Despite your longevity, nobody’s ever taken the Quo terribly seriously. Do you ever feel you’ve been overlooked as a musician?
Not really, no. I’m about as good now as I should’ve been when I was 25. That, to me, is pathetic. I was such a cocky little sod and we’d become successful so I decided, ‘I don’t really need to do that s**t.’ I wish I had done. I always practise for two hours every day. I always practise before we go on. Anything to get better. It’s a bit late in life, but I don’t care.
Can you remember when you first laid eyes on Rick Parfitt?
Yep. I thought he was a flash, blonde little git with a quiff. I was playing what we called a rock ’n’ roll ballroom in Butlins in Minehead [in the UK], and in came Rick. I thought, ‘Cocky little s**t. Who are you?’ But he said, and he said it to me again last night, ‘I saw that and I thought: That’s what I want to do.’ He’s said it many times. ‘That’ll do me.’
How do you cope with having to play ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’ every night of your life?
It only gets boring when you’re rehearsing. When you do it in front of people, it’s like showing someone Pamela Anderson’s [chestal frontage] when they’ve been mad for her for years, and suddenly they’re presented with them right in front of you. And that’s what it’s like when you play the songs that they all really love.
Is there any publicity you wouldn’t do for Status Quo?
Yeah, there are lots of things that come up that get turned down. But that’s what you do. Anything to keep that name and that band alive. It becomes its own entity. It’s got nothing to do with Francis Rossi or Rick Parfitt. We’ve got to protect the name. That’s all anyone else does. Why do you think Presley’s council is so careful? Why do you think McCartney is so protective of that Beatles catalogue? You protect it. It becomes something. You start out with this little band and you’re playing around in the front room, and you end up playing to massive venues and it’s a big business. So you protect it, and you’d be f*****g stupid not to.
And after all these years, is there anything left to aspire to?
Better. Always better. The last single we had out, I forget what number it got to, but we were like, ‘Yes!’ Doesn’t mean anything in sales and it doesn’t do anything for the band, and compared to what we used to sell it’s probably a quarter of a morning’s sales. But there’s that insecure little show-off in all of us that needs that affirmation of success.
What will finally bring the mighty Quo to its knees?
That’s a damn good question. Show business is a very, very strange thing.
Status Quo play on February 5. Tickets from Dhs130.
On your bike
So those are the bands, but they’re by no means the only attractions at the festival. For a start, each day will feature performances by six of Dubai’s best music acts, from the chilled acoustics of Jonas Desai to the charismatic hard rock of Nikotin and blues-rock from The Music Room’s house band, Flipside. The aptly named Stunt Arena, meanwhile, will present a series of shows by high-flying motocross bikers, while other venues will host skateboarding parks and quad bikes for the kids. And there’s always the exhibition hall, which will have the latest bikes and accessories.