Lately I’ve been pretty obsessed with Status Quo. “Pictures of Matchsick Men” was probably the closest thing they ever had to a hit in the States and represents their early mastery of the psychedelic pop sounds in vogue at that time, however, the Quo’s best stuff came after a conscious decision to jump on board the boogie train. In the early 70’s Quo embarked on a relentless campaign of non-stop hard rock boogie blues.
Status Quo used simple blues progressions complemented with soaring vocals and intermittent forays into delicate melody, but bashed out the boogie in much the same way as the Ramones did three-chord pop. They come off as pretty much the opposite of Eric Clapton and therefore are most likely off the radar of your typical tone seeker blues lawyer types. As legend has it, many credit Quo as pioneers in headbanging, often cited as the first band to head bang… images abound of the band grouped together banging heads and throwing hair around as a sign of comraderie with their enthusiastic and hazed out fans.
I once met an old timer in England that was proud to share with me his tales from his days as a sound and lighting guy for Britain’s biggest bands. The list of artists he’d worked with was very impressive: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, the Who and Motorhead among others. Anyway… this old timer swore to me that Quo was hands down the loudest of ’em all. I’ve never had the pleasure to see the Quo play, but judging by the mountains of Sound City amps in the video I posted above, I believe this legend may well be true.