British boogie-rock institutions Status Quo have been an omnipresent musical presence for over five decades now, playing over 6000 shows and selling in excess of 100 million albums in the process. Having had to contend with the death of much loved guitarist Rick Parfitt late last year, in true Quo style the band have decided to keep rockin’ (all over the world) and will hit the road for one last hurrah of plugged in shows across Australia and New Zealand later this year. Billed as ‘The Last Night of the Electrics’ tour, this will be the last time around the block for the band in full on classic rock mode. And local fans have reason to rejoice, with the band scheduling in a Gold Coast show, appearing at Jupiters Casino on Friday 13 October. To coincide with the tour announcement, Anthony Gebhardt sent off a few questions to guitarist, vocalist and founding member Francis Rossi..
The sad passing of long time Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt was a massive loss for the rock and roll world. How have you coped in the months following? Have you found solace in celebrating the legacy of his contribution to the band and the music world in general?
I haven’t been coping very well. Him not being in the band was one thing, but not be here at all is an entirely different ballgame.
Was it a difficult decision to keep the band together and continue to tour under the Status Quo banner in the immediate aftermath? Or would Rick have insisted that ‘the show must go on!?’
The latter. Rick had already insisted that the band go on and fulfil its commitments to the fans.
What’s the background story on your new guitarist Richie Malone? And was it easy to find the right person to take Rick’s place in the line-up when he retired from touring just prior to his passing?
Richie had already been considered one time before, when Rick was ill. He’d been to see us many times with his father and models his guitar playing on Rick’s and Quo’s style.
The band have had a long association with Australia. Do you remember how many times you’ve played out here all up? And do you have a particular highlight or memory that you recall most fondly from your times spent touring here?
I’m not quite sure exactly – many times! There have been a lot of highlights, but one of the most recent that comes to mind was playing the Byron Bay Blues Festival, which was a non-partisan audience.
What’s the biggest crowd you’ve ever played in front of, and what was the occasion?
350,000 in Berlin with The Beach Boys and Charles Aznavour.
You’ve managed to keep going as a viable touring and recording entity after all these years, long after many of your contemporaries have well and truly fallen by the wayside. What do you think has been the secret of the band’s longevity and continued success?
You’ve been ‘rocking all over the world’ for 5 decades now. While this will be the band’s last ‘electric’ tour, do you ever see a final finish line for Status Quo when it comes to performing, or is it a case of rock until you drop?
I’ve seen a final line coming for maybe 20 years or so. We have still yet to see.
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Status Quo are at Jupiters Casino, Friday 13 October 2017