Gig Stories

Status Quo Gigs 1969-72

Remarks Steve Young

 

1969/December

11. The Band arrived in Bielefeld and met at the home of family Mielnik

before continuing to the Zentralhotel Bielefeld.

That evening, in the Kutscherstube Gaststaette, before the band started performing, I made sure that they had the financial ability to settle their expenses by advancing them DM 700 to pay their hotel bill because they were absolutely penniless. At that point we became really good friends and it was decided that I could plan and arrange a tour in Germany that would be managed by me. I was very excited.

 

12. Bielefeld, Youth-Centre Niedermuehlenkamp

The performance was fantastic and a huge success. I was already a great fan of the Status Quo, but now I was smitten by their talent and style. At the sound-check I was given the chance to play two songs on the legendary ‘Green Fender Telecast’ belonging to Francis Rossi.

 

13. Emsdetten- Kolpinghaus

Francis caught a massive flu and struggled with a high temperature. The backstage was an area in a bowling alley and there were no facilities to comfort him. I had to be inventive and created a bed gathered from any materials we could put our hands on. I nursed him with medication bought at the chemist (Apotheke) and worked with cold compresses to get him fit for the performance. We were not sure if the concert had to be cancelled due Francis’s condition, but he forced himself up and bravely performed as he was determined not to let the band down. Me, I was doing all introductions and the announcements for the band.

Ironically, I was born in the British Military Hospital EMSDETTEN, where my Father was serving with the British Army, a fact which I used to draw the crowd in, raise the excitement level and produce a roaring atmosphere. It was exhilarating, enormous fun.

 

14. Venlo/Netherland-Holland-Disco Kinosaal

Francis is still very poorly and hasn’t shaken of his fever. The audience were extremely high spirits. It was at that time I formed the expression ‘Boogie_Rock’, and I suggested to the Band that they should change their sound and type of songs. The idea stemmed from my experience as a successful, professional DJ where I had developed a strong sense of the sound that our generation wanted to hear. I could see the Quo had the potential to increase their popularity by changing their sound to a more guitar heavy style. I personally did not like the idea of keyboards and when organs and pianos were mentioned during discussions with the band I did my best to steer them away from the idea.

A tour was planned for September 1970. Roy Lynes, the keyboard player decided to leave the band and was not on the line up for the tour. This left the Band worried about how they would cope. I encouraged the band to continue the tour without keyboard and change the line-up to 4 guitars up front. This would save space on stage and give Francis the opportunity shine.

In retrospect I wish that I had been able to patent the term Boogie Rock, as it was my original idea! At his stage I saw our relationship as friends and was not business minded. I also advised them to use Junior’s Wailing from Steamhammer, a band I personally got to know as openers. At the time Alan was a lead singer and his live vocals were successful but it did not work out for him in the studio.

In the 70’s John was staying in my family home in Bielefeld whenever the band were touring in the area. I had a Teak 4 track recorder where I recorded my own songs I introduced these to John and explained that the sound I liked was rolling pounding rhythm developed from boogie woogie shuffle from the jazz scene that I simply edged into rock music. I told him that the rhythm has to pound into your brain and would give the band a unique identity. John loved the idea and passed it onto Francis and Rick and on the very same evening I played the sound on Francis’s legendary green Teller

 

1969-1970’s

The band was in Bielefeld again myself and Alan sat in a hotel whilst the others were in the Drive in Disco enjoying themselves. Both of us were working on my ideas, ‘Someone’s Learning’ and ‘Something’s Going on in my Head’. Alan took the tape away, which also contained many more of my original ideas and promised to listen to it again and work on it. Sadly, I never heard from him again. When I was given an advance copy of the album ‘A Dog With Two Heads’ I excitedly played it in the company of my wife and we immediately recognised the two songs I had been working on with Alan. I called Francis and Rick and we were going to rectify this issue, but nothing ever came of it and I never received any credit for the work, at a time in my life when I needed it the most.

 

1970- March

23 Sendenhorst – Burgerhaus

Packed out – fantastic atmosphere!

 

24 Melle Gasthaus Hohner

The performance was in the town centre and because of the noise pollution the local residents complained to the police who threatened to close down the concert. The audience reacted with aggression towards the Police and I calmed the crowd over the microphone. We agreed to play quieter, totally against our principles and shortened the performance.

 

25 Rheindahlen – British Army Base ( Support: Love Affair)

Rheindahlen is a massive British Army Base, almost a mini England in Germany and the band enjoyed the support of the British Soldiers and their families.

