Rossi ‘wanted to do Status Quo on his own’ says Lancaster

Status Quo frantic four lineup
Frantic Four in 1979: Coghlan, Parfitt, Lancaster, Rossi (Image credit: Getty)

Status Quo co-founder Alan Lancaster has blamed the collapse of the band’s Frantic Four lineup on Francis Rossi’s drug addiction.

The bassist believes the frontman grew to hate everything to do with the most successful incarnation of the band as a result of his issues.

And he says he lost more money than he ever made from the band as he tried to protect it from what he saw as a hostile takeover.

Lancaster and Rossi formed Status Quo in 1962, and remained together until Lancaster’s acrimonious split in 1985, following the departure of original drummer John Coghlan three years previously.

The Frantic Four – also featuring Rick Parfitt – reunited in 2013 and again the following year, while the 21st-century Quo lineup continued to operate.

Lancaster tells Australia’s Studio 10: “It was a cocaine thing that broke Status Quo up. Cocaine was endemic in the business around the time. It makes you feel as if you’re better than everybody else, superior. I think that’s when we started to lose our brotherhood.

“Francis became… I call him the anti-Quoist. Everything to do with the original band he seemed to abhor. He got to dislike management, he got to dislike John, everybody in the band. he wanted to do it all on his own for ages. One by one he got to oust us all.”

He says of Coghlan: “It was unthinkable that one of us could leave – we’d just reached the top of our tree. John got ousted. We were in Switzerland making an album and John was on a plane back home. Pete Kircher came in to substitute him, and we made the worst album we’ve ever made.

“John is probably one of the best swing shuffle drummers in the world, but Francis was having nothing of it.

“Once John went it was easy to start getting rid of us. And it’s all to do with money as well – once one member leaves you make more money if you don’t pay them.”

Lancaster describes the experience of watching the band continue without him as “like having your child abducted” and adds: “Status Quo ended up costing me more money than I ever made from it because I was trying to protect it. I’m not a big corporation any more, I’m on my own. In the end you have to give up.”

He says Rossi – who’s admitted to suffering from a round-the-clock cocaine habit in the 1980s – was his “first recruit” when the band was coming together.

“In those days none of us could play,” the bassist remembers. “We did our first gig within the first year. It’s a bit strange forming a band when you can’t play an instrument.”

And despite the regular assertion that Status Quo have sold over 120m records during their career, Lancaster believes the total is much lower. “I think it’s more like 40m – from my royalty statements it’s around 35, to 40m.

“None of us in the band have ever received a royalties statement ever. We’ve never had an accounting from management.

“There’s lots of millionaires going around the world who’ve made their money from Status Quo. But the band themselves struggle to get there.”

The current lineup commence their last-ever electric tour later this month. Parfitt, who recently revealed he was technically dead for two minutes after a heart attack earlier this year, won’t take part. The band have offered refunds for fans who don’t want to attend shows without him.

Status Quo: The Last Night Of The Electrics tour 2016

Oct 12: Vienna Gasometers Of Vienna, Austria
Oct 13: Klagenfurt Messe Betriebsgesellschaft, Austria
Oct 15: Zurich Hallenstadion, Switzerland
Oct 17: Tilburg Poppodium, Netherlands
Oct 28: Belfast SSE Arena, UK
Oct 29: Dublin 3Arena, Ireland
Nov 10: Hamburg Arena, Germany
Nov 11: Leipzig Red Bull Arena, Germany
Nov 14: Berlin Max Schmeling Halle, Germany
Nov 15: Erfurt Messe Erfurt, Germany
Dec 08: Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
Dec 09: Bournemouth BIC, UK
Dec 11: London The O2, UK
Dec 13: Brighton Centre, UK
Dec 14: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, UK
Dec 16: Birmingham Barclaycard Arena, UK
Dec 17: Leeds First Direct Arena, UK
Dec 19: Manchester Arena, UK
Dec 20: Glasgow The SSE Hydro, UK
Dec 22: Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, UK
Dec 23: Liverpool Echo Arena, UK

Status Quo: The Frantic Four’s Final Fling

Freelance Online News Contributor

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.