When talk turned to "Aquostic", Francis said he "loved it", while Rick was definitely more circumspect though he said he also enjoyed it. On 'normal' Quo, they both agreed that it now "physically hurts" to perform.

They both admitted that they probably won't watch the new DVD before talking about their approaches to songwriting. Moving onto the idea of a new movie, their reactions clearly indicate that they have no desire to do it again (and they expressed their disappointment at actually sitting through the movie during the premiere).

The full from the interview can be found on the BBC website.

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26th - Quo concert at Poppodium 013, Tilburg, Netherlands

The "Accept No Substitutes" tour kicked off with a gig in Tilburg on 26th November. This one-night only appearance in the Netherlands gave the band a chance to get a feel for the new set they'd been rehearsing during the previous weeks, but it wasn't as radical a set overhaul as some might have liked, as the following setlist indicates!

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26th - Rick article in Worksop Guardian (UK)

The following article appeared in the Worksop Guardian newspaper on 26th November, entitled "Sheffield: Status Quo man Rick looking forward to rocking again".

"It’s that time of year again, that time when Status Quo hit the road for their traditional UK Winter Tour.

And they are at Sheffield Arena on Monday, December 7.

Following the success of their Aquostic tour earlier this year, the band are going back to what they know best – classic rock and roll.

And guitarist Rick Parfitt couldn’t be happier.

“I found the acoustic tour a refreshing change to go out of your comfort zone,” he said.

“I really enjoyed it, but I am pleased to be going back to the rock side.

“I do like it loud and vibrant and I wouldn’t be opposed to doing another such tour, but I wouldn’t want to do it full-time.

The band have had major success since their 1968 hit Pictures of Matchstick Men and throughout the subsequent decades they have had spectacular hits with the likes of Caroline, Roll Over Lay Down, In The Army Now and Down Down to name but four.

Add to that a host of chart-topping albums such as Hello, Quo and Blue For You, plus more that 100 appearances on Top of the Pops, it is apparent that Status Quo have always been a hard-working band.

As for the forthcoming dates, it’ll be a full-on hit fest.

“There are a couple of things that we’re putting in that we haven’t played for a while, but I don’t want to say what they are as we like to surprise people,” continued Rick.

As for Quo’s longevity and popularity, Rick is in no doubt as to why the band has lasted so many years – it’s their fans.

“They’re very special our fans and pleasing the audience is what it’s all about and we go head over heels to do that,” he said.

“The energy levels may not quite be there all the time, but we all give it everything and on a good night it still rocks.”

“Plus we have honest fans and they’ll always let us know what they think, and with us, it’s ‘what you see is what you get’, we do what it says on the tin.”

Support for their Sheffield gig comes from the Wilko Johnson Band and doors open at 6.30pm."

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28th - Quo concert at Blackpool Opera House

Quo kicked off their UK Winter tour with a sold out gig at Blackpool Opera House on 28th November. Supported by Walkway, they played the same set as in the Netherlands a couple of nights before, but fans of more hardcore material had their needs met during the afternoon before the Quo gig with a very different setlist from tribute band Stated Quo at the Pump & Truncheon pub.

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29th - Quo concert at The Palace, Manchester

The "Accept No Substitutes" tour of the UK continued on 29th November with another sold out gig, this time at The Palace in Manchester. Backed by support band Walkway, this gig was recorded for CD/download release and the setlist follows. Keen fans again made a "Quo day" of it by attending the afternoon show put on by State of Quo at Sound Control.

Revisit the November 2015 event list