Francis Rossi says his late STATUS QUO bandmate Rick Parfitt became “a caricature of himself” who was “always trying to be the rock star his fans thought he was.”

Rossi made the comments as part of The Big Issue ‘s “A Letter To My Younger Self” feature. The 69-year-old said he thought the moment he had success, everything would suddenly change.

“When I look back at how I behaved when we were first successful… oh dear,” Francis said. “I suppose it’s helped me become more regimented as I get older, trying hard to do the right thing. I watched Rick, somebody I loved dearly, who was such a great friend, become a caricature of himself. He had this archetypal hard-rock look that people loved. But he wasn’t that person inside.

“Poor Rick, always trying to be the rock star his fans thought he was,” he continued. “The poor shit was in such a mess. To me, he was soiling the very person I liked. I’d be thinking, ‘Don’t do that, Rick.’ That’s where the problems between us came from. And he said to me once, ‘I’m fed up being number two.’ Well, that was obviously going to put a wedge between us.”

Despite the tensions between the two musicians, Francis said that Parfitt was his “friend to the end… right up until he was dying. We’d been such great friends when we were young, we’d had such great times together,” he said. “It had been us and them, us against the rest of the world.”

Parfitt was 68 when he died in 2016 from a severe infection in a Spanish hospital on Christmas Eve.

In a 2017 interview with Sky News, Rossi admitted that he did not shed any tears when Parfitt passed away.

“People think I hated Rick,” Francis said. “We got fractious between us at times, and he could be a pest, but he was my best friend for a long, long time. There were times when we would still sit together and we’d laugh and we’d joke.”

But he said their friendship deteriorated, partly over arguments about Parfitt‘s drinking.

“He was desperate, trying to be this rock person, to live up to that image,” he said. “It wasn’t who Rick was at all.”

Rossi, who is promoting his memoir, “I Talk Too Much”, told The Herald: “[Rick] used to take various sleeping tablets. One was called Rohypnol, which they call the rape drug.” As a result, he said, Parfitt would often not know what he’d done the night before.

“He genuinely had no idea,” he explained. “I would still be getting over what he did or said the night before to whomever and he was oblivious. ‘What’s the matter with him? What’s wrong with you?'”