Francis will share the extraordinary secrets of his 50-plus years in rock’n’roll when he takes to the stage for an intimate evening at theatres across the UK.
The ‘I Talk Too Much’ tour, will feature Francis – joined by Mick Wall – sharing some of the best Rock ‘n’ Roll stories ever, accrued during an extraordinary life on the road. Expect laughter, revelations, tales involving some of the giants of music, exclusive video clips, snatches of classic tunes and a great night out.
Rossi said: “This show is something new for me. It will be live and unscripted, so god knows what could happen! One thing’s for sure though, it’ll be a white-knuckle ride for me, but fans will get a real unvarnished insight into what’s happened over the years. I’ll be taking a guitar along to demonstrate how some of those Quo classics came into being, and hopefully we’ll take a few questions from the audience too. It’s been quite a journey, there’s a lot to share.”
Interview By Carl Jones
He remembers it like it was yesterday. When Status Quo kicked off the biggest gig of all time – Live Aid – nearly two billion people were watching. Rock legend Francis Rossi led the live audience of 72,000 through a joyous sing-a-long and fans in 150 countries were literally rockin’ all over the world.
It wasn’t the band’s greatest show, Rossi says Quo ought to have rehearsed more so that they were sounded even sharper. But that didn’t really matter. Quo captured a mood of optimism and hope as 40 per cent of the world’s population joined together to enjoy great music and tackle Africa’s famine.
“I’ve never known a gig like that,” he says. “The energy from the crowd was unbelievable. It was something else. I think it was because it was a charity gig and everyone was there because they wanted to do something.”
Quo’s decision to go on first – the smartest move of the day – was a last-minute thing. While all of the other bands who appeared that day were squabbling to bag slots as late as they could in the day, Rossi and co were happy to go on first. “We didn’t mind at all. We just thought we’d do our gig then get out of there. But it turned out to be the best thing we could have done because when we went on the world’s entire press was focused on us.
“We walked onto that stage and I’ve never seen so many cameras in my life. Everybody was watching us.”
Rossi reminisces about his remarkable career in his acclaimed one-man show, I Talk Too Much. The hit production toured the UK in 2019 – and was so popular that he agreed to return for a further 54 shows. It features a mix of remarkable stories and a handful of classic Quo tracks played in a stripped-back and acoustic format.
Fans were dazzled when he took to the road last Spring and he’ll be visiting all parts of the UK from March until June. The show coincided with the publication of his best-selling autobiography, also called I Talk Too Much, which was written with the rock writer Mick Wall, who hosts the live shows.
Rossi is centre stage, reflecting on his partnership with fellow Quo legend Rick Parfitt, narrating the way in which he started his career as a boy, telling tales about the highs and lows of rock success and sharing the secrets of 50 years on the road.
“It’s a thorough show, we really do look at the remarkable career that the band has had. We celebrate Rick’s life, we answer questions from the fans, I do a meet’n’greet before the show and fans can buy signed copies of the book.
“It’s not for me to say whether it’s any good or not. But the fans seemed to love it first time round and we’ve been asked back to a number of the venues that we sold out.”
Rossi has watched rock’n’roll change completely during his years in the game. He’s seen the demise of bands who cut their teeth by gigging in small clubs and the rise of here-today-gone-tomorrow pop stars who feature on such shows at X Factor.
“We’re into the ‘darling’ generation of X Factor – ‘you’re so good, darling’ – but they don’t realise that most of the time in showbusiness and acting the word you are most likely to hear is ‘no’. Can I have a deal? No. Will you pay for the records? No. They only see the yes. That’s where the old school acts are strong because we played the bar mitzvahs or weddings or any other gig we could get.
“I remember walking home one night when the Stones were on and weren’t selling too well. They were at a rubbish festival in Forest Hill. Everyone always assumes they’ve always done well – not a bit of it.”
He’s an obsessive when it comes to Status Quo. While other members have come and gone, he thinks about the band non-stop, working out how they can play better shows, write better songs, please more fans and create better work.
“I’m totally obsessed. All I’ve been able to see since I was 12 or 13, is this. I’m obsessed with it. It never gets put down, to a failing. I know the rest of the guys don’t look at it the same way, in this band and in the old band.
“A lot of people just want to do the nice bit. But I can’t put this down. I’m always thinking about where I’m going next, what I’ll do, what the set will be next year. I’m always trying to get a happy medium to keep the punters happy, which is impossible. The hardcore want the old, old stuff that most don’t know, the general audience wants the stuff we’ve done for years and some of the others want to hear new ones. The band, sometimes when we’re doing the new stuff, can’t understand why the fans don’t love it as much as us. It’s a game that’s impossible to win – maybe that’s why I love it.”
Rossi has led one of the most remarkable rock’n’roll lives. His band sold a reported 100 million records, he put more than a million pounds worth of drugs up his nose – until part of his nose fell off in the shower – and he made waistcoats fashionable long before England manager Gareth Southgate.
He’s been responsible for some of the most memorable and life-affirming rock’n’roll songs of the past 50 years and during his one-man show he’ll tell fans how some of those came about.
“I’d never done a talking tour before but I’ve quite enjoyed it. More to the point, the audiences have told me they’ve really enjoyed it too.”
Flush from the success of Status Quo’s most recent album, Backbone, and riding the crest of a wave, Rossi’s tour is a must-see show.
Meet’n’greet packages are available at most venues.