Quo were one of a number of major artists to play a special show to mark the opening of the recently-renovated Zurich airport in Switzerland. This unique gig was performed inside an aircraft hangar to a crowd of over 10000. The Quo set was around 70 minutes, with no change to the recent setlist but without the 'Heavy Traffic' songs and no "Big Fat Mama".
Some official photos of the event are available here, whilst a superb set of photos of Francis and Rick in action can be found here.Revisit the September 2004 event list
Rick Parfitt Senior and his son Rick Junior, 26, were interviewed by Mel Bradman for The Times, the interview appearing in The Times magazine "Relative Values" on 12th September. The interview is transcribed below.
"Rick Parfitt, 55, has been the guitarist and vocalist in Status Quo since 1967. The band, which started out playing Butlins holiday camps, has had more chart albums than any other British band apart from the Rolling Stones. A Status Quo autobiography and greatest-hits CD — both called XS All Areas — are out this week. Rick Sr lives in west London with Patti — whom he is back with after they divorced in 1996 — and their son, Harry, 14. Rick Jr, 26, is his son with his first wife, Marietta Bošker. Rick and Marietta's daughter, Heidi, drowned in a swimming pool at the age of two.
Rick Jr is a singer-songwriter and a sales manager for a sports company. Each week he sings at Kitsch Lounge Riot, a cult live-music club at London's Camden Palace. He lives in west London with his girlfriend, Malin Johansson, a model.
RICK SR: When Richard was born, Status Quo were fairly established. Marietta and I had a lovely house in the country, and Richard had everything a child could want. The drag was, I wasn't there to see much of it. I was on tour or out of it on booze and coke. I must have frightened the life out of him. You're talking about throwing suites of furniture in the swimming pool and fighting with the band in the billiard room just for the hell of it. He was brought up knowing lots of people in the business: Cliff Richard, Mike Reid, 10cc's Kevin Godley. Rudolf Nureyev, who was a friend of Marietta's, was here a lot. But I steered clear of him; couldn't be seen with a ballet dancer!
Richard was six and his sister, Heidi, was two when she drowned in our pool. Me and Richard were watching TV and I thought Heidi was with Marietta, who was making the Sunday lunch. Marietta thought Heidi was with me. Suddenly we realised we didn't know where she was, so we went outside, shouting for her. Then it struck me: "Oh God, the pool." And that's where I found her. I tried to resuscitate her. Richard said: "Dad, I just saw her move." I said: "Are you sure? Did you?" But of course he hadn't. It was wishful thinking on his part. It must have been terrible for him, but I don't know what he was feeling because I was too far gone in my grief — and Marietta's.
Quite soon after, Richard was sent to boarding school and Marietta and I got divorced. After that I couldn't get to see him. I don't think his mum wanted me to, and I don't blame her. I was still living the wild life and he was frightened to see me. Apparently, if he saw a picture of me in a magazine he'd rip it up. When he was nine, he developed a serious illness — Crohn's disease. I visited him in hospital and he was very distant, as if he didn't know me. In fact, he didn't know me.
When he was 10, I spotted him riding his bicycle in the street. I drove by and shouted: "Richard!" He was frozen with fear. "How are you?" I said. "I'm fine, but I've got to get home," he said. And he got back on his bike. I felt gutted, but what could I expect?
When he was 15, Marietta phoned me out of the blue and said: "I think that you should see Richard." I said yes immediately and turned up at their house in my Porsche. He was nervous and so was I, but we hit it off straight away. We started to do all sorts of things — going to the pictures, go-karting, playing tennis and squash. The only drag was, he got ill again. He had another operation and afterwards I noticed his calves were the size of a wrist. It was touch and go. I said to Marietta, "Not both kids, surely..." but he came through. I decided he needed to see the man's side of life — to come on the road with the band, be one of the boys — and he began to flourish. I had a boat and we used to cruise. Richard would bring a couple of birds along and away we'd go.
When he was 17, he came to live with me. It was a disaster. I'd reached the age where I liked things tidy; he was at the age where he didn't. He'd be in his room making music and I'd bang on the door to say: "Keep the bloody noise down."
One day, he got sick of taking all his medication and said: "I'm going to throw these pills away. I've had enough of looking like this." From that moment he began to recover and make up for lost time. He was never to be seen, or if he was he had arm candy at either side. He got big, strong and became enlightened. When I heard he wanted to become a musician, I was all for it. I saw him perform the other night for the first time and I cried my eyes out. It blew me away. I said to him: "I've only waited 50-odd years for that moment."
I'm still upset I missed all those years with him — what an arsehole I must have been to have created that void. Had I been sane, none of this would have happened. But nothing minor happens to me. In 1997 I had a quadruple heart bypass — you can't get bigger than that.
I've had women chasing me all my life, and Richard has the same pulling power. He's such a handsome boy. I walk into the room and go: "Ah, there's my boy." Marietta raised him beautifully. And I don't think our being separated when he was younger did us any harm. If love is there, it's going to come out, isn't it?
RICK JR: Most kids at school had accountants for dads. Mine was the archetypal rock 'n' roller. There were all these bloody cars he'd buy, then smash up. He lived it to the full. Mum and Dad had matching Porsches, I had a mini Range Rover and Dad had a real one. We'd race each other and tear the lawn to shreds. They were good days.
