I'm on a flight from Moscow to Munich, and I'm musing to myself "Am I in the mood for this Blog any more?" "Have I lost interest?" Are all the negative comments I get dragging me down?" Answers: Yes, No, and all you saddo trolls out there can go and stick a red hot poker up your collective arse. That's a no by the way.
So where was I? Sorry for the delay in getting on it so to speak, in fact I'm hardly on it any more these days, Rhino the Wino has hung up his drinking boots, well, not quite, I bought Mad Pam a bottle for her birthday the other month in Llangollen (don't worry Pam, I'm not going to tell anyone it was your 60th) and drunk it instead. All by my own. in about half an hour. So I do still have my moments, but I've traded in my bottle for a glass these days. As has Ricardo, a changed man is whacking the crap out of that Tele on stage these days, as he says, the door is welded shut on that and I believe him. Really.
What a funny year it's been, I wonder what surprises are in store before the end of it.
I don't have a gig list for the year to hand, which I always get from Doctor Lee's site, and very comprehensive it is too so I think I'll just have a chat with y'all, you know, one to one, then when we land I'll go on t'interweb and find a list to talk about with my digit in my hand. Well it would be wouldn't it? Keep up! Actually it'd be on, but that's pedantic.
By the way, I sold my Hoover the other day. It was only gathering dust...
I went to watch the Frantic Four on their final run at Hammersmith, and mighty fine it was. That said, I didn't enjoy it as much as the year before, it wasn't as special for me. 2013 was a glorious mess, just how I like to hear a classic hard rock band. Couple that with the atmosphere that night and you have something really great. 2014, different, much tighter and crisper, Spud playing like a mother, but it wasn't so good for me. Each to their own opinion wise, but to me it wasn't special. Still, I had a great night, and by all accounts the gig in Dublin was amazing. Random stuff here, as it's Rhino's tour log I shall talk of me, my people and other people. Deep huh?
We are changing the name of Woodedz back to Rhino's Revenge for the simple reason that we hope to sell tickets, as we're going to tour. Yes folks, all you want for Christmas is a ticket for the tour we're undertaking in March next year, going to do Europe and the Uk and England as well. By the way, all you North of the borderers, please don't vote for Independence, why can't we maintain the Status Quo? What will be will be come the Referendum, but I just think it's a waste of time and money. There, said it.
Anyway, it's nothing to do with me. Sort of.
I did wander off piste there, there is also a new member R****' R******. All rise for Matthew Richard Gervaise Starritt, rhythm guitarist, harmonicaist and backing vocalist of this parish. Well Woking actually. He's an honorary family member anyway, so he's in. He's is the best. We could afford. Actually he's bloody great, and a top bassist as well. I haven't recorded yet, but I'm nearly ready, here's a few titles wiv what to whet yer appetites; Powerplay, Black Widows, Tomorrow is Today, Cougar, New New New, Secretary, All the girls love a bastard, as you can imagine that one's totally PC (maybe that one won't go on the album, if not I'll just put it on YouTube) anyway, the list is endless. Actually it's not, if it were I'd have done it years ago. I just thought there was no point in doing another one if I couldn't better the last one, yes I'll get in first, that shouldn't be hard, but it's going to be great in my book anyway.
We (my lot) played Ma Kellys Crossed Guitars festival in Holland again this tear, 3rd time for us and definitely the best yet. What a fantastic place that is, a real dive Rock bar and a shrine to SQ to boot. For the Umpteenth time, if you're a self respecting Quo head get yourself over there next year!!!!! It's just brilliant.
Clumber Park, a few weeks ago. Weird but great to be doing a gig with Freddie standing in for Rick, that's a HUGE pair of trainers to fill. I think he did magnificently, learning the show as quickly as he did (not that he had a choice but to learn it quickly), a brief rehearsal and on he went, with Rick's blessing I might add, he even called Freddie the night of the show to wish him well, nice touch that. Mind you, if Rick and Francis have given you lessons over the years you ought to know how to play it right...
Coming in to land soon, so laters...
Anyway, the live side of things. To start 2014 with a bang we put together our brand new set which was exactly the same as the last one. So, on to the ground of Schalke FC in Germany, what a venue. Roof shut as it was horrible outside, and we played the AGM. Getting a bit odd some of our shows. Maybe soon we'll be handed a piece of paper with the number of a car that's blocking a fire exit, I wouldn't be surprised. You'd think they'd wait until the raffle though... Strange going on at 11.30 am though.
