It’s still the STATUS QUO / Francis Rossi is In The Army Now! Interview with the GOMORR

Status Quo on

If it’s up to STATUS QUO, people use to say: o.k., but hey – forget it, that’s old man’s rock’n’roll. Yes, of course it is – but in another way. Actually, STATUS QUO is the only 60ies founded band, which is still creative at work, making lots of albums, touring every year, playing tons of gigs around the world. Not to compare with the other old 60ies bands like THE ROLLING STONES (one album every 10 years or so), or THE WHO (no new material). On stage they are able to blow the audience away with their unique hard rocking rhythm ‘n’ boogie rock – this isn’t any “sold out oldie” crap at all, it’s pure fine rock’n’roll including dozens of hits.

Nowadays they have been reunited as the FRANTIC FOUR – with their old bandmates from the 70ies John Coghlan and Alan Lancaster. What was planned as a one gig show, now will find it’s natural touring prolongation – the original magic rockin‘ QUO Mark 1 will come to Europe in March 2014! Dates in Germany are announced  as well….’s predecessor had the honour to speak with the GOMORR (short for Grand Old Man Of Rock and Roll, as the younger bandmates named him) Mr. Francis Rossi, founding member of the mighty QUO, in the year 2011.  To celebrate the upcoming historic QUO shows –

18.03.14 Berlin – 19.03.14 Oberhausen21.03.14 Stuttgart

we just feel free to release that interesting interview again – because the first version isn’t to find online anywhere ….

Two hours before the open air gig at the Museumsplatz in Bonn: Francis Rossi was  – as usual – in a very friendly and polite mood. He is a man showing not a bit of “rock star attitudes”, so we could just sit in his dressing room and have a nice chat about QUO, the charity for the army, and his solo project.

interview by Martin Hannig – (originally released at former Francis Rossi, what a honour for ENTERTAIM.NET to do an interview with one of the heroes of our youth…

Francis Rossi: (conciliatory) ah, no. I recently saw MUSE at a festival, and between their songs they use to play short interludes, cover versions of other bands.  Now, very surprisingly one of them was…

Francis Rossi: It’s our song  “Burning Bridges”, I know. They are really really good, the best thing around. Or manager told us recently, when they feel a bit down they play “Burning Bridges” in the studio or at gigs. Was it a hit for you back in England?

Francis Rossi: Yes, it was no. 2 in England. And a football song later. Quite good. Matt Bellamy, he once said, that he loves STATUS QUO. That MUSE art rock thing doesn’t seem to fit to Quo….

Francis Rossi: Strange, he? Well, I don’t know. When E.L.O. was around, with Jeff Lynne, Jeff Lynne was doing kind of similar in terms of having an orchestra, and there’s gotta be strings. It’s kind of the same with Matt Bellamy, he just gonna do that. He MUST have listened when he was younger to lots of classical rock. And he doesn’t seem to have any “Huuuh, we must not do that”. I think, too many people in rock’n’roll – or whatever you call it – are just so clever to get away with their images, “ok, let us NOT gonna do it”. Matt Bellamy does it brilliantly, better than anybody else.  If they were in the 70ies, they would have been in the charts for the rest of 30 years. And his guitar has these technical upgrade, special things I never saw before. Seems to be a touchpad….

Francis Rossi: Yeah a touchpad. It’s phenomenal. That bastard, Bellamy! (laughs) News say that QUO has just recorded a new version of “In The Army Now”. That was for the British Armed Forces, for charity reasons. Could you tell me something about that?

Francis Rossi: Yes, we did it for the Help For Heroes charities. They provide kind of  practical support for injured soldiers.  I think our soldiers need a backing – it’s a very strange thing…. In Germany ist’s fairly unthinkable, to have a major rock act to support the german Bundeswehr. There is no connection between the rock or music business and the army. A band doing a charity project for the army wouldn’t be seen as normal.

Francis Rossi: I don’t think it’s normal in England! I don’t think it’s normal anywhere. We just have that record, we are that band that we are that long. Perhaps a younger band would worry bout their image too much. It’s good for us, it’s good for the troops. It’s quite unfashionable. We all have armies. Nobody wants to face the fact that there is something going to happen. In England troops are coming home with limbs missing, legs or arms. They find it very difficult to get any help. You know, troops are PEOPLE. Your troops are also down there. Yes, but in Germany we take the army very serious. Maybe because of our history. There’s no space for rock and roll charity songs, or even army charity, I think.

