Status Quo frontman Francis Rossi is heading to Aberystwyth next week for an evening of acoustic music and more.

Francis will perform at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Wednesday, 11 October as part of a 101 date tour, and has recorded a special video for fans there (see above).

He is responsible for some of the greatest rock songs of all time. Francis Rossi, founding member and leader of Status Quo, has literally been rockin’ all over the world since the 1960s.

The hits are the stuff of legend. From Down Down and Rockin’ All Over The World, to Whatever You Want and In The Army Now, from What’s You’re Proposing and Caroline to Again and Again and Marguerita Time, his band has sold a reported 100 million records since their debut in 1968, as well as opening Live Aid at Wembley Stadium, and winning a BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, and being awarded an OBE in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to music and charity.

Francis Rossi
Status Quo's Francis Rossi will perform on the Aberystwyth stage next week (James Eckersley)

The tour will give fans the chance to enjoy an evening of music, along with his trademark chat, as he explores the high points of an incredible career.

Francis said: “This is a very different show and I’ll be playing many of the hits that people have always loved to hear live, and some songs that have had much less of the limelight over the years. And of course, I do love to talk, so I’ll be telling some stories along the way”.

The man who met Rick Parfitt at Butlins and began his musical career by embracing psychedelia has never been out of the spotlight. To this day, there are headline shows in arenas, at festivals, and in theatres across Europe.

 “I’m calling it [this tour] Tunes and Chat,” said Francis. “I’ll have another acoustic guitarist with me and we’ll be playing songs that people love, explaining how they came about. What? You want me to tell you how many songs. Fine. We’ll be doing about twenty songs, so it’ll be a really good show with plenty of hits and some deeper cuts that don’t often get played.”

The tour promises to be a unique experience in which Francis will reprise fan favourites as the audience enjoys acoustic versions of Quo classics, alongside previously not-performed-live tunes.

He’s played in theatres in recent years, on a hugely successful spoken word tour called I Talk Too Much.

That focused on his life and times, from watching his ice-cream-selling family as a kid to learning how to play music, from blowing a seven-figure sum on drink and drugs to the passing of his former bandmate, Rick Parfitt.

His new tour will focus on the music, as fans get to hear the songs they love – as well as the stories behind them.

Rockin’ All Over The World, for instance, came about when Rick was going down the A3 one night, drunk. Francis says: “Rick used to pick people up on the A3, people thumbing a lift, there was a lot of that then.

“The radio came on and Rockin’ All Over The World was playing. At the time, none of us were that keen about it, you know. We thought the song was alright, but we didn’t know what it would become.

“We got more slagged off for that record than anything we’d done in our lives, until In The Army and Marguerita Time. I still find it weird today that people go ‘And I like it, and I like it…’ And they think it’s rock. No it’s not. It’s a pop song. We do these big festivals, like Wacken, in Europe, which is like 2 million bikers – it’s not two million, it’s probably 100,000 – but it feels B.I.G. They’re the most delightful people. There’s something similar in Sweden, too. Everyone’s got black everything: black hair, black tattoos, black clothes, black leather. All these people come down the front to the pit when we do Rockin’. I don’t know what to make of it: it sounds like Singing In The Rain and all these rockers think it’s a rock anthem. I don’t understand. I’m delighted it was such a big hit for us but I think we’ve done far better songs.”

As well as touring Songbook, Rossi has also recorded a CD EP, featuring acoustic versions of classic tracks: Jack To A King – Spinning Wheel Blues – April, Spring, Summer And Wednesdays – & And It’s Better Now.

“You know what,” he says, leaning forward. “I really love this. I’m finally getting to do what I’ve always wanted to do, which is just play, simply, without the volume turned up to number 11. It’s taken me all of my career to strip it back and get really simple. I’m letting the songs do the talking.” Or, rather, he’s letting the Songbook do just that. Songbook, the book and CD, is available now, from Full tour dates are also available from that website.