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That was the Quo month that was ... September 2007

1st - Quo concert at Holkham Hall, Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk

Quo played in the stately surrounds of Holkham Hall on September 1st. Photos of the band in action can be found here and here.

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2nd - Quo concert at Dudley Castle And Zoological Gardens, West Midlands

A sizable crowd endured torrential rain to witness Quo playing at Dudley Castle & Zoo on September 2nd. Supported by Dr & The Medics, Aura and Hayseed Dixie, the weather cleared just as Quo took the stage and stayed dry for the 90-minute entirety of their set. The following review appeared in the local Express And Star newspaper.

"Status Quo certainly know how to keep their loyal fans entertained and last nightís show at Dudley Castle proved no exception.

There was a feeling of great anticipation in the air as the crowd prepared for the rock legends to grace the stage.

And both young and old members of the audience were soon having a great time singing, dancing and waving their arms in the air during the 90 minute performance.

Even constant downpours didnít get in the way of the audience making the most of the opportunity to see their favourite band and the castle grounds provided a great atmospheric venue for an open-air concert.

The group, made up of Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Andy Brown, John ĎRinoí Edwards and Mat Letley, also seemed to be enjoying themselves as they hardly paused for breath as they played song after song.

Most fans seemed to know every word and many were wearing T-shirts branded with details of previous tours, some going back decades. Both Down Down and Whatever You Want were obvious crowd pleasers and went down a storm with the eager fans, but it was Rockiní All Over the World which everybody had been waiting for.

It was greeted with loud applause, singing and dancing as the crowd went wild. The show left plenty of happy and contented faces among the fans as they made their way home afterwards. For Lorraine Handley and Glen Stevenson, from Great Barr, it was the 35th time they had seen their heroes perform in recent years.

Lorraine, aged 32, said she thought the castle grounds provided ďthe perfect settingĒ.

Matt, Helen, Brian, Ade and Sharon Longville had travelled from Kingswinford for the concert. Sharon said: ď I think they ought to have a lot more concerts here. Itís a great place.Ē

Long-time friends Diane Harold, Ian Gray, both from Aldridge, and Tess Price, from Dudley, were enjoying a picnic despite the damp weather as they waited for the main act.

Tess said: ďIt is a fantastic venue. Itís really a good idea to hold concerts here."

The following five-star review appeared in the Birmingham Mail, penned by Andy Coleman and titled ""Quo Storm The Castle".

"Itís been a great summer for Status Quo fans with the band playing in the Midlands three times in five weeks.

But things didnít look promising as black clouds rolled in over Dudley Castle, depositing torrential rain as main support Hayseed Dixie battled the elements and technical problems to warm up the crowd.

With few places for the audience to shelter in the castle courtyard, it was a thankless task but the hardy Quo follower is used to such discomforts.

But then - a miracle. A few minutes before the first notes of opener, Caroline, the rain stopped - and then held off for 90 minutes until the encore.

The umbrellas were rolled up, the mood lightened and we were ready to rock! The Quo set is now so slick and crowd-pleasing itís hard to see how it could be improved.

Paper Plane got everyone singing, Rockiní All Over The World had everyoneís arms in the air and Down Down saw everyone air guitaring."

Photos of the band in action at Dudley can be found here, here and here,

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2nd - Francis interview in Newcastle's Sunday Sun newspaper

The following interview with Francis appeared in Newcastle's Sunday Sun newspaper on September 2nd. It was titled "Ask: Francis Rossi" and the interview was performed by Robert Weatherall.

"FRANCIS ROSSI is the front man of legendary rockers Status Quo.

Born in 1949, he is married to Eileen and has eight children from two marriages. He is known as the Grand Old Man of Rock and Roll. On stage he is a showman who knows how to work a crowd with his pal Rick Parfitt but he rarely goes to showbiz parties.

How did the band get together?

It was formed initially in 1962 and did the first gig in October. We started with a track by the, by the ó I canít remember the f*****g name ó The Shadows. I have a good memory. I remember seeing my brother breastfeeding and I am only two years older than him. I remember seeing him circumcised... I have that kind of memory.

