Why have you chosen Status Quo as the name for your band ?
We didn't really choose it. We first chose the name Spectres - with a
manager of ours when we were very young, 13 or 14. It got to a point when we
thought that we should change the name, to be contentious and to perhaps draw
attention to ourselves, maybe we should call ourselves the homosexuals ( The
Queers) - na'h - maybe the Mohammad Ali’s and then he said perhaps
Traffic, ok, then a week later Steve Winwood became Traffic so we became
Traffic Jam, which was horrible ! A little while later we were rehearsing in
this basement and we said that we really need to change the name again, and
our manager said, whilst we continued to rehearse, some other name, and then
he said Quo Vadis - no - well then he said Status Quo. We just said OK yeh,
with a quick wave of our hands, that'll be fine, OK, but we didn't know what
Status Quo meant of course, it would have been fabulous to say yes that we
realised what it meant, when we were so young and we weren't going to change
our music anyway, it was 'just a name' and 'sounded good' and we kept the
name. We were so lucky it never changed - Status Quo's meaning was there, it
would have been nice to say that we knew the meaning - but we didn't - it
just sounded good at the time !
Can you introduce Status Quo in only 3 words ?
No ! ha ha ha...Describe Status Quo in 3 words...Energetic, loud,
rock...fun. (holding his hand in the air and pointing to his fingers)... oh
no...That's four words. You can chuck one out...
In your opinion what makes the success of a band ?
Any band...yes ? One likes to think it's good music, good songs...but good
is...what he thinks is good or we think is good is different, so...a lot of
it is determination, a lot of it is what's fixed in your head - what it's
going to be. I am sure when I was very young I just fixed on the future...and
this is how it's going to be... and I believe that works..but what makes a
good band... I don't know what makes a good band...well the public makes a
good band... without an audience and without a public any band...well 'phew'
I don't care who it is... without an audience...well. It's a very strange
thing that people like me need to go and stand on the stage in front of
people and say look at me...why do we need to do that ? there is something
very wrong with anybody, in show business or movies...because basically I am
quite shy normally...well I always think of Elton John and Brian May... they
are also quite shy people... but we go on stage and can do that other
stuff...so that it's like we are insecure but there is a contradiction going
on... I find it very odd that any of us can actually go and do this and stand
in front of people...but to answer your question, what makes a good band ?
Well I think the audience... because you start off wanting to be loved...then
you build and build and build...that's what makes you who you are. If you
didn't build and get love...well... the band would become...well...and that
adds a certain confidence to a band I suppose and you have to build a balance
between confidence and big headedness...there is always this balance going
on. Within this industry people are always telling you ... 'great show',
'great concert', 'I love you', 'I love your music', 'I love all your
records'. People that don't like us don't come to the theatre. This is any
and every band and every act...no one comes up and says 'by the way I really
dislike you...I haven't bought any of your records, I think you are really
rubbish''. People think that but it's never presented to any of us. why am I
talking so much ? Because I have a big mouth !
We understand that Status Quo has played more than 6 000 concerts in
front of more than 25 millions people, travelled more than 6 millions
kilometers and lived for many years far from your families... therefore after
42 years career as a musician, do you think you are still in contact with
real life or do you feel like real God rock stars ?
Yeh...haaaaa...'NO' to the last bit...We often have discussions as to
whether it is real life...we sometimes say it isn't real life... but it is to
us...because this is what we do. We like to justify it by calling it work but
I am sure a lot of people would like to say I'd like to do that because it's
easy and it's not work...but there is something about it that is very taxing
in some ways...if you said to me that we don't have to do tonight's show...we
say 'yeh, great'...but we'd leave on the bus 30 minutes down the road and
we'd say... 'we would have loved to play tonight...and that always happens.
Most mornings I wake up thinking, oh no, 'I can't do this anymore...I can't
do this'...but as the day goes on...whoo...whoo..and get that joy
again...you've got this sense of freedom when the show is finished...and then
you wake up in the morning and think 'oh no' again...but..I have been like
this since I was 18...it's very strange. it would be nice if I could answer
one question, but the straight answer is I can't...
Is it hard to live without your family ?
Well, I should say yes but I have been touring like this since I was about
16 so I don't know any other way. I sometimes feel very sad that I wasn't
there when most of my children were growing up but when I am at home, we
stopped work last year about December 21st and we went back to this work in
May or June. Now all that time I was at home, I don't go away, I don't go to
the pub, I don't go to football, I don't go to rugby, I don't go down to
Brighton with my mates to the pub...I stay at home. My children know that if
I am at home, I am at home. So when they are up in the morning, I am there,
when they come home from school I am there...oh Dad's still here...so they
know I am here for long periods of time so I think that balances a little
bit, and I also imagine there are some people who are truck drivers who are
never at home, some people are in the armed forces who are never at home.
Lots of people, not just people in this business. But I guess sometimes you
think maybe this isn't the way...but that isn't to say that there is one
particular way one should be brought up. All governments try to tell us the
ideal family is this...there is no ideal family...but they keep trying to
tell us... there is...but that's just how it used to happen. If you go back
40 or 50 years how families worked it was completely different. There were 8
to 10 children in families and they were all messing with each other...musn't
Do you have some hobbies apart from the music ?
No, not really...I tend to go shooting with a 12 bore, but I don't shoot
animals...I can shoot humans but not animals...clay pigeon shooting...I don't
often go. But I like to go home and stay there. I am so often away. My wife
and children go and stay on holiday, but I don't, I stay at home. For me to
go on an aeroplane, live out of a suitcase and stay in a hotel...that is not
a holiday...I am sorry...my holiday is at home.
