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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

*Exclusive Interview with Status Quo's Francis Rossi*

Francis Rossi Interview – October 29th 2009

Late last year at the end of October, I was fortunate enough to interview one of Britain’s longest playing faithful rock servants, Francis Rossi who has recently become, alongside his long standing stage mate Rick Parfitt, Francis Rossi OBE and Rick Parfitt OBE for services to music and charity in the UK.
I know it's taken some time to get this interview completed, I won't go into all the reasons, but it does take sometime - That's not always available ... - to get the interviews transcribed from the recordings to text. 

Anyway, it's done now so read on, as clearly the man is funny – Just look how he answered the phone! - yet thoughtful and oh yeah, he does swear on the odd occasion!

FR: Hello this is Freddy’s sandwich bar, how may I help you? We do cooked food or a sandwich or what is you’d like? The avocado is not very good! (Both laughing). I was just signing off the computer there, so just sort of stalling really as I’ve been playing patience, so I thought here, let me lie down a minute. Yeah much better, now I’m good.

AW: Ready for a nap eh?

FR: Well I’m in that position for a nap you know, but I don’t think I will though ‘cos I don’t know about you but if I nap during the day, I suddenly wake up in the middle of the f**king night and can’t go back to sleep and I need to sleep at night. There’s nothing worse than getting to bed and not sleeping, what the bloody hells that all about! Anyway ….

AW: Yeah I know, my wife’s been giving me grief about me snoring lately …

FR: Are you a Kiwi?

AW: Eh? No I’m not a bloody Kiwi!
FR: You’re either a Kiwi or an Aussie!

AW: No I’m not, I’m from Pompey. I’m from Portsmouth mate!

FR: How come? That’s not my fault, you blame me for everything! You definitely sound like you’ve got an Aussie accent! You were supposed to be coming from New York and I they said it’s from New York and you’ve got an Aussie accent and I thought ‘Aww f**k it, I’m in Germany who cares!’
AW: (Laughing) No, no, no, I’m in Detroit suburbs basically …

FR: Detroit?

AW: Yeah, I’ve been living in the States for about the past 9 years … FR: That’s not bad … AW: It’s actually the PR office that’s in New York …

FR: Oh I see, right! Well the last time I remember going to Detroit was very early 70’s and this guy we were given as our tour manager he said,”First of all I’ll give you these vitamins and it’s up to you if you take them or not, but if you don’t eat them in this country you’ll die … The food over here is shit, don’t eat it! Never eat in KFC and all these things he told us all this and we were going home through somewhere and he said, ‘Do not stop in Detroit’ and so we stopped, me, Rick (Parfitt) and Bob (Young) and it was one of these dark places with all these mama’s in there and there were all these juke boxes and things and the booze and this gorgeous black girl, she came up to me and she was really sweet and she said, ‘You shouldn’t be here,’ you know and she escorted us back to the car and said, ‘Now you be on your way you boys, you’re not safe here.’ You know it was such a fabulous moment in my life. Some woman saved my bacon! (Both laughs) Yeah, but anyway …

AW: Yeah, you did come through here back in about 2003 and what really sucked is Rick lost his voice that night and you cancelled and er …

FR: Yeah that’s right, Detroit yeah that’s right he did lose his voice and then we went on to some f**kin’ place, I can’t remember where, but yes he did lose his voice, he did.

AW: Toronto? I think you went up to Toronto after that.

FR: Yeah, it’s a strange situation, because we’re often asked about America, it really is and we took a decision, took a view in the 70’s that we’re spending so much money chasing the Yankee dollar …

AW: That it wasn’t worth it?

FR: We were taking the view that most bands last “X” years and that for us, it didn’t seem to be on the cards and we were earning good money around Europe and then spending it on America and that it’s a good move to back out now because this just isn’t going to work, you know. It was a good move in some respects because never did actually finally break it, but we never actually did keep going long enough I think and it would be very nice now, to be able to … I think we can do 12 – 1500 seat theatres here and there in some places but then that isn’t enough to carry the full production that we like to do. Anytime we’ve been to certain places over the years, they want you to take less gear and so in other words, to do it in a budget sense and there would be no point in us going to America, but it would be lovely to go and do some stuff there, just ‘cos we haven’t done much there mainly, that’s all.

