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Exclusive Interview with Francis Rossi (Status Quo)

By Editor
June 10, 2009

francisStatus Quo are estimated to have played over 6,000 live shows to over 25 million people including, of course, opening Live Aid in 1985 – literally Rockin’ All Over The World! And this summer they will be rocking The Earl of Devon’s home Powderham Castle.

The open air concert on Sunday July 26th is an un-missable opportunity to hear classic tracks from a great British rock band.

Hi Francis,  The second time you guys are coming to the Westcountry in a year – this is becoming a habit!

The last gig we did in the Westcountry was Plymouth Pavilions and I have to be honest it was one of the best gigs of the tour,  one of the reasons why it was so memorable was that the audience were so up for it – they were going nuts!!  I have always loved the Westcountry, trucking down the A303 alongside the exodus of summer caravans.   There is something magical about that part of the world – the people are great and we always end up having a great night.

We are really looking forward to playing at Powderham Castle and we were talking about it with the guys in the band only the other day.  With the Castle on a warm summer’s day we are all going to have a great time!

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.

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.

I understand that for the Powderham gig you are going to have a one-off set list – will you be playing a selection of the classic Quo hits?

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!

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 too 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 gig!   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.

Tickets for the show are £37.50

Credit card hotline: 0871 424 4444 (24 hour plus booking fee)

Powderham Castle: 01626 890243 (plus booking fee)

Or Powderham Estate Office (personal callers only paying by cash – no booking fee)

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