Why do you think you are still touring after all these years?

To be honest, I think itís something within us. Most people in showbusiness, whether television or music or movies, are basically insecure little show-offs. There are loads of people in this business who are kind of shy, really, until you put them on stage. Thereís this contradiction going on all the time. I think we are so vacuous that we need to go up and stand in front of people to be told weíre lovely. Itís an ego massage... walk on and people love you, walk off and people are sad to see you go. There is no other job quite like that.

Your new album is called Searching for the Fourth Chord. Have you found it yet?

Weíd better move on, eh? The idea behind that is itís the joke thatís always said about us... not that anyone truly believes we only know three chords. No other band would denigrate themselves in that way or take the piss out of themselves.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I do the crosswords every day, I like to do that, and for recreation I go clay-pigeon shooting. But generally I donít like to go out. I go to the gym in the morning and if Iím working I go to the studio for 11.30am and finish at 6.30pm or 7pm. I love a routine.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

God knows. I donít mean that in a bad way. I just donít know.

What are the best and worst parts of touring?

The best part for me, Iíve only realised it recently, is the actual travelling through the night. Everyone is asleep, the roads are quiet, businesses are shut down, and no one can do anything. The worst bit is waiting to go on, you know. If only you could go on straight away.

How did you feel when Radio 1 stopped playing your songs?

A bit p***ed off. At one point they assured us they were not blanking our records, and they would play them when they got into the Top 10. Itís f*****g difficult to get in there without radio play, thatís how the industry works. It was obviously a massive mistake on their part because we are still thriving and their audience is shrinking by the month.

How have Rickís much-publicised health problems affected band morale?

I donít think it affects the bandís morale at all. Itís just that Rick doesnít look after himself. Heís being silly, heís being Rick, heís what people call Wild Rick. It comes across as glamorous... youíve done these wonderful things, passed out someplace, so I donít think his health is the problem, Itís how he deals with it, how he looks after himself, which he doesnít.

A cheeky question here. How much do you think youíve spent on drugs over the years?

Go for it. Through the 80s I was spending £1200 to £1400 a week, I think. That was the late 70s and early 80s. Thatís enough, isnít it? Itís a fortune! People keep perpetuating this whole rock and roll thing but if you wreck a hotel, and then come down in the morning, the manager is there with the bill. Anyone can do it, itís not wild at all, itís f*****g stupid.

If had to chose one of your own songs for Desert Island Discs, what would it be?

Itís a track from Rock Till You Drop called All We Really Want To Do. Itís a song I always love. Sometimes you write songs and you want people to like them, and itís nice when they do, but occasionally thereís a song you donít give a t*t if other people like it because I love it so much myself. I never analyse why music does it to me, it just does. I often like things by bands I canít stand. Amy Wineface, or whatever her name is, I cannot stand the woman but I think her album is really good."

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6th - Quo article in The Sun (UK)

The following article appeared in the UK's Sun newspaper on September 6th, entitled "Status Doh! Quo quiz blunder" and written by Mike Sullivan.

"ROCKERS Status Quo won £50,000 for charity on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? - despite getting their first answer WRONG.

Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi, both 58, said there were two knights on a chess board, when the correct answer is four.

They should have left with nothing but host Chris Tarrant, a fan of the band, revealed bosses had blundered too - by giving them the wrong questions. The game started again, and the rockers won £50,000 for their chosen charity, the Music Foundation.

Producers for the ITV1 show said the questions had to be changed because they had already been used.

The blunders will not be screened when the show airs on September 15."

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9th - Francis interview in Sunday Mirror magazine (UK)

The following interview with Francis appeared in the UK's Sunday Mirror newspaper on September 9th, entitled "Lots of women wanted to take me home and play with my bits", and was accompanied by a great photo of Francis relaxing in his garden at his London home.

"Status Quo front man, Francis Rossi, 58, on still rocking into his old age, cutting off his trademark ponytail (no!), becoming a film star, and answering the call of his trouser snake.

