INTERVIEW RHINO, 10-11-04
Rhino, you've been with the band for almost 19 years
now, what's the main difference at the moment you joined to nowadays ?
Well for me, I know what I'm doing now. I didn't really before. I did look like some twat from Duran Duran didn't I ? When I joined the band I was a session musician. So I was quite used playing different styles. And I got the impression that the band was trying to break out a bid with stuff like In the army now. We were trying to become more pop orientated. So I thought this is good you know cause I know a lot about playing pop music. I used to listen to rock music but I didn't know a lot about playing it. So when the band lost their way so too speak, I was in there losing it with them. But only because I didn't know which was the right way in the first place. So that's what I mean about the difference. I know what I'm doing now. We did have our period of some pretty substandard records I think. Especially after I've heard some of the classic stuff you know. I mean, some of it's good, some of it ain't. There was probably a higher percentage of what was good before I joined. But hey, nothing to do with me. I didn't form the band. I came in to try and fit in. Not be a mover and a shaker.
So which albums do you like and don't you like from the ones you've done ?
Oh, Riffs is my favourite!
I quite like bits of Ain't complaining. I really love Burning bridges, even though I hated it at the time. I thought it was a bad idea, but it's great. Because you look out from the stage and you see people going absolutely mad, and there's ten people going aah, that's tough shit you know. Cause they like something else that we do.
It was a big hit.
Yeah, and it's a great song. I think I don't like anything from Perfect remedy. That's the poorest record the band's ever done. There are some great songs on Thirsty work. Some really good songs but they are not Status Quo songs. I mean, Confidence is an amazing track. And I really like Lover of the human race. But Francis was producing it and he just wanted to make sure that his stuff was allright. And Rick wasn't writing at the time so the balance wasn't right. And it was done at Francis' house which is really weird. The studio is OK but you're always in someone else's house, which is something I don't like. I'd rather be at neutral territory.
The rumours are that Rick isn't even playing on the album. Is that true ?
No. Not true at all. I don't know where that came from but that's complete bollocks.
What about the old stuff. What do you think are really
good albums of the original band ?
I don't think there's one album where every song is great, personally speaking. It's impossible to make an album where every song is good. In my opinion. Maybe the Beatles you know. Not even my favourite band, Free. Well, put it like this. I was listening to some of the old stuff, cause there was an idea to re-record an old track. There wasn't anything that we haven't done before that I thought was really amazing. I thought Rockers rollin' was quite good. But I feel we play the best songs from those albums. Cause I joined in 1986, I wasn't there in 1974. Well actually I was because I saw them twice in 1972 I think. In pubs. It was good you know. They were on one week, Uriah Heep next week, then Free, Mott the Hoople. A lot of great bands. I saw Thin Lizzy supporting Uriah Heep in a pub. One of their first ever gigs in England. They were good. But I know you've done an interview with John Coghlan so you're more likely to get the real deal on what is the good and bad stuff on those albums. I think we play the best songs.
Isn't it time for a live album with the current band ?
I think so. I think we should do one next year. But I don't think we are.
No, why ?
We're doing a studio album. But I think we should do both.
Yeah, as an anniversary.
Look, it ain't my band. If it was my band I'd like to do a really different live album. Kind of like a retrospective. For me, I'd like to do things like Ice in the sun and Pictures of matchstick men.
But what do you mean it's not your band ? You've been playing in it for almost 19 years! You're a big part of it.
Yeah, but I joined someone else's band. Well, two other people's band and it's still their thing.
That's still your feeling ?
Yeah. Look at the autobiography of Status Quo. It's Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. Say no more. But it's OK. I don't mind. They are the famous ones, I'm not. But it suites me. I'm having a great time.
But you also write songs. That doesn't bother you then ?
No. I'll get enough to say sometimes, I don't get enough to say all the time but that's my problem, not theirs. I do think that some of the things we've done, we shouldn't have done.
But you're happy enough with your part in it ?
Fuckin' right mate. It's better than working. I've said it loads of times, I've always wanted to be in a big band and I always knew I was gonna be in one. But I never thought it would be Status Quo. But things you don't expect are normally the best things. I'm very committed to the group.
