Suzi Quatro talks with Mary Lucia: 'If I want to do something, I'm going to do it'

Mary Lucia interviews Suzi Quatro. (Note: video contains occasional instances of strong language.) (The Current)
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Before Suzi Quatro burst on the music world in 1973, there were almost no women in rock, and absolutely none who played bass and sang lead vocals and led the band and rocked out and reached millions of people around the world, re-writing the rulebook for the expected image of women in rock and roll.

Singer, songwriter, bass player, bandleader, actress, radio-presenter, poet — the Detroit-born, U.K.-based rocker has sold more than 50 million records and in 2019 released a new album, celebrating 53 years as a working musician.

On July 3, a new documentary from filmmaker Liam Firmager, Suzi Q, will be released on digital platforms in the United States and Canada.

In the run-up to the film's release, The Current's Mary Lucia had a chance to talk one on one with Suzi Quatro. In an unforgettable, insightful and thoughtful interview, Quatro and Lucia delve deeply not only into the life and career of Suzi Quatro, but also into what motivates and inspires them as individuals and as professionals.

Use the audio player above to watch the complete interview, and read a transcript below.

Interview Transcript

MARY LUCIA: I am so thrilled to be talking to you, Suzi, because I have — obviously I have been a fan. I have learned so much about your career. Having watched the documentary, I learned so much more and I want to talk to you about all kinds of things that you covered in the doc and maybe some things you didn't as well. But you were so driven at such a young age. However, the way your family was sort of structured — all musical and playing in one band — I can imagine that your drive was seen or taken the wrong way; it was seen maybe as being divisive, and that must've been a lot to deal with at that age for you.

SUZI QUATRO: It's been a lot to deal with my whole life. Um, god, how do you explain it? It's nearly impossible to explain. One of five, so when you're one of five you try to find your voice. That's your whole thing. What is your separate voice? I found mine very young. I knew where I was going.

Without sounding egotistical I knew I had the X factor. I knew it from tiny.

Right.

And if anybody in my position that has made it like I have, if you talk to them and they tell you anything different, they are lying,

because when you have this little thing that I have that gives me my drive, that knows I'm going to go there and go go go go, you know it from tiny. You just feel it — you know?

I can't explain it.

I do get it. I think that it comes across, too, that you had the confidence and people had the confidence in you, and then just to sort of, like, send you off to London, kind of, do you feel like you were sent off without a real plan?

No. In my —

in my head I always had a plan.

You know — there was a time — you saw it on the documentary — the main band that I was in and I was the front person, I did 95 percent of the songs, all the lights were on me, blahblahblah, as it went, and then it got changed, and my little sister got brought in and I took a back seat, and I was mainly — maybe I did six songs a night, mainly playing bass, which was a godsend, because I got really, really good on my instrument.

But the timing was exactly correct. I got shoved to the back, which I accepted because I was actually quite happy after so many years to take a slightly back seat, look at it from a different angle, learn my craft — you know — as a bass player.

And two record companies came to see the band within a week of each other, which is so strange.

Elektra Records saw the band and they offered me a solo contract, and then Mickie Most came in the same week, saw the band, offered me a solo contract. Now you have to remember, both companies that saw me in that week, all they saw me was step up and do two songs and step back. So tell me what's going to happen? So yes, there's a plan, and when that came I just went "Yep, here I go."

I was always going to — I knew that I was always — I mean OK, put it this way: The very first song I ever wrote way, way back in about 1966, it was called — wait for it — "Gotta Get Away."

And I'm not saying that with any bad feelings, but I just always had the need to find my own voice and stand alone. I loved the family unit; I loved them all, but I needed that. I still need that. I need to be there.

And you can see it from the time I was a kid. Every picture, every picture even in the band, I'm faced the other way. It's so strange.

The Pleasure Seekers in 1965
Suzi Quatro (far left) with the band the Pleasure Seekers in 1965. (courtesy Sicily Publicity)

Anyway, life dictates — you know — you just — yeah—

Well yeah, and — you know — being from Detroit I can only imagine too that when you were first playing your music — you know — there was a certain sound and a certain niche that it kind of went into and then all of a sudden it's like MC5 and Iggy and Alice Cooper and it got a little harder. And then, did you feel the compulsion or a pressure to then, like, "I gotta now sound like the MC5?"

