Classic Quo are back
Francis Rossi has confirmed speculation that the original lineup of Status Quo are getting back together.
He, Rick Parfitt, bassist Alan Lancaster and drummer John Coghlan will tour the UK and record an album next year. But the project will exist alongside the current Quo, which will also release a new record.
The reunion brings to an end decades of acrimony and reunites the outfit that finalised its classic lineup in 1967, when Parfitt joined Rossi, Lancaster, Coghlan and keyboardist Roy Lynes – who left three years later.
After some early success they released breakthrough album Piledriver in 1972 and by the middle of the decade were one of the leading lights of British rock music. They’ve sold over 128million albums worldwide to date.
Coghlan left in 1981 amid personal tensions and has since been touring with John Coghlan’s Quo. Rossi’s relationship with schoolmate Lancaster crumbled in 1985 and the bassist took the band to court over rights to the name. The case was settled privately two years later.
Earlier this year the four musicians gathered for the first time in decades during filming of band documentary Hello Quo. They had a jam session which was meant to be a one-off for the movie – but led to more discussion.
Now Rossi tells Sweden’s Nostalgia Rock’n'Roll Magazine: “We’ll do a tour and write new songs. We’ve booked a tour in Britain in March next year – eight to ten gigs or something. If we had been gone for 20 years maybe we would have been able to book all the big arenas. But we have a modern-day Quo up and running, and quite successfully too. Who knows how the old band will be perceived?”
The frontman is also concerned about Lancaster’s health. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2002. Rossi says: “Alan looks like he couldn’t do it. He’s still frail and his legs are a bit shaky, but he’s getting stronger every day. He’s lifting weights and eating himself into shape.”
Rossi offers some hints regarding their set list: “I want us to focus on the really old stuff like April, Spring, Summer And Wednesdays, which was Alan’s suggestion. We’ve decided to start the gigs with Junior’s Wailing. We’ll do 4500 Times. Maybe we’ll play Roadhouse Blues and other songs Alan used to sing. In that way it’ll feel fresh again, because we haven’t played those old songs for such a long time.”
But he’s most happy about being able to talk to his old friend again. “Alan had been misled by his attorney, who’d fooled him into believing they could sue us for £30m,” he explains. “The poor bastard has been so used. He apologised and we became friends again over a cup of coffee.
“I talked to Alan’s brother recently, a guy I thought would like to kill me. He cried over the phone. Then Alan’s cousin, a girl I used to have a crush on. I must meet Alan’s mum again. How I’ve missed those wonderful people. I mourn that I couldn’t meet his dad, who died recently, one last time. And his uncle also passed away – he was really important to me. Damn, I managed to get to 60 before I realised it. That’s life.
“So unnecessary, really, everything that went wrong. The nice thing is we can now be straight and honest with each other again.”
But Rossi thinks neither version of the band will be around for much longer. “I don’t believe we’ll play together with Alan and John for long – they won’t cope,” he says. “I don’t think Status Quo will be around much longer either. It’s increasingly difficult to cope with the energy discharge a concert requires.”