 

26 Erkelenz – Stadthalle (Support: Blitzkrieg)

On arrival to the venue we realised to our horror that the roadies and equipment had not arrived. Normally it would be in place and fully built but Malcolm had problems with the vehicle. Blitzkreig were determined to save the situation and offered the use of their equipment to Status Quo. This was not necessary as Malcolm turned at the last moment, having not only had problems with the vehicle, but also going to the next venue on the schedule by mistake! The performance was delayed by 2 hours but the event was saved. Sadly, Blitzkreig did not get the chance to perform.

 

1970 May – June

14. Studio X We were in a hotel having some down time but in my opinion it is better for bands to be playing rather than sitting around doing nothing, so I arranged a spontaneous performance in Studio X and were paid DM 900 without any pre-publicity and I played the harmonica

 

16. Dusseldorf Eisstadion ‘Joint Meeting’ (Rock Festival u.a Colliseum, Giger Bakers Air Force, Free)

I was very impressed with the support team who also provided back up support to other bands that needed a helping hand, especially if they came from England!

To witness international superstars on a personal level was a huge highlight for me. I befriended Paul Rogers and his band The Free and arranged a couple of gigs in the Bielefeld area and at some local open air festivals.

I remember very clearly an incident involving Ginger Baker (Cream) arrived with his band Air Force. It was early afternoon when he walked into our hotel with a pronounced limp, looking very much worse for wear and missing a heel of one of his boots. He was absolutely stoned, totally confused and had no idea where he was! I was shocked to see him in such a state and took him to his hotel room so he could sleep it off!

 

07. Marl – Disco Metropol

A combined cinema/disco, which was very unusual as they still ran full length films. It was very upper class, super spotless with candles and great lighting which gave an impressive ambient. We all thought we were in the wrong venue! It was here that a new song found inspiration. It had not yet been named, and we played it for a while without a title. We met Gerd and Ulla, a barkeeper and waitress who worked in our local disc, ‘The Drive’, in Bielefeld. We always hung out there with Status Quo before and after performances. Ulla was very attractive, blonde with long legs and slim all of which appealed to Rick Parfitt and they became close friends. When Ulla became pregnant and ended up in hospital, we dedicated the song to them and it was handwritten ‘Gerd und Ulla’, but for some reason it became ‘Gerdundulla’. The song was a great hit for Status Quo and the rest is history.

 

08. Minden, Disco Studio M.

Studio M was the same set up as Studio X in Bielefeld, small and cosy, but there was a problem – no stage! We had to improvise with the help of the owner, who I knew well, we cobbled together a stage with tables, chairs and anything else we could get our hands on. The evening was saved and once again the Status Quo delivered, so professional. It was a great evening and I still have an 8mm film of the event.

One evening I gave John Coghlan a lift to a gig from my home. On the motorway he asked if he could drive the VW Beetle. We swapped seats and a short time later near Bad Oeynhausen the car broke down and we ended up running across fields to a farm house so that we could inform the others of our dilemma, there were no mobile phones in those days! The farmer was very kind and we let the others know what had happened and we shared a drink with this kind man who had no idea of Status Quo! We returned to the car and much to my surprise the bloody thing started!

That evening I was proud to play the mouth organ during the encore, which was Bye, Bye John. The crowd loved it and called for more and more.

 

09 Neumunster – Holstenhalle (support Brian Orger and the Trinity)

Amazing performance that night. We were back stage when the news broke that ‘Down the Dustpipe’ had breached the top 20. We were celebrating with champagne dancing around like children and being complete menaces! Running around the hotel making huge amount of noise and peeping through keyholes seemed to be a great idea at the time! The hotel staff disagreed and we were nearly thrown out. Brian Oger and his guitarist escaped by the skin of their teeth as they had been extremely loud and were about to start streaking!

 

10. Lippstadt-Stadtfest

Typical town fate. The Market Place was packed and I took part in a few songs.

 

11. Giforn – Town Hall

After the performance there was a huge demand for autographs and we were all happy and excited to hear that the new single was in demand. If I am not mistaken I think it was ‘Tune to the Music’.

Francis made us all laugh when he asked the others if they had seen me ‘Jaggering’ on stage? He thought it was f###ing brilliant! That night during the Bye Bye Johnny encore I messed around and imitated Mick Jagger, and the phrase ‘Jaggering’ was firmly established.

 

13. Reinhausen – Rock on a Farm (support Livin Blues, Earth and Fire)

The morning after the Gig we all met at breakfast. It rained heavilyand the grey day emphasised the basic and tired looking hotel. I saw Bob pull a piece of paper from his tight jeans that had the partial lyrics for ‘Paper Plane’ on it. I felt that I was witnessing the creation of a great song. Absolutely marvellous!

