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

7th - Francis interview on BBC Radio Solent (UK)

Francis was interviewed by Alex Dyke on BBC Radio Solent on 7th November. The interview kicked off by talking about the loss of Rick and its effect on the setlist, then they discussed the differences between territories in terms of what were hits (with Francis mentioning "In The Army Now" not being known in Australia) but that the band generally don’t change the setlist per territory. Going back to the early days, they talked about the band's move from being an album band to a singles band and Francis said that he didn’t feel they “sold out” to become a successful singles band. Alex asked if Quo now do a Rick video tribute or some such at their concerts and Francis said he didn't like the idea as it would start every gig on a “down” and feeling sad, then they would have to build it up. Francis also mentioned that "it’s getting easier without Rick".

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13th - Article about Quo's tour bus in The Barking & Dagenham Post (UK)

The following article about a new use for an old Quo tour bus appeared in the Barking and Dagenham Post on November 13th, titled "Status Quo tour bus reborn in Barking and Dagenham as UK’s first LGBT+ homeless shelter" and written by Tom Horton.

"An old Status Quo tour bus is being reborn as the UK’s first LGBT+ homeless shelter.

The bus, which will be based in the borough, will be the UK’s first LGBT+ homeless shelter.

A quarter of young homeless people identify as LGBT+, according to research by the Albert Kennedy Trust.

LGBT+ people face an increased risk of domestic abuse, sexual violence and addiction.

The bus, which has twelve beds, is also fitted with sofas, a TV and even an Xbox. The volunteers hope it can provide a comfortable environment for people at a difficult point in their lives.

Carla and a group of volunteers went all the way to Hull to buy the bus from an events company.

“The bus is really nice - we’re so excited about this project,” said volunteer Carla Ecola.

“We’re proud to be located here in east London,” she added.

She says the reason The Outside Project chose to set up in Barking and Dagenham is because the charity have a good relationship with other charities that already operate here. The council were also “really welcoming” and keen to do more to help the LGBT+ community, she says.

With hate crime on the rise, the exact location of the bus will not be disclosed. Other homeless charities will refer people they think will benefit from the service and they will be invited to stay.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched at this year’s London Pride, which saw The Outside Project raise £11,500.

The group are continuing to try and raise funds for the project - and this month will be the beneficiaries of Lush’s Oxford Street charity pots.

The charity was set up a few months ago by a group of friends and colleagues who work in the homelessness sector.

The shelter will be open for an initial two month period, meaning they will be open over Christmas when lots of shelters close.

But the volunteers hope to be able to sustain the service for six months. Their long term plan is to be open all year round.

“This is definitely something the community needs all year round,” said Carla.

The charity are also organising solidarity marches sleep-outs to raise awareness about their cause, as well as money to support the shelter.

The bus was used by Status Quo’s band members for Rick Parfitt’s funeral in January."

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13th - Richie Malone interview on Calon FM

Following his previous interview on the same radio station in October 2016, Richie was interviewed by Andy Snowden on Calon FM on 13th November.

The interview was lead in with “Rude Awakening Time” and the first topic of conversation was the recent Australian tour. Richie described Australia as "stunning, a wonderful place" and said he was "overwhelmed" by the support from the Aussie fans including on the "Rock The Boat" cruise. In reviewing the last year since they last spoke (and almost 100 gigs into his Quo career already!), Richie said the Sydney Opera House gig was "extraordinary" and also shouted out the Glastonbury and Wacken Festival shows.

They went on to discuss family and their reaction to his new job, his recent engagement and the tricky job of trying to find time to get married in 2018 (joking he probably can’t afford Quo as the wedding band!). He talked about Quo being "more of a band effort now" and Richie spoke proudly about how Rick had mentioned him in his “Rhythm Method” DVD. Inevitably, Rick’s death came up and how Richie had heard about it.

The big step of singing a Rick song, in the shape of "Little Lady", was discussed before Richie took some fan questions about the potential for setlist changes, 2018 touring plans, the possibility of a new album, his favourite band (he answered AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Metallica, namimg his favourite singer as Bon Scott), playing non-Quo gigs (his old band Raid finished before he started with Quo, but he's now playing with some mates in a new band), coping with the online trolls, and balancing his "real" job with Quo commitments.