AW: It’s kind of funny really because the 4th Chord album … It just got released here, 2 years after it being released in the UK …

FR: I know and we seem to have got a lot of interest in it as well. More interest than I think we’ve had there from any album I think, well maybe 1 or 2 others, but it does make you like … When I was 25 or 28 or something, like this sort of pioneering, ‘let’s move on, let’s do this, let’s further the band’ and I keep forgetting that I’m .., erm … a little bit older than that! (Both laughs.). It comes to mind quite often that …Kind of surreal its good business and the audience were great and you get off and you’re really enthused sort of, ‘Yeah!’ Your mind is still as it was I suppose back in your mid to late 20’s where the band was still forging forwards and then you sort of go … Oh right yeah, I forgot about the one thing and you spot yourself in the mirror and you think, Mmm huh OK ….

AW: What a bastard eh?

FR: However, I think it’s very good this business or whatever you want to call it, for that in itself that there’s a bloke of 60 at the moment, talking to you, hoping that it’s gonna … Still like it was when he was 20 something, thinking ‘Yeah this could be and we could sell some pieces in America, not just selling some pieces, but to actually get there and play … I was just thinking the other day somewhere, that we’re much very similar to the entrepreneur guys who …, they’ll go into something to make the killing, not necessarily just for the money but to actually make the killing and I’ve been like that, I’ve realized in this business for years and I asked somebody when I was about 18, we’d just had Matchstick Men then and I asked my publisher about how much I earned per record and it was so little at the time that I thought I’m never going to ask that ever again or even think about that again! I just love the vibe that you know ‘x’ amount of pieces have been sold or ‘x’ amount of tickets have been sold, the people that’s coming to see you. Now my share of that if I actually think about it is er …., it’s a real leveler you know, just because of the way things cost, so it’s that initial feeling of ‘Oh yeah,’ and we’ve been hearing all these positive things out of America and we’re shifting a few pieces and it’s like ‘Oh yeah perhaps …‘ and it’s that thing in me, that stays in you and you forget that I suppose we should really be thinking ‘Well we’ve had loads of hits 60 something or 70 or whatever it is hits and loads of albums and we’ve done this and that but it never feels like you’ve finished, it always feels like, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, this could be new, good, next section, next move, next …,’ you know … When will that f**king stop!

AW: Yeah, it’s that next chapter you know the elusive chapter you know, just out of reach or something …

FR: Oh yeah, that would be a dream come true really and as I say, mainly for the score. I was saying it to somebody the other day and you know I try to keep up with it and I realize that … Oh yeah, can you imagine if we had to go and do 50 or 60 dates, that’s hard work you know, but initially you think, ‘Yes! What a f**king great thing!’ Honestly we would love to do it, we would really love it! I think sometimes it would be one of those things where you could say to people over the years, ‘Well look, we finally f**king did it, got you didn’t it!’ It’s always leveled against us and there’s lots of acts over here that we that you know gets leveled against people, ‘Ah, but you never made the States did you? Ah so there must be something wrong with you really’ and that generally people (In the UK) about America think they’re all tossers but if you didn’t make the American market, there’s something wrong. My wife thinks I’m great, she’s a Yank what do you want me to say?!
I really would like to be well known in the States but there you go …

AW: So is mine!

FR: Eh?

AW: My missus is from here as well.

FR: Yeah, I’ve got nothing against Americans at all. All that bollocks we talk about Americans I think is kind of silly. It’s just a whole bunch of Europeans and whatever else went there, it’s a melting pot so … This idea that the Americans are that much different from us and blah, blah, blah ... We do that in England about everybody though, the French, the Germans, the Italians, the Spanish …, we don’t seem to like anybody!
We Brits always seem to pick on the Yanks though and I love them really, I do! There’s always something whenever I watch shot footage from the USA, I have this …, very similar to the vibe I get when I’m going home and I don’t know why? I have lost relatives in America and I’ve been there and stuff but I’ve always had this since I was really young, unless it’s because I grew up in the 50’s and the whole thing about America and all my Uncle’s wanting to go there and it was forward thinking, it felt very modern compared to England and something in me still has that …, ‘Wow! It’s America, you know?’

