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Interview: Suzi Quatro

50 years doing anything is quite a feat, 50 years doing what you love, well not many can boast that. Unless you are Suzi Quatro. 15 albums, appearances on vinyl, TV and the theatre stage, coupled with writing not just her biography, but poetry and novels, makes Suzi the woman who wears many hats. Her new album “No Control” will hit shelves on March 29th, and she is currently out in what some might class as adopted home of Australia, for the Red Hot Summer Tour, and Suzi graciously gave us some time for a chat.

H2Z: The new album No Control is a very well-rounded album that touches on many different styles. Was that something you had in mind when you went into writing the album?

SQ: No, I have to be very honest about it. It just happened, and all the best things happen this way. It wasn’t planned, my son just said he wanted to try writing some songs with me, and we went in and made a few demos, then all of a sudden it got serious, and I realised we were making an album, and I said “Right, everything we have done so far has been very natural, I don’t wanna push any song in any kind of direction. I don’t want to try to write any kind of song. I want everything to be organic and natural, so every song has its own voice”. I’m glad we did that as that is what every reviewer is picking up on. You kind of have me around the block and now I have unpacked my bags, so you have got everything I have seen and heard during my life. It’s very Suzi, and It is very diverse.

H2Z: There is some super funky stuff on this album, and your bass playing especially stands out, where in some ways the bass lines are like their own songs within the song, which is rare to have that is music today would you agree?

SQ: I must say, and Ill pat myself on the back, I. have done some really great lyrics on this album and some fine bass work, I would agree with you. Maybe because I produced the album myself, so it was freeing, hence the title “No Control”. I was creatively free. Just like on the song “Bass Line”, I play a bass solo rather than a guitar solo being there (laughs). That’s me standing up for bass players around the world and saying, “Do That Solo” (laughs)

H2Z: I would like to ask about you starting out in Detroit. There was Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper and MC5 all around, did you cross paths with those guys back then?

SQ: Constantly, and they were great support. When you are from Detroit, you grow up with all those acts. We did the gigs together, I count them all as friends. When I was starting off, I was weaned on the MC5 and Ted Nugent, they were already making their name. We did all the gigs together. Alice has been a great friend forever, we actually used to rehearse in his garage back in Detroit. We are all connected, Detroiters are all very connected.

H2Z: Many artists are now doing shows where they pair with orchestras. Could we see some “Symphony of Suzi” shows in the future?

SQ: I have done it a few times, I think both times it was in Germany. I know that a lot of acts are doing it now, it seems to be a growing market. I don’t know. I enjoyed it the two times I did it, I don’t know if I would like to do a whole tour like that I just don’t know. It’s been offered to me before, so we will see. The Angels are doing it and they are a heavy as can be, but they are melodic heavy which is great.

H2Z: We touched on your bass playing before, I have to ask, was there ever a bass you parted with that you wish you hadn’t?

SQ: Yes, I had one made for me in Japan. It was the Suzi Quatro model by Yamaha. It had some great pearl inlays up the neck. One of my family members were looking at getting into music and my dad convinced me to give him the bass, and I wish I had never done it. But I still have my original first bass my father gave me, that hangs on my wall at home and I will never take that out with me anymore because it’s too valuable.

H2Z: Along with Kiss, you were one of my first musical memories, and you grew up in a very musical house, so I must ask, what was one of your first musical memories?

SQ: The first Rock N Roll memory for sure was seeing Elvis on TV. He was on the Ed Sullivan Show, and I was 6 years old. My sister that was 15 was screaming and I couldn’t work out why she was screaming. But I looked into the TV and was so drawn into it that I had the epiphany that I was going to do that for the rest of my life, and it never even occurred to me that I was a girl and he was a guy. It was the craziest thing to have happen, but it happened just like that. All of a sudden, I was what I was going to do, isn’t that nutty? Of course, my dad played a huge part. While I was growing up, he would take me to loads of gigs, and I played bongoes with him at the age of 7 in front of this little trio, things like that. I grew up in a very musical environment.

H2Z: You are now out in Australia as part of the Red Hot Summer Tour, being a festival set, does it make it difficult to choose what goes into the set?

SQ: I’m only playing the single from the new album as that’s what’s out. It would be crazy to play anything else when people haven’t heard it, and they can’t buy it. As we go along once the album is out ill add new songs that I feel are right for that show. I am always very mindful of giving the audience what they want, so of course I try to cram all the hits in, along with favourite album tracks, like I have done the whole way through my career. I do prefer my two hour shows though I have to say.

H2Z: Speaking of your live show, do you have any pre and post show rituals?

SQ: Yes, I do. There is preparation obviously. I’m very strict about my gig days. I don’t go out, I don’t run around. I don’t like to do anything. I never drink before a show, I never drink on stage. I’ll have a glass of something when I come off. I do my vocal warm up, I sort of go into that character. I need to be at the show at least 90 minutes before I go on stage. I like to get everything ready. I go out and look at the stage, I go feel the audience. I have my dressing room set out a certain way, I certainly have my little routine.

H2Z: You also have a documentary coming out later in the year I believe?

SQ: Yes, it’s going to be called “Suzi Q” and it’s going to be coming out, I believe it premiers in Melbourne, in September, if I am correct.

H2Z: So, thinking about the fact you have that coming out, you have done 15 albums, books, poetry, TV and more, what is their still left that you want to achieve?

SQ: I would like to act in a movie, which I haven’t done. I have done a lot of acting, just never in a movie. I would like to see a movie made of my life.

H2Z: The final question, I read that your biggest fear is leaving the earth without completing your bucket list, what is left on Suzi Quatro’s bucket list?

SQ: Oh my gosh, what is left on the bucket list? I don’t know what’s left, I just want to keep going. What I will do is quote a sign I saw once, in a garage, when we stopped for gas. It was behind the guy at the counter as he took my money. It said, “Don’t let me get to the end of my life and find out I haven’t lived”, that is my bucket list.

H2Z: With that Suzi, I would like to thank to for your time, and we look forward to seeing you at one of your shows.

SQ: Thank you and see you then.

Red Hot Summer Tour

Feb 16th Barossa Valley – Seppeltsfield Wines (sold out)
Feb 17th Hobart – Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
Feb 23rd Bendigo – Bendigo Racecourse (sold out)
Feb 24th Canberra – Stage 88 Commonwealth Park
March 2nd Wodonga – Gateway Lakes
March 3rd Kiama – Kiama Showground
March 9th Kariong – Mount Penang Parklands
March 10th Jacobs Well – Harrigans Drift Inn (sold out)
March 16th Port Macquarie – Westport Park
March 17th Bribie Island – Sandstone Point Hotel

Headline Tour Dates

October 19th-26th “Rock The Boat ”
October 27th Perth – Regal Theatre
October 30th Rockhampton – West End Hotel Arena
November 1st Gold Coast – The Star Theatre
November 4th Melbourne – Palais Theatre
November 6th – Entertainment Centre
November 8th Sydney – Enmore Theatre

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