Dad was always off touring, but when he was back it was great fun. Looking back, I can see he had drug problems. I never saw him take them but I'd see the mad eyes. But then he was a rock 'n' roll star — he had a reputation to live up to.
I was sent to boarding school after Heidi drowned. It was the most awful experience of my life: a horrible, horrible thing that happened on the most beautiful summer's day. It broke both my parents. Till this day my mum carries it in her heart really badly.
I was nine when my parents split up, and that's when I got Crohn's. I had two operations to take away my gut and I was on huge amounts of steroids. I didn't see Dad for six or seven years, but I thought about him all the time — it was hard not to. I'd see him on TV and I didn't know whether to love or resent him. I was proud of him, but I couldn't show it — I was worried about upsetting Mum. It also made school difficult. Everyone knew who my dad was; he'd come up in conversation pretty much every day.
I was cycling up a hill in Woking when I saw this Rolls-Royce coming the other way. I recognised the numberplate. It was RP something and I knew it was Dad. I thought, I must get out of here. So I cycled to the nearest paper shop and went in. Dad spotted me, ran in and said: "Hi." It was the oddest of meetings; I got away as quickly as possible.
When I was 15, Mum decided me and Dad needed to form a relationship, and Dad turned up for our inaugural meeting in a gleaming blue Porsche convertible. Me and Mum had a Ford Orion at the time. I was like: "Oh my God!" I realised one thing we had in common was a love of cars. Within half an hour we found out we drank tea the same way and had the same sense of humour. What had been lacking in me being laddish, I could be with Dad. Our reconciliation definitely helped me health-wise, but Crohn's recurred when I was at university. I went down to 5½ stone. But this time, with Dad around, I got a lot of support, but there was this air of despair about him because he didn't know what to do.
When I was 17, we shared a flat. It was a nightmare. We hated each other. He'd come in absolutely plastered and wake me up. It was like living with another boy, because Dad has a mental age of 17.
I'll never do drugs. That's a by-product of knowing Dad did them. He was my role model, so my hatred of him taking them helped him kick the habit. It was awful when he had his quadruple heart bypass, but I was calm about it, having been through so much surgery myself. I saw him the morning after the operation and he had a glass of wine in his hand. All that was missing was the cigarette. That was the first time I realised I could have lost him. Dad's invincible. He looks like a Viking and, despite his best efforts, nothing goes wrong with him.
He never gives me advice on women — if he did, I'd probably not take it. He's a lovable rogue, and has the propensity to lift everyone around him. But I think he sees it as a pressure, because he's always trying to make people happy. He always has to draw attention to himself.
I've kept him away from my music for a long time because I wanted to do it off my own bat. Now I've started to play him my stuff and he's become my biggest fan. But I'd prefer it if he hated it because I don't know how to accept his praise. He said: "I'm so pleased you're not crap." And that was a compliment.
I could have had the most charmed life, but my parents split up. On the flip side, spending my formative years with my mother meant I learnt the value of money. We didn't have anything.
I have a day job because until the music takes off there's no way I'll owe anyone anything. I've kept my feet firmly on the ground. Dad has his feet on the ground, but he walks on air too."Revisit the September 2004 event list
A very candid interview with Francis and Rick appeared in Scotland's "Sunday Herald" newspaper on September 12th. Titled "Status Anxiety" and conducted by Peter Ross, the interview is transcribed in full below (and may also be found on the Sunday Herald web site).
"Disintegrating noses, hallucinations and erectile dysfunction – the Status Quo story is a tragicomic epic spanning four decades. Peter Ross gets the lowdown (down, deeper and down) from Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt.
FRANCIS Dominic Nicholas Michael Rossi – known to his friends as ‘Frame’ – is lolling on the hotel bed, black-jeaned legs dangling over the side like liquorice pipes, white socks fully exposed, feet pushed into a pair of leather loafers, their soles worn from Status Quo’s workhorse schedule of 150 gigs a year. He blows smoke at the ceiling. From this angle, I fancy I can see the hole inside his nose, a portal between the nostrils, caused by excessive cocaine use, through which he can push a cotton bud. As party tricks go, it beats playing the spoons, and has the advantage of making the singer look like a comic-book cannibal, the kind with a bone shoved through his conk. This is an improvement on what he normally looks like: a more dissolute version of Paul Whitehouse’s “Little bit werrrrr, little bit weyyyy” Fast Show character.
“We were probably fashionable for ten minutes in 1968,” he muses, “and maybe for a couple of weeks with some male teenagers in the early Seventies. But as soon as you are trendy and cool, you’re going to quickly become uncool. That’s the way the industry’s set up. So it’s better for us to stay uncool, I think. But for our fans, we’re the coolest thing ever.”
Across the room, Rick Parfitt, nickname ‘Rock’, the only other remaining member from the classic Status Quo line-up, joyfully picks up the theme like a big fluffy dog with a stick. “I think we’re underrated. I think we’re a great band, and I’ve always thought that. But over the years, the critics have had a go at us.” Parfitt is wearing artfully shredded blue jeans. He has the perished rubber face of Donald Trump and the shimmering tresses of Ivana. His chest hair is grey and curls like smoke from his open shirt. Round his neck, a guitar pendant proclaims his trade as proudly as a pawnbroker’s golden balls. He talks like Johnny Rotten but when excited, which is often, sounds more like Bruce Forsyth.