Status Quo has just released a 33rd album. Now that's a lot of albums...

We did an album a year for ages and now it's about every two years. We've also toured every year for the past 12 years, doing 150 shows each time. When you worked in the 70s, that's what you did. These days, bands do a tour and it's 12 shows. How can 12 shows be a tour? That's just warming up.

There are a lot of long-time Quo devotees out there. Have any of them got zimmer frames yet?

There are zimmer frames, they go into a separate area of the gig. We have 70-year-olds with ear plugs in, we have babies nodding off at the front. Young people, old people, everyone. There's this family in Denmark who follow us everywhere. I remember their baby when he was six months old, now he's 21 and 6ft 6ins tall. Most people go their own way after 18, but not him - he's still there with his mum and dad. There are a lot of fans like that.

What's on your backstage rider?

In the dressing room, there's fruit, nuts, water and wine for the other guys and a separate food rider. I have a pierce of veal with some greens every day at 2.30pm and Rick (Parfitt) has chicken or steak with cabbage and carrots. It digests easily, so we have nice empty stomachs when we go on stage.

You never have a drink?

I did 10 years on cocaine and eight years of drinking, then I stopped. I didn't do either until I was 30. Alcohol isn't really for me, and I can't deal with drunk people around me, they're on different planets. But I wouldn't be me without my drink and drugs days, and I'm quite comfortable with who I am.

Tell us how you wind down after a gig these days...

I go upstairs to my bedroom on the bus, put Pavarotti on, get undressed, eat my dinner, and listen to my Italian language tapes. Then I record stuff onto my iPod with my acoustic guitar, and watch DVDs - the box-set of Grey's Anatomy is a favourite. I sit there, having done a show and had the adulation that us insecure little show-offs need, and it's heaven. It's little things in life when you get older.

So you live on the bus on tour?

Rick has a bedroom at the front, I have one at the back, and the other guys sleep in the middle. Rick's new wife doesn't like him smoking, so he comes into my room for a cigarette. It's a huge bus, I love travelling through the night, I feel like I'm in the circus.

Do you and Rick ever argue?

Yeah, but nothing massive. We've known each other since 1965 - I've spent more time with him than any either of my wives or any girlfriends. It's petty stuff. We had a big one about the intro to our song Caroline. He threw at towel at me. We both go off in a huff, and we know when to leave each other alone.

What's this about you starring in a comedy caper film?

It's going to be called Care Factor Zero. In other words, "Who gives a sh*t?" It's happening next January unless it falls through - which will be great for me, because I'm cacking myself and I don't want to do it. I didn't want to do Corrie either, but it was OK in the end, so by the time we do it, I'll be OK. The scene that worries me is where I have to kiss my on-screen ex-wife. I've got a real problem with that. I'm sh*tting myself. If it was another band, I'd be thinking 'What a bunch of t**ts' for doing that, but I'm 58, and no one is going to ask me in 10 years if I want to do a movie. But it's likely to be hammy as hell and I'll probably want to disown it as soon as it's done.

Are you tempted to re-vamp your 'double denim' image?

We never went for an image. I did a photo session in 1968 wearing this yellow shirt with a big 60s collar and big dew-drop sleeves, and the photographer made me change because he'd used it on Jimi Hendrix the day before. Everyone went to the same shops and got styled the same in those days, so we thought, "Why can't we just go on stage in a pair of jeans and pumps like we normally wear?" We always kept one T-shirt and one pair of jeans for the stage, and they got washed once every two weeks, so they'd reek.

Would you ever cut your hair off?

I think about it regularly. The ponytail could go. It's looking old, but my PR and management aren't sure. I could have a stick-on, I suppose. There's talk of it going in the movie - these Chinese guys might chop it off.

Haven't you invested in a hair transplant?

Yes. I was depressed about an album we were doing, and our manager suggested I had a hair transplant to cheer me up. Which got me even more depressed, but I had it done. I had stopped caring about my hair, but after the transplant I kept looking at it.

