As printed in the Scarborough Evening News on 8 December

STATUS QUO, still fronted - after all these years - by Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, return to the Futurist next Wednesday for a gig which has nearly sold out. Rossi spoke to reporter Dave Barry.

EVER the joker, Francis Rossi answers the phone with the confusing words: Freddie's Sandwich Bar.

He is in a Berlin hotel room two days after starting Quo's greatest-hits tour, traversing western Europe by bus, as he doesn't like flying.

He says he has his feet in a detox bowl, which involves an electric current, and is about to step outside for a walk around the German capital in "very pleasant" weather.

Now 55, he has been on the road for a huge part of his life, but insists he still enjoys playing - "immensely".

He adds: "That's why people get so upset when things don't go right. The night before last (on the first show of the tour] the sound was really bad but you can't just stop and say "Sorry everybody".

"But when you get a smaller place you can get fantastic sound, and it's like sex, you just want to do it again and again. We live in realms of relativity. When I was doing lots of coke, everything just gets the same," Rossi recalls.

Having weathered the rigours of a rock-and-roll lifestyle reasonably well, Rossi seems to have emerged unscathed and comes across as a surprisingly well balanced and distinctly unshowbiz kind of guy.

"We're all insecure little showoffs, and we're all very shy but somehow we all get on stage," he says.

He has no plans to call it a day.

"I might slow down the year after next, do a solo album, take a breather," he says. "The main thing in this business is that you never know what's round the corner."

In the immediate future, however, Rossi can expect a big improvement in the Futurist's backstage facilities, which he denegrated on Quo's last visit to the venue.

Asked if he has fond memories of the town, he says: "I used to go out with a wonderful girl in Scarborough. She was (expletive deleted) gorgeous."

Rossi's cheerful chat is littered with swearwords. "When I was young we practised swearing to get it really intimdating. That's how I came to be Jack the Lad."

Born in Forest Hill, London, the father-of-eight lives in Purley and occasionally accompanies third son Nicholas to the games of his local team, Crystal Palace.

He says the first records he bought were: "Walk Don't Run by the Ventures or John Barry Seven and Cathy's Clown by the Everlys."

The last ones he bought were Visitors, Anastacia, Keane, Maroon 5 and country albums.

TICKETS are selling well for a couple of shows at Vivaz.

The first is by Bad Manners singer Buster Bloodvessel, who will play the band's old punk, reggae and ska hits at Vivaz on December 17.

Buster used to weigh 28 stones but is now down to about 15, under doctor's orders, says promoter Paul Murray.

The eighth Penthouse reunion, on December 29, will feature cover bands Heart of Glass and Kings of Queen.

Previous reunions were at the Talbot (one), Quid's Inn (four) and Murray's (two).

THE Staxton Singers are anticipating a typically busy Christmas, with three public performances.

The choir, who now wear green, after 19 years in black and white, will kick off with an outdoor singsong in Huntriss Row at 11am Saturday.

This will be followed by two concerts next week, at St Peter's Church in Willerby on Tuesday and at St Mary's Church in Scarborough on Friday, both at 7.30pm.

They will be the last concerts under the choir's musical director Chris Wright, who is leaving the choir due to pressure of work.

His place on the podium will be taken in January by James Davies, the head of music at Scarborough College.

Rehearsals will begin on January 10 for the choir's traditional Good Friday concert at St Mark's Church in Newby.

New members are always welcome, says press officer Jacquie Stephenson.

A NEW band makes its Scarborough debut at the New Tavern on Saturday.

Free Spirits will be joined by Beverley singer Mike Jackson, whose band Nashville Teens had a couple of top-10 singles in 1964.

The fivepiece, who play 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s covers, are an "experienced, enthusiastic, good-time" band with "a wealth of experience", according to singer/guitarist John Lessentin.

John says "a high level of energy flows through this band in each song they play."

The other members are Ben Welburn on drums, Laura Welburn on vocals and percussion, Steve Draper on guitar and vocals, and Rod Cartledge on bass.

John and Rod have been playing together in bands since the Sixties, most recently in Three Plus One Again and Flashback. Steve was previously with One Night Stand.

John says: "Laura is a very bubbly, powerful vocalist who enjoys doing 50s and 60s material."

The band's other bookings are at the Red Lion in Cloughton (Jan 29) and the Commercial (Feb 5, Apr 23, Jul 23 and Oct 29).

To get in touch, ring John on (01723) 374595 or 07932 737063.

AN ITALIAN saxophonist will be Scarborough Jazz's guest at Scholars next Tuesday.

Renato d'Aiello, who lives in Britain, plays tenor and soprano saxes.

Promoter Mike Gordon said: "His sound is big and warm, his delivery excellent, whether on ballads or uptempo material, and his taste and sense of structure are unerring."

His accessible, mainstream style draws on the playing of Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley and Johnny Griffin.

He will be backed by Phil Lee on guitar, Dylan Howe (who played at the jazz festival at the Spa in September) on drums and Nicola Muresu, who Renato likens to Paul Chambers and Ray Brown, on bass.