“We find ourselves in a Catch-22,” he continues. “If we try to do something a little bit different, they’ll say, ‘Why don’t Status Quo stick to what they do?’ But if we do what we always do, it’s ‘Oh, same old thing from Quo.’ We can’t win. So the bottom line for us is satisfying ourselves that we like it, and f**k what the critics say.”
Status Quo formed in 1965 and in terms of hit singles, of which they’ve had 51, are the most successful British group ever. They have an uncanny knack of getting into the charts even though they have long been regarded by many as something of a joke. Their Seventies contemporaries – Queen, Elton John, Led Zep – have become cherished rock aristocracy, and yet no Status Quo album is considered part of the British canon. Nevertheless, there is a global constituency of hardcore acolytes – the band figure around two million people in Britain – who worship at the altar of Status Quo, and continue to ensure their record sales tick over and the tours sell out. It is no accident that their most famous fan, Prince Charles aside, is Les Battersby from Coronation Street, a loud-mouthed, boozy taxi driver; Status Quo appeal to those, like Les, who enjoy their ale pale and their rock catchy and uncomplicated.
I am with Rossi and Parfitt at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London because they are about to publish a memoir, XS All Areas, and release a new greatest hits collection. It’s a weirdly polite place to meet such a hard-rockin’ outfit; in the downstairs lobby, a pianist gently tinkles his way through Eternal Flame while two members of Belle and Sebastian wander around looking lost. Yet here we are, and here we are, and here we go – the time is right to talk over 40 years of riffs, tiffs and spliffs.
“They had so much conviction,” says Parfitt, misty-eyed at the memory. “I shall never forget it. They just blew me away. I was a fan from the second I saw them. I have an insight into how people feel when they see us now because I walked in and I went ‘Fackinell, I don’t believe this.’ It was real rock’n’roll. I loved it, and it changed my life.”
Parfitt is recalling the first time he ever saw Status Quo, or the Spectres as they were known then. It was Butlins at Minehead, Somerset, in the year of our lord 1965. The Spectres, featuring 16-year-old Francis Rossi, were performing as part of the summer season. Parfitt, also 16, a former holiday camp Children’s Uncle now working as part of a cabaret act, saw them performing Roll Over Beethoven in the ballroom. Two years later, he joined the band, they changed their name to Status Quo, and a year later had their first hit – the psychadelic classic Pictures Of Matchstick Men.
The fateful first encounter is recalled in XS All Areas, a book much like the Status Quo sound in that it is based on repetition; Rossi takes a chapter, then Parfitt tells the same story from his point of view. Rossi comes across as a bit of a cold fish, while Parfitt is a sweet boy in a sour business. It was Parfitt who, in the early days of the band’s success, took to carrying a lipstick around and surreptitiously writing his own name on the side of the tour van. And only Parfitt, a man obsessed with cars, could write the deathless line, “She was an 18-year-old blonde bombshell with her own Morris 111, and I was totally bowled over by her.”
XS All Areas is extremely candid on the subject of sex. Status Quo are appallingly sexist (Parfitt insists that being pleasured orally by a groupie does not count as infidelity, while Rossi sagely advises that one should not confess adultery to one’s wife unless one really wants to end the marriage) but then to criticise a Seventies rock band for chauvinism is a bit like having a go at a lion for eating gazelles – it’s simply the nature of the beast.
What is interesting is that while most rock biographies, such as Led Zep’s Hammer Of The Gods or Mötley Crüe’s The Dirt, emphasise the sexual prowess and appetites of the band in question, XS All Areas portrays Status Quo as having a much more neurotically British approach to sex. Rossi describes taking a groupie back to his room because he thinks it will impress his mates, locking himself in the bathroom because he can’t face another meaningless coupling, but then emerging and doing the deed out of a sense of obligation, not unlike the way you or I might buy a brush from a door-to-door salesman who has come in for a cup of tea.
Parfitt, meanwhile, confesses that there was a time when he couldn’t get an erection. “It didn’t bother me to put that in the book,” he says. “I think it would have done when I was younger. In fact, I’ve never really told anybody about it before, but I’ve got to a stage in my life where it now appears quite amusing that that happened to me. I found the prettier the girl, the more nervous I was, and the more nervous I was, the softer my cock was. I could just not get a hard-on.” It was devastating at the time, he says slyly, but “I’ve made up for it since.”
What helped was meeting an older woman, whom he calls Mary in the book, who tutored him in the pleasures of the flesh. “She’s 67 now, and still attractive,” he says. They are still in touch. “You go down the old people’s home, don’t you?” Rossi teases, dropping the aitch as casually as his peers dropped acid.