And to the fans also.
Yeah, why not. People pay money to come and see us. That's great. People pay money, they come and look at you and say you're great and I really like you. And I get paid for standing there doing what I love doing. µ
How did you experience Jeff leaving the band ? Because
you joined the band together and played with him even before that. Was it
strange for you ?
No, it was time for Jeff to go. He wanted to do other things. I think that he felt that his schools were more important than the band. That's the one thing about this band, you're either in it or you ain't. You've got to give it everything. I don't say he wasn't giving it 100%, but if you're mind is elsewhere at times you shouldn't be doing it. You got to be dedicated. If you're not dedicated it's easy to become very cynical. And that's always a bad thing.
Do you still see him or talk to him ?
I spoke to Jeff yesterday. I haven't spoken to Jeff in nearly two years. And after I saw Shona I just phoned him up straight away. I said, this is silly that we haven't spoken for so long.
That's a good thing.
It was one of the positive things about seeing her apart from the fact it was very upsetting. But out of things as tragic as that comes positive things, so that's very good. It's fantastic in fact. He's coming too see us in Brighton this year. I did a couple of gigs with him a few years ago and he's coming too see the band. I think he has seen Francis a couple of times but he hasn't seen Rick or Andrew since.
But that's strange because he's been in the band for 15 years. It's just hard to understand that once someone leaves, there's hardly any contact anymore.
We were very good friends for a long time. Very good friends. But in the band we kind of drifted apart. After 1994 there was just this slow drifting apart as friends. So I'm actually looking forward seeing him.
What's your honest opinion about the message board ?
I haven't really got one.
Do you read it ?
Yeah. There's not that many people on it and some of them really should get out more. I like doing the tourlog and I know from meeting people that there's a lot of people that read the tourlog that never go on the message board. And when they do, they can't believe the shit that's on there. It's not as bad as it was. I had a bit of a go a few months ago and it seems to calm down a bit.
Well last year there were a lot of insulting things said about you.
Oh, I don't care about that. Blimey.
That's hard to believe.
It doesn't mean shit to me! Absolutely. Everybody's got an arsehole and everybody's got an opinion. But what was bad then ? What was the worst thing that was said about me ?
Well, you said something about the long version of 4500 times. You said that playing or watching it is like watching grass grow.
Yeah, I thought it was boring. It was too me.
But then this whole pile of shit came along. It was unbelievable.
Like I said, I wasn't in the band when they played that. The band was good when I saw them. I thought it would be very easy when I joined, you know. But it's not. It's not an easy job at all. Especially not as we become more fan friendly. The band used to be one team and everybody was in the same room. It's got more of that now I think than recent years. But I don't care what people say really. I just think it's boring. If I had written it maybe I would have thought it was fantastic, but I didn't. I'm entitled to an opinion.
In 1994 you and Rick were in Sweden and you went too see..
Oh, we met Nuff.
Yeah, how was that for you ?
Fine. As Andrew Bown once said to me, for all the old fans you will only ever be Alan Lancaster's replacement. And for a lot of them that's still the case. Looking back sometimes, maybe they should have chosen someone else instead of me. That I wasn't the right choice, But it was allright. He wasn't really friendly but he was OK. They were just going on to do their gig. I wasn't very impressed with that either. Sounded like a covers band. Look, at least with this line up you've got the core of the band. Don't get me wrong, the chemistry of the original band was fantastic. When you got a band like that, what you actually get is: if someone writes a song you get three people playing it like they want to play it. And when it works it's fantastic. Instead of saying, oh don't play that, play it like this. I'm sure they just jammed like that a lot and got it together. That's the magic of Quo and the magic of any other band at their peak. The chemistry is not the same now because it's not four individuals anymore. Now it's just two people. It's not like "what do you think of this", it's like "this is my song, let's work on it". Sometimes Francis can be like that. You know, like "this is how it's got to be". And that's fair enough. When me and Rick write it's a lot simpler. The more simple songs are much less arranged. People put their own parts in it you know. Rick's and my songs seem to have a bit more chemistry. But with Heavy traffic, that song was two songs and I said let's put them together. That was a good bit of chemistry cause Rick was really getting off on it, and then suddenly Francis was starting to play it too and we all went, yeah great! We worked that track out in about an hour. And it really sounds like that I think. And I don't mean bad. It sounds quite fresh, that track. And with The oriental I went to Francis' house and he was playing some odds and sods and he played me about six different bits. Then on the cassette that riff came out and he said I don't know what to do with that. I said me too, so I put the cassette away, went out for a walk in the park with my dog, came back and wrote most of the lyrics. Then the other bits came out in half an hour on a demo. But that's the hard work, putting all these bits together. It took me a long time to write some of the lyrics so I went out and sat in my car for about four hours and it worked. I don't wanna blow my own trumpet, but when I write lyrics there's a bit of imagination to them. I don't like to write "oh baby I live you, do you love me too ? ".
