Rock legend Suzi Quatro is getting ready to release her brand new best of album in September via Chrysalis Records.
With a career spanning in excess of 50 years, which includes an astounding fifteen studio albums, Quatro’s forthcoming release will walk her fans down memory lane. The Best Of Suzi Quatro: Legend will feature digitally remastered versions of all her biggest hits including “Can The Can”, “48 Crash”, “Devil Gate Drive”, and “Stumblin’ In”. The release will be available on Gold Coloured Double Vinyl, CD and digitally.
National Rock Review recently caught up with Suzi Quatro to talk about her new album, her side project with Andy Scott from Sweet and Don Powell from Slade, collaborating with KT Tunstall and her forthcoming headline appearance on the Legends arena tour.
NRR: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us here at National Rock Review today we really appreciate it.
Suzi: You’re welcome.
NRR: You’ve got a new best of record which will be released on Friday 22nd September via Chrysalis Records. Having released fifteen studio albums, ten compilation albums and one live album I was just wondering how do you go about picking songs for this kind of release, it must have been like picking your favourite family members?
: I don’t know how I did it, it’s an extensive catalogue as you say. I just tried to use my instinct and go through every album and pick what I felt was representative and what went hand in hand with whats on the album already. I ended up with all of the tracks that I picked except for “Hollywood” have been played on stage. So maybe that’s what my instinct was telling me.
NRR: Songs like “Can The Can” and “Devil Gate Drive” they’ve all stood the test of time. I was just wondering what do you think the secret is to creating timeless music?
Suzi: Oh, I think it’s got to be organic. I think first of all your image has to be organic, you yourself have to be organic, not manufactured whatsoever, the same with the music. I believe that’s why I’ve stood the test of time, I am who I am – It’s no bullshit.
NRR: Having had a long and successful career in the music industry spanning over 50 years I just wondered with the benefit of hindsight is there anything that you would have done differently?
Suzi: No, I think everything was handled pretty much the way it worked. My early years were very important for my forming, to learn my craft. Even the year and a half I had in the second wave of the all girl band where I took the step backwards and just played the bass and only sang a couple of songs as opposed to every song in the first band – I was the main singer and then we brought my little sister in, even that was valuable because for about 18 months I really mastered my bass. So then when I was taken to England as a solo act I could marry the performer and the bass player and it all worked out perfect. So everything happens for a reason and it happens as it should.
NRR: After all of these years, is there anything still on your musical bucket list, maybe someone you would have loved to have worked with or somewhere that you’ve never played yet?
Suzi: Well, I am working with somebody who I like very much right now, KT Tunstall, we are going to be doing a song together. We met up recently, and we got along, which I knew we would. Yeah, I would love to do something with Melissa Etheridge, I’m a big fan. Maybe, I don’t know if Meat Loaf is still around, I’d like to do something with him. There are a few people I’d like to work with, but mainly I just keep releasing, I keep writing. I mean I have a new album coming out with myself, Andy Scott from Sweet and Don Powell from Slade. You know about that? QSP the album is called.
Suzi: It’s eight covers and six originals and we were my support act in Australia in January. So we released it in January, just to test the water and it got to number 20 in the charts, so we are very excited about that. It comes out everywhere else late September/early October.
NRR: Is there any intention to take that project out on the road in the UK at all?
Suzi: Absolutely, we had such a good time, I would like to tour it. Yes, I would like to do some shows one zillion per cent and I know the boys would too, we are very comfortable together.
NRR: Throughout your career, you’ve written tracks with both co-writers such as Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, but also most recently you’ve written a lot of tracks on your own as well. I was just wondering do you prefer to write on your own or with a co-writer?
Suzi: You know I have this funny little thing that I do, I don’t mind either by the way. Sometimes you sit down to do a song and it flies out before you can even think about it and it’s on the paper, so when that happens you do it by yourself. But sometimes if I’m sitting with a fellow musician or a fellow songwriter or somebody who I know and we are talking, and I’m very quotable – I’m always giving these wonderful lines that people want to write down and when I do that, whoever I’m with, that’s the person I’m supposed to write the song with.
NRR: Besides songwriting, also recently you put out a book of poetry “Through My Eyes”. I was just wondering does your approach to writing poetry and song lyrics differ much at all?
Suzi: I’ve been doing poetry all my life and there’s been maybe four or five that I’ve looked at and turned into songs. Of course, the meter changes once a poetic verse goes into a song, it changes a little bit. In that book, there are examples of that, but they are two different animals, but one can lead to the other. A lot of times when I’m looking for inspiration I might read my poetry book and get an idea you know. But I am very much a word person and I just released my first novel at the end of May called “The Hurricane”.
NRR: So you’ve got a lot going on right now obviously.
Suzi: Well I’m just in a really creative phase of my life, so I’m taking advantage of it.
