John Coghlan (drummer)

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John Coghlan
John Coghlan 2013.png
Coghlan in 2013, performing with
Status Quo in Manchester
Background information
Birth name John Robert Coghlan
Born (1946-09-19) 19 September 1946 (age 70)
Dulwich, London, England
Origin London, England
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments drums
Years active 1962–present
Associated acts Status Quo, John Coghlan's Diesel, John Coghlan's Quo

John Robert Coghlan (19 September 1946)[1] is an English musician, best known as the original drummer of the rock band Status Quo.

Early life[edit]

The son of a Glasgow-born father and a London born half-French mother, Coghlan grew up in Dulwich and was educated at Kingsdale Comprehensive School.[2] He left school at 15 to begin an apprenticeship as a mechanic. He attended drumming tuition under Lloyd Ryan, who also taught Phil Collins the drum rudiments.[3]


Coghlan in the 1970s

John Coghlan joined Status Quo, then called The Spectres, in early 1962 after a meeting with bassist Alan Lancaster & guitarist Francis Rossi. Drumming for the first 14 of 30 albums Status Quo went on to record, including their first and most successful live album, called "Live!" in 1977, his drumming can be heard on Quo songs such as "Caroline", "Down Down", "Rockin' All Over the World" and "Whatever You Want".


While Status Quo were recording what went on to be their 1+9+8+2 album, Coghlan unexpectedly left the band after almost twenty years of being in the lineup. How this came about, as told by both Francis Rossi & Rick Parfitt in interviews when asked about the subject over the years, Coghlan reportedly went into the studio, sat behind his drum kit to do a take, "tapped around" on it, "then he got up, kicked the whole kit apart walked out and that was that".,[4] Coghlan was replaced by Pete Kircher, formerly of the 1960s band Honeybus, to finish the album. After his departure Coghlan played with Partners in Crime – the band failed to create major attention. He also played on a one-off single by The Rockers, a supergroup also comprising Roy Wood, Phil Lynott and Chas Hodges; "We Are The Boys (Who Make All The Noise)", a rock and roll medley, which was released in November 1983 and made No. 79 in the charts. His own band, 'John Coghlan's Diesel', was a loose ensemble which consisted of a number of musicians he'd known in his years with Status Quo, most notably Bob Young and Andy Bown. Diesel never signed a proper recording contract.

Recent Times[edit]

Coghlan still continues to play in his own solo bands mostly known as John Coghlan's Quo, and also with members from other bands, including members from well known Quo tribute acts, including Baz Barry, Mick Hughes and Peter Knight from Predatur.[5] He also plays in the John Coghlan Band, or JCB, which comprises the members of the 12 bar boogie rock band and the King Earl Boogie Band (with former members of Mungo Jerry).

Status Quo reunion[edit]

In 2012 John, along with band mates Rick Parfitt, Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster, reunited for a special one off jam session at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, for the band's first ever cinematic documentary "Hello Quo!", directed by Alan G. Parker. It was the first time the classic line-up had all been in the same room and played together since Coghlan's leaving in 1981.

In October 2012, the same month as Hello Quo! was released, it was announced that the classic line-up of Status Quo were having a one-off reunion tour across the UK planned for March 2013, noted for being their first and only tour together in 32 years. Tickets went on sale in November and sold out in under twenty minutes, consisting of a total of nine shows, the first being at Manchester Apollo, two back to back dates at Hammersmith Apollo, and the final gig of the tour at Wembley Arena, London, on 17 March 2013 – released as a Blu-ray / DVD / CD on 30 September 2013. With this – received as one of the must see tours of 2013 – there has since been another reunion tour in 2014, accompanied by further cd/DVD/Blu-ray releases.[6][7]

Personal life[edit]

John Coghlan has one daughter, Charlotte, from his marriage to first wife Carol. As a consequence of his life as a band member, Coghlan moved around for several years before making his home in Ballasalla, Isle of Man for ten years.[8] Coghlan now lives in Shilton, Oxfordshire with Gillie, his second wife of more than 30 years. Gillie worked in the music business, including for the agents at MAM, NEMS and Bron, who represented bands such as Hall and Oates, Black Sabbath, Nils Lofgren, Hot Chocolate, Barclay James Harvest and Ace. Gillie has competed in, and won, many TV quiz shows over the years, including The Weakest Link. John and Gillie featured in an episode of Cash in the Attic which looked at much of his music memorabilia.

John has a love for 4-wheel drives and military vehicles (especially vintage), and the band participated in an off-roading video whilst he was with them. He is also the patron of the 'Westie ReHoming' charity.[9]


Throughout his successful years with Status Quo Coghlan had used Premier drums, Avedis Zildjian and Remo drum heads. He also used Asba and Yamaha drums, Paiste cymbals, Premier, Vater Session drumsticks, Vic Firth drumsticks

Coghlan also has his original Ludwig Super Classic Oyster Pearl kit which he used from the moment he joined the band up until the mid 70s. Coghlan recently had this kit restored with 22" bass drum, 14" tom and 16" floor including cymbals such as a 21" rock ride cymbal, 18" crash medium, 16" crash medium, 14" new beat hi hats, 8" inch splash, 6" inch splash and a 1960s speed king bass drum pedal.


  1. ^ "John Coghlan". AllMusic. 19 September 1946. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Dillingham, Victoria (11 October 2010). "Status Quo John Coghlan". Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Collins' drum teacher wows the crowds". This is 23 October 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "John Coghlan's Quo". Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2016-05-28. 
  6. ^ "Classic Quo are back". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Hello Quo". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Quo star John Coghlan returns to the Isle of Man - Isle of Man Today". 2015-08-18. Retrieved 2016-05-28. 
  9. ^ "John and Gillie Coghlan, patrons". Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 

External links[edit]