The first copies of the special Australian pressing of "Quid Pro Quo" were spotted on Victorian supermarket shelves in Coles on October 3rd. The double CD includes the standard album but with the first track being the Coles reworked "Prices Are Down" version of "Down Down", as well as the same bootleg album included in previous issues. The CD booklet includes the lyrics to the new "Down Down" and an inner featuring the Australian 2013 tour dates was included. At the bargain price of just AU$10, Coles should shift a few copies between now and the Australian tour!Revisit the October 2012 event list
The following article, entitled "Status Quo: Coles keeps us rockin' all over the world" and penned by Cameron Adams, appeared in Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper on 5th October.
"BRITISH rock band Status Quo has filmed a new ad in Australia as part of Coles' Christmas campaign. The million-selling rockers admitted have no qualms in selling their songs to the supermarket chain.
"People ask us `Are they doing Coles ads for their pensions? Do they need the money?' Yes. Everyone works for their pension," guitarist Francis Rossi says.
"Why are Sting, McCartney and the Stones still out there doing it?," Rick Parfitt added. "It's not necessarily because they love it. But everybody loves to earn money."
The band filmed the new ad on Wednesday in a secret location in regional Victoria. It will feature another reworked version of one of their hits.
Coles, who are sponsoring the band's March/April Australian tour, will also exclusively sell a Status Quo compilation album in stores.
"There are no record shops anymore," Rossi said. "You put your album in a supermarket and you know it's in every Coles in the country. As much as people like to think it's prostituion or denigrating music, the alternative is to disappear.
Parfitt says the band's album, Quid Pro Quo, will be seen my millions of Coles shoppers each year and it contains their new version of Down Down.
"To be displayed in the front of Coles, rather than being in a rack down the back of some music shop, you couldn't buy that. Some fans in England were going `God, What will they do next?' but we're keeping ourselves alive. We're not Coldplay, we've been around a long while."
Rossi said they are prepared to wear the backlash for changing their lyrics for TV ads.
"It could have been `Five sausages' or `Two for one'. It was `Prices are down'. Which is better than knickers are down. We agreed to do it, and we did it. It so happens it was rather good and it's funny and it's taken off. The bigger something is, the bigger the negatives are, and we accept that."
The band performed a secret show for Coles employees in Melbourne on Wednesday night."Revisit the October 2012 event list
In a rare solo outing, Rick did a live phone interview with Eddie McGuire on Triple M radio in Melbourne on 5th October. He talked about the Coles ad campaign as well as the Australian 2013 tour.Revisit the October 2012 event list
Rick gave another phone interview during the band's brief visit to Australia, talking to Peter and Mary on the Breakfast Show on 4BC radio in Brisbane, on 5th October. He talked about first meeting Francis at Butlins, their longevity and their ability to give each other space on tour. Inevitably, there was then lengthy discussion of the Coles "Down Down" campaign, before talking about how their life on tour has changed over the years. And of course, they plugged the Australian 2013 tour and played out with "Down Down".Revisit the October 2012 event list
Francis and Rick were interviewed during the "Flashback Friday" segment of The Morning Show on 5th October. They were introduced with an excellent video montage and history, before the interview which was screened live from the Channel 7 studios in Melbourne. They kicked off by discussing the band's longevity, before talking about the Coles ad campaign and "Quid Pro Quo" being sold in Coles. They also got in a plug for the 2013 tour and both Rick and Francis seemed in great spirits. This was the band's best piece of TV promotion in Australia for many years.Revisit the October 2012 event list
Somewhat unexpectedly after all these years, Francis finally appeared on Later With Jools Holland on 9th October. Francis looked nervous and uncomfortable during the very brief interview, talking about Quo's longevity and the "Hello Quo" documentary. The highlight was a sneak peak at the fabled so-called "reunion" footage from the doco, with a snippet of the Frantic Four playing "In My Chair".Revisit the October 2012 event list
A long interview with Francis was published in Metal Trails magazine on 10th October and it is reproduced in its entirety below.
Alex: Hi Francis! Thanks for taking the time for this interview! How is the weather in Great Britain?
Francis Rossi: The weather in Great Britain is like Great Britain's weather. Let me have a look... a pleasant autumn day. But I like the winter more. I like the snow and I think that when it comes at the end of the year I can rest at that point. Shut down and spend time with my family and so on. My father was always like that. I don't have this desire for sunshine that some English seem to say they want. When they want to live in Spain, they should go and live in Spain then. I like it here.
Alex: Right now, you’re celebrating your 50th band anniversary and on November 29 a documentation about you is scheduled to be released. What can you tell us about all that?
