Obituary – Alan Lancaster

Bass Guitar Review is sad to confirm the death of Alan Lancaster, original bassist with Status Quo.

Lancaster was a founder member of Status Quo; he formed the band with guitarist and vocalist Francis Rossi when the two met at school.

The embryonic Quo began life as the Spectres, including drummer John Coghlan, and the line-up was completed when the three met guitarist Rick Parfitt when The Spectres were playing a season at the Butlins Holiday Camp in Minehead. Parfitt was playing in a cabaret band, and the four agreed to stay in touch. They formed a quartet and changed the name of the band to Status Quo.

Quo’s early success was far removed for the twelve-bar boogie blues that cemented their reputation – in 1967 they released the psychedelic single Pictures Of Matchstick Men which was a hit, but by 1970, the band had embraced the basic rock and blues sound – with a change of image to include tee-shirts and denim jeans, that was to see them reach and maintain major success for the next forty years.

Alan Lancaster featured as a vocalist on a number of Quo songs, and his driving bass sound was acknowledged as the driving force of the band’s heavyweight recordings and rapturously received live shows.

By the mid-eighties, personal relationships within Status Quo had become strained beyond retrieval, and Alan Lancaster was now domiciled in Australia, where he found success with two other bands, The Bombers and The Party Boys.

In 1985, Status Quo began sessions for a new album, and Lancaster brought legal proceedings against the band to prevent them releasing the album under the Status Quo name. An out-of-court settlement was agreed, and Lancaster formerly severed ties with the band in 1987.

In March 2013, the classic Quo line-up of Rossie, Parfitt, Coghlan and Lancaster reunited for a series of shows, although any rumours of a permanent reunion were dismissed because of Lancaster’s increasing health issues after his diagnosis with multiple sclerosis.

Alan Lancaster will be remembered for his contributions to the heyday of Status Quo, contributing bass and vocals to sixteen of the band’s albums.

His bass playing was the heart of the band’s distinctive and renowned style – never over-complicated, but always rock solid, Lancaster’s bass guitar playing always epitomised the oft-quoted advice – play for the song.

Having moved to Australia after meeting his wife Dayle in 1973, Alan Lancaster’s family also moved out to enjoy life with him.

Alan Lancaster will be remembered for his part in creating one of the most successful and enduring British rock bands, and for his consistently solid bass playing across a large catalogue of hit singles, together with his influence on any number of young bass players who learned from him the fundamental art of being the engine room in the band.

He is survived by his wife Dayle, three sons, and five grandchildren.

Bass Guitar Review extends sympathies to Alan’s family and friends.

ANDY HUGHES.