NRR: Hailing from Detroit, that city has a great musical heritage as well as having gone through some rough times in recent years. I know it’s been a long time since you’ve performed in the US and you’ve lived in the UK for many years. I just wondered how do you feel about Detroit these days, do you ever miss home?
Suzi: I’ve been back to Detroit maybe eight times in the past few years. I always, always, always miss Detroit. It’s my heart and soul, I will never ever not miss it. It’s all my memories, it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been away, that’s my roots.
NRR: We were just speaking about touring the UK there. Obviously, you are going to be headlining the Legends arena tour in October alongside the likes of David Essex, The Osmonds and Hot Chocolate. What can your fans expect from your show this time around?
Suzi: Well, when you are doing something like that you have to be mindful, it’s not just the Suzi Quatro show you know. So I will pay respect to that and make sure I stick to my allotted time and make sure I give the audience what they are coming to hear, which is their memories, but also a couple of surprises thrown in. I always have a few album tracks in there too, but they will get what they want.
NRR: Out of all of the many hits you’ve had over the years, do you have a particular favourite track to perform live and if so which song and why?
Suzi: Oh there’s a few, there’s a few. I think “Devil Gate Drive” is always gonna be a favourite, I love what that does to an audience. I still love singing “If You Can’t Give Me Love” – love it, yeah.
NRR: Having had a successful music, acting, radio and now a literary career you must feel very fulfilled with all those achievements. I was just wondering what keeps you motivated to keep on moving on?
Suzi: Creation keeps me motivated, just you know communication and creation, I love it. Every time I go onstage and I see their little faces smiling and I’m inspired all over again. I mean there’s so much unhappiness in the world – I can give a little bit of happiness. I’m privileged really to have been allowed to do that for 53 years, it’s quite something.
NRR: Going back to your acting career I remember growing up watching Happy Days and seeing you on TV. I just wondered what was it like working on that show and how did that opportunity come about?
Suzi: Well, I know that they had the script for a long time and they couldn’t find what they needed. They needed an actress who could sing and act and was tough and was vulnerable, and that describes me. The casting lady went into her daughter’s bedroom and her daughter had a collage of Rolling Stone covers all over the wall and she saw me. She said oh my god who is that, that looks exactly like who we are looking for and she said, Suzi Quatro. They called me up on tour in Japan, and I flew over and I auditioned and I got the part and it turned into three seasons.
NRR: On top of all that you were recently awarded a Doctorate from Cambridge University last year. Subsequently, you’ve become Dr Suzi Quatro, how did that feel for you?
Suzi: Isn’t that great? They just contacted me and said we want to make you an honorary Doctor of music, would you accept? I said does a bear shit in the woods – are you kidding me? You know I didn’t get a high school diploma, so for me to get this is amazing and I got it at Cambridge University standing in a cap and gown, I mean I was in tears. You know it was very humbling and I take it seriously and I will be doing some teaching.
NRR: You just briefly mentioned there about your first novel The Hurricane, which was released this year. I was just wondering could you tell us a little bit about that book and the inspiration behind it?
Suzi: Well I know I can write, my autobiography was successful and a lot of famous people gave me quotes for it including Jackie Collins, she’s now gone, but she’s a friend of mine. I told her I would like to write fiction and she said well you should, you are a good writer, but stick at the beginning when you start with your first novel, stick to what you know. So I made her a rock chick, to begin with, and although you might see a few similarities in the beginning of the story, I took Jackie’s advice and stuck with what I knew. She’s a guitar player post-Suzi Quatro, so the kind of girl that came after me. So I was able to let my imagination go and as you get into the book it’s nothing like me, but I used dramatic things that work in the beginning. I won’t give too much away because there are a lot of twists and turns.
NRR: I’ve read nothing but positive reviews about it online, so I’m looking forward to giving that a read myself.
NRR: In terms of your own musical taste, is there any one album in your record collection that you couldn’t live without?
Suzi: Oh jeez, I would probably have to say Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan.
NRR: What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?
Suzi: Oh jeez, I’m doing lots of gigs, I’m planning to do something more again with Mike Chapman. I go into the arena tour in October and then I’m going to Australia for a six-week tour in January/February and I’m still writing, I’m working. I’ve got lots of radio shows coming up, so I’m busy as can be.
NRR: That’s wonderful, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us we really appreciate it and good luck with everything you’ve got going on.
Suzi: My pleasure, thank you very much.
The Best Of Suzi Quatro: Legend is released on 22nd September on Gold Coloured Double Vinyl, CD and Digital Formats. Pre-order via Pledge – https://SuziBestOf.lnk.to/Pledge.
Suzi Quatro headlines the “Legends Live” Tour in October featuring David Essex, The Osmonds and Hot Chocolate. Further info: www.suziquatro.com.
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Photo: Tina Korhonen