Parfitt and Rossi, both 55, have known each other for almost 40 years. There is no one in their lives with whom they have had a longer relationship. “It’s like a marriage without the sex,” Parfitt jokes. Their various marriages and romances have been dashed on the rocks of Status Quo. Rossi has eight children, an almost Biblical number. He married Jean Smith in 1967 when he was 18, they had three sons and split in 1979. That same year he met Liz Gernon with whom he had a daughter, Bernadette. When Gernon walked out on him, he was lonely and asked his chiropodist to marry him. She said no so he asked a music teacher of his acquaintance. She also declined. Then in 1988 he proposed to another old friend, Eileen Quinn, who was newly married and pregnant at the time. Amazingly, she accepted, and they have four children; the youngest, Fursey, was born in 1996.
“I married too young,” he says now. “I thought that was the way to be accepted as an adult: have a decent house, married, 2.2. So I got all that, and it was so early in life I went, ‘So now what? Why did I do this?’”
When Gernon and his daughter left him, he was upset but not devastated. “Was it the cocaine making you so cold-hearted?” I ask. “No,” he replies. “I’m like that. I’m a bit strange like that. Like when my mother died. I knew she was dying, and when I was woken at seven in the morning and told she had died downstairs, right beneath me, I rolled over and went back to sleep till nine.”
Parfitt says he sometimes thinks his best friend is completely void of emotion yet in the book Rossi confesses that even as a teenager he would often burst into tears when upset. “I still cry very easily,” he explains when I ask about this. “I wouldn’t cry over my mother dying or my father dying but I cry while watching ET. Or last night when I was watching Jerry Maguire. Movies, false situations which are designed to make you turn the taps on work for me, but not real life.”
Parfitt has two children from two marriages. His attitude to his first wife, Marietta Boöker, was essentially flawed. “Everybody in the band but me was married,” he says, “and I thought, ‘Well, I gotta get married.’ I remember going around saying, ‘I’m looking for a wife’. And I found one and she was beautiful but it just didn’t last. Partly because I was unfaithful, but mainly because you’re just away from home so much that you lose contact with one another. I didn’t really know who she was in the end. That was the booze and drugs as well, of course, but we were away on tour for seven, eight months of the year. Status Quo came first, I’m afraid to say. We were all on this rock’n’roll rollercoaster. Life was just one big party, and you forget about your home life, unfortunately.”
It didn’t help that in 1980 Parfitt and Boöker lost their two-year-old daughter, Heidi, in an accident at home; she drowned in the swimming pool. In the book, when discussing this, Parfitt establishes straight away that he wasn’t drunk or high. “I still can’t forgive myself for it,” he tells me, “because I figure I should have realised that she could have gone round in the garden, but if I had been out of it, that would have made some terrible headlines. Not that that was the issue. I’m just pleased now that I wasn’t, that I was able to try and take control of the situation.
“People often say to me, God, I know how you must have felt, but no, you don’t, not unless it’s happened to you. There’s never ever been a more crushing feeling, and I hope there never will be. I just thought it right to establish that I wasn’t out of it that day because we were a lot in the Eighties. I suppose I’m trying to say it wasn’t my fault.”
Parfitt may have been sober when Heidi drowned, but his response was to seek oblivion in drink and drugs. At his most excessive, he had two bottles of whisky and two bottles of wine each day, plus two or three grammes of coke. Rossi, meanwhile, was on two bottles of tequila and three grammes a day. He spent £1300 a week on cocaine; over a ten-year period of use, that’s getting on for £700,000.
Both had bad drug experiences while in the shower. Stoned on some particularly strong marijuana, which he had smoked backstage in Atlanta, “things started to go horrifically wrong” for Parfitt. “There was a very strange woman in the dressing room,” he recalls. “I thought she was a witch so I had her thrown out. I then got back to the hotel and had a shower, but I dropped the soap, and it stood up on end and looked at me, and I thought, ‘F**k! I’ve got to get out of here!’” Just then, the phone started to ring. Parfitt decided that if it stopped ringing by the time he got to it, that would mean he was doomed. Of course, that’s exactly what happened. “I then lay down on the bed, all contorted, and I visualised that this bird in the dressing room had an effigy of me and was poking me. I thought I was going to die, and I haven’t seriously smoked a joint since.”
Rossi, meanwhile, had something even worse happen, and he wasn’t hallucinating. Readers of a nervous disposition should skip to the next paragraph. “I had learned to wash my nose out in the shower,” he says, “and one day – doof! – it fell out. That was my septum. Every time it’d heal up, I’d knock the scab off and it just kept rotting away.”
Parfitt and Rossi are extremely frank about their druggy past (both quit long ago) but insist that everyone in the music business at the time was using cocaine. During the recording sessions for the Band Aid single, they say, they brought out their bag of coke and shared it round. “Everyone was shitfaced that day. There was nobody straight,” Rossi recalls.
“Some people held on and got a decent vocal done,” says Parfitt, “but as the day went on it became quite debauched. I ended up kicking doors in, falling over, getting arrested. And then I tried to do the vocal and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even see the f**king microphone.”
This all puts a slightly different complexion on that lyric about snow in Africa, but Status Quo are unwilling to consider the irony of their involvement in a massive fundraising event given how much they were spending on drugs. “I don’t think the comparison should be made,” says Parfitt. “It doesn’t matter about your personal life. F**k all that.”
