Whisky Magazine Issue 90
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After 45 years on the road, Status Quo are arguably Britain's ultimate kings of Rock and Roll. And with a career spanning 32 hit albums and an astonishing 118 million records sold, you'd assume that they'd truly earned the right to start taking things easy. Think again. Neil J. Ridleytalks to Francis Rossi OBE: singer, songwriter, lead guitarist and now chairman of a new whisky company
Some musicians are destined to have a short shelf life, to live and die with the fast pace and perpetual turnover of a ruthless music business. This is perhaps no better exemplified than by our televisions being filled with faceless X Factor contestants, certainly today's big headlines, but ultimately tomorrow's chip wrappers. So it is all the more extraordinary when you consider the enduring career of Messrs. Rossi and Parfitt, aka Status Quo; the band that refused to go quietly.
On the eve of their first UK date on a seemingly never-ending world tour, I travel to Rochester Castle, the grounds of which are hosting the sell out gig.
The eager ‘super fans' have been here since the early afternoon, turning the venue into a sea of denim and inflatable guitars. It's a sight that frontman Francis Rossi must surely be used to seeing at every gig, but as he gazes out, there is a definite twinkle in his eye, which causes him to beam from ear to ear. “We've got the best fans in the world here,” he points out. Recently Status Quo clocked up more than 6000 live shows, playing to a total audience of 25 million; to achieve this level of success must require an unstoppable energy.
So what's the secret? “Energy” he laughs, “you've totally hit the nail on the head there. It's been crazy at the moment. I've got the band tour and my solo record going on and you start to think to yourself what the f**k am I doing!!
But as the day goes by, the ego and the energy start to kick in ...