What we've never understood Rhino, is that two of the
best songs the band's ever done since you joined are Heavy daze and Better
times, and those songs were never released on an album. They were from the
Rock 'til you drop sessions but never made the album. Unbelievable!
Well, at that time it had nothing to do with me. Nothing at all. There are some songs I love. I hate Tommy's in love, I hate Address book. That's a solo album thing as far as I'm concerned. That was recorded in the past and that also happened with Thirsty work. A lot of songs on those albums weren't really Status Quo songs but did made it on the album. The band lost it's way in the nineties I think. There wasn't enough people saying no, this isn't right. David Walker was a bit guilty in that department. He came up with some ideas which kept the profile of the band up but it wasn't doing the music any good at times. I do think that some stuff on Don't stop is quite good.
Yeah. I like Get out of Denver but I think we could have done a better job on that.
On the album that song sounds good, but I never liked it live. Was played much too fast.
We still play stuff too fast sometimes. But with Matthew it's so much better. I always think of us as a football team. With Jeff it was sometimes we had a midfielder in the goal. And Matthew is like Jaap Stam, you know. When we first started the rehearsals he didn't know that he was supposed too keep it back. And Francis and Rick naturally speed up when they play. The first song we played was Don't waste my time which began like it should sound like but ended up way too fast. And I said ooh shit, I've done the wrong thing cause I got Matthew in. But after two or three days he got it right and it's been great since. He's fantastic. That does made me laugh on the message board when people say he's got no technique. When that guy wants to play, he's amazing.
Yeah, the funny thing is that we went to the second gig you did with him and Paul Hirsch. That was in Emden Germany, and we weren't very impressed at that time. But throughout the year it became better and better and when the band played at Wembley at the end of that year, he was just amazing. We were standing at the side of the stage and you can actually see what he's doing all the time. Because when you're in front of the stage you only see his head because he doesn't move at all.
That's because he's got an amazing technique. I think he's the best drummer since Spud. I will tell Jeff that, no problem. Jeff's a great player, don't get me wrong but he hits too many things. Where Matthew just counts. He's the drummer, he's the goalkeeper. He's not the flamboyant type. But when you actually watch him play it's just fantastic. We all love him.
About the setlist Rhino, you must be aware of the constant discussion that's going on among a lot of fans about the set. What your opinion about that ?
Well, that's one of the things where I haven't got as much too say as I would have liked. We'll leave that there.
So you do agree with the fans then ?
Absolutely. Francis didn't wanna change it.
What would you like too change ?
I'll be doing Dirty water instead of Gerdundula I think. Although it goes down well. People really like it. I'm not bored with the set cause it flows really well, but you should divorce yourself from thinking were doing the same thing all the time. I think the big changes will come next year. And also, there's not been a lot of time this year.
But next year it looks like there's no time at all.
There will be time for some extensive rehearsals next year. We'll make time for that.
So the set will change ?
I didn't say that, I said there's time for rehearsals. Hahaha.
We were very surprised that you don't play You'll come round. It's probably the best single since Whatever you want. Sounds like a great song to play live.
We're playing Thinking of you cause that's the new single and we weren't on tour when the other one was out. I'm not surprised by how well it did but I think it was just the hardcore people buying it. I think if it was really fantastic it would have come out in other countries. We are signed worldwide you know.
Can you tell us why you don't play at Hammersmith anymore ?
Because we do Wembley and we can't do both.
