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Tuesday, March 30, 1999 Published at 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK


Rockin' all over the bar

Getting their round in: Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt

Rock veterans Status Quo are toasting the release of their new album Under The Influence - by starting a tour of UK pubs.

BBC Newsroom South East's Heather Lima meets some Quo fans
The group kicked off 10 dates at the Ruskin Arms pub in Manor Park, east London, on Monday.

The 32-year-old group performed for 1.5 million fans in 12 countries last year - now they are playing to just a few hundred people in small venues across the UK.

For bandmate Francis Rossi, it makes a refreshing change from Status Quo's usual run of stadium shows.

"We do a stadium tour every year, so it makes a change for us to do this kind of thing.

"Last year we played Cambridge Corn Exchange as a favour to someone and it was quite good. The audience like to be in close confines with a band, so they can really taste and smell it. And they really will tonight."

[ image: Ruskin Arms: Playing host to Status Quo]
Ruskin Arms: Playing host to Status Quo
Parfitt added: "Anyway, the album's got a pub sign on the front of it. If it had a stadium on the cover then we might be doing a tour of stadiums."

The pub regularly plays host to local bands, and before the Ruskin Arms show, manager Teresa Marshall was looking forward to welcoming her biggest act yet.

"It's all very exciting. I'm just hoping it passes off alright. This was one of the places where Iron Maiden started out, but that was before my time," she said.

The band asked fans to write in to a national newspaper to nominate their local pub for a gig. More than 10,000 entries were received, which were whittled down to a final 10.

The Ruskin Arms was nominated by regular Sandra Punt, 45. "I've followed them all during their career. They used to play here years ago," she said. "I just love their music."

Her 25-year-old son Lee - himself a Quo fan - persuaded her to nominate the pub.

"I said I'd have no chance, but he said I should go for it, and here I am today.

"It's unbelieveable, I can't believe it. I'm stunned," she said.

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