I was aware that while we were playing clubs — very young; I was 15, 16, 17 around those years, then we came back as it says in the documentary. There was a big festival. I was aware that things have changed. We had kind of gone the show-band route for want of a better word. We had costume changes, we changed instruments, we did dance steps, badada. We were stuck in that particular circuit. I, though, always even that band, I did all the rock — if it was a screamer, if it was a rocker, if it was anything ballsy — that was me.

The three of four songs we did that weren't like that, either one of my sisters sang it or the drummer sang it. So I was always going to be that. I was aware that being in the clubs had put us in a false security. That's what I thought. And I was quite happy to come out and just rock my ass off. I mean there was an all-girl band on that festival. I can't remember the name, but they were on the festival too, and they were just in blue jeans, barefoot and playing and I said "Yeah. Boy, I like that" — you know — but whatever. It was for the band — you know — and we went whatever direction we went in. My instincts were always the same. I was always the tomboy. Even when we had the minidresses on, I had top hat on. Figure that one out.

I do love thought that at a time too, and not just for any band or for — or women at that time — trying to keep some control over your image and the fact that you were just so badass; it's like, "I'm wearing a leather jumpsuit," and it was like you had this vision and idea and it was like "No, this is me." I mean I'm going to — it's almost like self-creation but it was in you and not just maybe from having seen Elvis in a leather jumpsuit; or maybe it was.

That had a lot to do with it. It's — I guess this is hindsight. I'm going to be 70 in June.

I had self-awareness from a very, very young age. What other six-year-old do you know that sees Elvis on television, looks at him and says "I'm going to do that"? It doesn't sound real, but it is real. It's crazy. All the way through my life, my career as I was learning and developing, I had this sense of, yes, I was the odd one out even in the family, the odd one out. "OK, do I try to fit in?" And this is in my life and in my music. And always I had the conclusion: no. I don't want to try to fit in. I actually just want to stay who I am. And in doing that, you actually take the chance. You run the risk that maybe the world isn't ready for you, and so maybe you won't make it. But that was the end result of all my conversations with me: "OK, if I can't make it as me then I don't want to make it at all. I don't want to be somebody else."

Right. And I think that—

And I had no blueprint! You know...

Right, right! That's the amazing thing that I think most people marvel at — your peers, those that you've influenced, is that, yeah, it's not that you were flying blind; you were just going on your own instinct, on your own taste, your own interest, and it's just — when people say things like "Oh, she was just four years ahead of her time," well what the hell do you do with that? You know?

Well — you know — it was a question that had to be addressed in the documentary because facts are facts, and I said to my director when we started this project, I said, "I insist on editing scissors just because it's my life and I don't want anybody to take away that from me," I said, "But I will say one thing," I said, "and I always stick to this, whatever is talked about, whatever is said, if it's honest and it happened, even if it's a cringe moment" — and there are times in that film when I cringe—

I did, too.

"...it stays in," and I — you know — maybe people say something, you kind of go "Ohhhh," but if this is their truth, OK! Leave it in. And I think the cringe moments are the most valuable moments in the film. And this is what the critics are raving about. They're saying, "Oh my god, raw and honest, warts and all." There's enough people saying nice things — you know — I didn't want the whole thing to be like that; not interested. I wanted it to be about my life, good and bad. I'm not an angel. I'm not the devil. I'm just me.

Suzi, I got almost choked up watching in the documentary when you regaled the story of your father sending you that audio cassette from home, and that you hadn't been really in touch with them; you'd been overseas and I don't know what your expectations were when you hit "play" on that thing. But that was such a real moment and so vulnerable. I mean, explain what that felt like to you.

Well — you know — I'm making a movie of my life now, and that's going to be in it obviously. I couldn't make a documentary or a movie without putting that in it — you know? It was the pivotal moment in my life, I think, when I had left home and wondering if — not — you know — a little bit thinking "Oh my god I hope I don't have to go back a failure!" Of course nobody knows for sure — you know — so you have to give that space to breathe. But I got that tape and I was alone. It was Christmas — you know — and it arrived around that time and — I know — and it arrived around that time, and I thought "Oh wow, I can hear the family having Thanksgiving dinner — fantastic, fantastic!" And what?

I, to this day — I have talked to a lot of people about it, and I am addressing it in the movie. I can't say I understand it. Different people have different ideas of why it was done. A lot of people loved my dad and they said he did it to show you what you left behind, and some people say he was angry that you left the sisters behind. I don't know what his reasons were, but the fact is: it nearly killed me. It did.