Why not doing just Hammersmith then instead of Wembley ?
I think it's really important for us to play Wembley and Birmingham. Next year we will probably doing a bigger gig in Glasgow and there are a couple of places where we will play in bigger venues then we have been doing recently. So next year you will even see more arena's. Which is great. I like playing big places and I like playing small places. Last night was great cause you get people right in front of the stage, but I like the fact with Wembley that you wave and fifty people wave back at you.
The venue isn't that bad but the sound is crap and the black curtains at the back are getting bigger every year.
I don't care about that. Doesn't bother me. You must know that it's really important for us to play arena's. Also from an industry perception. It's an important thing. We're not David fuckin' Essex you know. He only does theatres. The whole tour is selling fantastic by the way. Those black curtains won't be at the NEC this year! I think we might sell it out.
But the good thing about playing smaller venues is that the sound is much better and you can actually hear how good you are.
You don't get a good sound in an arena. You go there to be in the same room with us. The big gigs is a different thing. I think there's more atmosphere at bigger gigs. It's just about being in the same room with us and someone else and having a party. But I like playing pubs also. I don't care. I like small venues. It's much harder to play in smaller venues.
Next year the Montreux DVD will be released.
Is it ? I didn't know that.
Well, it's in the tourprogramme!
Oh I'm sure you're right. I haven't read it. Oh dear.
The question was, isn't it a better idea to record or film a live show at one of your regular shows, in front of a real Quo audience because we're a little bit afraid it will be the same mistake that happened with the Live alive Quo album and video.
Were you there ?
It was great. Fantastic. I have to say that I didn't play that well. I was actually quite nervous which is very unlike me. When you're doing something that's been recorded, you know it's there forever. Talking of live albums, I had an idea but I don't think it will happen. It's about doing an album in Holland, an album in Germany, one in Britain and put them out. Live in Holland, live in Germany, live in Spain, live in France. You never know.
What about recording live shows and put them on the website so the fans can download it ? This happens with a lot of other bands.
Yeah, don't forget we're called Status Quo. It takes a long time for things to change. But I don't know why we don't do things like that. We're playing the same songs all the time, and I don't mean just this set, but we have this core of songs we have to play and how many versions of that are you going to put on the net ? Maybe new songs would be a good idea.
We're not big fans of Thinking of you but it sounded really good last night. Very fresh, and it was great to hear something new in the set finally.
Well there you go. It's allright. Francis is very, very big on those two songs.
How were the shows with Deep Purple ?
Are you a fan of them ?
I know Ian Gillan. I know him for quite a while. And like I said in my tourlog, we finished playing Roll over lay down and there was Roger Glover at the side of the stage clapping. Fuckin' hell you know. It was in Montreux funnily enough, I'm outside the hotel when someone shouted, Oi Rhino!. I turn around and it was Ian Gillan. I never stopped being a fan of things. A punter. Things like that are great. Touring with them was great. We went to places we've never been before. And especially at places you've never been before, you really go for it. And you go for it in front of people you've never seen before. And we really got them going. It was fantastic. We didn't got to play in Italy for years, so this time we played there which was absolutely brilliant. But they are nice guys. There can be friction between road crews and stuff but everybody got on brilliantly.
What about Cheap Trick ?
They are allright. Not really my cup of tea. Very nice people. They were big Quofans in the seventies.
Really ? That's surprising.
No, not at all. Quo was quite a cult band in America in the seventies. They said to me they have nicked some of their songs from Down down. They are really nice people. Rick Nielsen is very American. I would say he's a republican. The drummer is even quieter than Matthew.
How was it to work with Peter Green ?
Weird. He was in a bad way at that time. I mean, he would only record songs written by his brother which was really shit. And a couple of times we were doing a backing track and you suddenly hear this strange noise. He was supposed to do the vocals but he stopped doing that and he was just making strange noises. It was really sad. And often he would do a guitar lick and you go fuckin' hell, I'm doing an album with The Peter Green! He would do something that was beautiful. And then he'll be off again. But I've seen him a few times since and he's a lot better than he was. Have you seen him play ?
I'm gonna see Motörhead on sunday. And Sepultura!
Oh well, don't forget your earplugs!
I've bought some new ones. Everyone I've asked about Motörhead are all saying they are loud. Nothing else, just loud.
You like them ?
No, but it's one of those things you gotta go and see you know. I'm really looking forward to it though. It's one of those things you can tell your grandkids you did. I saw Motörhead and survived. I like Frank Zappa by the way. This is the good thing about unashamed steeling. Who would have thought that Status Quo fans would be listening to lyrics on The oriental that have been stolen from Frank Zappa ? At the meet & greet tonight I'm meeting a guy who runs one of Zappa's websites. I'm a big fan. And my kids are big fans. And talking about my kids, they are going to be the first support act at Wembley this year.
Really ? That's great. We were very impressed by them this summer at Audley End.
They are gonna be really good.
You must be proud ?
Yeah. I worked very hard with them when they started, but they don't need me now. I still tell them what they should and shouldn't do, but they ignore me now.
What about Steve Marriot ? You've also played with him.
Yeah, quite a few times. We met him in Paris in 1976. I was in a band there. We were going off to the gig we were doing and one of the guys knew someone who was in Steve Marriot's band. So he went over to Steve and said, excuse me to bother you Steve but is Ian Wallace with you ? And Steve said: No, but do you have any drugs ? We said no, but we know a man who has. Don't remember the club we were playing at, but everyone was hanging out there. And one night it was John Bonham on the drums, Steve Marriot on vocals, Boz Burrel (Bad Company) was playing percussion. He asked me if he could play the bass but I said bollocks. I will not pass the chance to do this. Mick Ralphs (Bad Company) was there as well. It was fantastic. One for the CV. No photos offcourse you know. I will never forget Steve Marriot spitting at the photographers. Geezer! Oh, and the Sex Pistols came in one night. They were just starting. The Sex Pistols weren't punkrock, they were just an exceptionally good rock band. With a real chemistry going. And a singer who wrote amazing lyrics. He is still one of my all time favourites. The lyrics are seriously good. Cause they will address issues. He's great in my opinion. I like us to be more like that. I don't mean swearing you know. The old band was really kick arse. I sometimes think that I like to rock more than others in the band funnily enough. They probably disagree with that. It’s got to have attitude otherwise it's shit.
It must have been special for you that Paul Rodgers supported Quo in 1997 because you're such a big fan of Free.
I couldn't handle it at all. I got his autograph you know. I could hardly talk to him. Seemed like a very nice geezer. The reason why I'm sitting here talking to you is because I saw Free in 1969. I saw Andy Fraser and thought right, this is what I wanna do. I wanna be a bass player. He's still my all time favourite. I've met Simon Kirke a couple of times. In fact, I saw him at a funeral a few months ago, but I couldn't talk to him. I'm like that. Anyone famous and I'll put me brown trousers on. I don't know if I could have done better, but I probably could have been a bit more famous if I'd been more easy around famous people. But I'm not. That's the way it goes. (Then Rhino starts to sing Quo's The way it goes)
I like that album. Oh, another song we did which didn't turned out very well was The madness. I didn't think Rick sang it very well. We did a demo at my house and he sang it amazing. And everyone was really down on that song except me. We started recording it and it was going really bad. So I went home and completely rewrote it that night. Bottle of wine and stuff. But Mike Paxman really didn't like it. Cause he doesn't like words like that and I really like them. So we didn't really get the treatment we could have done and Rick just went in and did the vocal in half an hour. It's a shame you know, that's why it's a b-side. I'm quite proud of the stuff I've written with Rick over the years. Obstruction day is a good song. That's got good words.
In 2006 the band will slow down a bit. What exactly does that mean ?
It means that Francis wants to do his thing for a while. But there's talk of all different stuff.
No gigs ?
I have no idea. I really haven't.
We believe you but it does sound strange that you've no idea about future happenings. Especially when you're in the band as long as you have.