AW: Well you never know mate because I’m the same, you’re as young as you feel, I mean I know at night time you can feel bloody old but you wake up and you get through the day and you do gigs and it’s like me and the missus and that’s how we met, she plays keyboards and I play the drums and so we’ve got that young at heart vibe you know and it’s great …

FR: That’s what I mean, I think there’s something inherent in this whole, whether it’s being a muso or whatever it is, something makes you …, some people may say it’s infantile or something, they might be f**king right (Laughs), well because you know because you can’t do anything right in this world can you and people quite often say to us, ‘Well, when are you going to stop?’ When am I going to stop what? ‘When are you going to stop?’ When are you going to stop f**king living, is that what you mean to me?! I mean the whole thing, if you think about it any act whoever it is, the ones that have gone on, people say, ‘Cor, why don’t they give someone else a chance, why don’t they stop … If I’d died when I was 30, people would say, ‘Oh it was so sad,’ I get to 60 and it’s like, ‘Oh you’re an old f**k!’ You can’t win!

AW: (Laughs) You can’t win, no mate, it’s a tough old battle it really is …

FR: There you go!

AW: There’s still a demand though, I mean people still want to see you and everyone comes out to see you and it’s funny you know, I can remember my brother calling me up and he lives just outside of Portsmouth as well and he says, ‘Can you see BBC? Quo’s on at Glastonbury!’ I went, ‘What?!’ I couldn’t believe it?!

FR: Yeah that was funny! You know people have been saying that to us for so many years, like you know …, even my son watching Top of the Pops, he said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great for you to go and do Glastonbury and I said, ‘Well why, you mean for Glastonbury or for what?’ However, as much as Rick and I when doing promo came up, people kept saying to us, ‘Are you going to do anything special?’ I went, ‘No.’ ‘Well, are you going to wear anything different?’ ‘No, we’re doing a gig!’ and they want you do something … and that always puts us on the wrong foot. I don’t want to go to any gig thinking it’s more special than another one, because we won’t perform in the correct way … However …, something has definitely happened since we did that …

AW: Yeah?

FR: I don’t know what or why people perceive us … We were doing a radio show, you know Steve Wright, well we do his way once a year, you know and ever since him (Rick Parfitt) and I have been doing it, we’ve always wanted to meet the old woman, Janie Lee Grace who gets in there and we’re doing the interview and suddenly Janie walks in there and she grabs the mic and gets it dead close to her mouth and in that kind of … (Puts on deep breathy voice), ‘It’s strange how you’re really, really quite hip now aren’t you …?’ and I’m like, ‘Eh?!’ and that’s when we sense shit like that’s going on, ‘cos then that woman then wants to be …, she obviously then asked to be on the interview and she ain’t ever asked before because we ain’t … So whatever we said about Glastonbury whether it was you know, suddenly everyone’s going ‘Wow!’ and it’s this and it’s that and gates have been improved and it’s peculiar?! But, there is a collective consciousness that goes on in that venue; I mean those people are going to enjoy themselves, whatever f**king goes on! If you think about this year, they sold about 160,000 tickets to people that didn’t even know what they were going to see …

AW: Right, yeah …

FR: And most of them saw stuff way out of their generation, but it still works and so I have to give them their due on that and we enjoyed it and erm, as I said people seem to think we’re kind of groovy for the moment, but that's a bit dangerous, because the only way to go after groovy is ….? Non groovy! At we know what that’s like, ‘cos we’ve been there for f**king centuries! (Both laughs)

AW: Yeah, but it’s kind of become the new Reading hasn’t it to be honest? I mean it really has …

FR: Well I think actually you put it that way, yes I think it has because Reading for me, some years ago I don’t remember when we did it, but it was about the 3rd time we’d done it … I was standing alongside stage, I think not Spinal Tap, I think The Young Ones or somebody were onstage or something …

AW: Bad News … (Young Ones UK comedy show / act doing a Spinal Tap.)

FR: Yeah, whatever they were called and Lemmy was stood there, I was standing at the side with Lemmy and all of a sudden it rained all these cans and bottles and Lemmy said to me, “We started that.” I said, “Started what?” He said, “That bottle fight,” I said, “Oh that’s f**king great Lemmy, well done! No one can go onstage now without getting muellered with bottles!” (Both laughs.) So that festival when we were younger was quite a nice festival and I think that’s what’s happened now with Glastonbury, although they don’t want to appear to be called a ‘nice festival’ (Laughs) ….

AW: Right, I hear you, I hear you.

FR: But it is …, but as I say, the difference it’s made fascinates me!

AW: Yeah, yeah …!

FR: Who knows?!

