A fusion of different styles

THERE are just over two weeks to go before Status Quo and 10cc perform at the Pastures concert in Alnwick. Gazette reporter JAMES WILLOUGHBY spoke to long-time member of 10cc, Graham Gouldman, in the build-up to the gig.

WITH their distinctively different sounds, you could be forgiven for thinking that Status Quo and 10cc aren’t a match made in musical heaven.

In fact, if you are thinking this, then you’re not alone.

Because Graham Gouldman is inclined to agree, admitting the two aren’t exactly ‘bedfellows’.

However, the 65-year-old is certain that the Pastures concert is going to be a hit when the two super-bands come rolling into town.

“We did a gig with the Quo in Shrewsbury in July and it was absolutely terrific,” he says.

“You might think we are unlikely bedfellows but everybody said we were a good combination and everybody had a good time.”

And with the success of Shrewsbury behind them, Gouldman is relishing the prospect of Rockin’ All Over Alnwick with the Quo – a group which he has much respect for.

“It will be nice to meet up with Status Quo again. I really like them a lot, I always have done.

“You can’t not be a fan of the Quo in a way. They are an institution. Their records are defining and they are terrific.”

With the Quo performing as the concert’s headline act, lead singer, guitarist and co-founder Francis Rossi has already told the Gazette that gig-goers can look forward to a mixture of new songs, classics and more.

But what will 10cc serve up for the thousands of music lovers who are set to descend upon the Pastures on August 20?

“We do different sets for different environments,” he said. “If there is a party atmosphere you want to keep everything upbeat.

“It depends how long we have – we have various sets. If it is a shorter set, it is all the hits you would expect to hear but if it is a longer one we will play album tracks we like or ones that fans have requested.”

Whatever the set, the band is sure to give a 10 out of 10 performance, with the Seventies super-group having three number one hits to their name and known for songs like the 1972 UK Number 2 record Donna and the 1975 worldwide smash I’m Not In Love.

“I look forward to every gig, I really do,” Gouldman says.

“They are all different and I am really looking forward to the Alnwick gig. I hope everybody has a great time.”

He is 10cc’s only remaining, original member from the line-up, – Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Lol Creme and Kevin Godley.

But he describes the group’s current crop – which sees him joined by Rick Fenn, Paul Burgess, Mike Stevens and Mick Wilson – as the ‘definitive version’.

Having gone under the guise of 10cc Featuring Graham Gouldman and Friends for a number of years, the quintet is now known simply as 10cc.

“We scrapped that,” he says. “I think people now accept that this band going out now is THE version of 10cc – the definitive version.

“I am the only original member of the original four but two of the boys (Burgess and Fenn) have been with the band since the mid-70s, so although they weren’t the original members, they are definitely bona fide members.”

But he added: “We go out and play under the name of 10cc, which has worked really well, but we don’t record under the name of 10cc. For me, it doesn’t feel right.

“It is one thing to go out and play live but it is another thing to go out and record.

“But we are working on a DVD at the moment of the live shows.”

However, the Salford-born musician is currently crafting a solo album, which he hopes will be out next year.

“It is very eclectic,” he says. “I can’t really pigeonhole a sound.”

But as fans will know, a solo album from Gouldman is a rarity.

So what has prompted this latest work?

“There are always songs that you can’t find a home for and I wanted them to have a home,” he admits.

“Some of the songs are new, some I am in the middle of writing now. One I wrote two days ago, one is about two years old.

“The solo albums are a nice thing to have and it gives the fans something to try.

“I enjoy the writing, recording and producing process and if people buy the album, then it is a bonus.”

But whatever happens, no one can deny that Gouldman has had a fine musical career, spanning close to five decades.

“What are the highlights of my career. Three spring to mind,” he reflects.

“The first is the song For Your Love (the 1965 single written by Gouldman for The Yardbirds which peaked at number three in the UK Singles Chart), which was the first song that I wrote that was a hit.

“The second was the first 10cc hit (Donna) and the third was working with the late Andrew Gold.”

A self-confessed Manchester United fan, Gouldman is a Red Devil when it comes to the beautiful game.

But when it comes to the sweet sound of music, it was lads from rival city Liverpool who captured his imagination.

“I was lucky,” says Gouldman, who now lives in North London. “I was a pre-teen when rock ‘n’ roll started. I liked Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers and Chuck Berry.

“But it was The Beatles who were my greatest influence.

“It was everything about them –their songs, their sounds, the way they looked.”

l TICKETS are selling well for the August 20 concert, with more than 6,000 snapped up already.

Gates open at 5pm and 10cc are set to perform at around 7.30pm. The Quo are scheduled for a 9pm slot before the evening is rounded off with a firework display at around 10.30pm.

Tickets cost £35 for adults, rising to £40 on the day, and children (5-15) are £15, rising to £20 on the day. U5s are admitted free and no ticket is required.

There are also discounts for group bookings of 10 or more adults.

More information, visit www.iml concerts.co.uk or call 01603 660444.