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LONDON - Status Quo are among Beady Eye inspirations.
"Glen Rossie has a tremendous whisky heritage and as we approach its 200th anniversary in 2014 we want to turn it into a global brand," said David Birchall, chief executive of The Brand Cellar. One of the oldest whisky brands in the world, that was the year when Napoleon abdicated and was exiled to Elba in Italy.
For a man who has his own whisky brand, Status Quo legend Francis Rossi (Italian origins) can be a right grump.
I've barely said hello when he's off on the first of a number of rants, moaning about British venues and their cold showers.
But the 61-year-old, who had his first top 10 hit Pictures of Matchstick Men more than 40 years ago, has done it all, so maybe he has a right to moan.
And after his grumble, he always claims he's not really that bothered. Let's forget the hits, the drug abuse and that famous ponytail and get back to the booze.
In April this year, it was announced Francis was the new chairman of one of the oldest whisky brands in the world, Glen Rossie.
At first he didn't believe there was such a brand with a title like his Italian surname.
"I thought it was a joke at first," he laughed. "One of the caterers in Scotland came in with it and I was like, 'That doesn't make sense'. Rossi is an Italian name.
"It all came about a couple of years ago when I got a letter through the post.
"I thought it was weird. When it's doesn't usually come to me, so business, it I thought it was one of those letters 'you've won a million pounds if you phone this number'."
Thinking it was a crank he left it alone. But fate intervened and when Status Quo were in Australia, he bumped into the businessmen behind The Brand Cellar who had bought the 196-year old brand from drinks firm First Quench who had gone into administration.
Francis said: "It was just three guys, one of whom lives really near me and they were lovely, not flashy. So I said I'm in.
"Now I own a whisky company."
It's not just the name or Francis's former love affair with booze that makes the deal a good fit. Status Quo titled one of their albums Thirsty Work and had a single called Marguerita Time.
However, Francis is now a changed man. He admitted: "I did tequila for a while and nearly killed myself. I was drinking for eight years so I'm not keen on drinking. I can't drink socially."
He may not be downing his own brand every night but Francis is making sure Glen Rossie, with its distinctive plectrum logo, is becoming well known all over again.
The first bottle was auctioned by Lord Jeffrey Archer for Sir Ian Botham's Leukaemia research fund - raising £7000 - and bottle No.10 was sent to 10 Downing Street, receiving a handwritten letter of thanks from the new Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Francis laughed: "The company is looking all right."
It's another success to add to Francis's triumphs as a musician.
The band plays Glasgow's SECC on Saturday.
'This never Francis, from Forest Hill, London, and schoolfriend Alan Lancaster formed The Spectres in 1962 . But it wasn't until they renamed themselves The Status Quo and released Pictures of Matchstick Men in 1968 that Francis found success. He invited guitarist Rick Parfitt to join the band as the single went to number seven.
a it's next He and Rick have become an enduring double act recording more than 60 top 40 chart hits in the UK, a bigger total than any other rock group in history. They've sold 118million records, made 6000 live appearances to over 25million fans and had the opening slot of Live Aid in 1985 with the song that became the event's anthem, Rockin' All Over The World.
They were also famous for their denim and Francis's ponytail.
He had his hair cut off last year and Francis admitted: "I love it's not there. I feel like I'm being this wild person with short hair.
"My nose has gone, my hair is gone..." The nose, of course, is another famous tale about Status Quo. A serious cocaine abuser, Francis admitted that a chunk of his nose fell out while he was in the shower. The Quo star then began to put objects through what was left of his septum, including pipecleaners and pens.
His coke habit began in the mid-70s and by the 80s Status Quo were the ultimate party band, admitting to being high as kites performing on Live Aid. So it's no wonder Francis gives short shrift to this generation's good-time girl Amy Winehouse. Back To Black made Amy a star in America and over here. It was released four years ago and since then the singer seems to have been on one long bender.
"I just get sick of hearing about Amy," said Francis.
"I'm sure she's quite good but she's not as good as people are telling me.
"She's not an innovator, she hasn't changed the world, she doesn't sound unique, she career comes to sounds like Janis Joplin and all these casualties.
conclusion, always the "And the more we say she's wonderful, the more she plays along with it.
single' "I think, 'just get over yourself'."
Once the wild men of rock, Francis and Rick are more concerned about staying in good health than finding their next hit.
At the beginning of the year Rick, 62, fell ill with "an upper respiratory tract infection". The guitarist had quadruple heart bypass surgery in 1997 and five years ago survived a cancer scare after growths were found in his throat.
But, touch wood, the gigaholics' latest tour has been incident free.
"We never get ill on tour in Europe, it's only when we arrive in the UK," he said. "Everyone is worried about someone getting ill on this tour because we got ill on the last one."
He reckons the band fall ill trying to put on the best show for Brits they can.
Francis confessed: "You want the whole thing to be better. But we are extremely well." Although their last number one was the Manchester United song Come On You Reds in 1994, they had a top 40 hit with a remake of In The Army Now this year and had a top 10 album hit with Pictures - 40 Years of Hits two years ago.
They regularly release albums and their next, in 2011 will be Quid Pro Quo :). There is also talk of a musical, based on their songs, finally getting off the ground next year.
In May this year, Francis released his second solo album One Step at a Time.
But as any musician will tell you, releasing albums and singles isn't where the money is, it's in live shows, something Status Quo realised early in their career.
He laughed: "Yes, everyone seems to have got into our area over the last 10 years.
"Most people didn't want to do it because it is hard work and you are in the front line but we enjoy it.
"Tonight we could do our best gig, the best gig anyone has ever or will ever play again but we'll still have to go on stage again tomorrow.
the next album. You could ask why are we still making records? We've proved a point. But I can't see it that way."
then, that for the last two No wonder, years running they've been crowned Britain's hardest-working band in the Arena Venues category by the PRS (Performing Right Society).
But with 8 kids and a lifestyle he likes to keep up, Francis, who with Rick was awarded a "humbling" OBE this year, admitted he's not able to sit back and enjoy breeding koi carp (or indeed taste his whisky). He said: "Everyone thinks I'm rich. You read the stories about most rock acts who have had loads of money, got ripped off by managers, got two or three wives, divorces, spent fortunes on drugs, lost this, lost that.
"Everyone seems to think the money you make stays in the corner in the big eight numbers.
"Do I live in a big house? No. But I've got eight children and various things haven't gone badly in my life and I like the money."
Back in the 60s bands formed because they wanted to last and show others that they were valid. But Francis reckons in the 90s this changed with Britpop and bands like Oasis.
"It was all about making money and then we'll stop," he said. But Status Quo were reborn to a whole generation of young music fans when Blur's Damon Albarn labelled his bitter rivals Oasis, Quoasis - because of their repetition of simple chords and phrases. Quoasis T-shirts became massive sellers.
It's true Status Quo have made a career from three chords with anthems like Caroline, and sometimes there's only been two chords such as on What You're Proposing.
Didn't Francis get on with Oasis siblings Noel and Liam? "I found the Gallagher brothers odd," he revealed. "'I really hate my brother'. Yeah yeah yeah. It's the image. "If I hated my brother and made that much money, I'd be gone. But it took them years to come up with that." Having been a mainstay of Top of the Pops for years, would the schoolboy Francis have tried out for The X Factor, which will crown its winner tonight? "Me and Jagger..most of us wouldn't have got through it," he said. "Maybe Rod (Stewart) would have."