It nearly killed me.

When I heard these insults coming at me, I just was going, "Are you kidding. Why? Why, why, why do this?" I don't get it to this day. But it happened. I survived it, and in fact, not only survived it, when I was done being sad about it, I remember in my little mind going, "Right; watch me."

Suzi Quatro in 1976
Suzi Quatro in 1976. (courtesy Sicily Publicity)

Right.

Pivotal. Pivotal — you know — that's my way of life. I will see the fire in front of me. I will go into it. I will feel the burn. I'll cry if I have to. Whatever. I don't run out of it until it's done burning me, and then I walk out the other side and I keep going. And that's where, as vulnerable as I am, and I know you saw it in the documentary — everybody comments on it — I am — but that's where my actual strength lies — that I will burn, and keep walking.

Sorry, I went all too intense—

No, I love it. The Italian Catholic girl in you had to always have that sense of not necessarily pleasing your family but wanting an approval. I mean, I think it takes some people years and years and years before they stop trying to get the approval of their immediate family, and when you throw components in like within your family structure of you guys were kind of all in the same business, it just complicates things even further, and I can see your struggle in the documentary and your vulnerability about trying to just be kind and honest and make sense of how other people felt about you.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's very well perceived, I have to say. You're quite a clever girl, and also, you've got a handle on emotions properly. That's how I see things too. I have to say what sign are you?

Leo.

OK. Hmm...

I don't know if it means anything.

I tried all the way through to be open, honest, give people their platforms and not trash anybody. I didn't trash anybody. All the way through, as you say, I tried to understand it. I want to understand it.

And in some ways, I do, but one very valuable thing that happened, kind of, because I'm me, but when you see on the big screen your life being portrayed, and it's larger than life, and you cannot hide — nobody can hide — whoever is up there talking, boy, you see them. You see them in Technicolor. You see them big. So what I discovered was the truth of everything, and I am trying my best to accept that truth, and I'm trying my best to not need the applause. I don't know if I would succeed, but I'm getting closer all the time because I just don't — I said it at the end of the film, I just don't think I'm ever going to get what I particularly need, and that's my problem. That's not their problem. That's my problem, and I will deal with it in that way. But it did — it did — well, it did expose everything, I have to say.

And not to diminish any of the success and however you define success — I mean, you sold millions of records, you influenced so many people, but the sort of idiocy of that business of trying to figure out, "Why am I not hitting it in the U.S.?" I mean, that could drive you nuts alone. Alone, just going, well, "Is Australia just that much cooler?" I mean yes, probably, but — you know — that alone — because in the doc, there's so much attention on "here's where this charted and here's where this went," and I mean I think every one of your fans is just sitting there, like, I don't know if that was just the foremost, stupid, tone-deaf years in pop music or what.

It was a strange situation. None of us could figure it out. I think Mike Chapman addressed it very well. He said something was missing.

And I did kind of wonder, but I didn't wonder too hard because we were touring there a lot in '74. We toured there a lot — back forth, back forth, back forth — there's no question that everybody knows me. Everybody knew who I was. We just didn't have the single success. There was various reasons for that.

Music producer Mike Chapman
Music producer Mike Chapman. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

As Mike — I think it was maybe a bit early, and you just have to accept that. Maybe it was. And also Mickie kept changing — Mickie Most — every record he kept changing record companies, and that didn't give it that longevity where a label will build you. So that was happening, too. Plus I based over here. That's another thing — based over here — and my theory is that, sure, everybody knew me blahblahblah. Once I did "Happy Days," put me in the big picture there, and I think once I did "Happy Days," you know — this is how I see it — that I played Leather Tuscadero with a bass guitar with a band, then America, their favorite television show, they saw this character and they said "Oh, we can accept this now," you see.

So — you know — everybody has a path. Everybody has a path in life. This was my path. I was selling millions of records everywhere, so it didn't bother me. I did wonder why, but now looking back, I think it's been addressed properly in the documentary. I do think it has. I think that was my path to break down the barriers and people could come through — women — really break them down again, playing that character in a sitcom set in the '50s? Come on!

Right, right.

Now — and now it seems — and I've been told by lots of American people — that there's been a whole resurgence of interest in me, so now maybe this is my path. "Hello, I'm back!"

