When we first started out I had no ambitions other than not being a one-hit wonder. That was it. I didn't want to just have one tantalizing taste of what we were chasing and then no more. I didn't want to work in the family ice cream business. Of course, I wanted to be a success but, if you'd have told the young man that I was, that nearly half a century on he'd still be getting away with it, I'd have laughed you out of Catford.
I think what has propelled us through the years is a combination of never having been fashionable - making it harder for us to fall from grace - and also a desire just to keep going, hanging on by our finger tips if necessary. Almost everyone who forms a band is an insecure show off. I always was, and I still am. I dread going onstage, those last few minutes before the lights go up are murder for me, but once I'm there I have to be prised away.
Getting out to where the fans are has been the bedrock of our success. These days the live industry is more important than the recording side, somehow we were ahead of the game by becoming a constantly touring act. We've played in 17 countries this year alone.
Of course I think we're good at what we do, I'm very comfortable with the fact that not everyone in the world is a Status Quo fan - but we value and respect those that are. They are the ones that have kept us going. Over the years we've broken every record in the book but what counts most is getting out there and playing the music live. Some poor sod worked out that we've done over 6000 shows, played to over 25 million people and been away from home for more than 23 years. That's dedication to the cause, but also don't forget that this is all I've ever done. Ever since I was 12 or 13, I wanted to play music, be in a band and live this life.
These days we make life on the road as comfortable as possible. The bus is as good as it can be. Catering is excellent. I have my gym gear and a constant supply of crosswords, but the basics are still the same as they ever were and always will be - arrive, sit around, soundcheck, sit around, perform, leave, repeat! The business is full of what I call 'hurry up and wait' and there's no getting away from that. Successful musicians shouldn't complain, and I don't. Not much anyway.
So, what's the secret? How have we done it? I've been asked many times for advice on 'How to make it'. My response is always the same, 'Give up now'. That sounds negative, obviously, but I say that because I know that the players who have it in them to go all the way, make the sacrifices, live on that bus, they are going to do it anyway. What decides the day is ambition, drive - that old blend of perspiration and inspiration. When they are starting out they are not interested in listening to advice from someone like me, even if I have 'been there and done that'. And that's the right way to be. Just do it, don't listen to anyone else. I certainly wouldn't have!
Status Quo are supporting the Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards on 13 November at London's Roundhouse. They are also touring the UK this December on their Quo Festive tour. Visit their official website for more details.
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