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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Suzi Quatro - A True Legend

Suzi Quatro was born with music in her genes. At the tender age of eight, she played in her fathers band, the Art Quatro Trio, and started her first own group six years later, touring America and Canada. Today, Suzi Quatro is one of the most successful female musicians in rock history. Can The Can marked her international breakthrough in 1973 the beginning of a career during she has sold over 50 million records to date. For over thirty years, she has performed shows all over the world, celebrating her 50th birthday on June 3, 2000, in Germany with 25,000 euphoric guests and performing in front of over 500,000 fans in the Soviet Union alone in 1989.

Suzi Quatro has earned the respect of her colleagues, and over the years her confident style has encouraged countless women to pick up an instrument (or microphone) and found their own group. Deservedly, she has been labelled the Queen Of Rock by media and fans alike, and she lives up to this accolade on her brand-new album, Back To The Drive, her first studio production in fifteen years, complete with new, original material. In line with her zodiac sign, Gemini, Back To The Drive is heavy and soft, masculine and feminine, leather and blue jeans, timeless and innovative, in other words: typically Suzi! As she says herself: This album is like a dinner to which Ive invited all my friends. The first course is familiar, the rest is one big surprise.

Back To The Drive turns out to be a raw and at the same time very emotional album, reflecting many aspects of her private world, opening a very special chapter of her fascinating life with every single song. RocknRoll thats me, she declares, adding: This time I went even deeper, singing about love, about people that Ive met, and my exciting experiences as a mother. Song titles such as Born To Make Noise, I Dont Do Gentle or Dancing In The Wind stand for the wild, irrepressible aspects in Suzi Quatro, whose energy sources never seem to run dry.

Representative of her emotional side are sensitive numbers, such as Sometimes Love Is Letting Go or Free The Butterfly, which deals with her separation from her longstanding partner Len Tuckey. The driving Ill Walk Through The Fire With You was written for her daughter Laura (Tuckey), who recorded the song as a duet with her mother. And the title track is by Mike Chapman, one of the best and most successful composers worldwide. Mike and I have been in contact for years. Thats why I asked him to write a typical Chapman/Quatro number for me. The result is simply wonderful.

Mike Chapman was something of a moving spirit for the creative production team consisting of Suzi Quatro, Steve Grant and Andy Scott (both The Sweet), who wrote the overwhelming majority of songs, ensuring their contemporary translation at the studio. She remembers: When I met Andy and Steve for the first time, all my plans for this album suddenly fell into place. They complement my ideas perfectly.

Not forgetting her renewed collaboration with ex-husband Len Tuckey, the original guitarist from the Suzi Quatro Band. We used to be a married couple, now were good friends, she explains. Len Tuckey contributed some powerful rhythm guitar parts and suggested that she round off her new album with an amazing cover version of Neil Youngs Rockin In The Free World. The motto of that track stands for my own artistic career, she says. The best thing in my life has been entertaining people in the free world with my music. Thats one of the reasons why Back To The Drive sounds so fresh, extremely lively, connecting dynamism and emotiveness.

The stylistic mix on Back To The Drive is as colourful and diverse as Suzi Quatros own career. As a singer/bassist with her band Cradle practically the sequel to The Pleasure Seekers, which she had founded together with her sisters in the Mid-Sixties , she was discovered by Jeff Beck and Mickie Most (Animals, Smokie, The Sweet) in 1971. Not only her early classics, Can The Can, 48 Crash, Devil Gate Drive or Daytona Demon are fresh in her fans memories Stumblin In, her duet with Smokie frontman Chris Norman, also remains unforgotten, and Elvis Presley invited her to Graceland to express his delight at her version of his classic, All Shook Up.
The vocalist has also established herself as an actress, playing a major part in 16 episodes of the No. 1 TV show Happy Days in 1978. In 1986, none less than Andrew Lloyd Webber, the godfather of musicals, hired her for the part of Annie Oakley in the classic Annie Get Your Gun. Two years later, a childhood dream came true when she wrote her own musical, Tallulah Who?, together with Willie Rushton. The show enjoyed a successful run of many weeks and garnered tons of critical acclaim. She comments: Im lucky or unlucky, depending on your point of view to have many artistic talents. Sometimes, that makes it difficult for me to fit everything in. But at the end of the day, its all entertainment, and I have a lot of fun.
The Nineties repeatedly saw her in front of the camera, realising a joint venture together with pop music legends The Bolland Brothers in Oh Suzi Q. and receiving another gold award for her Best-Of-album, What Goes Around The Latest And Greatest. In 1998, she began her cooperation with British music therapist, Shirlie Roden, organising self-help workshops in Great Britain and Australia. She wanted to give back some of her energy to the audience, who had been faithful to her since the early Seventies, encouraging people in those workshops to pay more attention to their own feelings.
One year later she started her own radio show, Rockin With Suzi Q on BBC 2, and performed together with Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders) and glam rockers such as Noddy Holder (Slade) or Mick Tucker and Andy Scott (The Sweet). The past five years have seen Suzi Quatro as a diverse and creative artist. She released her live DVD Leather Forever, produced & directed by Victory Tischler-Blue (Sacred Dogs Entertainment), for which she was practically knighted by Paul McCartney: Years ago, before I became a vegetarian and anti-leather man (unfortunate DVD title for a fellow veggie, Suze!), there werent too many girl rocknroll bass players, but Suzi was one of the first and one of the best. The former Beatle called her a true rock classic, anticipating the conclusion that fans and critics are bound to arrive at, listening to her new album Back To The Drive: Suzi Quatro is back, back to the drive!


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