Hello. I love it! Tell me a little bit about, what was your first impression meeting Mike Chapman?

I met him at Rak Records first. He was starting to write. Mickie was taking some of his songs. What did I think of Mike? He was an unusual guy — same thing I think about him now — unusual. He's almost nerdy in a way. He's a bit like Woody Allen. That's the best way I can explain him.

He looked and felt talented, and I was right, and we're still friends today, and we still work together today. He can pull vocals out of me like nobody's business.

He's a very talented man. He's written lots of hits, written for a whole generation. I mean, I could only say: "Simply the Best," that he wrote that — excuse me, done and dusted. "Parallel Lines," he produced that.

Do I have to say anything more? Done.

No, no. No and —

And wasn't Debbie [Harry] a sweetheart? Debbie was — you know — I'll tell you a story, and I don't know if I — can I swear on here?

Yeah, yeah.

I won't say the whole thing. OK I will, then. When I got the rough cut of the documentary and Debbie was on — and I love Debbie, she's a good friend — and she was saying, "And Suzi Quatro was so beautiful," I wanted an overdub of my voice in the documentary saying, "Debbie, f*** off."

[laughter]

There's just some things you cannot hear, and I cannot hear Debbie Harry calling me "beautiful." It just made me laugh, and when I see her I shall tell her. But my director wouldn't let me put it on. He said, "No, let it slide." I said OK.

Oh my god. Well that says a lot to you because she — I mean, I think one of the really touching moments, too, is when Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth were talking and how she — you know — just had the trepidation of like, "Well I want to — I want to be in a band and play with you," but she was saying like "I was playing flute" or something at the time —

I know! It was so cute.

Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz
Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz in SUZI Q. (courtesy Sicily Publicity)

...and then he just said — he was like, "Look at this bitch, she is doing it!" And that was it. And I just think it's stories like that that give you tangible proof of that legacy and influence. I mean, honestly, Tina Weymouth, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Chrissie Hynde — these are not lightweights! These are people that absolutely want people to know your story.

Yay!

I didn't know I was doing it. That wasn't my motivation, to be honest.

Oh yeah, no, no.

Only hindsight. All I was doing, and I do it now still: I'm me and don't you try to change me, because you won't. I'm me. It's really important. I'm me, and I preach this to other people.

You know, when I got up to get my doctor award at Cambridge University — quite unbelievable, I didn't even graduate high school — it's a joke, I'm Dr. Quatro. And I got up there, and I had my speech next to me, and I threw my speech away like — which is just like me, poomf! And I said to everybody — and I teared up — I said, "We all have a little light in us — everybody. Doesn't matter — male, female, rich, poor, doesn't matter if you're a housewife. Doesn't matter! We all have a little light. Your job in this lifetime is to go inside, find that light, switch it on and let nobody switch it off." I cry every time I say it now. And I don't know why, but I feel like I'm saying that to you.

I think you are.

I am.

And I don't want to even take anything away from that because if I added anything to what you just said so beautifully is that — you know — don't let anybody turn that switch off but be open because there might be — open to the chance that there's going to be somebody, some renegade spirit that's just like you, that's going to push you in front of people and champion your talent and champion your career, and if you're lucky enough to have somebody like that and can be trusting, that's it. That's the meaning of life. You've got the light. You're not turning it off. And then, God willing, if you are lucky enough to get some renegade spirit that absolutely —

I agree.

... jumps on your train and says, "This is it. Right here."

That's it. Yep. Well said. You've got to have the breaks as well; well said.

And I always say that — well my channels are open. I'm an artiste in every way. I've done so many things. I'm open, open, open. When somebody knocks on your door, when that chance knocks on the door, you better let it in, because it might not knock again — you know — it might not.

Oh yeah.

And when you find that person, and it's usually the person that champions you also pushes your buttons.

Of course!

Am I right?

Of course! But you know what's interesting —

And it's a good thing.

It is. It really is and I think that — you know — just watching the documentary — first of all I got — I have to ask you this question. Was that f*****g Bill Grundy who slapped your ass on television?

OK, I'm going to tell you what happened. It was Russell Hardy. He's dead now. He was gay.

OK, OK.

I had just won entertainer of the year and it was a big, big talk show and he picked his moment. He didn't do anything backstage. He was quite friendly. He picked this moment on camera. It was a live television show — live. I am a seasoned pro.

You handled it like a champ.

