More than your Quo-ta

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NEVER mind tinsel and cutting down trees, Status Quo fans know festive frolics are afoot when their band rock ‘n’ roll into town and this Sunday the national treasures return to the Motorpoint Arena with Quofest.

But with 75 hit singles, 30-plus albums, thousands of shows, plus charity work during a career spanning 45 years that has earned frontmen Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt an OBE, the lads have kept to their vow to cut back on their schedule, hence 11 dates instead of 30.

“The main thing is the physical energy – it’s getting hard,” Rossi confirms. “I’ve hated having to pull out of gigs through illness and having to go back when everyone’s full of winter blues – and these days, one of us always gets ill.”

Quofest also brings sets from Roy Wood and Kim Wilde.

“He was amazing,” Rossi says of Wood’s support two years ago. “He did his slot and we thought ‘How do we follow that?’

“We’ve worked with Kim in Europe in the past. I remember she was with us in Hanover once in front of 15-20,000 people.

“We are planning to do about an hour and a half, but it’s already up to about one hour 40. It’s the last bit that kills us you know.”

Rick Parfitt also believes the shorter tour is a good thing. “We’re probably bringing a sharp punchy end to the year.

“It’s always a buzz to play in England in front of your own fans. Some of them have seen us over 500 times. It makes you very aware that we need to do something new this year.”

So as well as their respective sets, the acts will perform together at the end of the show. And they don’t break for long after the tour – the 60-something rockers are booked through to 2013, not least with latest single Better Than That, off recent album Quid Pro Quo, gaining them fresh radio attention.

Also due in 2012 is a DVD documentary of the band which led to bridges being mended with Alan Lancaster, who founded Quo with Francis in 1962, left and emigrated to Australia, and later took Francis and Rick to court unsuccessfully over ownership of the band name.

“He’s a fiery character and the lawyers had been winding him up over the years,” says Rossi, who has another solo album and tour planned.

Rick reckons the hard work actually keeps them ‘young’.

“It’s not a money nor an ego thing. It’s a need. If Quo wasn’t here I don’t know what I’d do with myself. Quo keeps the mind active. Every day is a Quo day – there’s always something on the horizon.

“And I’d like to do a solo album; I have a unique idea – not a hard rock album but a ukulele album.”

Certainly it’d be one of the few things the pair haven’t done and with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder having gone that route it’s no odd notion.

“I’m lucky to be still doing this, because the chances of falling by the wayside increase with each decade,” says Rossi.

“We’re so lucky as a band. I’m now 62 I’m still thrilled that we’re getting airplay. We will keep rocking.

“I’ve always loved Christmas and all that vibe, I think it’s unique to this country to have so much fun. We’re gonna do our damnedest to make the show good value and it’ll be a great night for everybody.”