1.: Talking about the recording sessions for the QUO albums in the past. Obviously there were more songs recorded than were finally issued on the albums would you agree and will they ever be released? And can you tell us more about the song "Didn't have to lie" from the Whatever You Want-sessions? (Dave Oxley mentioned in his book "Rockers Rollin")
Bob Young: Generally speaking there were not too many additional songs recorded when making the albums. Of course there were different takes of each song which will have never been heard before. I'm sure that any 'extra' songs recorded will eventually be released in some form or another but more so as a general interest in unheard Quo material (if they can be found...) I have no recollection of the song 'Didn't Have To Lie'. I'll have to ask Francis to remind me about that one...
4.: Are you in contact with Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan? And how about a release of all the stuff done together John Coghlanss Diesel?
Bob Young: I haven't spoken to Alan for over a year. In fact the last time was a brief phone conversation we had Christmas 2003 when my wife and I were in Australia and New Zealand on holiday. John usually keeps in touch and has called a few times this year as he's been working on his biography. He rang initially to ask me if I could remember some of the things he did in the 70's.....The book came out in November and is called 'Coghlan and Quo' and is written by Steve Myatt who also talked to myself and Andy Bown amongst others. I've read it and its very good with no negative bad feelings from John and very different to Francis and Rick's new autobiography 'XS All Areas' which is doing incredibly well. ' XS..' is a really good book not only for Quo fans but for anyone interested in things that can happen when a band has been together for 40 years. The Diesel Band album which was recorded in Sweden a few years ago I listened to again the other day and is actually very good so maybe its time it was released. I'm surpised it hasn't been bootlegged yet....
6.: On the new re-released album "Ma Kellyss Greasy Spoon" track 19 "Need your love" (BBC session) there is a strange voice singing? Is it you who is singing and is this version which appeared on a mexican E.P. credited to you?
Bob Young: Yes I'm sorry to have to admit it is me singing on this track. I seem to remember doing it as a guide vocal while the band recorded the backing track and Francis (I think it was) then recorded the 'real' vocal afterwards although somehow or other this version managed to escape. I guess I hoped nobody would ever find it. It's pretty crap isn't it. Oh well.... I'm not aware of the Mexican version.
7.: In various reports and books it is told that in the late 60ss the band had to play those poppy songs that the record company wanted, but the band itself wanted to do a different kind of music. A music which the band did on rehearsing etc. Obviously there were songs written or played live much earlier than they were issued on an album. For example "Caroline" or on one bootleg of 1970 there is a 32 minutes version of "Gotta go home" showing sequences of "4500 Times". In Dave Oxleys book we learned that "Bye bye Johnny" was played live from the beginning of the 70's but its album entry was much later in 1975.Tell us more about how the musical direction came to surface and how it changed.
Bob Young: When 'Matchstick Men' became a hit in 1968 the clothes and image was all part of the package. They were a part of the fickle Pop era and many artists had no-where else to go particularly once the hits started to dry up. Quo began to write and play the music which they felt most natural with and to wear their every day clothes instead of dressing up and pretending to be something which they were not. It got very tough to make a living but it seemed nothing was going to stop them becoming successful with credibility. Changing Record Labels from Pye to Vertigo was an important piece of the jigsaw as was the change of management at the time. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time when I first met the band in 68' and happy to have made a contribution to their progress and development.
8.: There is the song "Gerdundula" credited to Manston/James which we know was no other than Francis and you. This song was written in Bielefeld/Germany and is out of the names Gerd and Ula who were 2 german fans and they say the song is dedicated to them. Can you tell us more about these two fans who must have been very devoted and how it came to this song?
Bob Young: We got to know Gerd and his lovely girlfriend Ula around 1969/70 when we used to tour Germany for many weeks at a time. It seemed like we were always over there playing in very small clubs and bars. In England it was difficult to get much work as the old pop image was difficult to shake off and the German audiences didn't really know to so much about the band's musical history and seemed to accept the very rough and raw music which had evolved. It was these seemingly endless trips over to Germany which really helped the band to improve their earlier music and live performances..
11.: Tell us something about the songwriting process between you and Francis. Who comes up with what and in which order? What instruments are involved? Basically, how the hell do you guys write such good stuff.
Bob Young: The process is very simple and has never really changed too much. We just sit together in his music room. He plays guitar while we both try out new ideas or work on old ones which we've had lying around for some time. We always record them on to a very basic, old cassette recorder and certain things will quite naturally begin to work and others we just keep for a later date.We might have a few lyric ideas which we both write down in our own lyric books. When we think we have enough good things started we then go into the recording studio in the house with Francis' son Nicholas who acts as both engineer and bass player while we record the new demos. We usually finish off the lyrics together when the backing track is recorded and we have definitive formats to the songs. Some songs feel like they could be right for Quo and others will be kept for Francis solo album or for covers with other artists.
13.: What do you think is the best song you ever (co)wrote for Quo? (and do you think Bernie Frost did as good a job as yourself?)
Bob Young: Best song is difficult as many of them have special memories. For instance 'Down Down' being the first number one. 'Caroline' when we wrote it on holiday in 1970 I think it was. 'NaNaNa' so simple and basic. 'Never Say Never' very Quo and one of the new batch of songs Francis and I wrote after we got together again 4 years ago. From the songs I wrote with Rick my favourites are 'Mystery Song' and 'Living On An Island'. It's impossible for me to pick a best ever co-written Quo song. Bernie and I have very different writing styles. He and Francis wrote some excellent songs.