Francis Rossi: It's quite an in depth documentary that goes from the beginning with Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan to the present time. It gives an insight into English show business and it's quite a good one I think. But it's quite difficult to make a choice on that because it's about me and something I have done. So in the end it's up to the people to say whether they like it or not. But I think it's good.
Alex: Can the fans expect any other specials in the course of this anniversary?
Francis Rossi: I don't see it as the celebration of an anniversary. There are so many anniversaries and I think this documentary is enough. I mean... before, it was the 49th anniversary. And before that, it was the 48th. But I'm really strange on stuff like that, on birthdays and all those kind of things. Also with my children, they don't tend to celebrate their birthdays. Their mother does, but I don't. Usually, from a promotional point of view it's something good to hang things on. That's what I know: We have a documentary - and hopefully people will like it - that documents basically the last fifty years through. So if people like it, that would be fine. I can't say I like the story about me, but yeah... I think it's good!
Alex: What would you personally say was your greatest success with Status Quo?
Francis Rossi: Greatest success? That we're surviving and still be functional after fifty years. I'm 63 years old and I started with twelve or thirteen and I am still doing it! It's like a drug. It always needs feeding. And I'm lucky, that it still exists and still goes on. That's the best achievement!
Alex: What do your audiences look like in 2012? Mostly die-hard fans from the very beginning of the band’s career or are there also a lot of young people?
Francis Rossi: I think we lost a lot of the die-hards when we did "Rocking All Over The World". For a lot of people this was a mistake. The same goes for "In the army". And in the end, the Internet in my opinion was a negative influence on our business in a lot of ways. It's positive that many young people are now looking and surfing around on YouTube a lot and they see clips and might come along and make this decision on their own rather than from pay pressures. So we tend to get young people, too. They come along and like what they see in the Internet and then we're lucky, when they come to gigs. There are a lot of die hard fans, but it's a very good mixture I think. Though it's very strange to judge anybody on the age of their audiences. Strange world we're living in, when a band that has a young audience is good and if they have an older audience it's not good. To me they are just people. And the more people, the better, I suppose.
Alex: Yesterday I've talked with Creedence bass player Stu Cook and he said that the role of music has changed over the last decades. That today music is less important then it used to be in the Sixties or Seventies. Would you agree on that?
Francis Rossi: Yes, very much! But that's just progress, I suppose... Most young people don't find records as important anymore. I mean, not necessarily the music! But we would buy records and we'd have a piece of it in our hands, the product itself. Would have some look at the album cover and this whole album thing. So most things are downloads today and music is played everywhere, from elevators to telephones. So it's very strange that young people don't see it as special anymore. We were kind of "post-war". It was all new from... well, maybe the 50s Rock'n'Roll to come around, and then the Sixties and Seventies explosion with people writing their own music and young guys getting together and play music together was some kind of unheard of. When I think about bands like ourselves, who have been around a long time, that's the first time that bands have their careers from when they where teenagers until they're in their sixties! Look at the Stones, who are older than us. Or Creedence, who also are older than us. And all these bands still survived! But are there bands from the Nineties? I was thinking the other night that we could put some music on and you can tell within a few seconds if this is a Sixties record, a Seventies record or an Eigthies record! But in the early Nineties, the middle Nineties and from there on up to now, because of the digital explosion and disco music, you don't necessarily hear the sound anymore. There is a sound of the Sixties! And a sound of the Seventies and so on. But these days, it is very hard to tell if it comes from the middle Nineties or early 2000s or from now. Because of this digital thing. Generally it's not as important as it was then. It isn't new and very much part of life. It seems that to a lot of young people the games on their telephones are more important. But not all people! Live music has got more important, too, because of the death of the record. But even so, now we have a lot of acts that can just go out with a laptop and sound as good on stage as in the studio. That may be the future in another ten or twenty years! There might not be any live acts other then people themselves being there in person. Look at the acts now! They use their laptop or two laptops and just sing to the records. And particularly in America I think this is very big! They even print it on the ticket – that it's what they call a „proto show“. In other words that it comes out of a producer. And it doesn't seem to bother anybody anymore. It's seems to be a lot more about production and what I call distraction. Seem to bee so many acts that have fantastic amounts of money spent on special effects or the show rather then a bunch of four or five guys just playing music. Maybe that's no good anymore, I don't know! Maybe the future is different like that. So, we are a dying breed. Ask the Stones or whoever else. We are a dying breed of musicians. But that's just progression I suppose. I don't now. But I'm very confused by that.
Alex: How do you feel about being part of this dying breed?