Francis Rossi: We also take it very serious, cause it is very serious to lose your legs or your arms and nobody wants to talk about it. The fact, that you talking to me about it, you wouldn’t be, if we hadn’t done this record. I mean, I understand that it’s very serious. The Deutsches and the English are very similiar in that way. Kind of (makes a snotnosed gesture). What is the difference between the recording of “In The Army Now” from 1986 and the new version?

Francis Rossi: Well, the drums sounded very 80ies….  I was very much aware after we recorded it how very much much 80ies the whole record did sound. You can’t help it. At the time, when you don’t sound up the time, you’re past it. It was the sound of the time. The whole LP “In The Army Now” had very different tunes, with “Invitation” as a country song, there was Rock’n’Roll in “Rolling Home”, and the song “In The Army Now” was a new pop approach to STATUS QUO.

Francis Rossi: Well it’s all pop music. But the new one’s much better, it’s much fuller, technically it’s a better recording. You know, people think it’s for the charity, and not whether it’s good or not.

„There aren’t many of those.

We just didn’t stop, we just won’t go away.“ In Germany we don’t have any rock band which is as long in business like Quo, and I think even in the UK as well…

Francis Rossi: Ya, a long time. The Stones…. There are a few other acts from the 60ies, The Searchers… No, I mean still making new records, and touring regurlarly…

Francis Rossi: Yes, there aren’t many of those. We just didn’t stop, we just won’t go away. You have your Francis Rossi solo project on the way. You played some gigs and will be coming to Germany in February. Is there a big difference in playing with your own solo band or in STATUS QUO?

Francis Rossi: Ya. With STATUS QUO you have to physically commit. The Francis Rossi stuff – I can just sing the songs! With STATUS QUO is has to be this, before we go out, with Francis Rossi I kind of sing the songs which I like, which is quite comfortable.  It’s still quite rocky. But it must not be rocky. The album is very relaxed, more singer/songwriter, nice songs to listen, very melodic.

Francis Rossi: Good! When we were younger it was lot of talk that Status Quo was kind of hard sounding music with melody. I never had a problem with melody! But I can’t imagine it live.

Francis Rossi: It’s very good live! Your son Nicholas is in your band, and your daughter did some support shows. Did you ever thought in your earlier times that sometimes in your life you will join one stage with your own kids?

Francis Rossi: Well, I used to fantasize about it when my boy was younger. As we got older we have to understand, these things just happen.  And as they are happening, we have to try to enjoy it. When I used to imagine he was only about 4, I was 30, now he’s 36 – quite a long time… So we said:  ok, let’s do this. Maybe it’s the last time you can do this together.

Francis Rossi: One get old. Everyone’s getting old…

Francis Rossi: And that’s why I wanted this with Nicholas. And I got Johns son, Freddy, in the band, he is good! Did you gave your musical genes to your kids?

„If my father would be a rock star,

I would have gone into the ice cream!“

Francis Rossi: I suppose. When I was younger I was kind of ashamed about it. You can’t force it, that won’t work. My second daughter, the youngest, I never thought she’d be interested at all in music. She suddenly developed, interested in playing guitar and singing. She’s better now than her elder sisters. If my father would be a rock star, I surely would play guitar or drums….

Francis Rossi: If my father would be a rock star, I would have gone into the ice cream! (laughs) The last 3 Quo albums had a fairly hard or rough sound, with more heavy guitar sounds on it, compared to some older works like “Ain’t Complaining”.

Francis Rossi: Well there is this thing which I disagree a lot. We don’t do the stuff like a template – it has to be like this or that. But it hasn’t to be like anything. That bothers me. We should try living by the images – but we MADE the images. The image dated back in the 70es – long ago.

Francis Rossi (laughs): Ya, certainly is! In the internet there are long discussions about your music, and much fans just seem to hear “Hello” or “Blue For You”…

Francis Rossi: Ok. They can play it at home. I mean, those albums are good, but there are moments in those albums that are shit. What is your favourite album?

Francis Rossi: I don’t know. What’s yours? Maybe “Rock Til Your Drop”. Because of it’s very good production. After the more or less weak “Perfect Remedy” came that clear and loud and hard album like a bang! And a lot of good songs on it!

Francis Rossi: Ya, “Fakin The Blues” and that (sings the melody of “Rock Til You Drop”) . Nobody liked the album, but there are really good songs on it. It’s a good album, I like that album. Will there be another STATUS QUO album in the future?

Franis Rossi: Yes, we’re makin’ it now. It should be out next May or next September (knocks on the table) . It was going to be earlier but we’re not ready. I’m still writing and recording some stuff. I’m done. Thank you very much, Mr. Rossi!