Alan Lancaster (Status Quo)
Alan Lancaster, The ex-bass player and founding member of rock band Status quo was born 7 February 1949 in Peckham, London, England. As well as contributing to songwriting, he was also one of the lead vocalists on albums and live concerts taking the lead on tracks such as “Backwater”, “Bye Bye Johnny”, “High Flyer” and “Roadhouse Blues”, etc. Alan Lancaster formed the group in 1962 with his then schoolmate Francis Rossi under the name “The Scorpions at Sedgehill Comprehensive School, Catford, along with classmates Alan Key (drums) and Jess Jaworski (keyboards). Rossi and Lancaster played their first gig at the Samuel Jones Sports Club in Dulwich, London. In 1963, Key was replaced by John Coghlan and the band changed name to “The Spectres” And in 1964 they met Rick Parfitt who was playing with a cabaret band called The Highlights. By the end of 1965, Rossi and Parfitt, decided to work together. On 18 July 1966, The Spectres released two singlesq, “I (Who Have Nothing)” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man” (written by Alan Lancaster), and one the next year called “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” (a song originally recorded by New York psychedelic band The Blues Magoos) and Parfitt joined the band in 1967 Bwhich time the group had discovered psychedelia and changed their name to Traffic, and Appeared on BBC Radio’s Saturday Club. They released another single “Almost But Not Quite There” in 1967, the band became The Status Quo and in January 1968 released the psychedelic-flavoured “Pictures of Matchstick Men”. This was followed by, “Black Veils of Melancholy” and, “Ice in the Sun”. Following Their second album Spare Parts the band abandoned pop psychedelia and Carnaby Street fashions in favour of a hard rock/boogie sound, faded denims and T-shirts, an image which was to become their trademark throughout the 1970s. Lynes left the band in 1970 and was replaced by guests including keyboard player Jimmy Horowitz and Tom Parker. By 1976, ex-The Herd, Judas Jump and Peter Frampton Band member Andy Bown played keyboards but he was not credited as a full-time member until 1982.
After two relatively poor selling albums, Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon and Dog of Two Head in 1970 and 1971, their major breakthrough came when they signed with the heavy rock Label Vertigo And released the album Piledriver, in 1972. Some of their most popular songs include“Paper Plane”, “Caroline”,”Down Down”, “Rain”, “Rockin’ All Over the World”, “Whatever You Want”. From 1977, the band’s sound became more polished as they began to employ outside producers including Pip Williams, Roger Glover, and John Eden. Glover was the first outside producer to work with Quo since Pye’s John Schroeder in the early 1970s, and produced “Wild Side of Life” and its B-side “All Through The Night” in 1976.1977’s Rockin’ All Over the World’s title track, a minor hit for its writer John Fogerty (formerly of Creedence Clearwater Revival) became one of Status Quo’s most enduring anthems. sadly tensions within the band saw founding member John Coghlan leaving the band late in 1981. His replacement was Pete Kircher from the 1960s pop band Honeybus.This line-up played its last full-length gig in 1984 at the Milton Keynes Bowl, and Status Quo’s final appearance with the Kircher line-up opened the Live Aid charity event at Wembley in July 1985. In 1985 Rossi recorded and released two solo singles with long-time writing partner Bernie Frost. Parfitt also recorded a solo album, Recorded Delivery, with bass player John “Rhino” Edwards and drummer Jeff Rich. The album remains unreleased, In 1985, Rossi, Parfitt and Bown, along with Edwards and Rich, started work on a new Status Quo album. However Lancaster. took out a legal injunction to stop the band from using the Status Quo name on any records, including the 1983 album Back to Back citing increasing musical differences, specifically the songs “Ol’ Rag Blues”, and “Naughty Girl”. An out-of-court settlement was made in January 1986, enabling the new Status Quo to continue recording the In The Army Now album, and “Naughty Girl” was reworked as “Dreamin’”.
Lancaster remained in Australia, and in 1986 joined an Australian super group, The Party Boys, which featured Angry Anderson of Rose Tattoo, John Brewster of The Angels and Kevin Borich, but achieved little success outside Australia. Lancaster left Status Quo formally in 1987. His final performance as a full-time member of Status Quo was at Wembley Stadium on 13 July 1985 for the opening of Live Aid. In March 2013 he collaborated with his old bandmates for a series of “Frantic Four” concerts in the UK. They all sold out except for the last date at Wembley Arena. Following “Live Aid”, Lancaster’s relationship with Francis Rossi became increasingly strained, when Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt covertly began recording a new album under the name of “Status Quo”. Lancaster was then substituted with session musician John ‘Rhino’ Edwards, who remains Quo’s bassist to this day. Prompting both Lancaster and Phonogram Records Limited to apply for an injunction to protect their interests in the Status Quo name.
STATUS QUO -LIVE AID http://youtu.be/6Q8bMVz4ZVU
Lancaster continues to live in Sydney, Australia. He joined a new line up of Australian band The Party Boys in 1987 and then co produced a hit album, achieving platinum sales. Also achieving ‘gold’ and reaching the number one spot with hit single “He’s Gonna Step On You Again”. In 1988, he formed the Bombers, which signed to A & M Records in the USA. It was paid the largest advance ever paid to an Australian based band, but unfortunately after the band had completed a five-star reviewed album, A & M was sold to Phonogram; leaving the band high and dry. The Bombers’ original drummer was Lancaster’s ex-Status Quo band mate John Coghlan. Ironically, Lancaster had been complicit in Coghlan’s departure from Status Quo in 1981. The Bombers supported Cheap Trick (1988),Alice Cooper (1990) and Skid Row (1990) on their tours of Australia. When the Bombers disbanded, Lancaster continued with his then partner John Brewster (“The Angels”) with “The Lancaster Brewster Band”, in which Angry Anderson performed as a guest artist for some time. Lancaster then formed his own band: Alan Lancaster’s Bombers which released an E.P. and toured Scandinavia before disbanding in 1995. As well as writing the theme song for the film “Indecent Obsession”, he also produced an album for classical pianist Roger Woodward, which achieved platinum sales in Australia.
In March 2010 Lancaster and Rossi met in Sydney leading to speculation of the original line-up reuniting.This was later denied by current bassist, Rhino, who, speaking of him with the greatest respect, explained in an interview that Lancaster was in poor health and unable to participate in any such reunion.However his health improved and it was announced that the classic “Frantic Four” line-up of Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan would perform a series of concerts together in March 2013. The concerts sold out instantly, and it is rumoured that there will be a new album from this line-up in the coming months. He is also included in a brief cameo role as a ‘Hotel Porter’ in the Quo’s comedy caper ‘Bula Quo!’. as well as appearing in the documentary on Status Quo, titled Hello Quo.