How much hassle do you get from the public in a typical day?

Sometimes I can go out and no one will bother me, then other times I can't move. When I'm with Rick, we're like a logo walking around, I just get really embarrassed by it. People say things like "Didn't you used to be...?" Used to be! I never say my name, because they go, "Are you...?" and when I say 'Yes', they say Phil Collins. Or Midge Ure. People mistake me for Rick all the time too.

What would you change about your physical appearance?

I'd change the way my ribs stick out. And I tend to think I've got a long, narrow head, but actually I've got a short, fat, bald head like my dad. I'd have more bum too, because mine is flat. I work out every day, but if you're not comfortable with who you are at 58, you may as well chop off your testicles.

What's your worst personality trait?

I talk too much, I can't shut up. I remember going to a party with a girl called Brenda when I was six - who showed me her muff, which was frightening at that age - and she told me to stop talking. That was the first time I became aware of it.

Who was your first crush?

It was a girl called Josephine Bowden at school when I was seven. She looked f***ing fantastic. The first girl I ever copulated with was called Susan. I should have stayed with Susan, she was lovely. Men, we follow this [points at his crotch].

You've been quite busy over the years, haven't you - producing eight kids...

Yes, I've had a full 16 minutes of sex. My eldest son is nearly 40 - I didn't think I'd live long enough to see that - and my youngest son is 10. My kids are great to have around. I'm lucky. My wife Eileen is a fantastic woman. I met her in 1973 when I was married to someone else. Then I met her again in 1985 because she knew my mother and she came over to the house.

What job would you do if you weren't in the Quo?

I'd work in an ice cream van. I almost did until the band took off.

What's the worst job you've had?

I've only ever had two proper jobs. I worked in an opticians in Bromley, Kent, and then as a gardener for the council. I loved it out there mowing, and there were always lots of women who wanted to take me into their houses and play with my bits, which was quite nice.

When was the last time you caught public transport?

In 1968, Rick and I were on Oxford Street and we jumped on a bus with Elton John. I haven't been on one since.

What was the last domesticated thing you did?

I fed the dogs. I've got a housekeeper. She does everything, she's wonderful.

Have you ever worn a disguise?

I went to Blackpool Pleasure Beach with my kids, and my eldest son bought me a disguise of a hat and a glued-on moustache. We were sat on the Big Dipper and someone said, "Excuse me, Francis, can you sign an autograph for me" I looked a lot of a plonker.

Can you cook?

I cook a mean breakfast, but you have to stay the night first, so most people don't think it's worth it."

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10th - "Beginning of the End" single released in the UK

The first single to be lifted from the forthcoming "In Search of the Fourth Chord" album was released on September 10th, in the form of catchy opener "Beginning of the End" (written by Rossi and Edwards). Originally scheduled to be Quo's first ever "download only" single, Quo's management bent to public outrage at having no hard-copy format and a hastily-arranged CD single was also released. The single was in the new DAVD (Digital Audio Video Disc) format, with a 'normal' CD single on one side (featuring the radio edit of the song) and a DVD on the other side (featuring the promo video for the single, shot on the London Eye). The single was released on the band's own label, Fourth Chord Records, with catalogue number QUOSP002.

Despite the band's efforts to promote the single and the existence of the hard format, the single only entered the UK chart at a very disappointing number 48...

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11th - Quo appearance on GMTV (ITV1, UK)

Quo appeared on GMTV on September 11th, as another promo for the "Beginning of the End" single. Francis and Rick were interviewed before the band performed a playback of the new single.

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11th - Francis and Rick interview on The Ken Bruce Show (BBC Radio 2)

Francis and Rick appeared as guests on the Radio 2's Ken Bruce Show on September 11th. They were both in a very playful and comical mood and Ken played along with them beautifully. They were introduced by "Down Down", before playing Celebrity Popmaster (a general knowledge music quiz). Rick went first and was particularly hopeless, but managed to score a total of 18 points. Before Francis took part in the quiz, "Beginning of the End" was played, followed by a poor performance by Francis, scoring just 15 points - much to Rick's delight! This was a great promo appearance with Rick and Francis both in amazing form.

