Status Quo/ Party Boys’ Alan Lancaster dies in Sydney, aged 72
Alan Lancaster (left) with Status Quo in 2012
Bassist, songwriter and producer Alan Lancaster – best known for his work with Status Quo and Australian bands The Party Boys and The Bombers – passed away at his Sydney home over the weekend (Sunday, September 26).
He was 72 and had been battling multiple sclerosis.
The Party Boys’ leader Paul Christie told TMN that as a rock bassist who played with a plectrum, Lancaster was one of the true greats.
“He played a Kramer bass with an aluminium neck, not a wooden one. As a result he sounded like an industrial hammer bashing on steel.
“He was truly phenomenal. The Party Boys needed two drummers in the line-up, it was the only way to match him.”
UK-born Lancaster met Francis Rossi at a south London school. Both were in their early teens and played in the school orchestra.
After a series of bands, they formed Status Quo in 1967. Their first hit, the psychedelic ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Man’ went Top 10 in Britain, Australia and Canada, and #12 in the US.
By the ‘70s the band switched to a boogie sound which saw them have more Top 40 hits (60) by a group in England, and 25 UK Top 10 albums.
Among their 100 singles was ‘Down Down’ currently used on an Australian TVC by Coles, and ‘Roll Over Lay Down’ which Lancaster co-wrote.
Lancaster moved to Sydney after marrying Australian girl Dayle whom he met during a Quo tour.
In 1987 he joined The Party Boys. Their single ‘He’s Gonna Step On You Again’ reached #1, and an album he co-produced with best friend John Brewster of The Angels, went Platinum.
Lancaster and Brewster formed The Bombers, who signed to A&M in the US with the largest advance ever paid to an Australian-based band.
But their debut album slipped through the cracks after A&M was sold to Phonogram, and the band split not too long after.
Lancaster remained a member of Quo after his move to Australia.
But he became alienated from them due to drug issues within the band, a growing friction with Rossi, and a beef against Quo’s management.
He played his last show with them in 1985 at Live Aid.
But he rejoined them for tours in the UK and Europe in 2013 and 2014. His growing physical frailty and loss of movement was noticeable.
As well as writing the theme song for the 1985 film An Indecent Obsession, he also produced Music Of The Night (1990) for classical pianist Roger Woodward, which achieved Platinum.
His death was confirmed on social media by entertainment reporter Craig Bennett at the request of Lancaster’s family.
His wife Dayle said: ‘We are all heartbroken. Alan had a wonderful wit and a fabulously dry sense of humour.
“He was a devoted and adoring husband, father and grandfather. Family was always his focus.”
He was the second Quo member to die; guitarist Rick Parfitt passed away in December 2016.