So it traveled through my brain — what I wanted to do was knee him in the balls. That was what first went through. And I went wait a minute. It went so quick. "You're on live television, Suzi. Swallow it and sit down," and swallow it I did. If he had done that backstage, he would've been singing soprano for the rest of his life.

[laughter]

I don't know — that — that — I mean I can only imagine is one of so many other indignities that you were forced to swallow. Why dwell on that? I mean it's all there. I think the remarkable part is how you just powered through so much of it, but you're a human being and a lot of that had to hurt your feelings.

It was little things that you learn along the way.

I am one of the boys, a tomboy, dadadada, but — and I try to teach other women in the business this, and I say it quite strongly to them — there's a line. OK, I don't play the female card; I don't play the sexy card, but I am a woman, and when you're with a bunch of guys and that line is crossed, it's like the guy at the football [soccer] game and he holds up the card for a penalty? I hold my card up. OK? You respect my sensibilities. Because if you let the guys go too far in talk, in action, in whatever, they're not going to respect you.

So at that point, I will pull the female card every time.

Suzi Quatro onstage
Suzi Quatro performing in Canberra, Australia, in 2015. (courtesy Sicily Publicity)

How did you cope with the man you loved telling you that having a baby "wasn't rock and roll"?

It's so funny because he did actually want one child. He always said it. But then he got worried I think. I remember him saying to me — it's in my book, "Unzipped." He said, "Don't go all mumsy on me." And I — "Pardon?" You know...

"Have we met?"

Yeah, exactly. I don't think he wanted two kids, but I have two kids.

Well, I still love my ex; we're good friends but that's — I'm not with him anymore, and so maybe we just kind of, emotionally, we wanted different things. I think we did. And I need somebody by my side. I have been married for 27 years now to a very German man. He is very German. He's tough, but he cries.

Oh yeah.

Oh! That's a song! Oh, I gotta write that down while we're talking. I'm writing for my next album. 'He's tough but he cries' — ooh, I like that.

I love that. I have a — lucky to be in a relationship with a man now that I describe as being "a gentleman rogue."

Yeah! I got it.

He possesses both — both. We're speaking the same language here, Suzi.

Yeah, we are. I think we have some similarities. I can see you — I can see you — everything I'm saying going, "A-ha, I've been there, got that, done that."

Yeah. Italian Midwest, yeah.

There you go, there you go.

I gotta ask you, because again, I found that with the women that were so clearly inspired and so truly just, like, lit fires in their asses to like do this, I'm imagining though that these are your contemporaries. I mean, do you talk to Joan Jett and Chrissie Hynde and Cherie Currie or — I mean does it feel like, "Yeah, we're contemporaries"?

One zillion percent. I know them all very well. I've known Joan since before she had a band. Chrissie's a friend. She came on my "This is Your Life." Sure. I talk to them all the time.

I didn't realize until a few years after my initial success and I started to meet up with some of these girls, and every time they come up to me and say, "Oh, oh, oh" — I didn't know it but I'm so glad because and — I say it this way: yes, I kicked down the door. That's in the history books. But if I'm going to be very, very honest with you, which I always am, I kicked down the door because I didn't see the door.

What do you mean by that?

I don't see barriers.

I love it.

I don't do gender as such; I never have. If I want to do something I'm going to do it. I wanted to be in a band; I did it. I wanted to play bass; I did it. I wanted to wear a leather jumpsuit; I did it. I wanted to lead a rock-and-roll band; I did it. Nobody tells me what I can't do because you better f*****g believe it, that's what I'm going to do!

Absolutely.

You know that attitude. Yeah.

Oh, I do.

Don't rain on my parade.

Right, right, and I mean again with that checks and balances of this career and with so much autonomy and your own individuality front and center, that's what people were digging: this authentic Suzi. I still go back to how you must have felt crushed that your family's indifference ... am I projecting?

No. Well, you are, but you're projecting correctly because anybody who has had a similar experience, which I think you have, is going to take something from my story. This is fine.

A lot of it is siblings — you know — and it will always happen, and like you say, everybody in the same business, that it will happen. I just — here's the funny part. I can illustrate it this way. This is the part that I don't understand: I had a 65th birthday party in Detroit. I had a 60th one there too, and a 65th. Everybody flew in — cousins, sisters, everybody — brother, blahblahblah. My brother [Michael Quatro] is a fine, fine, fine piano player; one of the best. He brings you to tears when he plays. So I asked him to play at my 65th party. Two of the sisters were there. Everybody was having a good time. Martha Reeves was there; great party. So I asked my brother to play, and he did, for the guests.