It's up to them really, what they want to do. If Rick or Francis doesn't want to work in 2006, then we won't. And that's the end of that. And if they do then they do. It's up to them. It sort of bothers me and it doesn't bother me. Someone said to BB King once, when are you going to retire ? And he said, about seven years after I'm dead. And I'm like that too. I'm very lucky my wife is not listening to this interview, otherwise she will go fuckin' mental. I just love it. I'm what they call a road dog. She comes out on tour sometimes and she's always saying I don’t know how you can do this. Cause you're sitting in a bus for hours at a time, hanging around at a gig. But I just love the whole thing. Apart from missing my family. But because of the way things are structured, in terms of I'm either away or I'm not, you can do what I'm doing. What you're doing is so important to you that you'll miss your kids growing up. Francis and Rick aren't going home at all on this tour. I'm going home tonight cause we got a day of tomorrow. Out of 44 nights, I'm going home for 14 or 15. Or when we have a day off, me and Matthew will climb a mountain or so. It's easy to fill your time. I think it's incredibly boring to sit in a hotel the whole day on a day off. As long as I'm allright for the gig I'd do anything. I just have to make sure to not miss the gig. That's always your nightmare when you're out in the daytime. The only time when time stands still on tour, is when you're on stage. Everything after that is geared to the next performance. It's a great way of seeing the world. I've done stuff I've never had the chance to do. Sitting in a hotel room is not for me.
But it's a boring question Rhino, but how long do you think the band will go on ?
Don't know. It's up to Francis and Rick. No idea at all. There are some bands who will go on until they die. Or until they are not capable of doing it anymore. I don't feel to old. Also not physically. I don't do exercise , I do a lot of walking. Francis is supremely fit. He really is a fit man. I don't mean I fancy him by the way. Andrew I don't know about. You know his wife died. He just got remarried and he's really, really happy. He's very comfortable. I said to him why don't you stop ? He got quite angry with me. He said why the fuck shall I stop ? This is what I do! So I said well, you got married, a new wife. He said fuck off, you know. Not that he doesn't love his wife. He's really, really happy. But this is what he does.
Next year all the old albums are finally going to be re-released. Is the band involved in that ?
I don't know if Mike Paxman's involved in this. I don't really know. You're telling me stuff I don't know about. Did you speak to Alan Lancaster ?
Yes. We phoned him and we will be doing an interview with him in January.
Don't get me wrong by the way. I'm sure he's a really nice person. Rick speaks very well of him. I think he was a bit misguided. If that's the right expression. I get the feeling that he thought he was more important to the band then he was.
How's it going with Rhino's Revenge ? Any plans for an album or tour ?
I did one earlier this year. I did three gigs in England. Would love to come to Holland and other places. Don't know if there will be any interest though. Probably not. You gotta speak good English to come, cause I got a voice like a fuckin' kettle.
Just play loud.
Yeah, make sure you can't hear the singing. I love my stuff. Very proud of my album. I think I'm quite a good songwriter. In the seventies I spend a lot my time listening to mainly instrumental music or a lot of American bands. I didn't really understand the things about lyrics and melodies so well. And when I started writing my album I learned very quickly about lyrics that I really like. The words. That would be my criticism about You'll come round. It's a great groove, it's a fantastic riff but the lyrics don't grab me. And I think that stops a good song from being really great. That's only my personal opinion. But thousands of people bought it so I take back what I said about only the hardcore buying it cause it got quite a lot of airplay, so there's obviously people who'd bought who wouldn't have bought it normally. So that's bollocks what I said. I'm very interested what the new single will do. I don't know if it will do as well, but you can never tell. I was really thrilled that we got a top 20 hit from it. That was fantastic. Maybe the fact you said that it's a little bit different than usual and Thinking of you is more of what you would expect. We'll just wait and see. I'm gonna do another Rhino's Revenge album. I'm probably gonna do that in 2006. And me and Rick are gonna do something for sure.
Like what ?
We're gonna go out and do some gigs. Gonna call it Rick & Rhino. It's R&R. Or Rock & Rhino. I don't know.
That would be great.
I hope so. We just do clubs. I don't know who else we get in. We probably get another singer in.
Or maybe Spud!
Funnily enough we talked about that yesterday. But I don't think it will happen. I think that's probably not a good thing to do. Rick just mentioned it like more of a laugh. And I did think about it for a couple of seconds. The only thing that I think that they should do, is to make the last show of the band with the original line up. I really do. Or the last tour. I will put myself out of a job there, but I really think they should do that.
