Cosmic Slop #51: Re-evaluating Status Quo
As one of Britain’s most maligned bands announce their intention to quit touring, Shaun Ponsonby asks if they really deserve their reputation.
There is something of a contrarian inside me. I can’t help it. I think it’s a British thing. I wonder if there are that many Americans who have the ability to argue a position that they don’t hold. It’s not something I lose sleep over or anything, but I do wonder. It all comes to a head when I am reading about bands who I think are unfairly maligned and catch a glimpse of the smug, snarky comments section.
Last week, purveyors of three-chord dad rock Status Quo announced that their annual UK trek in 2016 will be their last. Rick Parfitt (the blonde one without a ponytail) said; “We always thought we’d see a red light when it was time to stop. The show hurts now, physically. It’s hard to maintain that level of energy and without that it’s not really a Quo show. So we don’t feel we should continue.”
Status Quo are an odd band to dedicate a Slop to. Certainly it is likely the only time you will see them on the pages of Getintothis. They are hated and mocked by so many people. I wouldn’t call myself a Status Quo fan, but looking at it logically, I am a bit baffled as to why they inspire such derision.
There is definitely a pre-determined hatred this band. I can name several people I have spoken to off the top of my head who have used the phrase “I hate Status Quo”. Often when you press them for a reason, it becomes painfully obvious that there isn’t one. Like Nickelback, hating Status Quo is just what you do.
But the arguments against them leave me musing. A regular one is “all their songs sound the same”. Well, that’s true. But so do Ramones songs, and AC/DC songs and Motorhead songs, and they are all critically lauded, cool bands. In fact, I have literally heard someone make that argument while wearing Ramones t-shirts, which made me howl with laughter for the complete lack of self-awareness.
Another one is that they are rock dinosaurs – which again could be argued about AC/DC. They aren’t exactly making contemporary records. I don’t know a rock fan who doesn’t have a soft spot for AC/DC, but when was the last time a band like that were truly successful?
In fact, AC/DC use pretty much the same clichéd rock & roll three-chord structure as Status Quo. Both bands share their Chuck Berry influences, and both managed to put their own spin on it. You can tell both a Quo and an AC/DC song anywhere, you’re never going to confuse them for anybody else. The snark retorts here that “nobody wants to sound like Status Quo”. Au contraire. Listen carefully and you’ll probably find a song you love in your own collection that lifts the Status Quo formula.
From what I can gather, they based their sound on The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues, a song very few rock fans would admit to not liking. As cheesy as Rockin’ All Over The World is, it’s not theirs. It was a cover of a solo track by John Fogerty of Credence Clearwater Revival (undeniably one of the greatest rock songwriters of the 60s).
John Peel – in many people’s eyes, the singular messiah for good taste in British music – was, in fact, a huge Status Quo fan. He often ended his DJ sets towards the end of his life with Down Down and when he was asked to curate an album of his favourite songs in 2002, he had this to say; “They wouldn’t let me put a Status Quo track on there, they thought that would be too uncool. I was a bit disappointed about that.”
It is not because they are old and it is not because all their songs sound the same. I wouldn’t say it is because they suck, either. I don’t think they do really. They had a run of pretty decent albums in the 70s. My dad has a lot of Quo LPs, and there’s actually some good stuff on albums like Hello and Blue For You.
Honestly? I think their negative reputation is because they don’t carry themselves very well. There aren’t many bands you can see stooping to this level.
Yes, proving that no project is too shit for them, that’s the trailer for Status Quo’s action-adventure comedy movie Bula Quo, in which they co-starred with Jon Lovitz. It is not a parody.
They also quit the three chord boogie rock in the 80s and instead wrote songs like the trite, cringe-inducing Black Lace-esque Marguerita Time. And, let’s face it, you can’t expect to go on Coronation Street and hope to get away with it. All this and more makes them a bit of a housewife’s favourite, like Cliff Richard in band form. And their chirpy, “two dads who have had a few” demeanour when they show up on offensively bad TV programmes like The One Show, Loose Women and Ant & Dec’s Shiturday Night Takeaway doesn’t exactly make them look cool. Neither does this;
I can’t even begin to express everything that is wrong with that clip. It would be a new low if there weren’t already too many to keep tabs on. They really will do anything, won’t they?
But despite all this, I still don’t think they deserve the hate they get overall.
Are they a great band? No, probably not. But they’re not the terrible band everyone says they are either. They have done a lot of image tarnishing, but why should that take away from their actual day job? These are guys who have continued to do what they want to do, played hundreds of gigs year in-year out and maintained a sizeable fan base in the face of widespread ridicule. That’s hard to maintain over half a century. They’re probably living the life they want to live, and not taking themselves too seriously in the process. Power to them.
For that alone Status Quo have my respect, if not my love.
Also…this is epic…
Further details of Status Quo’s final ever electric tour have now been revealed. The band will kick off the European leg of their “The Last Night Of The Electrics” tour in October before returning to the UK in December, with the final stop being Liverpool’s Echo Arena on December 23. Tickets go on sale March 24.
To those doubting the bands claims Francis Rossi says himself, “There’s more to come from us in the years ahead, but we won’t tour the electric set ever again”. Rick Parfitt echoed the sentiment by adding “This is definitely the end of our lives on the road with the electric set, life won’t be the same for us – or many of the fans – but we can’t go on at this pace any more”.
Jessie J‘s moaning about her lack of BRITS is pathetic. If you’re in it for awards, you’re in it for the wrong reason.
Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars at the Superbowl? SuperBORE more like. Am I right? I think I am. *GUFFAW*
Youtuber Zoella took a picture of a “random man and his dog“, unaware that it was Pink Floyd‘s David Gilmour, To be fair, I once walked past a man at a Springsteen show, unaware that it was Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.