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The big 80’s hit single In The Army Now has been re-released, who came up with the idea for the re-release?
It wasn’t a re-release, we were re-made it. In England we saw so much media coverage about the various troops coming back from Afghanistan and having trouble with rehabilitation and inquiring prosthetics, new limbs - arms, legs and whatever else. That’s just the thing with modern day warfare, there’s lots of limbs missing. The army is the state and controlled by the state. When the troops just go out to war and when the soldiers come back, no-one seems to notice them. We kept seeing these kind of images and were thinking no-one seems to be trying to do anything, we just couldn’t believe. We mentioned to our manager we have the track In The Army Now what can we do with it? So we re-recorded the track and did sing it with the Army Choir and had a small hit out of it, unfortunately not as big as we hoped.
Did the band already get some reactions from soldiers or families of soldiers?
We spent two days in an Army camp and there we met a few people. Overall it’s been a very good experience and has changed my opinion of soldiers a bit. I mean, most people think that these men and women join the army out of their own free will so therefore whatever happens to them is their own responsibility. I don’t think these soldiers are complaining so much about what has happened to them but more about when they get back and trying to get any help! With previous conflicts people didn’t loose their arms and legs so easily like today in modern day warfare. For instance a six foot man comes back 3,5 foot tall. That’s what got to us... Various people done a few things for the troops in England and so we did that.
Status Quo is together for almost 40 years now. Is it hard to make new albums without that they sounding the same?
Well I don’t know if it doesn’t sound the same every time, it probably does. It´s something that makes it a little easier to survive because you can record what you want and you’ll be sure that the record companies will release. The volume of sales is not like it used to be but that’s not what it used to be for anybody. When some people/bands say that they’re getting back to their roots they’re trying to make an album like their old ones but that’s extremely difficult. So making albums to us is a creative angle which is enjoyable to do. If we could make albums that all sound the same as the old ones we would probably have a continuous success. Although some think that all the albums we made were all fabulous. Well I’m sure, some of them were, some moments were but some were shit. People seem to think, that everything we did in the 70ties was wonderful but it wasn’t, believe me. I think every artist who’s been around for a long time, had periods and albums with great tracks and periods and albums with shit tracks. That’s just how it goes. I don’t believe that anybody is that good and I don’t believe anybody is that bad. We’re all trying to stay alive. That’s just what we’re all trying to do here.
Well you still do what you like almost 40 years. So that means a lot of people like what you do and that should be the most important thing...
Oh yes that’s a winner. I mean when we started out that, we all wanted a long career. We wanted hits, we wanted that people knew our songs. I mean that’s what everybody wants when they start out a band. When you have success for a long time like we do you have to make a sort of sacrifices. Some guys decide and say that they don’t want to play any of their old hits but you have to remember that’s who you are, whether you like it or not. Various bands over the years tried to say, we’re going on tour and not playing any of their old material, turns out people don’t want to see them anymore. We have no problems with playing those songs for the people who come to see us. We are who we are. When we recorded the first songs we loved them and sure sometimes there a bit tedious to do but most nights they sound and feel different. So that is not a problem. In my opinion music is meant to be played over and over. I don’t know any good music which hasn’t been played over and over. Otherwise we would have no classical music and no opera, if you know what I mean.
You’re talking about playing live. Can you tell me what has been the idea behind recording and selling official bootlegs like for instance the show in Amsterdam?
There is no idea. Someone came to us, a company that does this on tour around England. People seems to like the idea of being able to buy a copy of the very show they went to. I can’t see it personally, I don’t believe in live recordings. It’s a recording, it’s not live. It’s just a contradiction in the term: we’re making a live recording – no, it’s a recording. I never made a record when I was dead. At every record I made I was alive. So this whole thing has something magical about it. There isn’t for me, but I believe some of the audience like it. So this company comes along with us on tour, they record it and sell it after the concert. There are people who want it, fine and some don’t. I agree with them, I mean, I wouldn’t want it but there are some people who do.
Is it hard to make a set list reflecting your 40 years career and to please as much fans you can? I mean you can’t try to please them all…
That’s the difficult thing because we’re trying to please them all or at least as many as possible but it does not. You have a view, the hard core who know everything, they want to hear something different. When we’re working all around the world we need a set that appeals to everybody, not just some of the hard core that know everything. In a variably aspect it doesn’t change that much. There are slight tweaks here and slightly differences every time as a new album has been released and new tracks need to be added but overall it doesn’t change that much. We do Status Quo!! We don’t go out and do Pink Floyd, we don’t go out and do the Stones, we go out to do Status Quo. I find it very odd that some press people say particularly in England “Status Quo plundered their own back”, of course we did, we didn’t do somebody else’s. Did you go to see Status Quo and to listen to Floyd material? No, you didn’t! I find that all very odd, because that’s who we are. I believe that even the Stones are like that, I mean, I’ve heard Keith often say “I refuse to make any new records, why do I need to prove it again. We already made so many good records we already proved who we are”. I believe, he made a valuable point there. Still I need that occasional, to write some more songs and making a new album. I need that because I enjoy that.
You are Rockin´ All Over The World since ages. Was it in the early years more a Hard Time which made you feel sometimes Down Down deeper and down and now through better tour-busses and so on more Fun, Fun, Fun?
That’s a good one you’ve worked on that. Well I find it more enjoyable the older I get. The last years were more enjoyable I think. When you’re younger… well a young man can be very ehm… self-driven. I think we’ve got very smug back then. We sold records and we became quite famous, therefore we thought we’re something special. In fact Status Quo, or any band, just happen to sell a few records to a small amount of people around the world. Even if it’s a few millions, with billions of people in the world. So we were all try to make ourselves feel important. I do enjoy it much more these days, then I’ve used to, I’m much more in favor with touring. I arrive at the venue at 9 or 10 o´clock in the morning and I leave the venue at 10.30 when I’m finished. That’s all I’m interested in. I’m not really interested in the rest of it. When I’m on the road I’m working. I don’t work to go sightseeing, I don’t work just to stay in hotels. Right now I’m at a venue hall and I will leave this venue hall when I’m finished. We’re all just like that, we come here to play a gig today so that’s what we’ll do.
Is there anything you like to add to this interview that’s important for us and the fans all over the world?
I’d like to say something about the fans in Holland. I’m always so fascinated of the fans in Holland, they’ve been so dedicated to Status Quo for so long. Wherever we go anywhere in Holland, it is always and always a sold out show and there’s always a great response. So I thank the Dutch of being Dutch. I was going to live in Hilversum in 1991 but I had more children and so… we had to go back to England. I do love Holland, I like its flatness, I like its bicycles, I like lots of things about Holland. I see the Dutch as the friendliest people of Europe! So thank you very much for being there.
You’re welcome and thank you so much, see you in Amsterdam…