Suzi Quatro, American rock singer and songwriter chats with Kevin Cooper about her first super group QSP, working with Mickie Most, her new album Legend: The Best Of Suzi Quatro and her forthcoming Legends Live Tour.

Suzi Quatro is an American-born rock singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actress. She was the first female bass player to become a major rock star, breaking down numerous barriers to women’s participation in rock music.

In the 1970s, she scored a string of hit singles that found greater success in Europe and Australia than in her homeland. Quatro released her eponymous debut album in 1973. Since then, she has released fifteen studio albums, ten compilation albums, and one live album. Her solo hits include Can The Can, 48 Crash, Daytona Demon, Devil Gate Drive and Your Mamma Won’t Like Me.

Between 1973 and 1980, she was awarded six Bravo Ottos. In 2010, she was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends online Hall of Fame. Quatro has sold over 50 million albums and continues to perform live, worldwide. Her most recent studio album was released in 2011 and she also continues to present new radio programmes.

Whilst busy promoting the Legends Live Tour, she took some tome out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what she had to say.

Hi Suzi how are you?

Well I have to say that I have been doing interviews constantly today, I’ve had one every twenty-five minutes but I’m pleased to say that I am still standing (laughter).

That’s good to hear and before we move on let me thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

You are welcome Kevin.

And just how is life treating you at this moment in time?

Life is great, I can’t complain.

You have recently released Legend: The Best Of Suzi Quatro, were you happy with how well the album was received?

Absolutely, although I have to admit that the album has some of the hits on there but not all of them. I have to be honest with you and tell you that the tracks that are on the album are in fact my personal favourites. I am really excited about the new album Legend; it not only features my hits which I love, but it also contains favourite and important tracks from my previous albums. I really do hope that there is something there for everyone.

Did you have a say into what actually made its way onto the album?

Yes I did, very much so. Although it was the record company Chrysalis Records idea to put the Legend album out, I worked hand in hand with them and let’s just say that I most definitely had my say on the matter (laughter).

Are you happy with the final product?

Very happy.

I have been listening to the album for a few days now and basically it is the soundtrack to my youth.

You would not believe just how many people have said that to me.

Did anything miss the cut that you now wish was on there?

Let’s just say that I have left out enough material to enable me to release a Legends Two album sometime in the future.  I have got such a large body of work that it is just so difficult to choose what goes on and what stays off the album.  For me to choose my favourite tracks that I have written is very hard for me.  So as I have said earlier there will be a Legend Volume Two.

Did you have fun going over your back catalogue in order to select the tracks that would finally make Legend?

It was hard work.  What the album looks like to me without me meaning it to do is that it seems to be most of my songs that have made it onto the stage.  I didn’t set out to do that but when I now look at the track listing that is what happened.

Did you enjoy the experience of working with PledgeMusic?

All that I knew was that the album was going to be released on CD and vinyl.  I left the record company to get on with their jobs and I just took care of the artistic part.  I never get involved in any of the red tape stuff.  As long as the job is done, then that is all I care about.

I have to ask you, back in the day, what was it like working with Mickie Most one of the UK’s most successful pop music producers?

Well now you are talking about someone who I was really very close with.  Mickie was very much a father figure to me; he was always giving me advice, we were very close, we were both Geminis so we both understood one another, and I just loved him.  I am in constant contact with his widow and we speak all of the time.  The hits are the hits on Legend, everyone knows that, but Mickie once said to me “your self-penned songs are the meat of what you do Suzi” so I really do hope that the fans will sit back and enjoy some of my personal favourites.

What do you think to the current state of the music industry here in the UK?

I personally think that it is currently in a great place.  As we all know, the music industry has had its highs together with its lows but I think now that it is finally getting back on track.  Too many people ignored the warning signs of streaming and illegal downloads but fingers crossed, they are all now pulling in the right direction to get us all though this and out the other side.

Who is currently on Suzi Quatro’s playlist?

(Laughter) how long do we have.  At the moment I find myself keep going back to the likes of Adele, Coldplay, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus and Oasis.  They are some of my favourite artists, they are people who have something to say and they are not scared about saying it.

It has been reported that you have influenced the likes of Joan Jett, The Runaways and Girlschool, just who has influenced Suzi Quatro?

Nobody, not girls anyway because what I was doing had never been done so I most definitely did not have any girls to influence me.  I had no blueprint to follow nor any woman that I could look up to and think ‘I want to be like her’ because there was nobody like that.  So I actually created the blueprint without actually knowing that I was doing it.  The kind of people who I looked up to were Elvis Presley and Otis Redding.  They were two of my heroes.

Hailing from Detroit, Michigan surely you couldn’t help but be influenced by the playing of the late great James Lee Jamerson, bassist at Motown Records?

(Laughter) being born and raised in Detroit then bass playing wise I am a Motown fanatic.  I have made many radio shows on the subject of Motown and I have to say that James is my hero.  As you will no doubt know James played on all of the early 60s tracks as part of The Funk Brothers and I love Motown, I just love it.  In my opinion James was the best bass player ever.  Don’t even get me started on Motown, there isn’t enough time (laughter).  I know all of the dance steps and everything, I am a real Motown fanatic.  I’m going to namedrop now and tell you that I even had Martha Reeves perform for me at my sixty-fifth birthday party.  I like Martha a lot.

