Suzi Quatro 2019

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Apr 2019 Suzi Quatro 2019

By Jim Stewart

The Lady of rock is still in control

Back in 1971, record producer Mickie Most was in Detroit mak­ing an album with Jeff Beck at Motown’s Hitsville Studio. After the session had finished, he went to a local club where he saw an all-girl band, Cradle, and was immediately struck by the charisma of the bass guitarist.

After their set, he asked her to follow him back to the UK to record with him –just her, not the group, which left her in a predica­ment of not only upsetting the other band members but also her family, as her sisters were the core of the band.

Not wishing to cause problems, Most un­derstood and headed back across the Atlan­tic, leaving the message to call him if the situation changed. A few months lat­er, the group disbanded and Patti told her sister, SUZI QUATRO to call England and say she was ready.

She did, and true to his word, Most took Suzi to the top of the charts worldwide within a year: and the rest is history.

Since then, Suzi has had a string of hit sin­gles, starred in a West End musical, been both a comedy and dramatic actor, published her autobiography, a book of poetry, a novel, and been a successful BBC DJ with ‘Quatrophenia’, and this year’s schedule is a hec­tic as ever.

I caught up with Suzi late January as she had completed two weeks of back-to-back media interviews, a nine hour video shoot the day before, and was preparing to leave for a seven-week headlining tour of Austral­ian stadiums and arenas.

I said to Suzi: “It’s only just over a year since our last chat but, once again, you have so much happening it’s hard to know where to begin, but let’s start with the new album ‘No Control’. I’ve listened to the album a few times and I love the bluesy-rock feel of the whole album.

Suzi replied: “It’s really organic, isn’t it?”

It comes across as very personal and written from within.

“You’ve got that right; it’s very internal, absolutely correct.”

I see your son Richard is heavily involved with the album: did you write all of the songs together?

“We wrote most of them together, but I did ‘Going Down Blues’, ‘Heart On The Line’ and ‘Love Isn’t Fair’ myself.”

I love ‘Love Isn’t Fair’.

“I know that’s what everyone is saying, it’s so happy, but it’s got such a serious mes­sage: you’re listening to it and then you go: ‘What did she just say?’ it’s tongue-in-cheek.”

I get that, and the whole sound also wouldn’t be out of place on a Jimmy Buffett album.

“I know, it’s so different, but it does re­mind you of Margarita time around the beach. I wrote the bass line riff, and it came out really quick and was finished in no time.”

I find ‘Strings’ so haunting, stayed in my head for hours.

“It’s like nothing I’ve ever written before, I know when I was writing it I just kept go­ing ‘strings’ and my son said ‘We’ve got it Mum, that’s it!’ it’s a song of the times.”

I’ve really been knocked out by the gui­tar work throughout the album.

“That’s Richard, my son from my first marriage to Len Tuckey, who was my origi­nal lead guitarist. He was coming up with riffs and throwing me in different directions, I think because when he was a little boy, he was always around my music. I think he fell in love with the vibe and energy of the origi­nal Suzi Quatro, and when he said he want­ed to write with me, I found he was pushing the buttons, and bringing out things in me that I’d forgotten I had.”

To have that sound present throughout the album there had to be a personal connection. “It is a personal album, you’ve got that right, as every single song means something to me, and ‘No Control’ means, not that I didn’t have control before, but on this album I had complete control, I didn’t have any borders or limits, I said to the guy recording it: ‘Mike. If this album is going to work, it has to be organic, I don’t want pushing in any way, if that’s the song, that’s the song, and each one has its own personality and that’s what I really like.”

Will Richard be joining your band now? “No, but should I decide to tour the al­bum, I’ll bring him on-board then.”

I think it’s a really good album; I particu­larly love the attitude shown on the cover. I hope you get to have the decent media re­sponse it deserves.

“Everybody is pulling all of the plugs for me, I’m finally getting good plays on Radio 2. I walked away from the station because I found out it was working against me. There was

almost a jealousy thing, and we can’t promote our own artists, so I’m a musician and artist first, that’s what I am, so I walked away from the DJ thing, as much as I loved it and I was very popular. It was fun but it’s not my main job.”

That sounds very hypercritical when you look at how much airplay some other DJs receive for their albums, and I also couldn’t believe it when ‘QSP’ had so much Radio 2- friendly stuff on it never got any airplay! “Tell me about it, that’s actually what made me leave. They said it was suitable for their station, and that’s the third album they’re done that to me with, and I told them I’m not having it and walked away.”

You’ve got quite a bit of touring ahead of you.

“I’m off to Australia now, then I’m back to headline another ‘LEGENDS LIVE’ are­na tour over here between April 4 and 14, followed by a sit-down tour of Germany, then I’m back to Australia in the autumn for a cruise, followed by more sit-down shows. It’s crazy, I know, but it’s what I do, it’s who I am.”

You obviously enjoyed the last ‘Legends’ tour.

“I did, and this time I’m back with David Essex, Smokie and the Bay City Rollers. We’re all friends, known each other for years and love standing backstage and watching each other onstage.”

Final question: I loved the ‘QSP’ album any chance of another one?

“Nothing planned: we enjoyed making it, we’ve all been friends since back in the day, and will remain friends, but at the moment I’m concentrating on ‘No Control’ and see­ing where that takes me.’

‘No Control’ is out now on CD and vinyl, and ‘Legends Live 2019’ opens in Manchester on April 4 continuing until Bournemouth on the 14.

Please note article about Suzi in February edition of The Beat was incorrectly credited to me; I believe it should have been Olly Hahn.