Coghlan and Quo
Aureus Publishing, 2004
The rock group Status Quo played for 40 years but had a few casualties along the way. One of them was their former drummer John Coghlan, who was 16 years old when he joined them during their early days in 1962 as The Sceptres. In 1967, after two more changes of name, they called themselves The Status Quo and had the first of many hits with ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men', an intriguing piece of psychedelic pop which was a Top 10 hit in Britain and to this day their only American Top 20 success.
After two years of making records, they discarded the fancy clothes and lightweight style in favour of the more earthy denim look and went to playing harder, more blues-based music. Throughout the 1970s they enjoyed massive success.
Coghlan was the only group member who regarded their dabbling in drugs as destructive. His relationships with the rest of the group disintegrated during the years of highs and lows, notably the infamous ‘Vienna incident' in 1976 when they were arrested and charged with assault; he had the good sense to be somewhere else at the time. By 1981 he had had more than enough, and during a recording session in Montreux he told them, not for the first time, that he was leaving. This time he meant it.
Without the songwriting royalties which helped to support the others, the money soon ran out. His next group Partners In Crime failed to make the big time, and soon he was reduced to selling his house and vintage car collection. Nevertheless he continued to pursue a low-key career in the music business, without having to live up to the reputation which he and ‘the Quo' had to live with for so many years.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste