Wednesday, October 27

Alan Lancaster’s Obituary | Status quo

Alan Lancaster, who died at 72 years of age from complications of multiple sclerosis, was the bassist for the rock band Status Quo from the formation of the quartet in 1967 to 1985, and again in 2013-14 for a short-lived reunion. but popular.

A member of the band’s most successful line-up, along with guitarists Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt and drummer John Coghlan, he was the first bassist to take the stage at Live Aid in July 1985, as opened the show at Wembley Stadium featuring Rockin ‘All Over the World in front of a global television audience of over a billion.

Although Status Quo enjoyed some degree of success after Lancaster left later in 1985, it was in the pivotal early years during its membership that the group established its reputation.

Each of the 11 albums released between 1972 and 1983 made the top five, with their best-known songs of the time, such as Paper Plane, Caroline, Down Down, Whatever You Want, Dear John, as well as their cover of Rockin ‘. All Over by John Fogerty. the world. Catchy, simple in structure, and phenomenally popular, these singles – they released over 100 in all, more than any other British rock band – have become an essential part of the canon.

Lancaster was regarded by fans as the “quiet” of the band, partly because he referred to the outgoing personalities of Rossi and Parfitt, but also because their bass parts were supportive rather than flashy. Still, he had a more fiery character than his reputation suggests. “Alan was tough, very tough,” Parfitt said in 2014.

“You wouldn’t want to fight him, he could really handle himself. I once saw him confront two leather-clad rockers with bicycle chains; he just walked in and beat them up. “

Alan Lancaster playing for Newcastle in 1976.
Alan Lancaster playing for Newcastle in 1976. Photograph: Ian Dickson / Rex / Shutterstock

Lancaster bass could be crafted when needed,

as seen in the live versions of Forty five hundred times, initially released on Quo’s 1973 album Hello !, and his singing and songwriting skills were also helpful. He took the lead voice in his version of Roadhouse blues by the Doors in 1972, and wrote Don’t Think It Matters and Lonely Man two years later.

As he explained: “My game is to play hard rock, but I listen to and enjoy a wide range of genres, with various rhythms and bass styles. Playing the bass that I especially admire is often more creative than smart. A creative bass line frames the song and shapes it. “

Born in Peckham, south London, Lancaster met Rossi at Sedgehill School in Catford in 1962, where they both played in the school’s orchestra, and he honed his skills as a bass player on the Scorpions, Wraiths and Traffic Jam, the first incarnations of the Status quo. Although the group’s early years were difficult, with little public interest in their first two psychedelic-filled albums, a style shift to hard blues-rock with the 1972 LP Piledriver paid off.

Lancaster soon became known for the consistency of his performance. As his later replacement John “Rhino” Edwards put it: “I saw Status Quo in 1971 at my local club. I thought, ‘It’s pretty cool, but it doesn’t seem very difficult. I could do that! ‘Of course, when you actually do it, it’s a completely different animal. You have to really act with Status Quo. You have to stack it or it won’t work. “

The group enjoyed a successful decade in the 1970s, but in 1980 internal tensions and fallout from rock’n’roll debauchery caused the group to disband, and Coghlan left that year. Lancaster, who had moved to Sydney, Australia, with his parents and siblings in 1983, prompting Status Quo, in his absence, to use a cardboard cutout of him for televised performances on Top of the Pops, left the band afterward. of Live Aid. As a co-founder of the group, he issued an injunction against Rossi and Parfitt to prevent them from using the band’s name – it was settled out of court the following year.

In Australia, Lancaster joined the Party Boys, who achieved success with a self-titled album in 1987. He also formed the Bombers, initially joined by Coghlan. However, it was a case of diminishing returns for the bass player, and two more groups, the Lancaster Brewster Band and Alan Lancaster’s Bombers, made little headway.

Although Lancaster later did some work as a composer and score producer, it was only in 2010 that his name came up in connection with the idea that the original Status Quo lineup could be reformed. He and Rossi met in Sydney, although the group’s then bassist Edwards explained that his predecessor’s health was poor. He added that there was no bad blood between the two sides and said: “It was great, it is a legend. You know, I’ll always be Alan Lancaster’s replacement … I’m trying to keep his legacy in a safe pair of hands. “

When it was announced in 2013 that the “Frantic Four” were reuniting for dates in the UK, fans were eager to see Lancaster back on stage. Although she had gray hair and was fragile, she did her job efficiently. One Guardian reviewer wrote: “Quo is at its most exciting, and exciting is the right word, when they bring the boogie … No wonder the Hammersmith Apollo was as crowded as I have ever seen it.”

After the reunion ended in 2014, Lancaster revealed some remaining bitterness about the original split, by then more than three decades in the past. Interviewed by the television channel Studio 10 in 2016, he said: “The status quo ended up costing me more money than I had made with it, because I was trying to protect it. I am not a large corporation, I am alone. In the end you have to give up … None of us in the band have received a royalty statement, ever. There are many millionaires around the world who have made money off the Status Quo, but the gang struggles to get there. “

Lancaster is survived by his wife, Dayle (née Thurbon), whom he married in 1978, their three children, Alan Jr, Toni and David, and five grandchildren.

Alan Lancaster, bassist, born February 7, 1949; died on September 26, 2021

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