ROCK legends Status Quo finish their UK tour at Plymouth Pavilions on Tuesday, December 10 – and What's On has a pair of tickets for the gig to give away.
I caught up with the band's irrepressible frontman Francis Rossi while on tour in Europe. Rossi revealed a darker side among his usual good-natured banter – he has been suicidal several times in his life.
He started off by saying: "It's the first date of our tour. We're in East Germany, well you shouldn't call it that anymore, but it still looks like it in parts.
"There's a woman in a uniform in the venue here who keeps mopping the stage. What's the ****ing point! You could eat off it, it's so clean."
The band are touring to promote an unexpected first – a comedy film, Bula Quo!
Francis admitted: "We thought it would go straight to DVD but it's done surprisingly well in the cinemas it was shown in. Somebody offered to make the film, it wasn't our idea."
He adopts a lovey-darling voice: "I know, boys, let's make a movie."
Resorting back to his down to earth London tones, Francis exclaimed: "As if! I had no ****ing interest in acting, but, like everyone else, my pension has taken a beating and I'm heading towards death. I could die on stage tonight, in fact ....
"I discovered making films is like rock'n'roll – I was naive when I was young, but nothing happens by chance. You have to work at success, play the game.
"We got a good record out of it though – when they said make a soundtrack I expected some bloke to come in and put strings all over it, but they wanted us to come up with new songs and we ended up with a nice eclectic mix."
The 64-year-old, who had his first hit with Status Quo in 1968, added: "People expect us to be like AC/DC but I can't scream like that – it's not all rock, all our best albums have a good mix of styles."
So what would he say to Quo's detractors who say it's just a load of 12-bar boogie?
"Well, there is a modicum of truth in that. Certain bands have that instantly recognisable sound. I've been quite harsh about the Pet Shop Boys' songs sounding the same over the years, but they released a single recently I loved and I thought it was only fair to tell them. They sent back a message suggesting we cover it!
"It's why the X Factor is so ridiculous – you start off with an act that's fresh and then they mould it into the same old thing. Imagine telling me or Bono or Jagger to sing disco one week and then country the next. I'd tell them to ****off.
"It's all a sign of the capitalist world in which we live, but if you had a TV company you'd do the same.
"Since 18 we've gone straight on to the next project even if the last one failed. But these kids win X Factor and have a No 1 record and then where do they go? They go from the TV show to playing arenas, how is that realistic?"
Those schooled in Quo folklore will know that our county played an important role in the band's early years.
"Cornwall, like the whole of England, was good to us in the early days. We started writing Caroline in Perranporth and finished the lyrics on the drive home. I said to Bob (Young, co-writer), you can't ****ing say 'together we can rock'n'roll'. How hackneyed and clichéd is that? But it worked."
But surely Quo were the epitome of rock'n'roll back then?
"So many bands think they have to live that rock'n'roll lifestyle, but if you do, you're a d***head."
But you famously did it Francis.
"Yes, and I was a d***head."
He added: "I shouldn't ruin the facade of showbusiness, but as soon as we're off stage we either go and have something to eat or go to bed.
"If you're going to do all that, do it between 18 and 25, actually 30, because people are growing up slower now. You've got to behave yourself after 40."
A more melancholic Rossi unexpectedly surfaced.
"Most mornings I don't know what the **** I'm doing this for, but then I have a moment like rehearsals last week – it was good, the vibe was there. It's like any job – there are ups and downs.
"People think I'm stinking rich, which isn't the case. I'm well off and I have eight great kids, a great wife and a lovely house but there have been times in my life when I've been sad if not suicidal. Sometimes you think, I just want it to stop. When you feel like that, money doesn't help."
It wasn't long before the familiar Francis was back.
"If I've had eight kids and you've had three that means I've had ten more minutes of sex than you."
I'm glad he went out with a bang.
Status Quo, with 10cc in support, play Plymouth Pavilions on Tuesday, December 10. Tickets cost £38.50 plus a £2.50 booking fee. Contact the box office on 0845 1461460.