Frantic Four ride again!
[private]It’s a reunion we never thought would happen but forecast months ago in The Beat, and all had prayed for.
And 30 years of prayer have been answered because the ‘classic’ line-up of Status Quo are going on the road for their first dates together since the departure of original drummer John Coghlan in 1981.
Relaxing at his Oxfordshire home, the 66-year-old from Dulwich John Coghlan – alias Spud or The Mad Turk – didn’t think it would either.
“No, originally I never thought it would happen, although I thought it could be a possibility. I mean, if we were all asked, it would be wrong to say no.”
But, after their collaboration in the recent Quo documentary film Hello Quo, where the quartet all met up and played together for the first time in more than 30 years, all were asked.
“The fans have always wanted it and we’re giving something back to the fans because, after all, they are the best in the world.”
The line-up of John on drums, guitarists Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, with original founder-member and bassist Alan Lancaster, was responsible for making Quo one of the biggest bands in music with albums such as ‘Hello, Quo’, ‘Blue For You’ and ‘On The Level’.
There is also a little matter of hit singles like Caroline, Down Down (a chart-topper) and Rockin’ All Over The World.
In fact, John considered the reunion a little overdue.
“Yes, when they asked us all about it I thought: ‘about time too’.”
Back in the day, John was the powerhouse of the band, providing the rock-steady beat, but by the turn of the eighties, things were different in the band.
“To be honest, I’d had enough. We were burning the candle at both ends, I was tired of touring, and we weren’t really getting on. Then we had a really big argument in the studio and that was it – I was on the next plane to the Isle of Man where I lived back then.”
What followed might seem strange for people.
“I didn’t play drums for a whole year and I found out who my friends were – i.e. none. I feel great about it all now, though.”
John formed his own band Diesel, then had a minor hit with The Rockers (John, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, Roy Wood and Chas Hodges of Chas and Dave). He then formed John Coghlan’s Quo with whom he still tours.
“I have a great band at the moment and they really recreate the Status Quo sound.”
John didn’t have to think much about the idea of a reunion.
“Of course, it was an easy decision to make, and we’re all really up for it. As you can see on the documentary, we got together at Shepperton Studios and just jammed for a bit. It was great fun and we got on like a house on fire; and despite the fact that we were totally unrehearsed, we played pretty well too.”
The word is that the focus of the short tour will be the same as the live album that Quo released in 1977, which reached No.3 in the charts.
“I think that’s the idea,” said John, “although we are still sorting out the set-list before we actually get down to rehearsing together. But I would think that we’ll play the majority of the songs from the live album, plus others like Rockin’ All Over The World and Whatever You Want, ‘cos we hadn’t recorded those songs when we did the live album.”
The original Quo recorded a superb catalogue of songs. I wondered if John had any favourites that he liked to play.
“Oh yeah, songs like April Spring Summer and Wednesdays, Caroline, Roll Over Lay Down and Mystery Song are all good songs, and I enjoy them.”
He also sees no problem getting back in the groove.
“Not really, we’ll be rehearsing all the songs and I play most of them in my set anyway.”
Now that drummer Matt Letley has left the current line-up, the band’s fans might have thought that John might rejoin Quo. The man in question however, is adamant.
“No. The only thing I’ll be doing will be these Frantic Four concerts. I feel that if I did, and we went on to play some Frantic Four gigs elsewhere, it would dilute the whole event and it would also make Alan look like a guest.”
After these special shows, John will return to his own band.
“We are doing lots of gigs in Europe, some festivals and, I hope, some British dates towards the end of the year. Plus, we (John Coghlan’s Quo) have been talking about recording an album, so we might do that next year.” But for now, the focus is on the tour by the original Status Quo.
John gave the fans some extra hopes when he said: “There’s a possibility of some of the shows being recorded. It’s such an event, I think it would be sad not to.”
The band and management stress that this series of dates is strictly a one-off.
“We just wanna get on with it for the fans.”
The original Status Quo will be touring in March. There are a few tickets still available and are available from the various box offices.
By Martin Hutchinson