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Tribute to Three Chord Kings

Soon after forming in 2004, members of Quo-caine went to Brighton to see rock giants Status Quo perform live.
Before the gig, they met Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt at a book signing, and Quo-caine’s lead singer Robbie Holder plucked up the courage to ask the rock stalwarts a question.

Robbie recalls: “I said ‘hello Rick, hello Francis. Can we go to the sound check at the Brighton Centre this evening, as we’ve just started a Status Quo tribute band? We’ve done three rehearsals already.’ “Rick piped up ‘Three? You only need two!’”

Status Quo might be happy to play up to one of the great musical myths – that they can only play three chords – but the members of Quo-caine know better.

James Batchelar, who plays keyboard and sings backing vocals, said: “When I was in my teens I would get a bit of stick for liking Status Quo, but I had seen them live a few times and been amazed as they were such a tight band and so on it. They’ve continued to be a loud, tight rock ‘n’ roll band. People see the cabaret side of Quo and make up their minds, but they’re a fantastic live band, and I believe we are too.”

On Thursday, 9th May, Quo-caine will be demonstrating what a good live band they are when they perform for the second time at the Capitol in Horsham.

James said: “We played the Capitol a couple of years ago and that was a big deal for us. We never thought it would happen, but it went better than we ever expected. Everybody was up for it, it’s a lovely venue and we put on a blinding show. We feel we need to raise our game again for this show. The set list is different and we’re a tighter band too.

“Most of our set list is made up of the Quo’s early material, up until about 1984. You have the big hits including Down Down, Whatever You Want, Rockin’ All Over the World, and In the Army Now, but there are some tracks for the fans too. We usually open with Caroline and follow it up with similar songs so people, hopefully, get straight into a party feeling.

“If you are lucky, you’ll have people in the crowd who have had a couple of drinks and let loose down the front. If that happens, a big percentage of the crowd will dance and join in. Once people start to stand up, then that’s it. It’s about breaking that British stiff upper lip! People go on about the three chord jibe and the Quo’s music being easy to play. Certainly the format of some of the songs does make them easy to play, but you have to deliver the same passion in the performance. That’s the hardest part.”

Band members have slightly differing versions of the origins of Quo-caine, but what is certain is that lead guitarist Andy Hosegood discussed the idea with singer/ rhythm guitarist Robbie Holder and drummer Colin Sigward soon after seeing another Quo tribute band at the Green Dragon in Horsham. The three Quo fans, who have all played in a variety of covers and original bands in Horsham over the years, thought they could do it better.

By chance they bumped into another musician and old friend, keyboard player James, who also expressed an
interest in joining. At the first rehearsal, the band clicked so well that they quickly realised it was going to happen.
Unlike the real Status Quo, there’s been little change in the line-up, with only current bass player Colin Eccles not being an original member. But none of the group has yet grown tired of playing the same songs.

James said: “We gig regularly but not enough that it becomes irritating. If we were playing every week it might not be so much fun. All the real Quo fans keep us on our toes. We have people who come and see us regularly, and they sometimes say ‘you nailed it,’ which is great. The die-hard Quo fans will also criticise you if it’s not exactly right.”

Quo-caine though, are only interested in replicating the Quo sound, and not necessarily the look. Robbie said: “We’ve seen a few Quo tribute bands and I’ve seen a lot of videos on YouTube, and I haven’t seen any that are
better than us. We try to get the sound right. We do not wear wigs or anything like that. For us it’s more about recreating the live Quo sound, which is different to the studio sound. When you can sing a song and there’s a line the crowd sings back, that’s an awesome feeling. I think we’ll be even better at the Capitol the second time around!”

They might be better, but will they ever be cool? Guitarist Andy is not so sure…

“The Quo raised their street cred to new heights with the reunion tour with the original members, and there was a brilliant vibe at the gigs. They also played Glastonbury for the first time a few years ago.But then they go back to what people call ‘Karaoke Quo’ and release a terrible film (Bula Quo). So I’m not sure if they will ever be cool, but for many Status Quo will always be a guilty pleasure!”

Tickets to the show at the Capitol cost £12.50 (concessions £11.50) from the Capitol Box Office on 01403 750220 or www.thecapitolhorsham.com and you can also visit the band’s website at www.quo-caine.com