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Oasisblues copyright © 1994 - 2017

Beady Eye gigography and next tour dates


30 May - Forum, Milan, Italy (the first "Noeless" gig since 1991 when he didn't join Oasis yet)

summer tour without Noel


16 November - Andy Bell unplugged - Debaser, Stockholm, Sweden (bootleg)


3rd & 4th March - Barrowland, Glasgow, Scotland +here and here + bootleg
6th & 7th March - O2 Apollo, Manchester +bootleg 1 +bootleg 2
9th & 10th March - Troxy, London +bootleg 1
13 March - Casino de Paris, Paris, france
14 March - E-Werk, Koln, Germany
16 March - Alcatraz, Milan, Italy +dvd bootleg
18 March - La Riviera, Madrid, Spain +bootleg
19 March - Bikini, Toulouse, france
21 March - Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland (bootleg)
22 March - Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium (bootleg)
14 & 15 April - The Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland here a bootleg image
17 April - Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
20 April - O2 Academy, Newcastle (a photo here)
23 April - Centre, Newport (photo and bootleg)
30 May - Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, Germany
+a photo here + win tickets here
8 June - Saschall, Firenze, Italy +my story here +bootleg here +win tickets here
11th June - Papillons de Nuit Festival, Saint Lo, france
12 June - Isle of Wight festival +story here and here +interview here +videos here +interview and bootleg here
25th June - Theater of Living Art, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
30 June - Rock Werchter, Belgium (bootleg)
1 July - Main Square Festival, Arras, france +a photo here
7 July - BBK Live Festival, Bilbao, Spain
9 July - Oxegen Festival, Naas, Ireland
26 August - Reading Festival (win tickets) +videos here +review&video here +bootleg here
3 September - AX Hall, Seoul, South Korea
14 September - Twinkle Rock Festival, Taipei, Taiwan
7 October - Atlantico, Rome, Italy +main bootleg here +another bootleg here
+win the concert here
11 October - Volkshaus, Zurich, Switzerland (postponed)
13 October - Gasometer, Vienna, Austria (postponed)
31 October - Theater Caupolican, Santiago, Chile
2 November - Teatro de Verano Ramon Collazo, Montevideo, Uruguay
3 November - Teatro Colegiales, Buenos Aires, Argentina
4 November - Personal Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina
5 November - Planeta Terra festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
12 November - O2 Academy, Sheffield
14 November - O2 Academy, Birmingham
17 November - O2 Academy Brixton, London
2 December - The Warfield, San Francisco, U.S.A.
3 December - Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, U.S.A. +another complete review here +win tickets here and here
5 December - First Avenue, Minneapolis, U.S.A.
6 December - The Rave Ballroon, Milwaukee, U.S.A.
9 December - Terminal 5, New York, U.S.A.
10 December - House of Blues, Boston, U.S.A.


new tour


3 June - Abbey Road, London (acoustic) +bootleg here
7 June - McClusky's, Kingston (album launch acoustic gig)

8 November - Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland


Noel Gallagher solo gigography, and Low Lying Turds tour dates

(although his blinded fans say he's a "new solo artist", it's 20 years he's around and already played "solo" gigs previously (the first one in 1994), with the help of other people of course, as the Unplugged 1996, the gig for Tibet, the tour in 2006-2007, London, Milan, Manchester, Moscow, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Australia, etc.)


25 March - Royal Albert Hall - London


28 November - Alcatraz - Milan, Italy + review here +video bootleg here +audio and video bootleg here


lost interest... even Noel got bored of himself

10 April - Auditorio Banamex - Monterrey, Mexico (cancelled)



fans leave the gig again and ask for Liam again
..... € 10 = £ 8

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