On our return at about 4am, we suddenly heard loud banging noises, like a machine gun firing. The car was swinging wildly and pulling us across both lanes. Francis was driving and he calmly managed the situation and bought the car to a safe halt. Both tyres on the right side of the vehicle were totally shredded and we limped very slowly to the next garage where, to my amazement, they had two spare tyres, which they fitted for us on the spot. We were extremely lucky not to have been killed that morning.

 

15. Herford – Skale Jaguar Club. (Support DJ Steve Young)

This was a performance organised by myself. It had been a huge risk for me, but thanks to advertising on the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), the concert was filled by about 300 people. It was a great atmosphere.

 

1970 September.

10. Menden – Disco Tyffany

A spontaneous performance in a very small venue with only about 60 people present The owner had seen us in play in Dortmund and paid us well to perform – DM 900! It was a really fun gig and at the end we were presented with a tape of the whole performance, which was a great surprise as none of us were aware that we were being taped. This was the start of live recording and broadcasting, a great way to see the real depth of the band’s talent.

 

12. Luneburg Nordlandhalle

We ended up driving the red Bentley around and around in circles following Umleiting (Diversion) signs. It was really frustrating and we were all sick of that sign. Later that evening Francis announced that he had a new song but no title. I jumped in straight away and said “yes we have its UMLEITUNG “!

 

15. Hamburg Sasel – Cheyenne Club

It was my job to warm up the crowd – DJ Steve Young

 

16. Itzehoe – Cheyenne Club

This was a small club with a capacity of 120 – 150 people. I played again on encore with Bob. He was stage right and I was on the left side next to Alan.

 

17. Heide - Rote Grotte.

The band arrived but there was no equipment! The roadies had warned us that the 7.5 ton truck had problems and 2 hours later it was pulled in by a farmer and his tractor!

I stepped in and spontaneously and did my DJ warm up show which saved the day, by giving us the time needed to get the gear together so that the performance could go ahead.

The truck was totally dead and had to be left behind for good, much to the annoyance of the local police and council office, who hounded us for some time about it!

 

24. Bielefeld – 10 Regiment British Army Cookhouse.

The white Vauxhall truck had engine troubles but for once we were in the right place as, to our great relief, the British Military fixed it for us! Happy days and English food at last!

 

1970 – November

16. Kaldekirchen, Nettetal – Roxy

The audience were mostly Dutch people and there was a beaming atmosphere! Once again a tremendous performance. The next day we jumped into the car without a care in the world and set off to our next destination. Unfortunately, nobody had thought to settle the food bill – unbelievable!

 

 

17. Rheydt bei Monchen Gladbach – Flashlight (Support DJ Steve Young)

Backstage, just before the performance, my Mother and Step Father were my guests. They were based nearby with the British Army where he was a Chef. I was very proud to have them there and made sure that they had VIP seats.

Much to my embarrassment, it was at this moment that the landlord and his wife escorted by the Police turned up demanding full settlement of the bill! We explained that it was not deliberate; I assumed that Bob had paid and he assumed that I had settled the bill. We paid up and all was well.

 

18. Edemissen by Peine – La Salle, converted cinema

That evening the concert began with me simply playing the Harmonica, a few songs and then back to the DJ work. I had the chance to use my imagination and improvise, I was really enjoying myself until I received a call from Malcolm the roadie. Someone had stolen an amplifier as the van was being unloaded and we needed it back. We quickly developed a plan, managed to catch the thieves and after a brief punch up order was restored.

 

26. Hannover – Pop Centre Mulltonne

We had tea and biscuits, very civilised apart from the fact that the biscuits were laced with cannabis that made us all feel dizzy and sick! It was at this venue that we met The Scorpions at the very beginning of their career.

 

1971 – June

03. Hameln – Take Five

The main support band failed to show up so I stepped in with my singing, harmonica and DJ show.

 

08. Kaunitz/Verl – Ostwestfalenhalle (support Golden Earing)

There was a huge debate on which bad would run first. In the end Francis agreed to go on first, as it was his logic that the audience would be less drunk and would remember Status Quo better. It also meant that we would have an early night and a few beers!

 

1972 – January

29. Menden – Gausthaus Rodenburger Hof

Back at the hotel after the performance I noticed Bob washing his hair with a jet black substance. He thought it was normal shampoo but it was in fact hair dye! We spent a long time trying to wash it out, in between fits of laughter! Later we noticed that Rick was missing. Once again he was striking on the street and once again we got into trouble with the hotelier! I had to plead with Rick not to do this again. Oh Boy!

 

31 Hamburg – Musikhalle (TRex)

Very strange, Marc Bolan was booed off the stage while playing a solo piece on his guitar

 

1972 February

Munster – Musikhalle (TRex)

Marc got the same reaction from the audience, which was a complete mystery to me. We did have great fun together back stage; he was a really nice guy.

 

Accounting records

 

Steve Mielnik 5/2007