Mike says Renato has played with world-class musicians including Keith Copeland, Gene Calderazzo, Sax Appeal, Clark Tracey, Dave Green, Gary Husband, Gilad Atzmon, Spike Robinson, Jim Mullen and Alec Dankworth.

Critics have raved about Renato's playing.

Guardian reviewer John Fordham said: "D'Aiello couples a domineering, get-out-of-my-way sound with bounce and spontanteity, but he is also capable of considerable tenderness."

Tickets cost 5 or 4 in advance from the venue and Record Revivals.

SHOWBIZ memories will take centre stage at tomorrow's lunchtime concert at the library.

The guest, Rod Taylor, produced and directed light-entertainment programmes for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 during a 35-year TV career.

He has worked with Mike Yarwood, Ken Dodd, Roy Hudd, David Essex, Denis Norden, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Rod is the author of the Guinness Book of Sitcoms and, along with Paul Gambaccini, co-author of Television's Greatest Hits.

Memories of entertainers including Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and Al Read will broken up by musical interludes from pianist Vincent Billington.

REMFS, a local fivepiece, will play rock covers and three original songs at the New George on Sunday, at 4pm.

The name is an acronym for a disparaging term for army officers, says landlord Rocky Rowe, whose son Ben plays lead guitar.

FORMER staff and students at the Sixth Form College are being invited to its 10th annual carol service, at Emmanuel St John Church in Falsgrave next Tuesday, at 6.30pm.

With a Prince of Peace theme, it will feature sketches, prayers and readings by staff and students.

PROMOTER Patrick Argent has arranged for some of his favourite live performers to play in Scarborough.

New York blues-rock guitarist Chaz Depaolo and the Groundhogs' rhythm section (drummer Ken Pustelnik and bassist Pete Cruickshank) return to Murray's on Thursday January 20.

The Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent Band will play at Westwood Theatre on Wednesday February 9.

LOCAL trio johnny-jump-up are about to venture into Ryedale.

They will play at a beer festival at Suddaby's Crown Hotel in Malton tomorrow and at the Royal Oak in Pickering on Saturday evening.

On Saturday afternoon they will be back at the Merchant.

THE Westover Rock & Roll Club has hired the Cricket Club for its Christmas dance on Saturday, from 8pm until midnight, when Twister top the bill.

THE SHED's last three shows have followed in the footsteps of the previous ones by selling out in advance.

There are no tickets left for shows at Hovingham village hall by Hank Wangford and the Lost Cowboys, on Saturday and Sunday, and a live broadcast of Radio 4's With Great Pleasure on Monday.

Website: www.theshed.co.uk.

A FORMER BBC young musician of the year will be Scarborough Orchestra's guest at its next concert.

Cellist Guy Johnston won the accolade in 2000 and capitalised on it when he played Elgar's cello concerto at the Proms in 2002.

He will take centre stage when the ensemble plays at Scarborough College on Saturday, at 7.30pm.

The programme will include Beethoven's rarely played King Stephen overture, Tchaikovsky's Rococo variations and Mahler's fourth symphony.

Conductor Geoffrey Emerson said: "Mahler wrote nine or 10 symphonies, but this is the only one which doesn't leave the listeners' withers seriously overwrung. It has plenty of drama, but many passages of peace and beauty, too.

"Our favourite soprano, Wendy Goodson, will join us in the last movement, bringing the evening, unsually, to a peaceful conclusion."

Tickets cost 5.50 for pensioners and 6.50 for everyone else except students, who get in free.

They can be bought at Bernard Dean's and the main tourist information centre.

Website: www.scarborough-orchestra.co.uk.

SINGER, songwriter and guitarist Boo Hewerdine returns to Scholars tonight.

Promoter Mark Gordon called him "one of the finest songwriters of his generation, and a spine-tingling performer to boot."

Boo will play tracks from his long-awaited new album, A Live One, and his previous album Thanksgiving, which received four-star reviews in Q and Mojo.

He spent the summer writing and producing with Alex Parks and Natalie Imbruglia.

As well as making his own records Boo has, for the last eight years, worked with his partner, former Fairground Attraction singer Eddi Reader.

The couple spent most of September on the road with Reader's Highlands & Islands tour.

He wrote her Brit award winning hit Patience of Angels, for which he was nominated for an Ivor Novello award.

The support act will be Alex Kirkby.

Tickets can be bought at the venue, Record Revivals, the Tap and Spile, Vault 39 and online.

Websites: www.boohewerdine.net, www.scholarsnotes.co.uk.

DICK Gaughan, who returns to Scholars next Wednesday, has acquired a big new feather in his cap.

The guitarist, singer, songwriter, composer and record producer was named Scots singer of the year at the Scots Trad Music awards on Saturday night.

He won the award at a high-profile ceremony in Edinburgh's Queen's Hall, which was packed to the rafters with music fans, artistes and people from the world of business and commerce.

Gaughan is also the only singer to be nominated two years in succession (2003-04 and 2004-05) for the best folk singer award in both the Scottish folk awards and the Radio 2 folk awards.

Born to a Gaelic singer and an Irish fiddler 55 years ago, he was brought up immersed in the musical traditions and culture of Scots and Irish Gaels.