The interview was played out with "Slow Train".

Richie came across very well in this interview, just as he does in person: grateful and humble. Listen to the full half-hour interview here.

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14th - Francis interview on Good Morning Britain (ITV, UK)

Francis appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain show on 14th November. He was interviewed by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid (with Piers doing most of the talking) and he talked very frankly about his relationship with Rick, including his heart attack in June, finding out about his death and gigging without him. He spoke glowingly about Richie Malone (again).

The interview can be viewed here (as a low tech phone recording of a TV screen!).

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14th - Francis article in The Mirror (UK)

The following article appeared in the UK's Mirror newspaper on 14th November, titled "Francis Rossi explains why he still hasn't cried for his late Status Quo band mate Rick Parfitt" and penned by Hayley Minn.

"Rick Parfitt died on Christmas Eve, aged 68 - but his Status Quo band mate Francis Rossi has confessed he felt he'd lost his friend months before.

Rick had been recuperating since June, 2016, when he suffered a heart attack on stage but, in fact, passed away after contracting a severe infection following a shoulder injury.

And Francis still remembers the moment he had a heart attack so clearly.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he said: "I remember him lying on the floor and the paramedics crossing his legs, and violently trying to resuscitate him.

“You don’t want that done to anyone really."

"When we left the room, he was dead and when we woke up, he was alive on a feeding system, keeping him going,” he remembers. “We all thought, ‘what have they done to him?’”

Francis went on to confess he still hasn't cried for his friend - who he knew since he was 16 years old - but it's because he and Rick always used humour as a coping mechanism.

He said: "When I got the call on Christmas Eve, I heard Rick saying, 'There you go, I didn't die on show day!', and that's just what we were like.

"People said I haven't cried for him, and I haven't, and I won't, but we weren't like that. We'd joke about it. That's just how it is.

"I remember him saying to me once, 'I don't think I can play,' because of the pain in his shoulder.

"I asked, 'Can you play a G7?'

"And he said, 'I think so, yeah,' and I said, 'Good, because you couldn't before.' And again, that's just how we were."

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14th - Francis article in Eastern Daily Press (UK)

The following article appeared in the Eastern Daily Press newspaper on 14th November, titled "It’s weird being alone: Status Quo’s Francis Rossi on life without Rick Parfitt" and written by Simon Parkin.

"Ahead of an acoustic gig in Norwich, the guitarist and singer tells us about coming to terms with the death of his musical partner-in-crime and why he’s jealous of Ed Sheeran.

“I was thinking the other night it is kind of weird being alone now,” says Francis Rossi.

The Status Quo stalwart is reflecting on how things have changed since the death of his long-time musical partner-in-crime Rick Parfitt. “It’s like when I got divorced from my first wife. As much as you know you have to carry on there is a side of you that can’t help but feel it and look back. I’m not used to being on my own. I’m having to get used to it, but it’s very different.”

That he is still coming to terms with Rick’s death on Christmas Eve 2016 is unsurprising given that the pair had been band mates for almost 50 years.

Rick joined Status Quo in 1967 after he had met Francis while performing at Butlins in Minehead. Together with fellow original members, bassist Alan Lancaster and drummer John Coghlan, they enjoy a string of hits from psychedelic-pop breakthrough hit Pictures of Matchstick Men to hard-rocking classics like Caroline, Down Down and Rockin’ All Over The World, which became immortalised when they opened Live Aid.

In 2015, the band passed a milestone enjoyed by only a handful of musicians, spending a total of 500 weeks in the UK album charts.

The subject of Rick’s sudden death is the one time in our chat when the guitarist’s jack-the-lad, quick quitted banter changes for something more sombre and reflective.

“It’s a very different dynamic now that Rick has left us,” says Francis. “His health for the last few years hadn’t been what it could have been but it was still a huge shock. There was a point where we had to face the fact that Rick is not there and the rest of us in the band had to focus a more on the future, and a new young guy coming in to play, whereas before we’d been an automatic.”

Loved by fans, but often derided by critics, Status Quo has part of the landscape of British music for as long as most of us can remember. And it was the front duo of the blond hard-rocking guitarist and wiry singer that was inseparable in the public’s image of the band.