Francis Rossi: In some ways quite good! As I've said, we're still doing it. At sixty years or so old there are still those bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd or as you said Michael Schenker, or Deep Purple and Pink Floyd. They are all old men. And that was considered wrong when this kind of music first started! But if we had died away or we had all stopped with thirty, there would be something wrong with the music. Parent's generation ... but this is not valid! That it wouldn't last. So we're still trying to make it last! What comes next I don't know. Whether the acts that are breaking today or the acts from the middle Nineties or middle Twothousands will be around in fourty or fifty years. I don't know whether they want to be around this, possibly. There seems to be a lot of people that just want to make the money and go to some place just to retire. We still need to go up and do it. That's something about playing live music ... itself it's a drug and justifices and validates our lives as musicians, if you like. We have to be careful with that word "musician", though. We're just people that do a little show and need to go and stand in front of people and play. If we would not be doing that it would mean that nobody in the world would need our music. I don't believe in that neither. It's a thing that moves on and changes. So perhaps it's just the way how it develops in the way it grows. Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be? I don't know.
Alex: So can the fans expect any new studio album in the near future?
Francis Rossi: We're doing an album and something is mixed today. It's for the movie we did earlier this year. It comes out maybe April next year and it's a soundtrack for that,. So, that's coming out next year. It will be called "Bula Quo", I think. And most of the soundtrack from that will be the next album.
Alex: A lot of musicians claim that each and every single "great" riff has already been played in a song somewhere. Would you agree?
Francis Rossi: Yeah, pretty much! I'm not one of those people who's trying to look for something new all the time. I just try to look for something that stirs me or excites me. I heard the other night a band of my generation that I don't like much really: Kiss. I have never really ignored them, but I thought it's just a kind of image. But I heard the new record another night and, again, this has probably something to do with recording and computers. And it sounded fantastic! But not necessarily anything different then what I've heard. It's just that I liked it. And that should be the great share of music. Do you like it? Yes! It hasn't to be: I like it, but it's not new enough, so I don't like it. And I don't really mind! And I don't listen to music as that always. It's just... Something happens inside that I like! That's it. I don't question whether it is musically very good or whether it's different music. It's just that I like it. And that for me is good. I realized that with all the combinations I've noticed on acts of any time or cultures, things must bee repeated. It's just how it is. I think that's the same in movies, it's the same in books, love stories, detective stories ... they are all the same! And war stories are all the same, too, as well as Westerns. Humans tend to say that they want different things, but in fact we don't. We want the same meal over and over again. And thanks to globalization we want the same thing all over the world, wherever we go! When we get that, we look for times gone by when we couldn't get it just the same. So human is quite strange on that. But yes, I think most of the things have been done. But that doesn't bother me.
Alex: Is it possible to have a constant development with a bands own sound? I guess after some time you reach a point where you can't develop the sound of a band anymore...
Francis Rossi: Well, I think if you're going to look at music and a band as development, it's not just music anymore. To me it is just music, as I've said, if something happens. Why it's good? I don't know. Why we like it? I don't know. Why we don't like it? I don't know. But I think if we try to develop and change it to be different, that's very critical to me and more a scientific experiment. Music is just something that we don't know why we like it. As with Sex or with other people. Why do we fall in love with the more attractive and to somebody else that same woman is not attractive? Why? I don't know and I found the same with music. I don't question it, I just like it. And whether it's reggae, opera, classical music or pop music, it's very strange. I have read an article in the papers, that said, that was saying: Oh finally ELO are very hip and very groovy. When I was younger I was asked in Deutschland in an interview what sort of music I like. And when I told them I was asked not to mention that because that's bad for my image and not be considered to be cool. Some years later I mentioned that I like the Bee Gees and later I've read that the Bee Gees where cool. I've always liked ELO and I've read that ELO is okay now. It's always been okay to me. So there seems to be a bunch of people or a section of the public that don't just judge music on how they hear it and how they feel about it. To them it's whether it's acceptable or cool or not. I found that strange, but that's the way it is for some reason.
Alex: How important should music be in our everyday lives? Can music really change our world or is it just complaining about what's going wrong right now?
Francis Rossi: I don't know if music can change anything and if it's part of these changes that come and go on in the world. I don't think that I look at music and think that it should change or it shouldn't change the world. I think it could maybe change something, but I don't think that anybody should start to say that he is going to change the world with music.
Alex: How about events like Woodstock or the Moscow Music Peace Festival in '89?
