ROCK STAR: Suzi Quatro will be performing at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, November 2.
ROCK STAR: Suzi Quatro will be performing at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, November 2. Contributed

Absolutely no control

Growing up in Detroit, USA, Suzi Quatro could not help but be influenced by the musical magic of the place.

Not called 'Rock City' without reason, Detroit famously fathered Motown and played a huge part in the development of rock, jazz and punk music.

"Motown featured big in my life; I soaked up the dance steps, the backing vocals, and [James] Jamerson became my hero on bass guitar," Suzi said.

"Never has there been a union of bass and drums like the one Motown created," she added.

When Suzi works on her own compositions, she often finds herself subconsciously drawing inspiration from the old Motown songs.

"They are in my DNA."

She also listened to, and played alongside, bands and artists like Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, MC5, Ted Nugent and Mitch Ryder.

"Whenever we get together and talk about Detroit, we all agree there is something in the air that sticks.

"I will be a Detroit girl until the day I die."

ROCK STAR: Suzi Quatro will be performing at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, November 2.
ROCK STAR: Suzi Quatro will be performing at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, November 2. Lynda Buchanan

Now a multi-instrumentalist, Suzi first learned to play bongo drums.

"I begged my dad to get me a pair for my seventh birthday.

"I was a real beatnik; I'd go down to the basement and learn to play along with records.

"My dad eventually let me sit in front of his trio on a Sunday and play a few songs (for which I got 25 cents)," she remembered.

Piano came next for a couple of years - Suzi studied everything from classical to modern and still plays to this day.

She then joined her school's orchestra, playing first chair percussion.

"I beat all the boys when we were tested," she quipped.

At 14 years old, Suzi taught herself how to play bass guitar.

ROCK STAR: Suzi Quatro will be performing at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, November 2.
ROCK STAR: Suzi Quatro will be performing at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, November 2. Contributed

"It was love at first sight.

"I put on the Fender Precision my father had loaned me; it was a 'lightbulb' moment.

"I had no idea you could use a pick to play and I wouldn't have wanted one anyway, so I play with my fingers - I'm a 'real' bass player," she said.

Eventually, the bass became her favourite instrument.

"One of my musicians recently said it looks like I was born with a bass in my hands; it's very natural."

Suzi has enjoyed many highlights throughout her career, making it hard for her to choose just one, but being chosen by two record labels and being offered a solo contract stands out as a pivotal moment for her.

"Elektra (in the USA) thought I could be the next Janis Joplin - which I was not - and Mickie Most (in the UK) thought I would be the first Suzi Quatro - which I was."

Her first hit was Can the Can, selling two and a half million records world-wide.

ROCK STAR: Suzi Quatro will be performing at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, November 2.
ROCK STAR: Suzi Quatro will be performing at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, November 2. Contributed

Her success soon blossomed into sell-out crowds of thousands of fans, acting jobs, musicals (in both acting and writing roles), television talk shows, radio shows, and more.

She wrote and produced her new album, No Control, with her son, which she said was arguably the best of her career, and she is putting the final touches on a documentary about her life, called Suzi Q.

Suzi is currently touring Australia to promote No Control, and will be performing at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, November 2.

She wants her fans to enjoy the show and to take away the honesty in the music and lyrics.

"You'll get everything I have learned from being in the business for 55 years and being in this life for 69 years; it's my whole story," she said of the album.



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