Next, Doncaster Races, fish and chips with Mr. Richard Mollinar and son, put it in yer diaries folks, I paid. Next show was Montrose, arrived in the morning and I took the train to Arbroath for an Arbroath Smokie (which I have to say I didn't enjoy. At all). What stunning scenery around the coast, what an island we live on, what do I keep saying what for? Montrose was Quo mad, good fun to walk around, I loved the gig myself.
One more show at a car festival in Cheshire somewhere, then Download. Wow! A great day was had by all, met up with loads of old friends, saw a couple of great bands and got to meet Ginger from the Wildhearts, I'm a big fan, not just for the following: When Max was about 11, I bought their Caffeine Bomb EP, which had a track on it called *Shut your fucking mouth*, a real classic I think. ( God, I'm so literary these days). Anyway, if I'd collected him ( Max) from somewhere and there was only us 2 in the car we'd park round the corner from home and play the song really loud about 6 times, shouting out the chorus. Terrible parenting I know but great fun. Does he swear now? Does he fuck...
We really tore it up at Download, oh where are the doubters now? I'll bet there were some who wanted us to, and thought we'd die on our arse. Wrong!!! What a great reaction, we were well happy with that one. And we even played the Oriental.
On to Hellfest in France, exactly the same, even more metal audience, same result re Billy, I also got to meet Duff, once of Guns and Roses, now of Walking papers, what a nice bloke, and he signed my copy of his book for me, one of the best rock and roll autobiographies. I was saying about weird going on at 11.30am, even odder when you're somewhere and it's total daylight at 11.30 pm, which is where we went to Kiruna in Sweden, quite an amazing place. They have huge reserves of, and mine, iron ore, in fact that Leon and me went on the tour of the mine, it's so technical now, hardly anyone works there, it's all machines doing the work, and some bloke or woman staring at a screen controlling it.
Anyway they're moving the entire town when they want to extend the workings underneath it, quite amazing. Gig in the middle of town, quite a laugh, great American Country picker on the night before, but he spent quite a lot of the time telling the audience how he'd stopped drinking. Like in between every song? Recovered? I don't think so...
Straight on to Finland, by a lake, lovely gig, we do get around.
Right, that's enough from me for now, got to finish the telly show YOU REDS!!!! Edwards x
Well, fast forward to December, and nothing to report folks, what a normal humdrum year it's been. First things first I suppose, and that has to be the wildest (now mildest) man in rock and the shall we say Croatian affair.
I kept hearing noises from the corridor of the bus, which were really pissing me off as I was trying to get some kip. Went downstairs for a leak and saw a blue light in front of the bus and Rick lying on the floor moaning. Lyane was standing there and I asked what was up. She said in a very matter of fact voice, "Rick's having a heart attack". I just said "Oh, right" had a wee and went back to bed, talk about surreal. Woke up about 3 hours later thinking I'd had the most bizarre dream, then realised it wasn't a dream, and that Rick was either dead or in hospital. As we know it was the softer option there.
So the most weird day was spent walking around Pula, meeting Quo fans from all over Europe who'd come for the show and telling them it was off as Rick had been taken ill.
You really are the best fans a band could have you lot, all people were asking was how is he doing, real concern, not anger. You know, it's a really weird feeling being angry and worried at the same time. So, it became like a line from a very old song by an actor named Bernard Cribbins called Right said Fred: "so Charlie and me had anuvver cup of tea an' then we went 'ome"
Which is what we did, albeit via Strasbourg and not the East end of London, which is where all dem Cockney geesers come from. Not anymore they don't. If you're a boy born in Hackney nowadays you're more likely to be called Dylan or Tristan. The gentrification of the East end is nearly complete. but to me as it gains the ethnic diversity it loses some of the core at the same time. I guess that's progress, but to me It's all becoming a big blob, London. Dunno what it's becoming a blob of, that was probably a bit blobbist there, but it is.
Anyway, I digress, instead of Genoa, Monaco, Switzerland and Germany it was the country seat, which could have been worse, but what an absolute pisser pulling shows for already well documented reasons which I shan't bore myself by going into.