Francis Rossi: Well, if someone has an idea and a lot of people are going to fill it with emotion and use it to raise their hands it might be possible. But I don't think the music itself does that. Otherwise the music would do it before someone called for a Peace Festival. And it seems to me that in a world of relativity we think that we can have world peace and maybe we can't, because we wouldn't have relativity. And now we had peace and we had war and I don't understand why it is that way. But can we have poverty if we don't have rich? We live in relativity and without rich we can't have poor and and without war we can't have peace and also without peace we can't have war. Do you think we have peace in the world today? No, I don't think so. And plus, there is a war machine and arms industry that needs conflicts and all that. If there is no conflict, there is no a arms industry. So that industry is going to need its conflicts which is kind of weird. But that's what happens. I don't like it and it makes me wonder why various wars came about. And why we have this whole circle of terrorism. Are there really areas that need terrorism? So they can they sell their arms and people are frightened. It's hard to know what's going on today. But I always think that we live in relativity. Will we ever have world peace? We wouldn't know, would we? It's a little bit strange to me when I think about poverty. Can the world all have the same amount of money? I don't know.I probably feel a lot more comfortable of that if I heard that it's okay, but there will always be somebody worse or better then someone else. I don't think that's necessarily good, but that's just how it is ... we live in a world of relativity.
Alex: Thank you very much for taking the time for this interview! Could you leave some final greetings to the fans out there?
Francis Rossi: I don't have any closing words. Maybe that sounds strange, but I don't. You want me something to say like: "I'm looking forward to rock with you", but I don't do that. I would like to see our fans at the next gig or whatever we come to! I don't have any particular message that would put me in a very lofty position. I can't say: "This gig, it's going to be fantastic and the best night in your live!" That's not true. It might not be ... some people would see it as the worst night they ever had. We live in relativity! [laughs]
Alex: So, thanks again for your time and all the best for your future!
Francis Rossi: Thanks for listening!
A longer version of Francis's interview on Later With Jools Holland was broadcast on 12th October. This was a better version of the interview than the one broadcast on the 9th. It kicked off with a good plug for the "Hello Quo" DVD, before discussing the band's longevity and rock & roll lifestyle. Francis recounted the Vienna airport incident in some detail and the inevitable "Pictures of Matchstick Men" footage from Top of the Pops got yet another airing. Jools asked Francis what particular things he liked to take on tour and he said a special pillow, a very heavy robe, a blanket and a sheet - very rock and roll, eh?Revisit the October 2012 event list
The following article appeared in the Sunday edition of the Independent newspaper on 14th October, entitled "50 years of Quo - and still no fourth chord" and written by Jonathan Owen.
"For decades they were prophets without honour in their own land. Status Quo, former three-chord wonders and the ultimate pub band, now find themselves the musical influence everyone wants to claim.
The band have never been accused of being "cool", nor cared very much. Yet this weekend songwriters as diverse as Paul Weller, Jeff Lynne, Noel Gallagher and Brian May queued up to heap praise on them. A new biopic which opens next week will cement the band's new-found respectability.
The band's apparently stubborn refusal to move with the times caused them to be viewed as little more than a novelty act. But their brand of "boogie rock" has been massively influential, according to the new documentary.
It profiles the eternal rockers – still playing 50 years after it all began back in 1962, when schoolfriends Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster started the band as the Spectres. John Coghlan joined a year later and they became Status Quo when Rick Parfitt joined in 1967.
Perhaps their finest hour was opening Live Aid to an audience of hundreds of millions across the planet in 1985, with "Rockin' All Over the World". Since then they have toured almost non-stop, with albums – their latest Quid Pro Quo released last year – usually finding a place in the UK album charts. They have sold more than 120 million albums worldwide and had 64 British chart hits – more than any other band. Their lowest ebb came when Radio 1 blacklisted them in the mid-1990s, and they failed to get the decision overturned in the courts.
Now, according to the film, Hello Quo, they have become the band to name-check among the generations that followed. Paul Weller recalled how seeing the band in 1972 "was all the confirmation we ever needed about being in a band – we just thought it was amazing".
Joe Elliott, the lead singer of Def Leppard, added: "They were the relief from all the hippie overblown prog crap that was going off in the Seventies."
ELO's Jeff Lynne said: "Simplicity is a real hard thing to accomplish if it's not just bland or boring. They make it exciting and it's just three chords, you know."
Commenting on the praise now being heaped on Status Quo after so many years of ridicule, Tim Ingham, editor of Music Week, said: "It's too easy to associate Quo with chicken head-bobbing, ponytail naffness and that all too reliable rockin' riff, but they have a heck of a lot going for them as a musical outfit." Their first hit single, "Pictures of Matchstick Men", which reached No 7 in 1968, is "a solid gold classic record that's been cited by everyone from Noel Gallagher to Ozzy Osbourne and Kasabian as an influence", he added.
The band's music is "a modern take on 12-bar blues", according to Adam Liversage of the British Phonographic Industry. "Plenty of bands have covered or referenced Quo, including Coldplay," he added.
Part of their enduring appeal is "a complete lack of pretentiousness", says Melanie Armstrong, head of music at HMV. Status Quo are "a people's band, with a natural working-class appeal".
