Why former Status Quo drummer John Coghlan is returning to the road

A press shot of John Coghlan’s Quo

Known alternatively to long-serving Quo fans as Spud or the Mad Turk, drummer John Coghlan joined The Spectres, as the future Quo were then known, in 1962, and was with them for almost two decades. He also played again with the Frantic Four line-up on their reunion tours in 2013 and ’14.

We are very sorry for your loss. How recently did you talk to Rick Parfitt?

Dear old Rick and I exchanged quite a few messages before he died, and he had wanted me to play some drums on his [solo] tracks. He’d also shown interest in making a guest appearance, with Alan [Lancaster], when my band plays at the Quo Convention in Minehead in October.

Could something still come of the recordings being planned by Rick, Alan and yourself?

I’d like to think so. Rick had played on two of them. Only time will tell.

What’s the idea behind John Coghlan’s Quo?

A few years back an agent suggested I put a band together to go out and play Quo’s hits. And why shouldn’t I? I played on those albums.

Is part of the goal to do parts of the Quo catalogue overlooked by Francis Rossi and co.?

That’s it exactly. My band plays what Quo fans of the 1970s really want to hear. We do things like A Year [from Piledriver, 1972] and further back (April) Spring, Summer And Wednesdays [from Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon, 1970]. We can do just about anything.

Recreating the sound of vintage Quo is tough, though, because nobody sings like Francis, Rick or Alan.

Those voices are very recognisable, so we don’t even try to copy them because it’s impossible. But I believe our current singer, Rick Chase, does justice to those great songs.

Some people might say John Coghlan’s Quo are a tribute band. Would you agree?

Not at all. I’m an original member of Quo, how can I be a tribute to myself?

Has Francis Rossi expressed an opinion on what you’re doing?

No. And I don’t really think he’s bothered. They play far bigger gigs than we do.

What do you think of the Aquostic thing?

For me, Quo songs are meant to be heard with full-on power. I respect Francis’s decision to take the band in that direction, but I must be honest, I wouldn’t go out of my way to see one of those gigs.

The Rossi-led Quo has extended the Last Night Of The Electrics tour into 2017, leaving the door open for more electric shows.

Should they take that path it would make things much harder for JCQ – we thought we would be the only ones. That’s me speaking for myself.But [the possibility] has certainly ruffled the feathers of a lot of fans, which is the last thing any band should be doing.

John Coghlan’s Quo are on the road throughout 2017.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.