Of course, all that was almost 20 years ago. Status Quo were elder statesmen then compared to your Le Bons and Bonos, and it’s incredible that they are still going now, still selling records and touring sizeable venues. Next year will be their 40th anniversary, which they will mark with a world tour, a new album and some hush-hush special events. What they won’t do is split up; it seems that like cockroaches and the common cold, Status Quo will always be with us, reminders of a more geezerish age, their denims of inequity giving off the whiff of rebellion.
“If we ever rest on our laurels,” says Parfitt, “and there are a lot of laurels to rest on, then it would be time to stop. But it ain’t like that. We still go on and give it a lot of verve and gusto. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be Quo.”u
XS All Areas is published by Sidgwick & Jackson on Friday. The greatest hits collection of the same name is released on September 20. The new single, You’ll Come Round, is released tomorrow. Status Quo play Glasgow Clyde Auditorium on December 20, Aberdeen Exhibition Centre on December 22 and Edinburgh Usher Hall on December 23."Revisit the September 2004 event list
The single "You'll Come Round" was released in the UK on September 13th and comes in two formats; a three-track CD single and a special edition 7" vinyl picture disc. Each single features the Rossi/Young-penned title track (re-mixed by Pelle Gunnerfeldt and previewed on the official Quo web site), plus the Parfitt lead vocaled "Lucinda" (Parfitt/Edwards) and a live version of "Down Down" from the Montreux Jazz Festival 2004.
The catalogue numbers (on Universal Music) are 9868038 and 9868066 respectively. The track was Single of the Week on the Ian Dempsey Show on Today FM in Ireland, received a few plays on Radio 2 (courtesy of Terry Wogan and Steve Wright) but failed to be playlisted on Radio 2 during the week of release. A 30-second snippet of the promo video (as filmed at Lincoln Castle) is available here.Revisit the September 2004 event list
Francis and Rick were interviewed on ITV's 'This Morning' show on September 13th, to coincide with the release of the new single, "You'll Come Round". Their appearance was introduced via a clip of a previous one on the show performing "Whatever You Want". The interview was followed by a mimed performance of "You'll Come Round", with both Rick and Francis sporting new Fender signature series guitars.Revisit the September 2004 event list
Francis and Rick appeared on BBC Breakfast News as yet another promo outing for the "XS All Areas" products. A clip of the appearance is available from the BBC web site.Revisit the September 2004 event list
A Quo promo campaign is never complete without an appearance on the Steve Wright Show, now on BBC Radio 2. The long appearance included plays of "You'll Come Round", "What Your Proposin'", "Down Down" and "Down The Dustpipe". The interview parts were the usual rabble of Steve and his posse firing a combination of both sensible and silly questions, handled with the usual good humour by Rick and Francis. Also, as usual, Rick did most of the talking...
One of the best questions from Steve was "On a scale of one to ten, how legendary do you feel?" This had Rick and Francis in stitches, only Rick coming back with a "seven"! There was much hype about a "special gig" in the UK in 2005 for the 40th anniversary, but no real details. There was also the expected coverage of the "XS All Areas" book.Revisit the September 2004 event list
Reader-submitted questions formed the input to a "Quo WebChat" with The Sun newspaper in the UK. The complete set of answers from Rick and Francis appeared on Monday 20th September and are transcribed below, the online chat being titled "Still Rocking All Over The World" by Sinead O'Neill.
"THEY'RE the third biggest band in Britain after The Beatles and The Rolling Stones but Status Quo say sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll almost cost them everything.
In an exclusive webchat, founding members Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, who met at a Butlins summer camp in 1967, told us how they turned to drink and drugs after years of constant touring.
But when Rick underwent life-threatening heart surgery seven years ago, the duo, who have just released their new autobiography XS All Areas, decided to ditch the drugs and launch a fresh assault on the charts.
The veteran rockers are now enjoying more success than ever thanks to new single You'll Come 'Round which crashed into the charts yesterday at number 14.
But despite their 40th anniversary looming next year, Rick and Francis insist they have no plans to quit touring and say they still get a kick from playing live.
So if you're a fan of the band, read on to find out what they think of modern music, why they love The Darkness and why they think they've finally found true happiness.
Question: In your new book, you are very frank about the lifestyle you have led over the past four decades... but why have you decided to reveal all now? (May)
Francis - We’ve always been quite honest and if anybody ever asks us anything, we always tell them straight. We figured that most of our fans knew our story anyway but we decided to put it down on paper so they could read it for themselves.
Rick – Our philosophy has always been that there’s no point doing things by halves. If you are going to do something, do it properly. But since we started writing the book, we’ve remembered lots of other incidents that we should have included as well. After 40 years, we really have more than enough material for another book!
Question: Looking back at your time in the music business, would you say you lived the classic sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll life? (Geraldine, Surrey)
Rick – I think we wrote the book and set the rules on that side of showbiz! Other bands such as Led Zeppelin did it in style too but for us, it really was excess all areas. We had some great times but our experience is also a message for anyone who is thinking of taking the rock and roll route. You have got to be prepared for where fame can lead you and know the consequences of having a good time.
