Status Quo were formed when school friends Alan Lancaster and Francis Rossi decided they wanted to be in a band, and this documentary charts the history of the band from the early days in Catford, South London to the present, where the band has sold millions of records, had more Top 40 singles than any other band in the UK, appeared on BBC TV's Top Of The Pops' a record breaking 106 times, and have been rocking in almost every country around the globe!
Directed by Alan G Parker (who also directed the epic 2009 documentary 'Monty Python: Almost the Truth - Lawyers Cut'), 'Hello Quo' is interesting not only for long term fans but also for those who may have more of a passing interest in the band. The main protagonists are all here in the form of lead guitarist Francis Rossi and rhythm guitarist Rick Parfitt along with ex-drummer John Coghlan and ex-bass player Alan Lancaster.
For those unaware, they were known as 'The Frantic Four' and led the band through the 1970s scoring number one album after number one album, but surprisingly only hit the top of the singles chart once! Coghlan left in 1981 with Lancaster following in 1985 (after the band opened the historic Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium) - a rift developed between Rossi and Lancaster which was only healed in the last couple of years, something which is alluded to in the documentary itself – so it's nice to get their view on the band's history, especially during what was arguably its heyday.
The documentary also exclusively features the actual moment when this 'classic' line-up of the band met up at Shepperton Studios for the first time in over 30 years - a truly poignant reunion, after all those years of bitterness and legal wrangling.
Along with contemporary interviews from the 'classic' line-up, there's some archive interviews along with lots of colour and black and white performance footage to give another perspective. Current band members Andrew Bown (Keyboards), John 'Rhino' Edwards (bass guitar) and drummer Matt Letley all appear too, and help bring the band's story up-to-date.
There are also some interesting comments and stories from ex-drummer Jeff Rich (who left in 2000), Joe Brown, Paul Weller (who tries his hand at playing 'In My Chair' on acoustic guitar), Brian May, Jeff Lynne, Ricky Warwick and Scott Gorham from Thin Lizzy, David 'Ginger Wildheart' Walls, Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott and Jim Lea from Slade (who famously co-headlined an Australian tour with The Quo in the 1970s).
With a running time of around two and a half hours, the documentary does very well with all the material up until the mid-1980s, then it seems to be a bit of a dash through the 1990s and the 2000s before the story is brought right up-to-date. Most of the band's albums are touched upon in a positive and sometimes negative light. Rossi, for example, describes 1976s 'Live' album (frequently in the list of greatest live albums ever) as "dreadful", and there are some good stories that even hardened Quo fans might not be aware of like the recording session for the 'Ice In The Sun' single with Marty Wilde and a potential supergroup that never was between various members of the band and Kenney Jones (then in The Small Faces), as well as Lancaster describing the events that led to him leaving in 1985.
Coming in two different editions, there is a standard DVD version with just the documentary but there is also a Special Edition version which is loaded with around three hours of extras, including the moment when the classic line up of Rossi, Parfitt, Lancaster and Coghlan played together for the first time since 1981 – something that would have been unthinkable not so long ago!
It is in itself a truly fascinating performance, and possibly hints at what songs may be performed in the band's much talked about and highly anticipated UK Tour next March (see the MetalTalk News story by clicking here).
Current Band Members:
Francis Rossi – Guitar/Vocals
Rick Parfitt – Guitar/Vocals
John 'Rhino' Edwrads – Bass/Backing Vocals
Andy Bown – Keyboards/Backing Vocals
Matt Letley – Drums