MUSIC - Status Quo... rock of ages

HE has been touring to Glasgow since the mid-1960s, when he says bands were paid extra to cross the border because it was so dangerous.

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Status Quo's Francis Rossi with Rick Parfitt this year, and below in the 1970s
Status Quo's Francis Rossi with Rick Parfitt this year, and below in the 1970s

Francis Rossi remembers being escorted off the stage in Dundee after a fight broke out between fans.

Having been forced to abandon their gear, the young members of Status Quo returned in the morning to find the cleaners, scrubbing blood from the white pine floor.

Those days may be behind the rock band, but Francis Rossi still keeps his love of the Scottish crowd.

And he will be back in Glasgow for this year's UK Winter tour 'Quo Festive' at the Clyde Auditorium on Thursday, December 6.

Francis jokingly said: "The jocks, they are special, for me there are no midway jocks, they are either extremely nice people or not very nice people, and luckily I have met mostly nice ones.

"We used to get extra money to go to Scotland in the 60s because it was dangerous.

"All bands did, if you are going to Scotland you want extra money because you are likely to get beat up if they don't like you.

"But we were lucky because they took to us.

"It's that jock thing, once they love you, that's it, there is no half measures, 'I have said I love you and that is not going to change', and that is one of the joys of being in Glasgow specifically, this feeling of love when you walk out."

The 63-year-old rocker, who speaks with his tongue firmly in his cheek, has been touring with Quo for more than four decades and the band has had more hit singles than any other band, and more hit albums than The Beatles.

They had more appearances on Top of the Pops than any other act, and have seen the music industry change much over the years.

And Francis said the loss of the famous music show, which finished in 2006, was a big loss to the music scene.

He said: "As an industry, we need some show like that again, as much as the Jools Holland thing is very good, it is mostly people in our business watching it and looking at each other.

"The thing with Top of the Pops is we would all sit there and go 'that's dreadful, have you seen that so and so record,' but you would get to see a bit of everything, whereas now, you just tune into the radio station you know is going to play the stuff you like."

He may have been around the block on the music seen, but Francis is showing no signs of slowing up.

Although he mentions that he thinks he should retire in a couple of years, in the same sentence he reaffirms his addiction to the rock 'n' roll lifestyle.

He said: "I am an insecure little show-off, so I need to go and do that in front of people, as much as each night I don't really want to go on, if you said 'you're not going on', half an hour later I am wishing I went on and did it.

"It is probably the wrong reasons that drive me on, the need to show off, the fear of failure and I'm 63 and I have planted all these trees in this house I have moved into and I need to get to 80-years-old or I'm never going to see them grow.

"I thought I was old when I was 30, then surely it is old when I'm 40 and then definitely it's old when I'm 50 and now I'm 63."

"I really think we should retire in a couple of years and I don't see retire as stop, per se, dead, because that would be like hitting a brick wall, I can't do that, but again I'm 63, at 65 will I still be doing that?"

And Francis still feels the nerves before each show.

He added: "I never want to go on, ever since the first show, I can never imagine that it is going to work as it did last night.

"It is always like that, and the odd time that one of us has been sick and they've had to pull shows in the afternoon and nothing can happen until the insurance company let you go, usually after leaving the building you get in the bus and you are about 40 minutes out and you are kind of relaxed and then ... 'I wish I had done that tonight'.

"But when you are in there and it is sound check time, you think 'oh I can't do that'.

"I think that is a form of nerves, I don't get nervous per se, but the minute you wake up on show day it is in the back of your head all the time. It's a kind of a fear but I want to do it."

n Status Quo will be at the Clyde Auditorium on December 6. Tickets are £37.50 in advance, call 0844 395 4000 for details.

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