Question: You never seem to show any signs of slowing down but when do you think you will call it a day? (Marcus, Bristol)
Rick – When I look at our touring plans on paper, it always seems like a huge commitment, especially considering we’re both not getting any younger. But when we get on stage, we go into a 'bubble' where real life doesn’t seem to exist. Touring has become such a way of life for us and we've both gotten used to it after all these years. We do feel tired or run down occasionally but as soon as we get on stage, and the lights go down, I feel great. I know it’s a cliché but it's true!
Francis – Rick and I have talked about taking things slightly easier in 2006 but nothing is set in stone. Even if we do take a break, we’ll be back after that - although, if we're not careful, we could end up rocking ‘til we drop!
Rick - As long as we still enjoy what we do and continue to bring so much pleasure to our fans, we don't see any reason to stop... unless we die on stage!
Question: Hi Francis and Rick - you’ve always been very honest about the trouble you encountered with drugs and how it affected the band. How did you eventually manage to overcome your problems? (Malcolm, Shrewsbury)
Francis – Our first experience with drugs stemmed from the lifestyle we led. While most people go for a drink in the pub after work and stop after one, we just kept going and finally found we couldn't stop.
Rick – However, we eventually became aware of what we were doing to ourselves and the people around us. For me, having a quadruple heart bypass was a big wake-up call to cut down on everything addictive in my life, including drinking and smoking. I found myself at the stage where I physically couldn’t take my lifestyle much longer. When you want to jump around on stage for two hours at a time you need to maintain the status quo – no pun intended – and start looking after yourself.
Francis - At the end of the day, if we wanted to continue the band and the standard of music we were producing, we needed to think about what we wanted and what we needed to do to get to that point. It really became imperative at that point that we needed to get cleaned up.
Question: You’ve sold more than 100 million records worldwide since you first formed back in 1967, something most bands today can only dream about. What do you think about the modern music scene? (Hayley)
Francis – There are some good acts around today but the last five or ten years have also seen a lot of manufactured material which I think has killed off live music. It's hard to know where upcoming bands should even try to begin because the live music circuit doesn't really exist anymore. Status Quo started off playing in grotty pubs with tiny audiences, which was hard at the time. However, it is important that musicians learn to 'die' on stage because it's the only way to develop a thick skin.
Rick – We experienced a step-by-step approach to success, and with every step on the ladder, we felt the benefits and pitfalls of what we were achieving. When we started off, hard work was essential to success and I’m not sure we would be so successful today. Today's industry is like musical McDonalds - fast music for the masses.
Question: Would you discourage your children from becoming involved in the music business given your experiences? (Hannah, Gillingham)
Francis – Some of my children – and Rick’s – are already involved in music and I think it's great. There was a time when I did warn them against it but then I realised that if they come from a musical family, there’s no shame in getting stuck in.
Rick – My son is in a band called Kitsch Lounge Riot and I encourage him all I can by going to watch him live. Like me, he gets a buzz from playing in front of an audience and experiencing the adrenalin you get from being on stage. I would never give him advice unless he needed it or asked for it - the music industry is so different nowdays that I’d be afraid anything I say would be seen as old-fashioned!
Question: Hi boys - I really like your new single You'll Come 'Round. Do you still think you can cut it in the charts? (Harry, Carlisle)
Rick – If anything, making it into the Top 40 is even more exciting these days. When we were at the top of our game, any single we made was guaranteed to do well – and it always did. Nowdays, if we chart, it comes as a surprise because sales are so unpredictable. For us, it's no longer about the money but about being able to say we've done it all over again!
Question: Are the two of you as close behind the scenes as you appear to be on stage? (Barbara, Lincoln)
Rick – Francis and I started off as teenage pals hanging out together and we became really good mates as a result. We now have a sense of humour about our friendship that keeps us going when we’re on the road. But as soon as the tour is over, we don’t phone each other or see each other for weeks on end because the last thing we want to do after spending months cooped up together is spend even more time with each other! From the last 40 years, it would be fair to say we’ve spent at least 25 years together... and that's a lot.
Francis – It’s not just that we see each other on tour – we also spend a lot of time doing promotional work and chatting to fans as well. We have always got on but we both think it’s healthy to have time apart as well.
Question: Over the years, you’ve played with some of the world’s most famous artists, including Gene Pitney, The Hollies, Queen and INXS. Who was your favourite? (Laura, Poole)
Francis – Queen and Slade without a doubt. We were great friends with Slade because they were making it big at the same time so we had lots in common.
Rick – Queen were also good pals. We used to go to the park and to the local pub together because we all lived near each other.
Question: You opened Live Aid back in 1985 – how did it feel to be part of such a groundbreaking show? (Andrew, Liverpool)
Rick – It wasn’t our best live performance by any stretch of the imagination, but in terms of showing the audience what we could do, we couldn't have had a better showcase. It was something special for everyone – not just the groups taking part – and we all felt like it was 'mission accomplished' at the end. We weren't actually told we were playing until early on that day, and when we finished, none of us remembered much about it - we were at the height of our drug use at that time.
Question: Hi guys - what do you think about the so-called 'rock revival' led by bands like The Darkness? (Margaret)
Rick – I saw The Darkness a while ago and I found it really refreshing to listen to a group with a sense of humour playing live. The Foo Fighters are another favourite of mine – they play great music and put on a brilliant show for the fans as well. As long as bands like them exist, the industry will continue - everyone needs to get their rocks off!