AW: Yeah, anything’s possible mate, anything’s possible, but …

FR: Hang on a minute there, you went a bit …., sorry I was trying to get something out of my nose and I don’t mean from inside of it! I got these tweezers and I’ve got this hairy ears and hairy nose, you know … (Laughs) I shaved my nose when I was about 15 like a dickhead, you know when you do that, ‘I’m gonna have a shave, I’m gonna shave everything I can f**king find …, dickhead!

AW: It was like Billy Connolly said wasn’t it, all of a sudden you get old and all your hair’s coming out of all the wrong bloody places. You lose it in one place and it starts coming out all over the place …

FR: Yeah, it certainly is, it really is yeah! I got it coming out of me ears, me arse, me nose, bit’s of me face, but not where it’s supposed to be coming out of, like the top of me head!

AW: (Laughing) Right, right …

FR: Such is life you know …!

AW: Yeah, well the album was released here, I think last month and I mean the thing is, I’ve got people I communicate with all over, like on forums and stuff and they’re all saying stuff like … FR: Yeah … AW: There is an underlying Quo fan base here, there’s no doubt about it and of course and it does seem to be .., I’d like to say … more Canadian than US, but that said, it’s the old Canada / UK thing again isn’t it …? Kind of goes that way, the old British Empire thing you know …

FR: Yeah I think so, but I do think there’s a fundamental difference, something happened this time or from the promo I’ve been doing thus far the way people are talking, you can usually tell if you’re doing promo with the US and you’re doing a syndicated thing and the guy kind of leads you in and you say certain things … The last few I’ve done, the guys actually quote certain tunes from the album and actually say why they liked it and I thought, ‘Well I’ll try and catch this guy out and maybe …,’ no this guy actually knew everything about the album so it makes one feel a bit better and like I said it gives you that, ‘Aww, you never know! That would be blinding!’ (Laughing).

AW: It would be sweet, it would be, but you’ve got the DVD out as well, haven’t you?

FR: Yeah and that’s gone to number 1 in all sorts of strange places, ridiculous isn’t it?

AW: Yeah but that’s great isn’t it? I mean it’s a nice DVD mate, I mean I only got it this week … That Montreux crowd though they’re a bit stiff aren’t they?

FR: They are yeah … I’m glad somebody said it yes …! They are very much like that and I always find it that way there and I don’t know why … Normally, generally the Swiss …, if we go somewhere else in Switzerland, they have a thing the Swiss, they’re a very good audience and they have a thing where they all wave their hands in the air and wobble them and make this ‘Oy oy oy oy oy’ type noise and when you’ve four or five thousand people doing that it’s fantastic!

AW: Yeah, I saw that on there …

FR: But yes, I agree with you, Montreux they’re weird …

AW: I guess it was the old Jazz festival right and that’s why …, it’s kind of strange really ‘cos …

FR: It’s weird! Again they call it a jazz festival and it couldn’t be any further from the f**king truth! With us and John Fogerty, I mean he was on and when you see other acts on there and the things that go through there, I mean a couple of years ago when we did it, Purple were on and it’s weird but there seems to be a … Well, I did see a clip on the …, I don’t know what year it was but Nina Simone was on there and f**k me! She was good, but there’s much smaller theatres within that place, that complex now and I think when we played there were 3 other gigs on at the same time …

AW: Really?

FR: I don’t know four or five hundred seaters, six or seven hundred seaters, that sort of thing maybe less you know and it’s very big thing that goes on there and that town, Jesus! That place is dripping with money! It’s lovely actually! Lovely place to be!

AW: Yeah, I’m sure …

FR: It really is, you turn up there and you think, ‘f**k me, these people are living well here’ and far as we all know, it’s just some corner of Switzerland, no one takes any notice of … Fantastic! Bastards!

AW: (Both laughing) Well, that’s what everyone says and they reckon the air there is bloody better than anywhere else in the world right?

FR: Well, so they tell us, but mind you there’s some friends of ours, this band called ‘Vivien’ and I went did some promo with them earlier this year to help them with their track that I’d been on and this guy Roger Vivien, nice enough man and he was telling us and I don’t suppose you know this? I didn’t know this but every person in Switzerland, every house has to have a handgun in it.

AW: Really? I didn’t know that no?