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12th - Francis and Rick interview on The One Show (ITV1, UK)

Francis and Rick appeared on The One Show on September 12th. They took part in a brief interview and also played acoustic guitars for a rendition of "Down Down" (with another guest on the show who had won the Air Guitar championship) and Rick pretending to locate the long lost fourth chord during "Don't Waste My Time"! There was also a clip of the "Beginning of the End" promo video.

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13th - Quo appearance on the Steve Wright Show (BBC Radio 2)

Francis and Rick appeared on the Steve Wright Show (actually hosted by Mark Radcliffe) on BBC Radio 2 on September 13th. They talked about Rick's new life in Spain, Rick's tinnitus, the hectic tour schedule, the Millionaire appearance, the Quo film and, of course, the new single and album. "Beginning of the End" was also played and the interview was played out by "Down Down".

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15th - Francis and Rick on Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (ITV1, UK)

Francis and Rick appeared as guests on the celebrity version of the UK's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" broadcast on September 15th. Introduced by huge Quo fan, Chris Tarrant, the pair managed to answer seven questions correctly to win 50,000 pounds for their chosen charities. Their appearance also included clips of their recent appearance on the Tiswas Reunited show.

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15th - Statoz Quo cover band gig at Greenbank RSL Club, Queensland, Australia

Statoz Quo continued their assault on the Queensland RSL circuit with a packed gig at Greenbank RSL. This was the first show with the Francis role changed from Mick to his replacement, David Cleminson, long-time frontman with Queensland Quo outfit, Quo Vadis. The setlist was changed slightly and David showed his skills immediately, slotting into this improving tribute band. Photos of the band in action can be found here.

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17th - "In Search of the Fourth Chord" album released in Europe

The long-awaited new album, "In Search of the Fourth Chord", was released in Europe on September 17th (with the exception of France, where the release took place earlier, on August 27th). The band's 33rd studio album was released on their new record label, Fourth Chord Records, with catalogue number QUOCD001 and featured thirteen tracks with a bonus track which differed between the UK and the rest of Europe. The track listing was as follows:

The album was also released as a limited edition gatefold-sleeved vinyl LP, with catalogue number QUOLP001, much to the delight of collectors! The album peaked at number 14 on the official UK album charts.

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18th - Francis on The Wright Stuff (Channel 5, UK)

Francis appeared as a guest on The Wright Stuff on September 18th. Hosted by Matthew Wright, the topical debate show also featured panellists Mica Paris and David Bull.

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20th - Quo appearance at The Sunflower Jam, The Porchester Halls, London

Quo made a guest appearance at The Sunflower Jam charity event at London's Porchester Halls on September 20th. The 'Evening of Rock 'n' Roll' was in aid of the Complimentary Therapy Team working within cancer services at UCLH. The 350 guests were treated to performances from Quo, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Steve White, Gary Moore, Roger Glover, Linda Lewis, Paul ĎWixí Wickens, Nick Fyffe, Margo Buchanan, Steve Balsamo, Aitch McRobbie and Ray Cooper. MC for the evening was Jeremy Irons and other familiar faces in attendance include Frida from ABBA, Kathy Lette, Damon Hill and Sir John Mortimer.

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20th - Francis and Rick as guests on Loose Women (ITV1, UK)

Francis and Rick appeared on the dubious ITV daytime TV show, Loose Women, on September 20th. To an audience of almost entirely women, the pair fidgetted their way through their interview with good humour - though Rick obviously enjoyed the flirtations with the other panelists! By way of getting some promotion out of the show, a clip of the "Beginning of the End" promo video was shown.

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21st - Rhino performs with Woodedz at private party, Ipswich

Rhino performed as part of Woodedz at a private party in Ipswich on September 21st. Supported by Hayze and Anything But Ordinary, the Woodedz set was a mixture of Rhinos Revenge, songs written by Rhino that feature on the new Quo album, and some interesting covers! A significant amount of money was raised that will be going to the Angels Appeal and MS. A few photos of the Woodedz in action (though mainly shots of Anything But Ordinary) are available here.

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22nd - Rhino performs with Woodedz at The Hope & Anchor, Islington

Rhino donned his Woodedz hat again on September 22nd, with a show at The Hope & Anchor in Islington. The setlist included Shame, Secretary, Bad News, Paper Plane, Busy Doin' Nothing, Strange One, Obstruction Day, Belavista Man, Gravy Train, Jungle Love, Spend Spend Spend, and Should I Stay or Should I Go. An encore of Bad News (again!) and Roll Over Beethoven finished off their efforts.

Photos of the sweaty Woodies in action can be found here, here and here.

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30th - Article on Francis and Bernadette Rossi in the Sunday Mercury newspaper (UK)

The following article, entitled "Daddy's Girls" and written by Lorne Jackson, appeared in the West Midlands Sunday Mercury newspaper on September 30th.

"When Bernadette Gernon was growing up, she had a daydream. She wished one of her parents was famous. Then suddenly she'd remember - her dad WAS a huge star.

He played guitar in one of the UK's premier rock bands - was the first singer to belt out a number at the greatest gig of all time, the original Live Aid.

Bernadette's dad is Francis Rossi, frontman with Status Quo. The bloke who started Live Aid with a legendary rendition of Rockin' All Over The World.

"I didn't have much to do with dad until three years ago," says Bernadette. "I live in Canada with my mum, and he's in England. I never thought of him as a famous guy because Status Quo aren't popular where I live. That's why I'd always end up wishing that my dad was famous - even though he already was!"

When she was old enough, Bernadette, 21, decided to get properly acquainted with her father. With her mum's blessing, she visited England. Father and daughter got on from the start, thanks to a shared love of music.

"I'm in a band called Bernadette And The North," she explains. "Dad was really excited that we had this passion in common. That was good because it could have been really awkward seeing my dad and his family. It was certainly a weird situation, getting to know a whole side of my family I'd never been in touch with. But talking about music with Dad broke the ice. We found out we liked the same sort of stuff, and we even jammed a little bit."

Now, Bernadette's band are set to tour with the Quo. But isn't Dad just a little worried that his daughter will get too involved in the wilder side of rock?

"He's given me a little bit of advice," laughs Bernadette. "Nothing scandalous! Warnings about showing too much leg, that kind of thing. But the best part of touring is that I'll get to know my dad even better. Rock and roll is meant to break lots of families apart, but with us it's bringing us even closer together."

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undated - Francis interview in Classic Rock Society magazine

The following interview with Francis appeared in the Classic Rock Society magazine, written by Bernard Law.

"Legendary is one of those words that has been so over used in the music business that it makes you wonder just who qualifies. But if there's one band that does then surely it's Status Quo. They've been blazing away since the Sixties, had hit after hit single, have a defined sound that few, if any, have mastered, and continue to tour extensively around the world to sold out arenas. With their thirty third album, In Search Of The Fourth Chord, released in mid-September and a UK tour on the horizon it was time to check in with Quo's ever present Francis Rossi.

With a tour schedule that many would find punishing, Francis admits that they are in fact trying to ease back on dates. "We're doing a bit less this year; we didn't start until June I think. It was only partly due to the album," he says. "We want to cut down a bit. The last few years we've been doing a hundred and twenty five to maybe a hundred and fifty gigs a year and in between that you've got to do promo and whatever else, so you are working your arse off. But if you don't work your arse off you tend to think nothing's going on in my life!"

In Search Of The Fourth Chord finds the band working again with producer Pip Williams, and it feels like a cohesive album that gels together well rather than being a collection of albeit good songs. "I did enjoy working on the album," Francis says. "We were working with Pip Williams again, which is good. We used to call him Nitpicker because he gets everything just so pristine. He's changed just a little and we've changed just a little and so coming back together again has been very good. When we've worked in the studio I always get him to do guide vocals so that whatever the song is if he does a guide then we all know where we are. You need to be able to concentrate on the melody when you're doing a new song. And he'll come up with a line like 'go fiddle with myself on the bog!' instead of the right one. It's just the way he works and I love working with him. What that does is that it keeps the brain stimulated. It keeps the mood up in the studio."