It was surprising then when Rick’s autobiography, as well as chronicling decades of rock’n’roll excesses and his series of heart attacks, suggested the pair weren’t as close as people thought, and that their relationship had plenty of ups and downs.

“Oftentimes Rick and I would disagree but we’d discuss things and though that sometimes you’d find what you want,” says Francis. “But remember too, and this isn’t to put what we had together down at all, but it was an image. It is something that the pair of us worked on together for years and in the end it becomes this image, this logo, me and Rick as Status Quo.”

Rick’s death hasn’t been the end of Quo. Later this month the band comes to Norwich to perform an acoustic show, off the back their hugely success Aquostic albums, complete with backing singers and strings.

The first Aquostic album, complete with cover photo of Francis and Rick with only a pair of guitars to protect their modesty taken by singer-turned-photographer Bryan Adams, was the band’s most successful in years.

“The whole project came about accidentally,” says Francis. “Some of it was driven by the fact that Rick’s health was failing. It has proved to be most enjoyable and it was easier for Rick.”

Despite initial misgivings Francis was surprised how well the normally hard-rocking songs worked in a stripped back acoustic form. “One track that we did was Paper Plane, which is a very straight forward track, which I said that wouldn’t work, but actually it sparkled,” he says. “That was really the point at which I thought maybe this does actually work.

“In The Army Now, on the second album, was another that we really couldn’t see working, but it did. Because these songs have kind of proved themselves over the years you have the basics, and when we transferred them to the format of the four of us sitting around strumming it got the creative juices following.”

The band’s first acoustic show at London’s Roundhouse was also a nervy moment. “When the lights went down and the noise of the audience, I thought oh s*** weren’t not even as loud as that. We’re used to the roar going up and then the opening guitar hits.

“But actually what we found was that the course feeling was still there. A lot of people have since said I never knew you had such nice songs. It makes you think what they were listening to, but Status Quo is like Marmite. People either love us or hate us.

“When people hear Status Quo as much as it is instantly recognisable there is an equal minus to it in that people have their preconceptions. But take away the noisy guitar and people just listen to the melody. I found that quite uplifting that people have said actually they’re quite nice tunes. It takes me back to the fact that Status Quo is a pop band really.”

Francis says his influences growing up were the likes of The Everly Brothers, Connie Francis, Guy Mitchell and Little Richard, though one later love proved controversial. “Once in about the mid-1970s in Germany I mentioned liking ABBA and the record company guy said ‘I don’t think it is good to say that’. When I asked why not, he said it’s not good for our image.”

The band have never been strangers to East Anglia from their earliest days of gigs in Norwich and Ipswich pubs through to shows in such unlikely locations as the palatial grounds of Holkham Hall. And they are one of the few bands to have played both Portman Road, where they supported Rod Stewart, and Carrow Road, which they headlined exactly 20 years ago.

“Rick had been ill around that period and we played it as a comeback show,” recalls Francis, when asked if he recalls it. “I think that was the one where our manager at the time thought I’d be a great idea to go back on in an Ipswich shirt — it wasn’t!

“We’ve done every kind of venue, from Wembley to weddings, bar mitzvahs, corporate shows to playing at the bottom of a quarry and at the foot of the Eiger in a snowstorm. That’s what happens with longevity.”

He adds that he doesn’t know what the long-term future of Status Quo holds, but what keeps him going? “Ego, insecurity, money — the usually things,” he laughs. “Like everyone I worry about the future. I’m probably going to live until I’m 90-odd. Most of it is down to being an insecure little show off, which is what most people in this business are.”

Ed Sheeran’s a genius and I’m jealous

The sales success of the Aquostic albums bucked recent trends — with a notable local exception. “The amount of albums we used to sell in a few days, if you do that in the entire length of the album nowadays you’re very lucky, except if you’re the ginger fella [Ed Sheeran]. I love him to death, but I’m very jealous of the git. You know I’m Italian? I’ve had a contract put out on him because he is just too good. He is very talented and a nice guy too, apart from having too many tattoos in my opinion, but then I’m an old person.”

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18th - John Coghlan interview on Calon FM

John Coghlan was interviewed by Andy Snowden on The Stage and Screen Show on Calon FM on 18th November.