FR: I said, ‘No don’t be silly, you can’t have to …’ He said, ‘Yes, there are more people, more murders in Switzerland, particularly of the erm, men killing their wives and vice versa, that they have to have a gun in their house.’ Then everyone one in Switzerland has a room under their house to put them in, in case of a nuclear attack. Everybody ... So I can see this scenario in the next years when the world blows itself up and after 10 or 15 years, the Swiss come out of the ground and they say to everybody, ‘Hi everybody, we’ve got all the money … We’ve got the … Hello everybody … Oh, it’s no f**king good having the money, there’s nobody here!’ (Both laughing). I can just see all the Swiss coming out of the ground saying, ‘Look what we saved everyone! Oh, there’s nobody here!’ They can see clean from Switzerland, right up to Birmingham! ‘Oh, erm, oh shit!’ I often wondered what they think, what their logic is there about being that way, you know?

AW: Right! Moving on, so you’re in Germany now right, so how’s Germany now, interesting?

FR: Yes, it’s very good! I think it’s the best we’ve had …

AW: I mean you’ve always done pretty good there it’s that whole European thing again isn’t it and then Australia as well right? You go back to Oz in Spring right?

FR: Yep, looking forward to that yeah. Always like that. It’s such a good … I think as well we tend to go that time of the year so that we leave England while it’s still a bit … and then we come back and spring has burst through, so it’s this wonderful … It’s great to get back to England ‘cos it always feels this WOW! You know I try to get all the pluses there are and there are many pluses in life …

AW: There you go you’ve got to get all the pluses you can right?

FR: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah!

AW: But you’re always ….

FR: How did you get an accent half kiwi?!

AW: I’m telling you, it’s because I’ve been living here for 9 years and I’m surrounded by so many Americans, I don’t talk to too many Brit’s except for when I call home and it’s like …, I almost want to say it’s like that Kid Jenson thing, like that mid Atlantic thing …

FR: Oh yeah, it’s starting to move the accent a bit, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you mean …. You know what’s weird about Kid Jensen?

AW: Go on …

FR: It’s now when you work with him, you can’t go ‘Kid …’ It’s David I think now, David Jensen, you can’t call him Kid anymore …

AW: Yeah, David Jensen. No, you can’t really call him Kid anymore, right?

FR: No, it just sounds so fucking silly! I’m 60 and he’s 58 or something or if he’s the same age or something. You can’t call him Kid anymore, there’s something odd with calling him Kid, so … He still sounds the f**king same though … That’s the thing with those radio guys, they do just …, sound the same! (Laughs) Lucky bastards!

AW: Yeah … So I was just wondering, you’re touring with Kansas in Germany right, I mean a lot of people would say that’s an interesting combination, you two …, so what’s the chances of you two …

FR: Well, that was one of the things we looked for …. Sorry, sorry, go on, didn’t mean to interrupt you …

AW: No, all I was going to say was is there any chance of you could hook up with them and come back here? I mean wouldn’t that be sweet? Maybe do some shows with them?

FR: That would be fine for us, but I don’t think they could, with respect, afford to pay us, because I said, we need the money to carry our production and we won’t … and I don’t mean the full production but there’s a point we go to where we say, well there’s no point unless we’re going to present ourselves in this particular way. They’ve come over here these guys, they only have in ear monitoring, there’s no amplification whatsoever … They’re really professional about the way they do everything and stuff, but … We wouldn’t do that, just turn up with a bit of rented equipment here, there and everywhere, nah, not going to do that, but …, the idea is quite nice yes and I … There’s a thing over in Europe trying to make these decent packages. We sometimes do around the world with Deep Purple, that’s always a good package or sometimes we have Manfred Mann with us and that’s a really good package! You tell it’s a good package ‘cos suddenly the gate lifts … and you can sense that and the two bands don’t … Kansas don’t interfere with what we’re doing at all and we can’t interfere with what they’re doing because the bands are so opposite. They’re very, very musical and jazzy and progressive and we’re not, so I find those combinations are really good. The promoters were talking out here about … I think it was Deep Purple and …
They were looking at Deep Purple to do a package and try and push their gate and they just didn’t think and for some reason they put Deep Purple and Alice Cooper together and they said what each one was worth in tickets on their own and what they did was treble the business they would do on their own but it just didn’t make sense but it was a fabulous combination and for some reason it appeals to the punter and he says, ‘I’ll go and see that.’ It’s like it’s value for money I suppose but I don’t know, rather than there’s a support band on that they don’t particularly want to see, so they might as well go out and see 2 names. Maybe it’s a blast from the past and so on and that’s what’s happening these days, whatever it is they can do to get people to come out because as records aren’t being sold in the quantities that they used to, most acts just come out on the road. Even the younger ones that want to come out and mime or the boy or girl bands that want to come out and mime, they have still got their head in the same live trough, so what kind of happens is the live market is kind of almost saturated again with people that just never used to work and now everybody wants to work! Bastards! (Both laughing).