Currently touring Europe, the band will return to play a string of Christmas shows in Britain later this year, finishing at the O2 arena in London.
There is also a film in the works: the band will feature in a comedy action movie called Bula Quo! to be released in cinemas next year. Asked the band's secret recently, Rossi was blunt: "Keep it simple."
Queen's guitarist Brian May summed it up almost as succinctly: "If I was in Status Quo, I'd be very proud of myself. It doesn't matter how many chords you use, and they have a great sense of humour, of course. They've always done that, and this great thing, you know, searching for the fourth chord."
While some may not admit it, the list of bands influenced by Status Quo's rock sound is endless. "They've kept the most elementary form of blues-tinged rock'n'roll in the public's ear for decades, something for which any artist whose work is still deep set in those chord structures owes them," according to Tim Ingham, editor of Music Week. They are just one of a number of British bands to have given birth to musical offspring.
The two biggest bands of the Sixties, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, are the reference points for most, if not all, guitar-based pop and rock bands that have come since. Take the Beatles: with roots in skiffle and rock'n'roll, the band continually reinvented their sound, embracing everything from pop ballads to psychedelic rock. They have inspired everyone from the Monkees and Nirvana to Oasis. Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones, who like to be known as the "world's greatest rock'n'roll band", have also made their mark. Bands such as Aerosmith, Black Crowes, AC/DC, the Verve and Primal Scream are among those influenced by the Stones' blues rock.
Pink Floyd, with their understated and introspective mix of psychedelia and prog rock in the late 1960s, went on to become one of the world's biggest selling bands. A series of massively successful concept albums in the 1970s, including The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall, helped to propel Pink Floyd into a stadium act, with more than 250 million album sales worldwide. Their sound has been a major influence on acts ranging from Rush and Genesis to Talking Heads, Radiohead and Blur. Even David Cameron is a fan of the band, claiming earlier this year that The Dark Side of the Moon is his favourite album."Revisit the October 2012 event list
The premiere for the "Hello Quo!" movie was held at the London Odeon in Leicester Square on 22nd October. A brand new red carpet was reeled out and a hefty turnout of fans and press ensured that the band and their various special guests were greeted warmly as they arrived and made their way into the cinema. John Coghlan and his wife Gillie were popular with the photographers (arriving at the red carpet after strolling from a pub across the road), as were Francis and Rick, while Andy and Matt slipped in relatively quietly. Other notable Quo "names" walking the red carpet included Neil Warnock, Mike Paxman, Bob Young, Pip Williams, Kenny Jones, Nick Rossi, Rick Parfitt Jnr, John Keeling and Dave Ling.
A competition to win tickets for the showing meant a good cross-section of Quo fans were also allowed to walk the red carpet and mingle with the celebrities, before the main event - the first UK exhibition of the full movie, in its 152-minute glory, preceded by a short introduction by the director, Alan G. Parker. It seems like the movie was well received and the "reunion" footage featuring Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan resulted in applause from the audience!
After the movie, a short question and answer session was run by Paul Gambaccini with the current band members on stage. Paul fielded questions from the audience and almost immediately managed to offend Classic Rock's Dave Ling by suggesting he looked like Jimmy Savile! A number of fan questions were answered during what was a fairly poorly organized session.
Some good photos from this event can be found here. (I am grateful to Hazel for her permission to use the photos from the premiere shown on this page.)
The premiere was widely covered in the press, including these TV interviews:
The "Hello Quo!" movie itself was also heavily reviewed in the press and generally received positive commentary.This one came from Allan Hunter in The Express and he gave the movie four out of five. "Hello Quo is an epic documentary. They are as old as The Beatles or Rolling Stones but Status Quo have never been considered as cool. That hasn't stopped them rocking all over the world for a half century and selling more than 120 million albums. This epic documentary, being screened for one night only nationwide on Monday, contains everything you could possibly want to know about the band as recalled by Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and the others. It is entirely conventional in the mix of interviews, archive material and thumping concert footage but that is hardly going to trouble fans. The members leave the impression of being hard-working, music-loving geezers who still can't quite believe their luck or their enduring success. Sir Cliff, Brian May, Midge Ure and Paul Weller are among those adding memories in a story that spans virtually the history of British pop as Quo journeyed from appearances in working men's clubs to Live Aid. Irresistible pop nostalgia."