You are about to go back out on the road here in the UK with the Legends Live 2017 Tour along with David Essex, The Osmonds and Hot Chocolate.  Are you looking forward to that?

When I was contacted by the management to see if the Legends Live tour was something that I would be interested in, the first thing that I did was to ask them who else would be on the tour with me.  The reason for that is that you don’t want to be stuck on an eight day tour with people that you don’t like (laughter).  That’s the truth of the matter and I am trying to be honest with you and luckily, on this tour I will be absolutely fine.  I know Hot Chocolate as we were on the same label for many years, the Osmonds I know and David Essex I have known forever so it should be good.  It is going to be great fun and it will bring back a lot of happy memories for lots of people.  What I can say with a degree of certainty is that this tour will be a trip down memory lane for the audience.

And speaking of memories I can’t talk to you without mentioning QSP which consists of yourself, Andy Scott (Sweet) and Don Powell (Slade).  Just how much fun was that?

That was absolutely brilliant fun.  The three of us have known each other forever and we bonded incredibly well.  Whenever we get together and play it feels as though we have been playing together forever.  It was a wonderful experience; Andy and I have written some fantastic songs together.  So on the album there are six originals and eight standards.  When the album was released just before the tour of Australia it went straight into the charts at number twenty.  It is a great album and we are all very proud of it.

Will you tour the album over here in the UK?

We would love to.  We are looking at releasing the album over here in the UK and then hopefully the three of us will tour it here in the UK.  The three of us enjoyed working together over in Australia very much that it would be wrong of us not to do it all over again, so all that I will say is that it is not the end.

Do you still get that buzz out of touring?

Yes I do.  What you have to remember is that I have been touring now for over fifty years as a professional.  The good thing for me is that I no longer have to tour for the money, it is all about the excitement and the interaction with the fans.  I do this because I love it, hell what else would I do if I wasn’t doing this (laughter).

If we still had the old passports which asked you what do you do for a living what would you say is Suzi Quatro’s profession; singer, songwriter, actor, writer, presenter?

None of them, I am an entertainer, that’s what I used to put on my very first passport.  I was fifteen years old and I wrote down entertainer.  I think that if I could only choose one then that is what I would have to choose.  Or even better I would most probably just put down artiste because that would then encompass everything.  I am one of those people who does all of the artistic things, because that is just me.

Over the years you have been seen on TV in a variety of roles including Leather Tuscadero the younger sister of Fonzie’s girlfriend in Happy Days, Nancy the singer girlfriend of Terry (Dennis Waterman) in Minder, a mentally disturbed ex-MI5 operative in Dempsey and Makepeace, a nurse in Absolutely Fabulous and Mimi Clifton in Midsomer Murders to name but a few.  Is acting something that you enjoy and will always go back to given the opportunity?

Well, firstly let me tell you that I played Leather Tuscadero in Happy Days for three years and Henry Winkler is one of the most serious guys that I have ever met.  We are still in contact with one another after all these years and I have to say that for me it really was a very nice experience.  I was honoured to be a part of such an iconic show.  I love acting and if I was offered the right part or role then obviously I would consider it, but only if it didn’t clash with touring of course.  What can I say, I love acting, I always have and no doubt I always will.  It gives me the ideal opportunity to spread my artistic wings.  It is a natural extension of who I am.

What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?

I don’t know, that for me is really hard to say.  It’s like working your way down your bucket list.  My first number one was a big high, my first big concert was a big high, my first acting job was a big high, releasing my autobiography was a big high, my first radio show was a big high and it just goes on and on and on.  It is always the first of everything for me.  I can’t pick one out.  Even now coming right up to date I would have to mention my very first super-group, Quatro, Scott and Powell, these are all pivotal moments in my career.

On the subject of firsts, what was the first record that you bought?

That’s easy, that was Bobby Darin You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby.

Who did you first see performing live in concert?

That would have been The Beatles.

Which song or piece of music last made you cry?

I’m always blubbering (laughter).  I would have to say that it was Adel’s version of To Make You Feel My Love.

On 20th October 2016 you were awarded an Honorary Doctorate in music from Cambridge University.  How did that make you feel?

That was incredible, and as I am now officially Dr. Quatro it’s only right that I have a sign on my desk for all the world to see.  I was very humbled by it; I took it very seriously wearing my cap and gown, I didn’t even graduate High School so for me it is a double reward.  It was a fantastic day and a truly fantastic feeling, very much so.

One of the best quotes that I have ever read about you was when you were asked about retirement.  It is reported that you said “I will retire when I go onstage, shake my ass, and there is silence” is that still the case? 

(Laughter) its right what they say, these things will always come back and bite you right in the ass (laughter).  Having said that I’m happy to say it has not happened yet and I am hoping that it is not going to happen anytime soon.  I am still in pretty good shape, I jog, I go to the gym and I practice yoga.  I always keep myself fit and never do anything to excess.  In this line of work you have to stay at the top of your game.

On that note Suzi once again let me thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, it’s been interesting.  You take care and bye for now.

Thank you Kevin, you take care and bye for now.