BLOG 83 23rd March 2013
So getting down to blogging again after a mad couple of months. This month of March has seen for me the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The Quo Reunion Tour was the high the low was when three days after it finished last Sunday at Wembley Arena one of my old best mates passed away. James Herbert was a hugely successful author but above all a great family friend. I’ve written a few things in my Blogs over the past few years about him and it came as a huge shock when I took the call. I’ll remember all the fun and good times we had over the past 33 years. www.jamesherbert.com
And so to the high - the Reunion Tour was announced last year at the Classic Rock Awards in London and it became ‘official’ and the Frantic Four won the CR Award for the now Quo classic ‘Live’ album recorded at the Glasgow Apollo in 1976. Alan flew in from Australia for a couple of days especially for it and it was a very special night. (If Francis ever gets to read this Blog I know his comment to me will be ‘Silly arse…’)
Christmas came and went and at the end of January I managed to get away to Kenya with Sue and a bunch of friends although I came back early as I needed some time to catch up on my various other business things before rehearsals for the Quo tour started on the 21st February. The first few days was in many ways quite tough while the band got to grips with the songs that they hadn’t played together in over thirty years. But as the days went on we all started to get a bit more comfortable with the set and eventually set off on the road taking with us all the rough edges in the music that were still there. For me these rough edges were always a part of the Frantic Four when certain songs could stretch out to twenty minutes and more. There was no turning back… I could write a book about it all now but I think I’ll wait a while for the ‘on the road’ DVD of the tour to be released and remind myself it really did happen… Favorite gig impossible to say as every night the audiences proved as strong as ever and possibly even louder than when we last toured together all those years ago. I was more than happy to be playing harmonica again with the F4 while also keeping an eye on Messrs Lancaster and Coghlan. (Why it was almost like the old days…). The bands manager Simon Porter has played a key role in getting the original line-up back together.
Photographer Danny Clifford www.dannyclifford.com and film makers Andy Gamble and Jeff Cousins at AVP www.avp-ltd.com were at every show with full AAA access to behind the scenes. Danny in fact first cut his photographer teeth as a sixteen year old at Quo gigs and has an enormous catalogue of stuff out from on the road with us over the years. And special mention should go to tour manager Glen Smith and all of the road crew who have been with Francis and Rick for many years and also the big support team of caterers, truck and bus drivers etc who were all spot on and great to work with and made the tour a special experience.
Another role for me that I really enjoyed was designing the Reunion tour merchandise with Adrian Cross and I’m particularly proud of the tour programme which was so well received by everyone.
I enjoyed too meeting many of the fans who have kept in personal touch with me throughout the years. Too many to individually mention but you know who you are… although I do wish my Webmeister friend Jurgen Adametz could have made it over.
Rhino, Andy and Matt all came to the Hammersmith Apollo which was really nice. Rhino in particular has always been a big fan of the ‘old’ band.
I’m really pleased too that many of our families got to see us all working together again. There sure were a lot of Lancaster, Rossi, Parfitt, Coghlan and Young kids out there in the audience.
Yep as FR says… ‘silly arse’.
So what else has been happening? The movie ‘Bula Quo’ is scheduled for release in the Summer. I’m working on the new paperback version of the Quo coffee table book ‘Just Doin’ It’ with Adrian and it’ll have an additional 32-36 pages taking in everything that has been going on with Quo during the past five years. It’s scheduled for publication later in the year. The Coles Supermarket ad in Australia is going from strength to strength with the new one using ‘Whatever You Want’ and Coles sponsoring the current Australian Tour. As you’ll all know the ‘Down Down’ advertising campaign has been running for three years now down under and is one of the most successful ever in Oz.
I’m putting the finishing touches to my new book of poems called ‘This Raging Storm’. (Hope you’ll check out the link). And that’s about it for now and thanks as always for all your support.