They kicked off talking about the recent FTMO fan club convention and John spoke fondly about it and the “great buzz” playing with Alan and Rick Parfitt Jnr. Andy then reminded him that it was 46 years since the release of the "Dog of Two Head" album and John said it was a “fantastic” record and artwork, acting as the crossover to Quo becoming a rock band. Talking about the rigours of touring life, John said that the fans made it worth all the travelling and work through the 1970s.

Turning to drumming, John said “less is more” when it comes to drumming with Quo. Moving on to chatting about the Frantic Four reunion tours, it was obvious that John really enjoyed both tours and wanted to do more, but Francis wasn't interested post-2014. Discussing John's departure from Quo in 1981, he said that taking a long break “would have changed things”. Andy then as him about missing out on “Live Aid” and the original “Live” album, with John saying “Glasgow was good for us”.

Of course, at some point the interview needed to discuss the loss of Rick and John spoke with genuine affection and emotion about his band mate. He mentioned that he hasn’t seen Quo with Richie and "doesn’t really follow the band" now. A brief discussion about the Spud and Mad Turk nicknames rounded out the main part of the interview.

A couple of questions from fans - around PLC plans and memorabilia - completed the interview before playing out with “Run To Mummy”.

The full interview can be heard here.

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21st - Quo "Aquostic" concert at Stadthalle, Bielefeld, Germany

The Aquostic tour marched on with a show in Bielefeld on 21st November. Supported by Ken Hensley, there were no setlist changes and some great professional photos of the gig can be found here.

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26th - Quo concert at O2 Apollo, Manchester

The "Plugged In - Live & Rockin'" tour kicked off in Manchester on 26th November. Supported by Cats In Space, the band played the same set as during the Australian tour. The following review of the gig appeared in the Yorkshire Times newspaper, written by Graham Clark.

"Looking at Cats in Space who are tonight's support act you would think that they had been around for a few years, not so as the band have only been together for a while, but the individual members have been in various bands in the past.

Their experience shines through with pride and a purpose made even better by the light show that Quo had allowed them to use.

If this was 1975 they would be there in the same league as Supertramp, Yes or 10cc. If it was 1979 they would be there with Toto or Journey. With songs like The Madhatters Tea Party they deserve every success. Melodic and majestically they were a joy to see and hear.

Status Quo show no signs of letting the quality slip. After the sad news of the death of Rick Parfitt the group could have split up but Francis Rossi and the rest of the band are still going strong.

It is a different band of course without Parfitt, the dynamic and chemistry between him and Rossi was part of Quo, but the remaining members do a great job of singing the vocals on the tracks that Parfitt sang such as Rain.

From the opening chords of Caroline it was pleasing to hear the band in electric form as opposed to the acoustic sets they have recently done.

With classics such as Paper Plane, Whatever You Want and Down Down it reminded you how many good tracks they have.

The cover of John Fogerty's Rockin All Over The World brought back memories of Live Aid before the crowd's enthusiasm seemed to cross from the stage for Burning Bridges.

As Rock and Roll Music mixed with Bye Bye Johnny closed the night it had been a fine return."

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26th - Francis interview on My Planet Rocks, Planet Rock Radio (UK)

Francis appeared on Planet Rock's My Planet Rocks show with Wyatt on 26th November.

The interview started off with Francis talking about how he started off playing accordion and harmonica before turning to the guitar (after seeing the Everly Brothers). But he claimed that he "didn’t start to learn playing guitar until he was 40". Attention then turned to the transition from the Butlin’s band to psychadelic to a rock band and Francis mentioned how much he loved working with bands like Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack. His first record choice came next, in the shape of Rainbow's “Since You’ve Been Gone”.

Talk turned to how the name of the band was decided and Francis then rambled on about the Over-intellectualizing of music and the artificial divisions drawn between between genres. His next record choice was Led Zeppelin's “Smoke On The Water”.

Francis then shared his thoughts on “Cabaret Quo”, admitting that Quo “drifted” in the 1980s before his next record choice, Black Sabbath's “Paranoid”.

Turning to the band's longevity, Francis said that running the band as a democracy didn’t work and that he has “always directed” the band. He said that the band has to be run as a business and Rick became too focused on living up to an image of what a “rock star” was. His next record choice was Muse's “Hysteria” (saying “they make noise sound beautiful”).

