Here is a nice article from the height of Status Quo`s success in the UK. It is easy to forget that underneath the band`s easy-going nature, this is the most successful rock band ever in the UK. They may play what many people would characterize as “simple boogie rock”, but they forget how genius it is to create so many catchy and popular tunes on the same formula. If it was easy – everyone would do it! These guys have my respect! Enjoy!
27 chairs broken, front row demolished, manager speechless
Ho Ho Ho. Good fun innit? All the kids are here with their booze and their toilet rolls and it looks like being another major triumph for rockanroll music. It`s STATUS QUO on the road, and JULIE WEBB was there to see the devastation.
“It gives you a sense of power when you see chairs all busted up after a gig. It sounds corny…but as long as nobody`s been hurt all those busted chairs signify a good time.”
That`s Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt talking after their Liverpool Empire gig (27 chairs broken, front row demolished, manager of venue speechless.)
At Quo gigs you can see the pathetic sight of managers beseeching audiences to “sit down,” and adding hopelessly that “No-one is allowed in the aisles at any time”, while the crowd stand on their chairs even before the band have even taken the stage.
At Sunderland – the opening date of their British tour – the manager wanted to stop the show after the first number. But was unsuccessful.
Depending on which side of the coin you look at, Status Quo are either down to earth or common as muck. Certainly they must be the bawdiest band on the road.
(They get toilet rolls thrown at them on stage – as opposed to hats or bracelets.) And they have also, for their sins been described as lame brains.
Parfitt thinks the lame brains bit is quite funny.
“We`ve had a whole lot said about us…dandruff in our hair, lame brains, Status-Quo-are-this, Status Quo are-that- but the houses are always full.
“We`ve never tried to promote an image of being an intelligent band. We just enjoy a loon.”
He thinks for a moment, then adds:
“We`re not so much lame brains – but we`ve always had this kind of humour…basically we`re a lot of scruffy rock`n`rollers.”
Before this present tour, Quo were gigging in Australia – place they alternately slag off or praise. And one thing that does apparently get up the band`s collective nose is the Aussie press.
“Funny people out there, as it happens,” says Parfitt. “The press will build up anything into a big story. Anything seems to make the front page. There was one incident when I was supposed to have had two groupies in a lift. Well, in fact it wasn`t me – it was one of the road crew – and the manager of the hotel caught him, got abused, and came at the roadie with a tin opener.
“So now there`s this big story on the front of Truth magazine and it`s all a load of bullshit because it`s supposed to be about me and it wasn`t because I wouldn`t do anything like that.”
Parfitt doesn`t consider sueing. “I just write it off as a laugh. And we had a laugh in Australia – even when we arrived after 26 hours flying. About eight in the morning it was, and we were hustled into a press room – all TV cameras and half a dozen press men out in front with microphones asking stupid questions.”
“Well, one bloke asked if we played better because we`d got long hair. And there were things like, `Do you take drugs`. So you just look them straight in the eye and say, `Of course we do`. They can`t really react back because you grin at them when you say it, and they don`t know if you mean it or not.”
They look back with pleasure on a TV show.
“There was this big backdrop with Status Quo written all over it, and we were doing a very silly interview. Spud (John Coghlan) pulled the backdrop down. The interviewer lost his cool a bit, and France (Rossi) started undressing me.”
If you are getting the impression that Status Quo can be destructive, you could be getting warm.
“Yeah it`s both silly and destructive sometimes. Some nights after gigs it just gets outrageous…lot of fun. When you start getting silly you want to do something to keep yourself on that level. Like, there`s a cup on the table and it`s fun to try and do a trick with it that you know isn`t going to work.
“The cup gets smashed and tea goes everywhere, and then it starts with soda syphons…”
After the Sunderland gig, at least four people got drenched by either beer or a soda syphon. Why Bother?
“It`s just the feeling of the band after a gig. It was the first night as well. There`s normally a bit of a piss up on the first night. A few drinks, chat flowing, and then it gets a bit out of hand.
“If everybody`s in the same spirit and everybody`s copped a bit…like, you might have a plate of sandwiches on your head and this bloke has been squirted with soda, then it`s fun.”
After the damages are paid for, is there any money left, one wonders?
“We make a profit in Britain. The gross of a British tour is normally fairly high, but then when everything is paid out -publicity, the hire of halls, damages, whatever – it really does cut it down in a big way. More or less by half. But we make enough out of a British tour to give ourselves a Christmas bonus.
“Financially it`s hard to say exactly where we stand because we`re putting a lot of the money into assets. Companies we`ve set up. We`re not immensely rich but we`re working for the future.
“I`d like to come out of it with a few bob. We`ve all got our houses and cars and basically that`s all we need.
“But it`s a lot of hard work – the next year is going to be ridiculous. Three American tours, hopefully Japan, Europe and a couple of albums.”
The first of those albums is nearly complete and set for release early in the new year.
“There`s ten tracks as opposed to the usual eight, and all of them should be under five minutes.”
Try to analyse Quo`s music and you run into trouble. Suffice to say wherever they play in Britain, they go down ecstatically before audiences predominently dressed in jeans, often with bottle in left hand and bog roll (ready for throwing) in the other.
Parfitt attempts to explain why the audience go wild. “I think the kids are up on their chairs because they`re a rock and roll crowd, and they know what to expect from us on stage. It`s difficult to watch us sitting down.
“We like it when they`re raring to go. It`s great to walk out on stage and see a bank of people. You can feel the electricity in the audience. We`re going on to bash out hard rock music at them, and work hard to them, and if there`s not a vibe from the audience it`s more difficult.”
On stage, Quo`s dashing and wheeling around has in the past presented problems. Rossi and Parfitt have 20-foot leads, but they still get caught up with each other.
“We`ve never had any electric shocks but we`ve often whacked one another. Once I had to follow France around the stage for five minutes because my pegs were knotted up in his hair. The roadies had to untangle us halfway through a number. I pulled half his barnet out.
“Yeah, we`ve whacked one another…but it`s great when it gets like that.”
Any real disasters?
“Well, we`ve fallen over a lot. We call that getting our wings. I remember three years ago doing a small youth club – we`d just gone on and the kids were going mad. France went dashing across the stage, turned round, fell off the stage and knocked himself out. Quite funny, as it happens.”
Everything, fortunately for Quo, has a funny side.
“It`s a kind of warm sarcasm”, says Parfitt. “We don`t think we`re rude but say there`s a bird with big tits we`ll say, nice jumper you`re wearing there.”
Like I said, depending on which side of the coin you look.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.
This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: William Jellett, Mike Patto, Kilburn and the Highroads, Hank Marvin, Alvin Lee, Michael Chapman, Barry White, Sandy Roberton.
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