I happened to bump into Status Quo singer Francis Rossi in the backstage of the Sweden Rock Festival just before they played their gig there. Even though it was quite close to their turn he had a few minutes to spare. So hereís what we had time for.
I noticed that you have had some weights etc. in your locker room. Is that a regular part of your touring?
- Yeah, we like to keep ourselves in shape. You know, lifting weights and abs, stuff like that. Itís good to be in shape when youíre performing.
I had a friend from Finland who came to Sweden just to see you guys play. He lives in Finland but heís seen you over 20 times. Do you have a lot of fans like that?
- We have great fans, many of them come to see us in every town we play in their country, for example in England and in Germany. Some of them also travel abroad to see us and we really appreciate that.
Status Quo has been around for ages. Letís look into future, what do you see?
- Well Iím thinking that Iíll live until Iím 90, but I canít promise you that Status Quo will be around for that long (laughs). I think that in five years weíll be doing this, maybe in ten years too, who knows. I mean this is what I have always been doing. Some start as a carpenter when they are twenty and they stay as a carpenter because they like what they are doing. Itís the same way with me.
I guess the most important thing is that you find something you love to do?
- Yes, but I also think that there are so many bad things happening in the world because people havenít found anything they like or they hate their jobs. Then they have to go and do crazy stuff because they are not comfortable with themselves.
Is it still fun to play live after all these years?
- Yes, as I said this is something Iíve always wanted to do. And the most important thing is that you really play live. I mean many of the kids today have not seen a live show. Some of the bands mime through their whole set. Youíre charging the people for a live show but you donít give them a live show. To me thatís wrong, there is just so much out there that isnít live. In England we have bands like Steps and S Club 7. Do you know them?
Yeah, Iíve heard of them.
- So all these kids go to see live show and itís fantastic! Thereís nothing any different than theyíve heard at home. Thereís no mistakes, it doesnít slow down it doesnít speed up, it doesnít get quieter it is just a record. So all these kids have not seen a live show. Youíve seen a live show. A lot of kids in Europe and America have not seen a live show. They donít know. I think one of the joys in a live show is that you hear all the little things like, ďoops, he played wrong thereĒ and so on. When itís like a record at home you canít take part in it.
If you look at the line-up in Sweden Rock Festival, what kind of reception are you waiting for?
- I donít know, I mean Iím not sure if we fit in this. It often depends on other bands. In some places we sound rocky but compared with these we sound like ti-di-di-diÖ but we do what we do and hopefully someone will like us. [his worries were useless, they rocked big time and the crowd was really with them]. I donít know, we could die in our ass tonight it could be the worst show weíve ever done, I have no idea. But thatís another thing that keeps you going. Youíre not sure whether youíre gonna be as good as last night. Last night was good but you canít be sure if tonight will be. And usually when thereís a lot of pressure that itís gonna be a good show tonight, it doesnít work. Sometimes then there are show that you donít wanna play but when you play the show it turns out great. It would be great if you could play your best shows in front of the biggest audiences. It doesnít work like that.
Does it make any difference if thereís a hundred people or if thereís 50 000 people?
- It does make a difference, but then sometimes when thereís only a few people you go WOW, that was good! And then itís frustrating that there werenít any more people to see you be that good. And then sometimes when thereís a 100 000 people you go ďweíre gonna be goodĒ but no. I donít know what it is. I think if we knew what it is, and I think thatís why there are so many mimed bands around these days, that people donít know what it actually is that makes it work. Some nights good and some bad. Same show, same band, same crew, what happened!? You donít know and thatís what makes you try it again and again. But then there are these mimes. How was it? The same as last night. How is it going to be tomorrow? The same as the day beforeÖ
Yeah, maybe some dance steps were differentÖ
- But it doesnít sound any different. I know, the dance stepsÖ they rehearse them for months! That would really piss me off! To be told that Iíd had to dance in a particular wayÖ
Canít imagine you doing thatÖ and you are doing your own thing, but they are doing something they were told to do.
- Which is sad really. But thatís the way music industry is at the moment and we all keep thinking that thereís gonna be a change, thereíll be a backlash. But I donít know. And if those kids have never seen a live show how can they tell the difference. If youíve seen a live show you can tell it. Even if the lip sync is really good you can see something is wrong there.
Francis then headed to continue his exercise. He is nice, friendly man and as I said they did a great show. And they played LIVE!