AW: Yeah I know it makes it tougher to …

FR: They’ve come into our area, what are they doing?! (Laughs)

AW: Yeah right. So anyway how are things in the Quo camp these days? How’s Rick these days, I mean ‘cos I haven’t seen Quo in about 10 years …

FR: Oh he’s bobbing about somewhere … Eh? What was that?

AW: I haven’t seen Quo in years, because I’ve been over here for almost 10 years and …

FR: Oh I see, well you should see us again, I mean there’s a vast improvement I don’t why but there is … (AW: Laughing …)

FR: I’m deadly serious, ‘cos I don’t know really what it is and we’ve all noticed it and various people have been saying it to us, but there’s some ridiculous improvement in the way the bands playing sounds. I don’t know what it is but some people say, ‘You should be at your bloody age!’ (Both laughs)

AW: You get better with age! That’s what you said in the interview isn’t it, on the DVD, the extra bits on the interview, you said, that you’ve been doing this long enough, you should be pretty good at it by now right?

FR: Well yeah, I can understand people saying that, however I’m just pleased that I can say that about the band, it’s improved particularly in the last 2 or 3 years, some sort of … (Changes tone of voice) ‘Giant leap for for man forward!’ Some sort of quantum leap jobby going on and I don’t know what happened, whether it’s we’re more comfortable … I don’t know …? I don’t argue, I mean I don’t question it.

AW: Yeah, I know, but it is a good show and watching it again brought back loads of old memories, but I guess Rick doesn’t do so much of the banter with you back and forth like you used to do back in the day, is that ‘cos he’s saving his voice more or no particular reason …, maybe he didn’t like the Montreux gig? (Laughs)

FR: No particular reason really, I don’t er know, it’s unusual I don’t know what to say about that really? I thought it was the same as he’s always been myself but there you go?

AW: You’ve also always played a good long set for the fans, which even current bands can’t match these days to be honest … I mean back in the day it used to be 2 ½, what 3 hours or so …

FR: Yeah, 2 ½ yeah … There is a point these days as well where we figure after 1 hr 45 minutes, where we figure after 1: 45, I don’t care who it is, but after 1: 45 you start to get …, well most of us do, ‘Cor, I’ve had enough of that …!’ I don’t care who it is, there seems to be an optimum point, plus as I said when we get on 2’s, we’re on 2’s at the moment. We do 2 on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off and we started 3 on, 1 off today … Next week when we get to England because we’re taking on a charity show, we’re starting with 6 on the trot and now we’ve got to be careful of that, because various people may get ill after that. So then we do 3 on, 1 off, 3 on, 1 off and that’s f**king hard work! You have to look after yourselves somewhat, you have to be careful.

AW: Right and then you’re doing a 1 off in the Czech Republic right after all these dates, aren’t you?

FR: Yeah that goes just before we go home …

AW: That’s kind of weird isn’t it?

FR: Yeah, you want to come out and do it mush, I’ll tell ya! You think it’s weird, you’re saying it from over there! (Laughs) I’m saying it from over here, shit! It might be all right. You never know with these places, all of that stuffs changed. If you’ve been away 10 years it f**king changes fast!
We’re playing now in Leipzig (Germany), first time I came here in Leipzig 15 – 20 years ago, it was f**king grim! Now it’s a very, very nice town.

AW: Oh, that’s cool.

FR: So lot’s of the eastern stuff, stuff we still call the east, as though you know 'Dun, dun dun da dun, dun da dun dun dun dun da (Francis makes funny humming tune),' has really come on. They’ve invested millions and millions and it’s really working.

AW: That’s good, that’s good …

FR: Well it’s good for them it just makes it nice for us when we visit … (Laughs)

AW: Well nicer, eh?

FR: Anyway sorry, I’ve been told I’ve got to chop this down! I’ve got another one coming in apparently.

AW: OK. Well alright, what else was I going to ask you quick, looking through my notes here quickly …

FR: That’s made it worse hasn’t it …?