This review from The Guardian was written by Peter Bradshaw and he awarded the movie three out of five. "A two-and-a-half hour documentary about Status Quo? Well, if there isn't a three-and-a-half hour documentary about Wishbone Ash on offer, this will have to do. Actually, only the most hard-hearted will decline to indulge this colossal piece of Quo worship, recounting the band's epic history, showcasing some glorious Shark Sandwich-style album covers and the bizarrely psychedelic early hit, Pictures of Matchstick Men in 1967. The band soon shifted to what Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias called "heads down no nonsense mindless boogie". Defiantly, magnificently, Quo took their stand and never shifted. They did not see a need to change; they became part of the establishment, and as for any irony, or lack of irony, in their name... well, that is one of many subjects in which Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi are cheerfully uninterested. Parfitt himself looks content with life, very laidback, though Rossi is more animated, jabbering away like a Paul Whitehouse character. The film interviews some prominent Quo fans, such Paul Weller, who revere their inspired simplicity. ELO's Jeff Lynne hammers snobby critics who knock Quo for having just three chords and then give "10 stars to the Ramones who've got two". Exactly."
The review in The Times was short and not especially sweet. Wendy Ide awarded it just one out of five and commented "A two-and-a-half hour documentary about the rock band Status Quo. This plodding, factual film is for hardcore fans only."
The review on The Arts Desk by Bruce Dessau was a decent effort too. "We currently seem to be awash with rockumentaries. The Rolling Stones have yet another retrospective out, while Friday night on BBC Four would not be complete without dusting off the back catalogue of some mid-table band once adored by some nice middle-aged folk unable to find a babysitter. Status Quo fare better than a BBC Four slot, if less well than Jagger & co's la-di-da London Film Festival airing, with their very own doc, Hello Quo, enjoying a brief cinema release before coming out on DVD. While Quo might not have the cachet of the Stones, they do have a definite niche. Welcome to The World's Least Pretentious Rock Band. Alan G Parker's thorough if overlong overview is the perfect meeting of form and content. Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt and chums have made some fantastic hard-rocking records that on hearing them chugging away again here genuinely stand the test of time, but they have never pushed the creative envelope and neither does this workmanlike film. Even the captions seem to be displayed in the simplest of typefaces. Three-chord fonts, if you like. But like any group that has been around for half a century, there are plenty of rib-tickling tales and the odd touching titbit to keep one watching. The band were always boogie men at heart but their breakthrough 1967 single, the wonderfully trippy “Pictures of Matchstick Men”, got them accidentally lumped in with psychedelia and they were promptly dragged down to the King's Road to get the correct threads. Hangdog drummer John Coghlan recalls having to wear a horrid red cape which, to his delight, caught fire with him in it and had to be discarded – just one of the many moments where the anecdotes sail perilously close to Spinal Tap terrain. As well as interviews with Rossi and Parfitt, Alan G Parker (not the Bugsy Malone director) has gathered contributions from other then-and-now band members, making the result fairly definitive. As well as Coghlan there is original bassist Alan Lancaster (not sure if his shiny teeth are original though) and some unexpected big guns. Paul Weller sings the praises of the band's Sixties wardrobe, Brian May recalls Live Aid, while various Top of the Pops veterans from Slade and Sweet sporting dubious hair recall swigging drinks with Quo. It helps, of course, that Parfitt – filmed next to obligatory pool – and Rossi – filmed next to mandatory mixing desk – are gold-medal raconteurs. They must be great fun down the pub, though one wonders if after a while they might start repeating the same stories, such as that time Lancaster allegedly decked three Aussie coppers and landed them all in jail, or that time they projected porn movies onto the wall of a building opposite their hotel and watched that instead of paying attention to a demanding groupie. As for the inevitable drugs hell, Quo were more of a beer band, but even they succumbed to the coke blizzards that were flying around. They made pots of money, and the film suggests much of it went up their nostrils. They could, however, have made even more cash. During their imperial Seventies phase when the hits kept rolling – "Down Down", "Caroline", “Roll Over Lay Down” – Levi's featured them extensively in their adverts for, according to this doc, not much more than free denim for their promotional efforts. Imagine that happening now. Come the Eighties and Nineties, the story becomes less fascinating as the band approach National Treasure status while having a strop with Radio 1 for not playing their singles. The personnel changed, but Quo continued to tour, keeping in the public eye more through PR stunts – playing on the Ark Royal, doing a tour of pubs, doing four gigs in 12 hours – than through chart-toppers. Nice to see a pie-eyed Parfitt tumbling into the drums while doing "Marguerita Time" on Top of the Pops, though. Despite the line-up upheavals, Quo celebrate their golden anniversary with no dramatic rock-related tragedies. Parfitt had a quadruple bypass and Rossi had his ponytail amputated, but that’s about it. The film concludes on a genuinely unexpected note. No, not the announcement that they are about to make a jazz fusion album, but a sentimental reunion of the seminal Rossi, Parfitt, Lancaster, Coghlan line-up, who immediately have the old chemistry. You can take the mickey out of Quo, but you can’t take the boogie out of them."