Question: The band once called it a day back in 1984 and decided to go their separate ways - how did you manage to overcome your problems and get back together? (Brian)
Francis – Rick and I never had a problem with each other. But the problems we had within the band were undoubtedly linked to the drugs we were doing behind the scenes. At one point, we were drinking as soon as we came off stage and would continue through the night, going to bed in late afternoon and getting up three hours before we were due to play again. There was no way the group could work when we were all living like that so we needed time away from one another to figure out how to get going again.
Question: Are you still a hit with the girls when you go on tour? (Declan)
Francis – Occasionally, we will get women coming up to us but to be honest, they’re more likely to be devoted to the music than to us! Besides, I’m now happily married so my wife would kill me!
Rick – I’m not married but I wouldn’t exactly say I’m young, free and single! To be honest, although we had our pick of girls in the past, I don’t see the point of marriage anymore. I’ve been married twice before but tying the knot doesn’t suit me - the day out is great but after that, it just goes downhill.
Question: Do you have any regrets about your life to date and if you could do it all again, what would you do differently? (PembsQuo)
Francis – I do have some regrets, for example, there are times I can’t remember or albums I don't think are particularly great, but we wouldn’t be where we are now if we hadn't done the things we did. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, for example, when we split in the 80s. If we hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have come back and made it to this point!
Question: 2005 celebrates 40 years of Status Quo - have you got anything special planned? (Brian Collier, Oldham)
Rick – We’ve got a few things up our sleeves at the moment but we’re keeping them firmly under wraps until they are all confirmed. Rest assured, it's going to be very exciting - we want to go around the world again and play in some of our favourite places but there will also be special events in the UK as well. We hope to announce everything in the spring so watch this space!
Question: Francis - were you ever tempted to go into your family's ice- cream business? I love Rossi's! (Simon, London)
Francis – Shortly before we released Pictures Of Matchstick Men, our first big hit, in 1967, I did actually consider quitting the band for the business. In fact, I actually borrowed the money - around £1000 in today's money - to buy my own ice-cream van but when the single reached the top ten, I made enough money to stick with the group - thank goodness!"Revisit the September 2004 event list
The science show Brainiacs on Sky One featured a short section including Quo on September 16th. The experiment started with an opera singer being challenged to sing a note at the right pitch to shatter a glass. She failed! Then it was Quo's turn. Filmed at a rehearsal, it included a snippet of "Rockin' All Over The World" during which an amplifier blew up. The glass was brought on, Francis and Rick hit the right pitch (with the guitars) and the glass smashed to smithereens!Revisit the September 2004 event list
The long-awaited "XS All Areas" autobiography was released on September 17th. Published by Sidgwick & Jackson and penned by Mick Wall (of 'Classic Rock' magazine), it features a chapter-by-chapter account of Quo's history as told from the separate perspectives of Francis and Rick. Whilst revealing nothing dramatically new for the long-standing fan, it makes for good reading and comes with a number of previously unpublished photos.
Francis and Rick embarked upon a major book signing tour to accompany the release of the book, the tour will also continue alongside the "XS All Areas" tour in November. The press release for the book follows.
"The story of Status Quo is essentially the story of two people: Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. It is the story of two outwardly very different characters who against the odds forged an unlikely yet lasting bond that would see them through the dizzying highs and terrifying lows of a forty-year career.
Quo are the most successful band in British history after the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. From 1973 to the mid-80s they had a string of hits, including 'Down, Down', 'Rockin' All Over the World', 'Again and Again', 'What You're Proposing' - all classic rock anthems. When the band imploded, and the other members left, Rossi and Parfitt reinvented Quo for the 90s after their amazing opening performance at Live Aid and just kept on going, touring constantly and winning new fans.
Rossi and Parfitt admit that in the past they've hidden some of the truth about their stories, unable to admit quite how out of control things were even to themselves. Now they are prepared to tell it all - the groupies, the drug-taking, the marriage breakdowns, Parfitt's brush with death when he was forced to undergo bypass surgery. From their early days as a sixties pop band through the massive international success of the seventies to the present day, this is an explosive, no-holds-barred autobiography from two of Britain's most enduring rock stars."Revisit the September 2004 event list
The new single "You'll Come Round" entered the UK BBC Top 40 chart at an amazing number 14 on Sunday 19th September. Yahoo's LAUNCH music page had this to say about this remarkable chart performance.
"On to the Top 20 now and yes, spookily enough here are Status Quo themselves. Defying what must now be close on 20 years of critical sniping that they stopped being relevant in the 1970s and surely 15 years since they had a mainstream pop hit of any kind, the veteran rock act (first hit single 1968) here storm the singles chart with their first new material for two years. Funnily enough it was two years ago that we last had cause to marvel at their staying power, 2002 single 'Jam Side Down' making an unexpected debut at Number 17 and so it proves with 'You'll Come Round' which defies the critics and their sheer lack of coolness to land nicely on the chart and in the process give the group their biggest hit since 'The Anniversary Waltz' became their last Top 10 hit in November 1990."Revisit the September 2004 event list
Yet another 'greatest hits' CD collection hit the shelves on September 20th, as part of the product for the "XS All Areas" campaign. This hefty 40-track double CD collection features most of Quo's best known songs, along with two brand new previously-unreleased Rossi/Young tracks recorded in 2004 - the album version of the single "You'll Come 'Round" and "Thinking Of You".