I just reread the beginning, and I realised I hadn't broached the subject of our acoustic Album, which as I write this is enjoying its 7th week in the top 50 in the U of K. That was fun to do, that was. As I'm sure you know Rick wasn't available for some of the sessions, so numbers 1 3 and 4 on the baggage tags together with Saint Paxman of Walton and the Grayson Perry of engineering Gregg Jackman (what an artist he is) recorded the way we thought the songs ought to go. And very made up we were with it. You can't hide with acoustic instruments, you can bluff a bit with electric guitars but you can't with acoustics. If we do a another album, I reckon we should do it in groups of 3, someone sitting out, because that seems to be a good number, no egos or copying parts just to be on it. Then me neph (Leon) came in gave it some flava innit and then we put the real musicians on. Amazing. Martin Ditcham on percussion, Geraint Watkins on accordion (now there is one laid back man, man), Amy Smith on the backing vocals and Rick Benbow on the string arrangements. As I said, jolly good fun, it took a lot longer than we expected, but the result was worth the wait.
The Aquostic shows were a ton of work, 10 days the 6 of us (with super sub Freddie Edwards) at Francis' studio then on to Shepperton for 2 weeks bringing in the Glittering Luxuries as I shall them (which me and the horn players were known as in Dexy's Midnight runners) piecemeal, then 2 at the Roundhouse, and off to Stuttgart to do the same on a big radio show. As you may know we've just announced 5 UK shows for April, worth a look I reckon.
Of course there's the aforementioned R****'* R****** tour just before, we've put 2 shows on sale so far, the 100 Club March 6th and Ma Kelly's on the 28th, as I speak, or write in fact they're both nearly sold out. Result! More to come soon, just finalising it now.
God, this is really a long one, isn't it? Mind you a year such as this was always going to take some time to document. Quite frankly after Rick's illness I thought about jacking this log stuff in, but I didn't. So there you have it for now, I shall put some more in (he cried) in a few days time, seeya.
OMG! It's the 02 already, only one more show to do and I haven't done a thing in weeks to add to what I writ before, spank me hard woman! I'm not asking you I'm telling you!!
After Kiruna, it was back to the Lear and an arrival in Finland to blazing sunshine at 4am, handy for sleeping that, then a gig by a lake, v. good, I seem to recall eating tons of delicious Finnish strawberries after the gig.
I'll rattle through these now, Norway, a 2 hour drive and then a boat to a gig in a harbour somewhere, v. jetset that one. Just like Scarborough in fact, which was the next show after. Great to see the Heeps again, they opened for us, a strange gig with a 10 metre stretch of water between us and Billy. For who's protection I have no idea...
Then Llangollen and an Eisteddford or however you spell it. Beautiful part of the UK, great canal walk in the afternoon, then a REALLY rockin' gig.I thought , looking at the audience there'd be at least 1 or 2 fatalities when we started, but they LOVED it. Which was nice. Sandown Races, saw Spud and Gillie there, they watched from the side, apparently she was quite disingenuous on Facebook about it afterwards, oh well. Boiling hot in Ostend next, right on the beach, Moules Frites,Sauvignon Blanc, luvverly.
That just made me laugh, predictive text is on, and it gave me Moles frites, that'd be interesting. Had them with Mr. Francis "I'm paying, no arguing" Rossi, until he discovered they didn't take cards. Huh, just you wait Rossi...
Next show in Corsica, Very mountainous and changeable weather, amazing location for the show, great looking audience (that's what happens when the French are around) and Leon's favourite ever gig with Quo I believe, he and I were really locked in that night, and I don't mean in a room, har har.
Carcassonne, what a lovely, if totally rammed place, met up out of the blue with a bloke I used to play in a band with when I was 17. "Hi John, I'm Andy Gordon, we used to play in a band together when we were 17". "Did we? Oh, yeah great to see you again (thinking, who is this bloke?)" Sorry Andy, if you read this, I still don't remember you although he has the pictures I'm told. Don't know what they're pictures of.