Another review appeared on the Rhythm Circus site, with Alec Plowman awarding it 3.5 out of 5. "Status Quo are a band whose position within the canon of great British music has often been contested. To some, they’re the double-denim clad purveyors of three-chord pop-rock that is the CD changer choice of uncool dads everywhere. Yet, to others (mostly uncool dads), the Quo represent so much more. They’re a soundtrack to misspent youth, with a pile-driving boogie backbeat that, when heard over any kind of stereo transmitting system, will inevitably result in a display of invisible axe strumming that may or may not be worthy of the international air guitar championships. Whatever version of the Quo you are familiar with though, it’s an incontestable fact that the band are something of a British institution. 2012 marks their fiftieth anniversary, which means that the band has been around for as long as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and er… Cliff Richard. And in those fifty years, they have racked up some pretty impressive achievements. They’ve opened Live Aid, played to royalty, completed an entire U.K tour in the space of twelve hours and appeared more times on Top of the Pops than most people have had hot dinners. They even had their own storyline in Coronation Street, something to which messers Jagger, Richards, Lennon and McCartney could never claim. And so, a half century into the band’s career, we are given Hello Quo, a retrospective documentary charting the ascent of the band from psychedelic pop-pushers, to rock and roll underdogs, to Levi’s poster-boys and beyond. And, my god, if there’s a more exhaustive document of the highs and lows of Status Quo, then I have yet to see it. Hello Quo, at almost three hours in length, is like the Ben-flippin’-Hur of music documentaries. Clearly a labour-of-love project comprised of interviews, news reels and concert footage, the film provides a history of the band that is as complete as we are ever likely to see, covering every aspect of Status Quo in great detail. It’s a retrospective that proves to be in equal parts illuminating and amusing. The picture of Quo that the film paints is filled with intense fondness and sincerity for the band, while being devoid of the self-aggrandizing pomposity from which rock-docs of this kind can often suffer. Whether recounting some of their more bizarre rock and roll excesses (projecting porn onto buildings from the window of a German hotel) or wryly assessing their musical process (“we used four-chords on some songs” guitarist Rick Parfitt states at one point, with only a hint of sarcasm), the affection for the band that is present throughout the 2 hour and forty five minute runtime is indicative of the devotional spirit that has carried the Quo throughout their fifty year history. Hello Quo is a film made by fans, for fans. Densely packed with trivia, anecdotes and long-lost footage, it is a present to the faithful that have followed the band throughout their fifty year career. Certainly, Hello Quo feels like Christmas come early if you’re watching the film as a Quo fanatic. To the unconverted viewer, though, the sheer volume of material could well be the film’s undoing. It’s a dense, marathon-ride through the history of Rick Parfitt, Francis Rossi et al that is friendly to fans, yes. But the flip side of this is that Hello Quo, at points, proves damn-near impenetrable to the casual observer. And that’s a real shame, because, as much of the material in this picture wonderfully demonstrates, Quo are a band deserved of re-evaluation by their skeptics in the rock music fraternity. In their 1970s heyday, they were clearly a powerhouse – devastating implementers of a three-chord boogie assault that resonates through Brit rock young guns from the Wildhearts to Biffy Clyro. Yet, their oft-forgotten influence on British rock music is something that is overlooked here, for the most part due to the magnitude of content that is crammed into the feature. Ultimately, the film might not succeed in turning the skeptics onto one of Britain’s unsung rock heroes. But, to those who know the Quo, it’s a perfect excuse to get that moth-eaten denim jacket out of the wardrobe, crank the invisible Marshall stack up to eleven, and “get down, deeper and down” one more time."Revisit the October 2012 event list
Francis was interviewed by Pat Marsh on BBC Radio Kent on 24th October. Pat kicked things off by playing "Better Than That" (which Francis commented he enjoyed listening to) before starting a discussion about how Quo's stage show was changed and developed during their career. Francis went on to talk about the quality of recordings (digital vs. analogue) and they briefly talked about the recording of "Quid Pro Quo". Pat then asked a few questions posted on the show's Facebook page.Revisit the October 2012 event list
Francis was interviewed by Paula White on BBC Radio Stoke on 24th October. Paula was a bit thrown by the fact that it was just Francis as she was expecting both Francis and Rick. They started off by discussing the "Quo Festive" tour, with the usual complaints about the state of British theatres from Francis. The next topic was "Hello Quo!" and Francis tried to be positive about it, before morphing into a discussion about older music. Paula played the interview out with "In The Army Now".Revisit the October 2012 event list
Francis was interviewed by Louise Elliott on BBC Radio Wales on 24th October, his last radio interview of the day. She kicked things off with a montage of Quo hits while Francis decided this would be a good time to start eating a doner kebab! They talked about the "Quo Festive" tour and the band's preparations for it (and the usual claims about disliking rehearsals). Francis talked about his exercise regime and trying to avoid getting sick on tour. Discussion then turned to "Hello Quo!" and the reunion jam (which Francis said was like "putting an old comfortable pair of boots on"). The next topic was "Live Aid" and Francis reiterated that he thought Quo were "rubbish" on the day. The future of the band was then discussed, before Louise played out with an unexpected choice, in "The Winner".Revisit the October 2012 event list
The "Hello Quo!" movie was released on DVD in the UK on 29th October. The release came in essentially two different formats - a single DVD (including the movie only, runtime 152 minutes) and a double DVD/Blu-Ray "Collectors Edition" (including the movie and a bonus disc, runtime 331 minutes!). The Collectors Edition seemed to be most popular, as expected, and includes the full "reunion" footage of the original Frantic Four playing for almost an hour at Shepperton Studios, priceless stuff.Revisit the October 2012 event list
The following article, entitled "'My only exercise is on stage, about 50 times a year': Under the microscope with Rick Parfitt" and written by Nick McGrath, appeared in the UK's Daily Mail newspaper on 30th October.