The double CD set is available in both digipack and jewel case packaging (with catalogue numbers 9824179 and 9824883 respectively). The track listing is as follows.
|Caroline||You'll Come 'Round|
|Down Down||Thinking Of You|
|Paper Plane||Jam Side Down|
|Big Fat Mama||Creepin' Up On You|
|Roll Over Lay Down||Down The Dustpipe|
|Softer Ride||Pictures Of Matchstick Men|
|Don't Waste My Time||Ice In The Sun|
|Little Lady||In My Chair|
|Rain||Wild Side Of Life|
|Break The Rules||Rock n' Roll|
|Something 'Bout You Baby I Like||What You're Proposin'|
|Hold You Back||The Wanderer|
|Rockin' All Over The World||Living On An Island|
|Whatever You Want||Marguerita Time|
|Don't Drive My Car||In The Army Now|
|Again And Again||When You Walk In The Room|
|Forty Five Hundred Times||Burning Bridges|
|All Stand Up||Fun Fun Fun|
|Old Time Rock and Roll|
|Anniversary Waltz Part 1|
The following review of this new CD set appeared on the Blazinvibes magazine web site on September 27th, written by Lesley Clarkeson and rates eight out of ten.
"One of the backbone bands of today’s music, has deigned to give us a greatest hits album that will rock the world.
Status Quo, are one of my all time fave old bands, probably from having to ‘endure’ them as a child on long holiday drives to a caravan park.
The old rock sound never gets tired, and as the album name suggests some of ‘Quos’ best known and loved tunes are on here along with a few I’ve never heard of and some of their newer efforts, the fact that these guys are still touring and still writing new songs is a tribute in itself to their talent and brilliant musical abilities.
Not only can they appeal to the oldies, but a new generation of music lovers can be drawn into listening to them, and who would blame anyone with songs like Your in the army now, and Wild side of life. The 2 brand new tracks You’ll come round and Thinking of you (cd2) have the same touch of flair as their old tracks, these could easily have been written at the same time as Caroline or Down, down. You’ll come round, is a sombre slow track, with a slight country tinge to it. Thinking of you is more ‘Caroline’ like, upbeat and cheery. The guitar riffs short and sharp, with the lyrics echoing this until the chorus, where the music pans out and is more boppy.
Where are we going?, we’re on a roll, you’ll see me coming, I’m coming through’
The guitar and drum instrumentals are very reminiscent of their older stuff, but the songs have definitely got a new flavour to them, although not distinctive enough to cloud the fact that this is the Quo and they’re still rocking us."Revisit the September 2004 event list
Some superb photos (by Stephen Rose) from this book signing can be found here.Revisit the September 2004 event list
Quo appeared on a compilation of bizarre events that happened to music stars. The incident was the infamous 'Top of the Pops' appearance for "Marguerita Time" when Rick jumped on the drumkit during the playback. After the interview they also showed live clips of "Break the Rules" and "Caroline" from the Ragley Hall gig on June 27th.Revisit the September 2004 event list
The final piece to be released in the current "XS All Areas" product package, the greatest hits DVD appeared on September 27th. Released on Universal (catalogue number 9824284), the 40-tracker is a combination of promotional videos, TV performances and concerts, and also features some previously unseen footage. Whilst appealing to the masses (and achieving a number two slot in the official UK DVD chart on the first week of release), the DVD has received a mixed reception from the Quo fan base. The trawling of the 1989 NEC live video for so many of the tracks on offer here has to be seen as something of a missed opportunity to finally get good access to some of the more obscure promo videos and other material. The amusing commentary to accompany a limited number of tracks from Francis and Rick is a saving grace, though. The track listing follows.
|1. Caroline||21. Pictures Of Matchstick Men|
|2. Down Down||22. In My Chair|
|3. Paper Plane||23. Gerdundula|
|4. Big Fat Mama||24. Wild Side Of Life|
|5. Roll Over Lay Down||25. Rock n' Roll|
|6. Don't Waste My Time||26. What You're Proposin'|
|7. Little Lady||27. Ol' Rag Blues|
|8. Mystery Song||28. The Wanderer|
|9. Rain||29. Living On An Island|
|10. Break The Rules||30. Runaway|
|11. Something 'Bout You Baby I Like||31. A Mess Of Blues|
|12. Hold You Back||32. Marguerita Time|
|13. Rockin' All Over The World||33. Rollin' Home|
|14. Whatever You Want||34. In The Army Now|
|15. Don't Drive My Car||35. When You Walk In The Room|
|16. Again And Again||36. Burning Bridges|
|17. Forty Five Hundred Times||37. Fun Fun Fun|
|18. All Stand Up||38. Old Time Rock and Roll|
|19. Jam Side Down||39. Anniversary Waltz Part 1 (Medley)|
|20. Creepin' Up On You||40. Anniversary Waltz Part 2 (Medley)|