# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Suzi Quatro - Raging Pages

  by Lisa Torem

published: 3 / 7 / 2023

Suzi Quatro - Raging Pages


In her 'Raging Pages' book column Lisa Torem leafs through a new and fascinating biography of rock pioneer Suzi Quatro

The preeminent female bass player to come out of the 1970s, Suzi Quatro is a standalone act. Not only is she an outstanding bassist, she also added singing and songwriting to her skill set at a time when women as rock musicians had to fight to be heard. On stage or on screen, the brassy Detroit-raised entertainer drew comparisons to male counterparts such as Elvis Presley, thanks in part to her attraction to black leather jumpsuits and her take-no-prisoners performances. In her memoir, Zipped, she talks about the first time she saw Elvis perform: “This moment was forever burned into my psyche.” “Decades: Suzi Quatro in the 1970s” is Darren Johnson’s second book for the publisher Sonicbond. The author combs through Quatro’s entire discography, making astute observations and culling comments from other music writers along the way. We experience the young singer’s business dealings with British manager Mickie Most, who came to fame as the manager of The Animals and Donovan, among others. Quatro was also drawing the attention of Elektra Records, but Most won the bidding war. The signing, however, turned out to be a double-edged sword. On the positive side, Most brought incredible success to his client, but that success came at a high emotional cost: “Most was, indeed, interested in signing Quatro, but Suzi Quatro as a solo performer, not Suzi Quatro as part of Cradle,” Johnson explains. That the other band members weren’t taken seriously, would have deep repercussions over the course of Quatro’s life. She would leave her home and family, move to the UK, and experience isolation at a crucial time in her development. Suzi Quatro was one of five siblings. Her father, who moonlighted as a gigging musician, purchased for her what would become her most prized possession, a 1957 Fender Precision bass. She would later say that the bass was a fun, percussive instrument, and more suitable to her creative spirit and body type than the guitar. With her sisters and a friend, Quatro formed The Pleasure Seekers, whose line-up would change periodically as parents put pressure on their daughters to seek out other avenues of expression or to concentrate more on school. An all-female band was unusual in showbusiness during those early years. The young women were encouraged to flaunt their sexuality, which left them feeling discouraged because they wanted to be taken seriously as musicians, or at least as seriously as their male peers were. Quatro was quite the outlier as a bassist at the time, and although she ended up playing the instrument through default - she’d simply been assigned by her older sister to be the bassist - she developed a quick love for it. In 2020, she told Tony Sokol: “Really, I play guitar enough to write, but I’m a crappy guitar player. It’s just too tiny for me. I like the big bass.” Johnson’s overall story suggests that Quatro has always gone for “big”, which can be applied to a number of variables: making a comeback, fashion, and projecting vocally in the studio and live. In 1969 The Pleasure Seekers, became the band Cradle, in which Suzi took a less prominent role than she had before. Her time in Cradle left Quatro feeling anxious: to her, the spirit of the music was waning, and yet this lineup was imperative for her career because it did attracted the attention of industry moguls. In due course the 21-year-old Quatro flew to the UK with a signed contract in her hand, accompanied by her sister Arlene who was there to help her settle in. It’s important to note that because Arlene hadn’t been in Cradle their relationship was still in decent shape, although the same couldn’t be said about the other siblings, who went on to pursue their own musical careers but did feel ousted. In any event, Quatro struggled financially in her adopted country, for a time, and often lacked professional direction. Most would struggle with how to market his new client, but in 1973 with producer Mike Chapman, Quatro courted the charts with ‘Can the Can’. Over the course of the rest of the Decades book, Johnson digs deeply into Quatro’s singles and albums, and comments along the way on Quatro’s co-writing partners, including her own son, and what each brought to the table creatively and financially. ‘Suzi Quatro in the 1970s’ is an essential contribution to the Decades series, and one in which Quatro freely contributes her own insights.

Also In Raging Pages

Band Links:-

Play in YouTube:-

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit


Interview (2012)
Suzi Quatro - Interview
Lisa Torem speaks to influential Detroit-born guitarist Suzi Quatro about her forty year musical career, autobiography 'Unzipped' and the glam rock years

most viewed articles

most viewed reviews

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors