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That was the Quo month that was ... October 2021



1st - Tribute to Alan Lancaster on "The Rock Show" with John Keeling on Zetland FM

John Keeling, who produced a number of Quo videos since 2005 including "Beginning of the End" and "Go Go Go", paid tribute to Alan Lancaster during his weekly "The Rock Show" on Zetland FM on 1st October.

During his three-hour show, he read out fan tributes every hour as well as also playing a couple of Quo songs. In the first hour, the tributes included one from the FTMO fan club and John played "Backwater" and "Ol' Rag Blues", the latter of course featuring the less familiar Alan lead vocal.

In the second hour, tributes included one from Richie Malone who spoke fondly of meeting Alan at the final Frantic Four gig in Dublin in 2014. John played "Is There A Better Way" and "Over The Edge".

In the final hour, tributes included those from Bob Young and long-time Quo photographer, Danny Clifford, before John played "Blue For You" and finally "Bye Bye Johnny".

The full show can be heard here, with the Alan tributes coming at around twenty minutes into each hour of the show.

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2nd - Tribute to Alan Lancaster on "This Week In Music" with Gavin Miller on Gold 104.3 (Melbourne)

A short tribute to Alan Lancaster featured on "This Week In Music" on Melbourne's Gold 104.3 radio station on 2nd October. Hosted by Gavin Miller, he replayed part of a previous chat with Alan about Live Aid in which Alan claimed to have played the first note of the event (which must be news to Andy Bown!) and that Quo essentially did the soundcheck by playing first. Gavin played "Rockin' All Over The World" from Live Aid to close out his short tribute.

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4th - "Hello!" featured in Classic Rock's "Album Of The Week Club Review"

Classic Rock magazine's "Album Of The Week Club" featured the "Hello!" album in October, with their review being published on 4th October. The magazine describes the club as follows: "Every week, Album of the Week Club listens to and discusses the album in question, votes on how good it is, and publishes our findings, with the aim of giving people reliable reviews and the wider rock community the chance to contribute."

The excellent review and community contributions can be read here and the album ended up scoring a very respectable 7.89 out of 10 (from 85 votes).

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6th - Tribute to Alan Lancaster on Times Radio (UK)

Another tribute to Alan hit the UK airwaves on 6th October, via the somewhat unexpected avenue of Times Radio.

Presented by Mariella Frostrup, she introduced the show by playing The Spectres track "Hurdy Gurdy Man" before being joined by Nigel Williamson (who wrote Alan's obituary in the Times newspaper) and long-time Quo fan, collector and FTMO fan club magazine contributor, Jason Hodgson.

Jason talked about his working relationship with Alan through his production of the Bombers live album on his label, Barrel & Squidger Records. He said it was mainly an online relationship, but he'd also met Alan at the FTMO conventions where he'd observed first hand that Alan was a "fan of the fans". Jason also said that he thinks of Quo in the 70s as having three equal frontmen, noting that many gigs in that period opened with Alan-fronted songs.

Note that the show was sadly only available for a short time on the Times Radio website.

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8th - Scottish Quo convention, McVention, in Glasgow

The bi-annual Scottish Quo convention, McVention, took place in Glasgow on 8th and 9th October. The weekend was packed with Quo tribute bands and the recent passing of Alan Lancaster made the gathering even more poignant for Quo fans starved of gigs for so long due to coronavirus restrictions.

Fan reviews suggest that "Big Fat Mama" were a standout act, playing some fan favourites like "Lonely Man", "Drifting Away" and "Just Take Me". John Coghlan's Quo were well-received too and John read out a letter from Alan's wife, Dayle, in which she wrote about his illness and how he had struggled but had a very high pain threshold. She mentioned how much Alan loved his music and playing - and especially how he loved the fans. He was especially grateful for the reception he got during the 2013 and 2014 reunion tours. This was a nice touch from John and he was cleary very moved by Dayle's words.

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11th - Tribute to Alan Lancaster on the Australian Rock Show podcast (episode 145)

A superb tribute to Alan Lancaster was provided by the Australian Rock Show podcast, posted on 11th October and hosted by Denis Gray. The podcast was billed as follows.

"Alan Lancaster passed away recently - leaving behind a back catalogue of loud, rock n roll riches. As a member of Status Quo, Alan became a rock n roll giant and was loved by fans the world over. For more than half his life, Al called Australia home and after leaving Quo - was a member of popular outfits The Party Boys and then The Bombers. On episode #145 of The Australian Rock Show, we honor Alan's memory by cranking some of our favourite songs and chatting with some of his former band mates: John Brewster, Tyrone Coates, Kevin Borich, John Swan and Paul Christie. Sound engineer David Quinn shares some memories of Al, as does Jason Hodgson from Barrel And Squidger Records. We also check in with T.M.G roadie Ron Clayton, journalist Steve Mascord and friend of the show Leigh 'Lemmy' Wilson. If you're a friend or a fan of Alan Lancaster - this one's for you."

The podcast opened by playing "World's On Fire" from The Bombers, before an interview with John Brewster who spoke very warmly about his time with Alan in both The Party Boys and The Bombers. He mentioned how much Alan loved Australia.

"It Could've Been You" by The Party Boys was played next, before an interview with Tyrone (Ty) Coates, lead singer with The Bombers. He said Alan loved to play live and, even when playing "some quiet gigs in outlying areas", Alan still turned it on. Ty saw one of the 2013 Frantic Four gigs in London and though Alan was "physically struggling a bit", he still described it as "the most amazing experience". Ty also noted that Alan could be "a tough bugger"!

The Alan Lancaster Bombers track "Is This The Way to Say Goodbye" came next before an interview with Kevin Borich. His band The Kevin Borich Express supported Quo in Australia 1976 and Kevin first met Alan then. They last played together in the Party Boys and he noted that Alan was "very nervous" at the first Party Boys gig in Sydney. He described Alan as "a gentleman" and a "strong character", but not egotistical.

Next up was an interview with John Swan (Swanee), who suggested that it was Alan who helped make The Party Boys successful. He described Alan and John Brewster as being "like sisters". He said that Alan was a gentleman, who belonged in an older era like the 1950s, as he had integrity and could see others' pain. He closed by saying that Alan was the "sweetest man I've ever met".

The Party Boys got another spin in the shape of "Small Talk" before a short interview with Paul Christie, founder of the Party Boys, who described Alan as "one of the elite rock pick bass players". Another short interview followed, with David Quinn who was part of the Party Boys crew and sound engineer for the Party Boys and also The Bombers. He described Alan as a "phenomenal bass player" and said he was the "ultimate pro,100% consistent" and he never saw Alan lose his cool.

A live cut of The Party Boys with "Driving Me Crazy" (aka "Over The Edge") from The Tivoli in Sydney (part of the Desk Tapes series) came next before an interview with fan, collector, FTMO fan club magazine contributor and record company owner, Jason Hodgson! Denis mentioned that he was at The Bombers gig (from the Crows Nest Hotel in Sydney in 1989) that Jason's record company, Barrel & Squidger Records, released in 2019 (and Denis also mentioned them playing "Roll Over Lay Down"). Jason spoke fondly of working with Alan to get the album out, drafting in the help of John Eden. While the live recording was originally meant for download-only for FTMO convention attendees, FTMO pushed for a physical product and Barrel & Squidger seemed like a good fit, so Jason got to do the project and work with Alan. Jason also talked about working with John Coghlan's Quo for the "Lockdown" release and said it was a "privilege and honour for a fan to work with Alan".

A track from that Bombers live album followed, in the shape of "Crime Investigator", before an interview with Ron Clayton, a roadie with TMG. He said that Quo had an "immense affect on TMG musically" and that he attended the Randwick Racecourse gig in 1973 when Quo toured with Slade. Ron mentioned that TMG used to play a few Quo songs including Backwater. He revealed that Alan offered to engineer or produce the next TMG album in 1977, but he ended up going back to the UK so the collaboration never eventuated. After The Bombers split, Ron said that Alan came up with the idea of the "TMG Quo show" featuring three members of TMG plus Alan.

An interview with music journalist Steve Mascord came next. The first live show Steve ever saw was The Party Boys and he mentioned meeting Alan backstage at a festival in Wollongong, where The Bombers were supporting Sunnyboys. Steve also mentioned interviewing Alan (and other members of Quo) for Juke magazine.

The final interview of the podcast was with Leigh "Lemmy" Wilson, who ran Quo's official Australian fan club in the late 1970s. He told a great story about inheriting a pile of unsold merchandise at the end of the "Rockin' All Over Australia" tour in 1978 when things went pear-shaped with the merch folks and Leigh and others didn't get paid for their work manning the merch stalls, instead accumulating hundreds of programmes, posters and other leftover gear! Leigh mentioned seeing the Party Boys a couple of times and also meeting Quo backstage.

The show closed out by playing a recording (made by a smuggled tape recorder in February 1989 thanks to Denis's brother!) of The Bombers performing AC/DC's "Have A Drink On Me" at the Crows Nest Hotel.

The full podcast can be downloaded here.

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15th - Francis interviewed by James Bassam on "Raised on Radio"

Francis was interviewed by James Bassam on "Raised on Radio" on 15th October, with the interview being uploaded to YouTube on 20th October.

In the twenty minute interview, Francis said that, during lockdowns, he'd "got lazy" and was now pushing himself to get fit in readiness for the 2022 Quo tour. He reiterated that he still has "some kind of fear" about going on each night but is looking forward to it, especially in smaller venues as he finds arenas physically harder as the stages are bigger.

He spoke fondly about the talk tour, saying it was "intimate, warmer" and he's "very happy doing it". He mentioned that he "just loves music" and it's what got him started and keeps him going in the business. Francis can't seem to pass up the opportunity to use the term "insecure" in interviews but, in this case, he said he was "happy being insecure in himself" as it helps him to consider what can go wrong and to not set expectations.

Talking about Rick, he said he was "a lot more cocky showbiz", that he loved him when they were younger and lots of people tried to break up their friendship for various reasons.

Francis said that marrying Eileen made him want to clean himself up and called Live Aid "a great thing" and he was "so glad we went on first". He wrapped up by talking about his guitar skills, saying that he still considers himself as learning the guitar but that he still finds "a joy to playing it".



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29th - "Minds Behind The Music" book published featuring contribution by Francis

The Minds Behind The Music book was published on 29th October and included a contribution from Francis alongside many other well-known musicians. The book is subtitled "Music Stars Unite To Save The Planet" and it focuses on climate change and environmentalism.

The official promo for the book follows.

"What does Francis Rossi of Status Quo think about global warming? Does Ian Gillan of Deep Purple think we're doing a good job of caring for the planet? These questions and more are tackled by going to the source and asking them. Suzi Quatro, Don McLean, Kenney Jones, Marcella Detroit, Simon Kirke and many more: Over eighty music stars, past and present, are quizzed on their opinions about religion, aliens, politics and of course, the issues of climate change. Why? To raise awareness about the plight the planet is in. Nothing speaks to humans more than music and the influence these legends of rock and pop have is immense. Funny, thought provoking and eye opening, Minds Behind the Music is a book unlike any other. So settle down with a nice environmentally friendly cup of tea and enjoy."

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