AW: I know we did go on a bit didn’t we?

FR: Yeah, that’s my fault sorry!

AW: Yeah! (Laughing) So, when the next Quo album likely then Francis?

FR: We’re going to make one in April, we’re scheduled to make one in April. However, I was talking about that this morning and we’ve got to get some material together yet, but these things you know, they come about …

AW: Right. So, do you think you’ll ever do another solo album or who knows?

FR: Yes, almost finished the solo album oddly enough, which that should be going out … I forget now, but I think it should be May (2010) I think or late April, I don’t know … I’m doing 6 shows in April / May. I just want to see what it’s like to be honest I’ve never been in another band before. I’ve never played with anybody else other than the people in this band. I’m the only person that didn’t join this band, it’s weird! Very weird?!

AW: Another one for you was do you have a favourite period of Quo yourself or not really? It’s funny because you and Rick are always going on about Blue for You, where you were all “doing stuff,” other stuff?

FR: Sulphate!

AW: Yeah (Laughs), I mean that was a great album, that one and Piledriver to me were like for me, the original favourites, but 4th Chord has really struck down, really good now, but I like Party Ain’t Over Yet as well …

FR: Yes it has! I don’t know what it is with 4th Chord and we get different vibes in the band about what they think, but I think it’s a pretty good album because it’s got some nice material on it. It’s always down to the material really, you can say it’s the producer, the sound, you know but if the song’s no good you don’t … You just don’t go out and buy a blinding sound, do you?

AW: No, no … Your family came from an Ice Cream company, is that right they …

FR: Yeah they did …

AW: Now when I was living in Pompey and that, there were always 2 vans that went around Verechia and Verrossi. Did you join up, the families …?

FR: Who? Verechio?

AW: No, Verechia … There was one called Verechia and one called Verrossi

FR: Well there were so many bloody Rossi’s around they split up. There was a lot in Southend, there was a lot in Southport, in Liverpool, a lot in south London and generally they were related but the Italians, you know like anybody else, you can put that string together and get us all back to Africa, so we’re all f**king related anyway, so cares!?! (Both laughing).

AW: Alright, one last one mate, so seriously, do you think Quo will come back to the US again or is it dependant on the album reaction and stuff, right?

FR: It’s very much dependant on the album reaction, who wants to take a chance with us and all that and you realise it’s a chance with certain promoters to draw but as I said, we need enough money to carry the production otherwise there’s not a lot of point in us going. There’s no point in us going out and doing a show that we consider sub-standard to what we would like to do so. I don’t know, as I said, I’ve never heard such a positive reaction to an album in America.

AW: Right, right …

FR: Which is great.

AW: Alright mate, well good stuff. It’s been smashing talking to you Francis …

FR: Yeah, hope you got what you needed if not, put at the bottom, this would’ve been a better interview, only the silly old f**k talks too much! There, they’ll love that! (Laughs).
You can put silly old …

AW: I talked to Mick Box for about an hour and a half mate, I’ll tell ya! He was going on …

FR: Yeah, he’s a lovely guy he’s a lovely man. We had the same manager for a while and I think they’ve had to leave.
You take care now, I’ve got to speak to somebody else.

AW: Alright, take care Francis, thanks mate.

FR: Thanks very much, I’ll give your regards to your home town when I’m down there!

AW: There you go, alright mate …

FR: See you now, take care.

AW: Take care mate.


  1. Hi, I really enjoyed your interview with Francis there. I'm also interviewing him tomorrow for an Australian publication and was looking for some inspiration! I have to say I feel much less nervous about the talk after seeing how jubilent the man can be and what a great story teller he is. Nice work keeping the conversation flowing too. Please feel free to check out my interview blog too, the Francis interview should be up soon-ish, but as you pointed out yourself these things take time! By the way, I'm a freelance music journo and pretty new in the game, I'd appreciate any feedback you might have if you get a chance to read any of my interviews. (my blog url should appear with the message)...

    Cheers and all the best,


  2. Hi Leigh, thanks, glad you enjoyed it.
    Yeah, Francis is a funny guy and having seen Quo a number of times, I guess I knew that already.

    I've been writing reviews and doing the interviews for around the past 5 - 6 years.
    Most of my work is on type "Alun Williams" in the search field at the top of the home page and all my work should come up.

    Good luck with all things Blog related. :)
    Some stuff that was not published I posted through my MySpace blog: