2008 is set to be a true year of celebration as Status Quo hit the road for a UK tour and unleash “Pictures: 40 Years of Hits” a multi-format collection spanning their incredible chart career which started forty years ago with the “Pictures Of Matchstick Men” single. Each version of “Pictures: 40 Years Of Hits” – which is released on 3rd November 2008 offers differing configurations of content. Quo are also going to release their first ever Christmas single “It’s Christmas Time”, they will have released an incredible 75 UK singles and the 4CD format will offer for the first time ever re-mastered versions all of the original radio edits of Quo’s singles on one package. Quo have reached a serious milestone and the occasion is truly being marked!
I managed to get an exclusive insight with guitarist & singer Francis Rossi to find out what is the real “Status Quo”
Francis Rossi gave us the lowdown on their 33rd album (yes that’s 33rd), In Search of the Fourth Chord. Plus why they are still rockin’ all over the world after more than 40 years in the business…
It has been 40 years that Status Quo has been in the business, where have the years gone?
Funny you should say that, I don’t know I have been sitting here this afternoon thinking that and sometimes you get a bit myth’d but then I get all enthused. I have been doing a solo album and we have got all this stuff with the band coming up and that gets me all enthusiastic again. Rehearsals have been great and the band is in great form. When I was younger I just kept my head down and kept going, at the time it seemed the only way I could “steam roller” through what can be a demanding business, don’t get me wrong it has also been very rewarding as well, time just fly’s by, you can blink and miss 10 years, we have had a great time and its not over yet!
How does it feel making music today as apposed to how it was 40 years ago?
I still really really enjoy it, however I was recently asked to do an album no holds barred – back to roots, like Quo used to do, and we thought it was a great idea except Quo don’t write the material like that now as we are not 22 year old men. You get that after such a long time in the business, when we were in our 20s we made records in that environment as 20 year old men, on numerous times people/fans, ect have wanted us to recreate that, it is really hard to go back to any era to recreate a vibe or a certain time in your life. We are always looking to the future and our music at the time is written with that in mind.
You are about to embark on a National UK tour – Do you enjoy the touring side as much as making the records?
When I am this side of a tour – most mornings I wake up with the hump for some reason and I think about the album that I am doing and think about having to start rehearsals – but this happens every year to me and then I get out on tour and some of it is great and some of it is not. Once we get going its great fun, Quo are a popular band and people expect you to constantly come up with new music & ideas and tour every year, we wouldn’t change a thing but the whole industry has its demands on you and sometimes it is no picnic.
I understand that you practice/rehearse a lot?
I practice a lot – we don’t rehearse as a band that much but I do practise a lot. I recently listened to a new track by Gary Moore, it was 11 minutes long and it was faultless and it made me realise that yes I am better than I was but I still have a long way to go! There is no such thing as perfect playing, technically or live, I first picked up a guitar when I was seven years old. I’d seen the Everly Brothers and thought, I want to do that! So I found a guitar teacher & worked hard from there. Practice makes better. I can still get better now, but will never be perfect.
You are playing in South Devon at Plymouth Pavilions – do you have any connections or associations with the South West?
No none whatsoever – I just really do like playing there. We have played there a number of times and the people keep coming back and that’s great. One thing over the years, we have always loved playing Plymouth, the city is great and we have always played well and enjoyed the South West.
I understand that for the new tour you are going to have a one-off set list – will you be playing a selection of the classic Quo hits as well?
Yes we will, the set changed quite a bit last year and it is a good little set and we get better each year and usually it works out well, as mix of new songs with a great back catalogue, we have plenty to choose from.
What song will you start with?
Caroline – we always start with Caroline – one way or another!
The new album – how does it compare to other offerings in the past?
Well it is another compilation album and it is 40 years of hits, I think we have stopped comparing and also counting, we do the promotion for any tour/album we are always shocked how much music we have made.
What do you do when you are not making music?
Now that is a problem because I end up sitting around getting frustrated and annoyed – I try to do a five day week and I look forward to the Friday night vibe but I have to be careful not to sit and think about too much – I will sometimes get the mower out or the hedge trimmer or I might clean the Studio – I do like domestic stuff that doesn’t take any brain power at all, I find doing the garden or the house very therapeutic just to potter about and not to concentrate on anything to important. Our success has always been a surprise since the word go. We broke first in 1968; I thought we’d be the last to succeed, but if we did, we wanted at least to continue. The worst thing we could say is that we were a one-hit wonder. We wanted to do this music thing for a career. I didn’t want to become an estate agent or a barman. We are entertainers and we are still doing it all these years later, which makes me very happy.
What does the future hold for Status Quo?
I don’t know – surely the band can’t keep going on and on but as long as Uncle Mick and Uncle Keith keep going out I don’t see why we can’t, we haven’t witnessed rock and roll run out of steam, expire , if you like, its fun and a great way to stay fit. Rock and roll has no boundaries, we are enjoying playing together and we’re looking forward to playing live.
Thanks Francis – Good luck for the forthcoming tour! What a great incite into one of the great institutions of Rock N Roll, a true testament to the bands of today, I wonder how many bands in the top 40 today we will see in 40 years time. Status Quo proves the fact that music is timeless.
The band will also undertake a UK Winter tour featuring a brand-new one-off setlist packed with hits to mark the occasion and boasting state of the art stage backdrops evoking classic Quo moments, this is a Quo tour like none before. Tickets for the “Pictures – 40 Years Of Hits” tour are on sale now from 0844 576 5483 or www.livenation.co.uk
The 2008 “Pictures: 40 Years Of Hits” events and releases offer the chance to be part of the anniversary party for true legends of the rock world – put yourself in the frame!
Long may it continue!
Below is a just a few gigs, for a full list of all concerts please visit www.livenation.co.uk or http://www.statusquo.co.uk/
All tickets are priced £31.50
Tickets available from 0844 576 5483