Talking about Rick, Francis said it was sad that Rick got lost in the showbiz thing and that he'd changed his voice because someone made him feel insecure in the past. He said Rick was always looking for the excitement, the next thing and that show business had been something of a sdisappointment for him. Francis again described Rickdying in Turkey and that he won’t cry over his bandmate as he doesn’t do “soap opera scripts in my life”. Wrapping up, Francis said it now looks like he will rock till he drops, “I’m really enjoying myself”. The interview was played out with Thin Lizzy's “Whiskey In The Jar”.

Listen to the interview in full here

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30th - Francis interview in The Northern Echo (UK)

The following interview appeared in the Northern Echo newspaper, conducted by Mick Burgess.

"A year after the death of Rick Parfitt, Mick Burgess catches up with Francis Rossi ahead of Status Quo's show at Newcastle City Hall, when they will be playing a plugged in, fully-electric Rock show.

Your latest UK tour starts at the end of the month. Are you looking forward to getting started?

I am actually and it`s not like me to but something has happened since we`ve taken on Richie Malone. Maybe he`s made us older people think about what we are doing and pull our socks up or something. There`s this vibe now going on and maybe it`s because we feel we have something to prove.

These shows will be you plugged in and electric. You'd originally planned these as acoustic shows. Why the change of heart?

We had said we weren't doing any more electric shows and now we are. These shows were all supposed to be acoustic but we got so many emails and letters that we decided to give them what they wanted. Now we need to get through to everybody to say that we ARE doing a full electric show.

On December 6 you're up in Newcastle at the City Hall. What sort of reaction do you expect from the Geordie Quo fans?

Traditionally when you play Newcastle City Hall, they go nuts, there's such an incredible vibe. I can't wait to play there again as last year we were at the Arena which doesn't have the same atmosphere.

What sort of setlist do you have planned for this tour?

We have been doing an acoustic version of Don`t Drive My Car that I thought was brilliant and we'll be doing that version but only electrically on this tour. We will of course be doing the hits that everyone wants to hear and some songs from right across our career, old and new. I think it's a pretty good mix.

It's hard to come back after a key member of a band passes away. How did you cope initially with the loss of Rick Parfitt?

It was hard. Rick had retired earlier before he passed away so we already knew what it would be like without him there but it was a big shock when he died but we decided to carry on. It's that British thing with backs against the wall. We had to give it a go. We all had to pull together knowing Rick wasn't there.

How did you first come across Richie Malone, who has stepped into Rick's shoes?

Both Rick and I knew Richie from years ago. He actually came to one of our sound checks when he was 15 or 16 and played with us. Rick jokingly said that if he ever died that we had to get Richie in. That was what Rick was like and I don't really think that people understood the humour that we had between us.

Does losing Rick make you all the more grateful for doing The Frantic Four shows with the original line-up a couple of years ago after over 30 years apart?

Yes, it did, especially for Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan and it was addressed and done but it got to the point where we couldn't do it anymore. John was wise enough to realise that he didn't have our stamina and I think the two tours we did together were enough for him. I'm certainly glad we did it and it was great to play together one last time.

Next year is Quo's 50th anniversary. What do you see as the highlight of your career?

Live Aid must be up there as it was totally unique. We weren't very good or very well-rehearsed and we weren't getting on together very well but it was such an incredible day. We were lucky that no one wanted to go on first, so we thought we may as well do it. We got every newsreel around the world. All credit to Bob for managing to get everybody to agree to doing it. It was a fantastic occasion and it worked.

You've had Number 1 singles and albums, sell out tours, starred in your own film but can anything top appearing on Coronation Street with Les and Cilla Battersby

I remember Coronation Street when it first started and I played the theme tune on the trumpet at school. It`s an iconic show and has been around for so long that when we were first asked I thought it`d be outside of our comfort zone but our manager was a very, very big fan of the show and he pushed us. It was a very enjoyable experience. It was great working with Les Battersby. I actually learned how to fight on television through that. When we went into the Rovers and when Betty mentioned “Hot Pot”, we just kept laughing and they had to keep doing it again until we got our parts right."

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