As lead guitarist with Status Quo, Francis Rossi’s place within Rock Royalty is secure. Francis is the writer of many the band’s masses of hits, and one of the most accomplished live performers in British music. The band’s incredible career is heading towards reaching its half century.
The recipient of many awards throughout the years, in 2010 Francis was invested as an OBE. With Status Quo, he has also received the BRIT award for ‘Outstanding Contribution’, World Music Awards, Nordoff Robbins Awards and many more. The band has on several occasions been recognised by the PRS as the hardest working band in Britain. He has been immortalised by Madame Tussaud’s and even had his likeness featured on a Royal Doulton Toby Jug.
Known by some Quo fans as the GOMORR [Grumpy Old Man of Rock and Roll], Francis has become totally accustomed to life on the road but when he does get time off he tends to spend it with his family and is not at all interested in the celebrity lifestyle; rather preferring koi and trees.
Quo are famous for Francis and Rick Parfitt’s ‘twin telecaster’ sound. Francis plays a 1957 Fender Telecaster which he customised by sanding it down and painting it green. He also drilled a large hole through it, though the reasons for this remain unclear! Whilst this has horrified many a purist over the years it has made the instrument immediately recognisable the world over. Until 2009, Francis was also one of the world’s most famous ponytailed men; however the locks were removed by Bob Young, a long term Quo associate [and Francis’ main song writing partner] and subsequently given away in a newspaper competition!
Francis has worked on music outside of Status Quo, though the band has always been his main love. ‘King of the Doghouse’ was his first debut album and was released in 1996. He finally released his second album, ‘One Step At A Time’ and undertook a nerve-wracking tour of the UK; his first ever solo performances. The following year ‘Live At St. Luke’s’ London was made available on CD and DVD.
Francis and Status Quo have used their prominence in the entertainment world to raise huge amounts for charity. They were, of course, the band who opened Live Aid in 1985 but Francis has also worked closely with The Prince’s Trust, Nordoff Robbins and Help For Heroes, to name but three.
In 2005 Status Quo featured on Coronation Street., the UK’s best known soap opera. Additionally Francis features in ‘Hello Quo!’ a documentary charting the incredible history of Status Quo. On top of that the band have shot their debut feature film ‘Bula Quo!’ due for release in 2013.
The band’s last album became yet another Top Ten hit, they had five singles from the album A-listed at BBC Radio 2 and this 2012 sees the band performing in 17 countries. What is next? More gigs, of course, and perhaps a return to the silver screen. With Quo, and Francis, nothing can be ruled out.