AM : I read that you like collecting Ko´ Carp
I stopped a few years ago. I had this pond with lots of very nice fish but
one of the fish at one time was ill. It was the oxygen in one of the filters
which packed in, so these fish would come up and my daughter was crying, so I
thought I cannot do this anymore...So I sold the fish and somebody looked
AM : Do you shoot clay pigeon sometimes or do you just collect them ?
Yeh I would like to do it again...clay pigeons, pigeons, other than that I
don't shoot anybody...I like basically shooting but I don't go often, it's
not like I am that keen but I have done it a few times...but the main thing
is that I am a very boring person and I like to go home and stay there. I
practice my guitar at night, I go to the gym at 10 in the morning, I come
home at 11am and I have something to eat and then I go into the studio until
6 or 7pm...Take the dog for a walk...
Tell us about your latest album (the 33rd one)
It's called 'In Search of the Fourth Chord' and generally most people see
that as a joke because the thing about it is that most people think that's it
said that we always have our songs in three chords...lots of them are in
three chords or four and five and so on, but the idea of using that title is
that as soon as anyone hears 'In Search of the Fourth Chord' it can only be
Status Quo. It couldn't be Pink Floyd, it couldn't be The Stones, it couldn't
be anybody...Nobody else would laugh at themselves in that way, and so...as
soon as somebody said to me what about the Fourth Chord, I smiled, that's
good and we are aware of that these days. The market place has become much
more of a business, it's much harder to get through, as there are more acts,
and there is so much more competition and so anything that draws attention,
and so I prostituted myself since I was about 12 really, for the sake of
AM : Which chord do you prefer to play ?
That one (holding up his left hand in the air)
AM : Which topic do you prefer to sing ?
I don't know. I don't like to umh...I don't necessarily like the idea
particularly of political statements...I believe that most people know that
if we go around telling people 'your life is shit, they don't pay you enough,
you are being abused, the system is F...'. They all know this, deep inside
they know this, so you stand there telling them... and they say : 'I know, I
know'... Well that's us, we like to take people away for nearly two
hours...it's fantasy, rock'n'roll is fantasy, the whole thing of show
business is fantasy...it's not real, so I believe that's good...we need a
little...brief respite from life.
What do you enjoy most : playing in big stadium in front of
thousands people or playing in small venues like here tonight - Le Radiant
I don't like either of them. I like somewhere in the middle. This isn't
too bad tonight. but it will be extremely hot and hard work...when we get a
crowd bigger than 20,000 it starts to get...phew... and sometimes in a
place... I think there are 2 000 people here tonight, we might play our best
show ever, it could have been in front of 20,000 people but that's how it is
but I prefer 7 to 12,000 people where you can see the people whereas when you
get to 20, 30 or 40,000 it just becomes this thing. I am sure it's very good
for business and I am sure it is very good for ego, but I don't feel contact
with the audience and one of the things I like about Status Quo is that we
have contact with the audience, we have eye-contact with the audience, and I
love to see people and see what they are doing and the bigger the venue you
can only see so many thousand people, so you lose that, and the one thing
that makes Status Quo work, I believe, is that it draws people in, we pass
something and they pass something back and this energy develops in the middle
of the stage, which is nothing to do with anybody, and us and the audience
are "wow" playing with this ball...this energy...wow...they get excited, damn
Tell us about your French tour ?
Many years ago we used to tour France as we used to like France a lot. The
venues weren't very good, it was very difficult to get fed...Franšais...you
can't eat there...and we'd come from here into Germany which would be fine
but if we came from Germany into here it was really hard work. Then suddenly
it stopped...then about 4 years ago I read an article in a music magazine in
England by a guy who used to be a promoter, a lovely
man, and I was just reading as it was about him and he talked about us and
the first band he promoted and he said that he received a letter from one of
our managers saying we don't need you anymore...and it went dead for us and
you tend to think perhaps you have become unpopular, it's understandable but
it wasn't like that...and then we said come on we are going back to
France...and then we come back to France and genuinely we came out and even
Rick who doesn't normally care or not says 'I like France, I like being
here', we all like being here, France is wonderful...it is the truth. We have
been trying to get here for so many years...there is something truly
wonderful about French audiences and they have one thing that most audiences
around the world don't have...they listen ! Most audiences come in and drink
a lot... and you see these people staggering...and if you say did you see
Status Quo last night ? 'Yep I think so'...but a Frenchman isn't going to buy
a ticket and be so drunk he doesn't know what he is doing...so you are very
much aware they are watching and listening and everything, and that
is...oh...well it makes you hang on...oh be careful...so we lift our game...
so playing in front of French people is wonderful...we now have to go to
Germany next week so there you go, and then England. England is hard work...
we have been doing the same things in England for at least 25 years... and
the other thing that's truly wonderful thing about France is that somebody
decided they are going to make some venues, one here, one there, another
there...so you come and tour in France that's fantastic, and this isn't one
of the best ones at all here, but most of the venues we go to in the last two
weeks have showers for everybody, and clean toilets for everybody that
work...in England well...wee hee...it's a somewhat messy toilet...all those
things matter to us when you are touring. And Andrew came in here today and
said what is it about today...ah... There are no windows...we have been
spoilt in France. We have been spoilt in France and we want to come back next
summer, and we want to come back next autumn...that's what we are trying to
do. We remember when I first woke up in Caen and I looked out of the window
and it was beautiful...it was really French...and it smelt French. I thought
this is really going to be good. Every night you have to work, you have to
concentrate...cause they are watching and there is something about that I
really love...as Andrew said today we ha've been spoilt...we have come to
France...it's like we've opened Pandora's box and now what do we do...we have
to go and do ordinary gigs now...oh Dear...!