Why do you think that ?
Cause they will make a lot of money out of that and they will play big gigs. Well, I'm not sure. Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't. Because it is a bit Alan who ? You know what I mean ?
But do you think the chemistry will still be there after so long ?
No, I doubt it. This will probably kill me on the message board, but I'm actually a better player than Alan. But the difference now is that if you listen really good to those records they sound great but they are very compact and small sounding. And now, the way the technology has gone the guitar sound of Francis and Rick is really huge and it's really hard to get any definition of anything. And I play with my fingers cause for me personally, it's a better feel.
You've played with a plectrum before in the early nineties.
Yeah, I'm not very good at it though. Well, I'm allright and I can do it, that's not a problem.
Why did you do it then ?
Listen, look at the fuckin' haircuts I've had man. Hahahaha.These guys are really freakin' me out folks. And Rhino the Wino on his second glass of wine, Cheers!! Before a gig. Oh my god. You won't get a negative take from me on anything really. People might want to read between the lines, but believe, there's nothing to read. You can take anything someone says out of context but forget it folks.
What were the highlights of being in this band ?
There have been a lot.
Can't be Live Aid. Hahaha.
No. It was funny cause I knew Rick by that time cause we've already done his solo album Recorded delivery. And I was actually in Bermuda with my own band and I got up
at 5 o clock in the morning and watched it all. My wife was my girlfriend then and I sat there with her saying, I know him, I know him! But you got me on this one. I can think of a low point, and that was to sue the BBC. That was stupid. I really loved the gig we did in Grandchester Australia. In the middle of nowhere. A gig in the Circus Krone in 1989. It was just fantastic. As Rick pointed out the other day, we can come off stage and three of us would have had a good show and two of us won't. Or four of us would and one of us won't, or just one of us would have really had a fantastic time. It's not that often now that we come off and go wow, that was fuckin' amazing. But yeah, at Circus Krone we came off and thought wow, we really had the old shivers up the spine you know. That was really class. A lot of the gigs with Matthew have been great. Meeting the queen. I'm not a royalist but I've got my picture with the queen. I haven't got my arm around her but it's great. But you play on all sorts of stages where all the great bands have played. We played in Bradford last year and there were all these posters hanging there with all those old people who have been there. People like Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, The Beatles, The Stones. And that's a great thing. Like I said, it's a great life. The first big gig I ever did was supporting Ten Years After at the Rainbow in 1975. I was really impressed by that cause I went too see Steely Dan there a few months before. Another career highlight is the Rhino bass! The Rhino bass is available now. There's gonna be a white Rhino and a black Rhino. And if you want one like mine it's called The Charger. And it's fantastic. They are really good. Better that the guitar I use but with the exact same shape. The guy who makes my basses, the only other signature bass he has done is for Mark King of Level 42. Who's a great guy by the way and a unbelievable bass player. So I'm very proud of that. So buy one!!
In the 80's you also played with Kim Wilde.
That was the worst thing I've ever done. I didn't enjoy that at all. Texas is my favourite gig. That was the best gig for me including Quo. When I joined them we went to America, we were number one in America. In the army now was a brilliant time as well, but being in a band that's number one in America was a fuckin' huge deal. And playing all these places in New York like the Beacon Theatre. I've been there the night before to see James Brown, which was the best show I've ever seen. You don't have to be a real serious rock fan to appreciate things like that. Some Quo fans are to narrow minded you know. There's good music in every field. Well, you don't have to have an open mind. Normally you'll find the people that create the music don't have a open mind. Cause they are focused totally on what they are doing. But you got me. I'm really thinking of a high point. Well, this sounds really cheesy, but apart from every night you get a real kick out of all this.
Every night ?
Oh yeah. I will make sure I'm enjoying myself. If the sound is shit, fine.
Then you smash your guitar!