Material for the new album-seemed to be abundant, so much so that the band had almost too much to choose from. "Bob and I had twenty something, I did about five with Andrew, plus some with John, John had done one on his own, a couple with Rick and Rick came with a couple he'd been working on with some guy, so yes there's always a shed load of material. The problem this time was which ones to take off. It is a problem everybody wants though. I might be quite enthused with the album now, but bear in mind that I've realised that once an album has been out a while it is very difficult to listen to product. It is like everything else. I listen and go yes I like that or I don't like that. As soon as you start listening to your own product you start analysing it. You can't play it just to listen to it. It's the same with the early stuff too.

"People say that those Seventies albums are fantastic, but they've possibly just bought Twelve Gold Bars, which is all the singles. People who have been with us in the last few years have tried to make what they thought were Seventies albums, all the twelve bar, three chord songs. They wanted the three-minute singles. But our albums then were much quirkier than that. We had things that in the frame of things didn't fit. That is where this album scores: There are tracks where you wonder what is going on. All those things constitute an album to me, when it has a bit of diversity," Francis believes.

There's almost an inevitable question when you're talking to someone from a band like Quo. Just how do they choose which of their vast number of tunes do they pick to play. It seems as though it is quite an easy question to answer.

"The single from the album Beginning Of the End we're working on, and we're always short of songs that Rick sings so we'll probably do Alright. So there'll be two or three songs from this album, top whack, and the mainstay of the set just stays the same. The set doesn't really change, and hasn't changed much in the last five years. We did try to shuffle it all about once. We moved Caroline down from the front to the end, and Down Down the other way. We adjusted it all. It looked quite good written down. But when we came to play it - Down Down at the beginning of the set just didn't work. Caroline later in the set seemed like it was dragging along and so there is a certain balance that we seem to have within the set. It is going to upset some people, but others seem quite happy with it, but that's the way it's going to stay. With us particularly it is all about the pacing, as the music is quite similar".

Over the years, you might have heard musicians talking about the energy that appears on stage when a band are playing particular songs, almost as if the-music is playing itself, and this is something that Francis has come across too.

"There is like a ball of energy in the centre of the stage that you are kind of being taken along with. It is like setting a fire. You fiddle at first, but once it's going you have a job to put it out and you just go with it. You struggle to find it, then it's there and you go along with it. You are being taken with it. That is a fantastic feeling," he says.

Chatting with Francis you realise that he's a genuine lover of music. He doesn't see too many bands live now, but listens all the time to a huge variety of music. "The one thing that annoys me about pop music or rock music is the number of people who won't say that they like something because it's not hip to, or they don't see it as being something of who they are fashion-wise or who they are within society. It depends on their friends and their peer group. To me it is just music. I can't help it, I like that! I can't do with this that I shouldn't do. That is the problem with the loss of Top Of The Pops, and the changes at Radio One. You used to have music from across the board. We used to be all in the same pot, which is the real truth of it all. Now you don't know where to go. You might hear a song on Radio 2 and then never hear of it again. There's no excitement to having a hit single any more, it doesn't put any more bums on seats, or make me any richer. There's some sort of affirmation of success, I suppose, but it is a bit weird," he says resignedly.

With so many places visited and played, Francis now finds that the wanderlust is starting to mellow somewhat. "I've never had that," he admits, "we were going to India a few years ago. We were all jabbed up, but at the last minute we didn't go and I was so pleased! I just didn't fancy doing that for some reason. There's talk of China once in a while, and I think, 'Well, if you like'. I don't have the burning desire to go anywhere any more other than home. But of course I have to go out and be away a while to have that buzz of coming home. That insecure show off in me still needs to go 'off and do this though!"

Revisit the September 2007 event list