From there to Nuremburg and a quite amazing location, right next to the Zeppelin park which is where you know who (and if you don't you're dumb) used to hold the Rallies (again bizarre, predictive text came up with the rellies. Not quite. Too many brackets coming in now, must be running out of ideas) (or not). Then a festival with the Scorpions, as maybe you know, my favourite band. Got a lift into Graz in a 280,000 Euro Mercedes jeep, apparently J. Zed has one. Wow. Nice town though. Gig with The Scorpions, the Heep, who were amazing that day, we thoroughly demolished the Scorpions, who are in my not so humble opinion a dreadful band. I know they're popular and all that, but they're still shit, and their production are real assholes. Am I allowed to say that? Yes, I reckon. They were putting their shit up while we were playing our encore, in front of us. Sometimes being in a band with Francis Rossi is completely awesome. He just stopped playing and pushed all of it off the stage. Now THAT'S rock and roll, and one of the reasons why he's a star and I'm not. Apart from the looks, voice, writing and charisma I could be as well you know, I just choose not to be one, OK?
Then Croatia, so that was that. By the way, I reread my musings over the last few months and I'm so pleased to say the Scots voted for us to be one team. Not sure about that Salmond bloke though, sounds like a really bad loser to me judging by recent comments. If it wasn't a political thing, I'd be thinking he's a bit of a power mad asshole, which of course I wouldn't even think. Even if it were true, which of course it isn't.
So, anyway, after that Fred stood in for Rick at Clumber Park it was back to business at Holkham Hall, at which Mr. Parfait was bang on it so to speak, not the wine and fags but the gig. He's doing fantastically well on that front by the way, but I think he looks a bit gaunt at the moment, eat more spuds Parfitt!!
A bizarre but great TV show in Germany, again with favourite band the S*******, I'm not even going to mention them any more by name, and I got to meet Imelda May, who I'm a very big fan of, her and her excellent band. She did the parts of Mary Ford in a Les Paul tribute DVD Jeff Beck made. If you like rockabilly and the music of Les Paul, dahlings, I urge you to get out a purchase a copy, yah? It's brilliant though. I just realised I already said something about this earlier. Ah well...
I'm in Brighton now on the last show, having just mooned some fans (I'm mad me eh?) They didn't call the Police so all's well. The next time we meet will either be on me tour with R****'* R****** or on the Aquostic shows. We got our Gold albums last night at The O2, thanks so much for liking it folks, it's been a great feeling to be on the radio and in the charts for more than 2 weeks, which in this day and age for an, if you will ladies and gennelmen, veteran band is not an easy thing to accomplish.
This tour's been really uneventful band wise, except on 3 or 4 occasions we had to think about cancelling due to various illnesses, but the show MUST GO ON!!!! Leon's had a dreadful cold for about 2 weeks now poor love. Mind you, he's better not give it to me, there'll be big trouble. We are troupers with a capital Ter I reckon.
Lou Gramm was a great opener for us if you like your rock in an AOR style, I'm quite partial to some of it myself, and to me Foreigner were right up there with greats like Whitesnake (only kidding there folks! Never trust a band with too much satin and hair products), Journey and actually I can't think of anyone else, actually I can, Boston for the one song. Don't anyone mention REO Speedwagon or I'll send Big Les and the Goons round, we'll find you. Got it? I did move away a bit there. Lou Gramm for those that don't know was the vocalist with Foreigner on all their big records. I read his autobiography, and I think I can safely say that he and Mick Jones, the founder and guitarist don't send Christmas cards. Anyway, he had a great band and, well, those songs. He's been very ill that one, brain tumour, and has really done well do still be doing it, so let's hear it for Lou. And AJ his guitarist, who loves Free and Paul Kossof.
The UK tour has been enlivened if that's the right word by the excellent Chas n' Dave. What a bass player Dave is, he is incredibly modest and underrated, those two really have played with them all.
Well, that's your lot, War and Piss and Vinegar. The bad news for me is that I've now got to recap and read it all. Still chosen profession and all that.
So, in signing off, as usual, a very happy Festive period to one and all, wouldn't it be nice if there was a bit more love in the world, as Prince said in the magnificent Sign o' the Times "you turn on the telly and every other story is telling you somebody died".
Anyway, enough of that mawkish sentiment, actually I really mean it, but I'm not holding my breath.
Best fans = best band, say no more. Lots and lots of love, stay safe and be happy,
Feck me, I'm 61 and a half! Just realised, old or what. Nevermind xxxxx
Ps. What about the mighty Bees eh?