Yes. It was sounding shit and it wasn't working very well. That's probably because I've got a Belgian roadie. Only joking, Wim is a great guy. He's fantastic! But they put a new switch in the guitar to make it work, but it sounded even worse than before so I was getting sick of it. And Francis said to me the wrong three words. A few years ago I sunburned my arse. And I said to Francis that my arse was killing me. He was telling people about it so I said stop, or I'll get it out. And he said those three words, you wouldn't dare. So I said, that's it and dropped me trousers. Same during Gerdundula. I said to him, I'm feeling like smashing this fucking thing up. So he said, you wouldn't dare. And I go, alright then, bang! Fantastic. I loved it. Well I'm sure a lot of kids could have done great things with that guitar, but tough shit. I'm gonna do it. I've never done this before and I probably won't do it again. Well I might do it again actually. It was great fun. Just like last night when the lights got out during Big fat mama. I love that! To me, that's what it's all about. It's not all about doing the same thing every night. It's small things like that. Normally I tried to do something different every night with the audience. You're having the time of your life, why not really enjoy it.
So you can do anything you want ?
Pretty much. I could probably get me nob out, but I don't want anybody to laugh.
What are the best venues to play ?
In England ?
Wembley, Wembley, Wembley, Wembley, Wembley. No, Bridlington is my favourite. By a country mile. That's the best venue for me. Because it's hot, it's noisy. It's good time music you know. I wanna join the party. It depends on the songs I write, but I wanna call my next album Music to get drunk too. I'm sure you guys don't drink much before a show.
Well actually, I know what it's gonna be called. It's gonna be called Rhino's Right Riv, no Rhino's Right Rockin' Rivetin' Revue. No, Rhino's Right Rivetin' Rockin' no, Rhino's Right Rockin' Rivetin' Revue yeah that's it! I hope everyone plays on it again. Francis did that fantastic guitar on Spend spend spend. Which he still plays a lot at the end of the show. If you listen to Bye bye Johnny, you will here that. It's fantastic. That's what I loved about it. Andrew came along and played keyboards. And it really added something. It was exactly what I wanted to hear. I called him up and wanted Andrew to play what he would play. And Rick did Jungle love. Although I showed him the part, cause it's the core of the song, I got him cause I wanted it to sound the way he played it.
So what do you think about the people who are saying that Francis is no longer the guitar player he once was ?
That's very difficult. Cause you get bands like The Damned which started out as a punk band when they could hardly play. And then they got better and they lost something. In the old days you're used to play to the limit to your abilities. But when you get better technically, you learn to play new chords and still play the same songs. Or you get bored with playing one chord. I disagree with all this criticism about Francis in some respects because you move on. When you're in a band that's been a result of what you do, than the band will still gonna be a result of what you do. And if what you do happens to have more of a country flavour to it, or a singer/songwriter kind of thing than that's the way it's gonna be. I think that's fair you know. I don't know what his album is gonna be like but I'm sure it will be alright. And I'm sure it's stuff he wouldn't want the band to cover. If you're gonna do a solo album he's gonna go off and do his thing. Good luck to him.
About the album next year, what can we expect ?
No idea. Well, I have but I'm not telling you. That's the first little lie I've told. But I'm not gonna tell you about the album.
OK, fair enough. Did you enjoy the Dutch and Belgian gigs ?
I didn't like the Groningen gig at all. That was a really bad venue. Like I said in my tourlog, it's a difficult one cause if it's gonna sell, than that's fair enough. We'd like to come to Holland, the fans like it but that wasn't a enjoyable gig for our fans. We didn't think we got the normal reaction. But I think that was not a rockin' place like Rotterdam or so. I enjoyed the one we did with Deep Purple. Where was that ? You were there, I saw you. Oh that was in Belgium. That was good. Bospop was a very strange gig. Not because we were really late getting there but I didn't think we were that good that day. We always try, but it can get frustrated when it's not going well. And that was one of them when it wasn't going very well where I couldn't get a laugh. I couldn't enjoy myself. Sometimes when it's not going well you just go on with it and make sure you have a laugh and you find people you get a good vibe with. That's the main thing. People aren't there to entertain us, we're there to entertain people. Once you loose that, you're fucked!
Well Rhino, we don't want to rush but you, but you have to get back to the venue in time. So thank you very much for this interview. It's been a real pleasure and honour for us.
I enjoyed it lads. I can talk for hours if I want. Bye bye Holland, I love you all!
Arjen and Fred.