He has been a professional musician and singer for 34 years and his influences include Karl and Groucho Marx, Lennon and Lenin, Flann O'Brien, Bert Jansch, Robert Burns "and everybody else I ever met, read, saw, heard or spoke with".

Reviewing an Edinburgh gig, the Guardian said: "Gaughan takes no prisoners, and his songs of the dispossessed were delivered with the electrifying passion of a zealot, cutting through any arran-sweatered Celtic twilight mist like a Stanley knife at a rave."

This will be a no-smoking show.

The support act will be Tom Davenport.

Tickets cost 8 on the door or 7 in advance from the venue, Record Revivals, the Tap and Spile and online.

Website: www.dickalba.demon.co.uk.

TOBY JEPSON will headline at two Music Caf nights at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on Friday and Saturday.

The ex-Little Angels front man will sing his old band's hits, songs from his solo career and new material.

Toby, whose last show was at the Beached festival in July, will be accompanied by a bassist and a pianist.

Originally, just one Music Caf night was planned for this month, on Saturday.

But it sold out so quickly that a second was added.

Sharing the bill are:

* Old Boy Network, a popular guitar duo playing for the fifth time;

* Rebecca Roberts, who recently competed in the X-Factor show on TV;

* Tom Townsend, who will be accompanied by a bassist, harmonica player and drummer.

Promoter Steve Dickinson of Mojo's said: "Tom has earned his slot by being a constant force on the Scarborough music scene over the last few years.

"Catch him maturing into an extremely accomplished and respected bluesman."

The gigs are staged in the SJT's restaurant and bar, and start at 8.30pm.

Tickets can be booked by ringing (01723) 370541.

IF THE organisers of a big carol concert at the Spa don't break their box-office record, they will come very close.

At the last count, 1,200 tickets had been sold for the seventh annual Festive Spectacular, at the Spa Grand Hall on Saturday, with about 250 remaining.

Promoter Nigel Wood says: "Last year's show beat the previous record by 200 and we are now on target to smash last year's record."

Look North presenter Harry Gration will be back to compere the event, which will feature singer Marjory Watson, the Fell clarinet quartet, the Citadel Band, the 98.6 cornet ensemble and the United Schools Choir.

This comprises children from nine schools in the Scarborough area: St Martin's, St Peter's, Friarage, Newby, Cayton, Wykeham, Snainton, Brompton and Sherburn.

The last six concerts raised 27,000 for various local charities.

This year's proceeds will go to Scarborough Sea Cadets, Dial A Ride and St Mary's Social Action Centre.

Tickets can be booked by ringing (01723) 376774 or 373333.

OVER 200 young local musicians promise a feast of seasonal music, at the Spa Grand Hall on Sunday.

The Easy bands, orchestras, choir and guitar groups at Scarborough Area Music Centre, based at the Sixth Form College, will present their Christmas gala concert.

Organiser Nigel Blenkiron, who founded both the centre and the Easy Jazz Orchestra, said: "Music of all styles and standards will be on offer from this talented group of musicians, aged from eight to 18.

"The concert will end with a singalong Christmas finale including Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody."

Nigel added: "This is a fantastic evening of jazz music featuring accomplished musicians young and old."

It starts at 7pm.

To book, ring (01723) 376774.

Tickets can be bought at the tourist information centre, Bernard Dean's and the venue.

FOUR acts which played at this year's Beached festival are on the bill of the Devil's Kitchen night at Vivaz on Friday.

They are:

Electro rock-poppers Fuzzgun Sniper, who supported Action Direct in Leeds last Friday, and have gigs coming up at Fibbers in York (Jan 11) and Vine in Leeds (Jan 27).

Guitarist Nick Emmerson said: "We are also scheduled to play a live radio session for the BBC on the Raw Talent show in April, and we will be releasing a new single early next year."

Well-travelled rock trio Puritan, who earlier this year played at a Sheffield festival attended by Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq.

Their fast-moving live shows, including amp and speaker jumping, are getting them noticed by northern record labels.

Acoustic bluesman Matt Harrop, who plays around town at the smaller venues.

I Like Trains, who are originally from Scarborough but are now in Leeds.

A fifth act has still to be confirmed.

The gig will be reviewed in the Hull edition of Sandman magazine, said promoter Matt Simpson.

"We have also been invited to chat on the BBC Raw Talent show on Thursday, at 8pm, to promote the night," said Matt.

"We want to have the show filmed for a video which Puritan are planning for Gods & Monsters, one of the tracks on their forthcoming second album."

The music is due to start at 9.45pm.

FLUX returns to Vivaz on Saturday, from 10pm-2am.

"This month our guest is Ben Woolard, who hosts the MAPT sessions internet radio show on Friday nights, care of www.freakin.org," says Dan Program.

Dan is one of two resident DJs who will be supporting Ben (the other is Rob Hanlon).

"The Special Circumstances group with which Ben is connected are the current driving force in techno in the north east," says Dan.

For those unsure of the venue's location, the event posters describe Vivaz as "totally opposite McDonalds".