"The Status Quo star, 64, on coping with the death of his daughter, why he gave up drugs and no longer being a blonde bombshell.
DO YOU EXERCISE? My only exercise is on stage, about 50 times a year. I sweat heavily and the more I sweat, the more I like it. I’ve never enjoyed regular exercise.
EVER DIET? I’m 5ft 9in and weigh 78kg (12st 3lb) but I go up and down. Once I start a diet I’m very good. I can do chicken or steak and salad and nothing else. As long as I can get into clothes I’ve had for a few years, I know I’m not doing too badly.
ANY VICES? I don’t live the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle any more, but I love wine — I can drink a bottle an evening. I smoke five cigarettes a day, but haven’t touched drugs for nearly seven years. It cost me so much: I had problems with my two oldest children because they were frightened of me.
HANGOVER CURE? In the past, I’d have had another drink but now I’ll wait until five o’clock. And I try not to have as much as the night before.
WORST ILLNESS? Having a quadruple bypass in 1997 was bad, but I was back on stage within six weeks. I thought if I was going to drop dead, it might as well be on stage. Then, last December, four days before our tour, I had a heart attack. The next day, I had a stent put in and did the gig two days later.
COPE WELL WITH PAIN? No — I look away and bite my finger even for blood tests. One particularly painful moment was when I decided to frighten my bandmate Alan Lancaster, so hid behind the curtains until he fell asleep, then jumped out. My shin landed on a glass table and was lacerated down to the bone. Fortunately, there was no permanent damage.
POP ANY PILLS? Aspirin every day, simvastatin for my cholesterol. I was diagnosed as borderline diabetic three months ago, so I take something for that, too. I’ve also developed this itchy eczema type rash, and take steroid tablets for that.
IS SEX IMPORTANT? I’m no longer the blond bombshell I was, so have to be careful how far I push my heart. It’s nice to have a cuddle — we’ll leave it at that, shall we?
EVER HAD PLASTIC SURGERY? I had Botox a year ago and I hated it. It felt like my eyes were set in concrete.
CLOSEST YOU’VE COME TO DEATH? I nearly drowned as a child. I couldn’t swim until I was nine and all my mates were down the deep end, and I nearly drowned trying. My daughter, Heidi, died in a swimming pool accident, so now my other children swim like dolphins.
EVER BEEN DEPRESSED? I do get down sometimes. When my daughter drowned I threw myself into work, but you never get over it. Having my two lovely little ones, (four-year-old twins) Tommy and Lily, has eased it, but for my first wife Marietta it’s so hard. She’s still got Heidi’s clothes.
BIGGEST PHOBIA? Creepy-crawlies. Years ago, I got stuck in a room with a daddy long legs the size of a saucer. It made my skin creep, so I hairsprayed it. I’m the same with moths.
LIKE TO LIVE FOR EVER? If I could just see my children grow up, then I’d die a happy man."Revisit the October 2012 event list
Fans were encouraged to send in questions for Alan G. Parker, the director of the "Hello Quo" documentary, from the official Quo web site. He was deluged with questions, as expected, but took some time to reply to some of them. The full set of questions and answers can be seen here. My submission also got answered! I asked "During your time working with the band putting this documentary together, what was the most genuinely surprising thing you personally discovered about Status Quo?", to which Alan answered "To be honest I was most surprised just how frank they were... Normally when you see that it says ‘official’ documentary, it’s been edited to hell by management... We were given a very free hand, and I think that honesty shows on screen..."Revisit the October 2012 event list