Now, the two [parents] were in the corner sobbing, going, "Oh, he's so wonderful! Oh, what a talent! Oh my god."

Now I'm sorry. Maybe I'm being stupid. Maybe I'm being stupid. So why is it wrong for them to do this [applaud] for me, and not wrong for them to cry over Mickey? So, somebody should explain that to me because I actually don't get it. Am I being dumb?

No. We could go down this little rabbit hole for two hours, because I have some theories too about it.

My name's Alice, by the way. (laughter)

Yeah, exactly! And I feel too like the sensibility of — it's not exactly like you guys were the Osmonds — you know? — with this mega —

Not at all.

That's what I mean. So it's not like you came out of the gate as like, "We're a family band, we're going to do this as a family," — no —

Never.

No. So that's kind of where I feel like it's maybe some — I'd like to take some of your siblings and shake them a little and go, "Hey, you're talented in your own way, you're talented in your own way. Can you not see that your sister had the X factor?"

I understand it might've been just, "Ah, but what about us?", but, "This is your blood; this is your sister and she is going to do her thing, and you should be so happy that she's doing it." I guess —

I would be applauding and cheering if one of them did it. I would be so happy.

I know you would. I know you would. Yeah, that —

God, I'd be screaming, "Look what they did, look what they did!" You know — great. What's wrong with that? Let's stop the rabbit hole. Anyway, OK, so anybody that is — when I do — funny enough, when I do my question-and-answer, when I go to my premieres, which I've done quite a few of, I can't get to them all, but the ones I have done, I did like maybe seven in England, I did like three in Australia, and I'm going to be doing some in the USA. And when this question comes up, I — it was funny, one time in London, the main one in London — and I said — and this question came up, and I said, "OK, before I answer this question, I want to see a show of hands in the audience: Who has a normal family?"

(laughs)

No hands went up, because everybody has issues. You know why? Because blood is involved; emotions are involved. History is involved. Everything becomes personal. Everything does. I know this better than anybody. Maybe, to be fair — you know — like I am in my documentary, I'm always trying to be fair — I am ultra-sensitive. I will say that about me. It maybe can be seen as a fault or a weakness, whatever you put to it. But I can't be any other way, so it would be nice if these sensibilities could be respected.

Yeah. I agree. I agree.

Suzi Quatro with filmmakers
Suzi Quatro with SUZI Q producers Tait Brady and Liam Firmager. (courtesy Sicily Publicity)

I feel there's this weird thing that — again here, I'm going to project onto you and you can totally tell me I'm wrong — but a lot of my career and the things that I've done and the chances that I've taken, I feel like I've kind of been walking around as a confident loser.

(laughs) I love that! I love that!

That's sort of been my — you know — like I'm more confident than I have — I am like more confident than I have any right to be, but in there is always that — "OK, I'm a confident loser," and I've tried to explain that to a few people.

I get it. I get it.

Yeah. I regret nothing, but —

Can I ask you a question at this juncture? I wish we were sitting together because I'm a people reader.

Plus, we could start smoking too.

We could. OK, so are you — are you — answer this, be honest — are you happy with you?

Yes. Yes.

(applauds) Yo! That's what it's all about.

It took me a really long time to realize too that it's — it's worth being that confident loser and that freak and taking some weird chances, because you weed out a bunch of sh*tty people that you aren't going to need in your life anyway because the people that then get you and support you — it's just like, instant — you know — thinning of the herd and you go, "Now I've got like 10 amazing people that I respect their talent as well, and they get me." For a long time I felt like the — the — the philosophical question in my head was always "Would you rather be respected or understood?"

Oh. And what answer did you come up with?

Well, I'm still trying to figure it out, but I think honestly understood, and I know that those two do not go together always.

They don't but I need both.

I'd like both. I'd like both.

Done! I don't want to differentiate. I need to be understood for my heart, and I need to be respected for my talent. Done and dusted. I have no qualms about it. I need both.

Suzi Quatro at hone
Suzi Quatro relaxes at home in England. (courtesy Sicily Publicity)

Yeah. Are you the kind of person who — this is totally turning into like the "Lucia Shrink Hour" here, but —

(laughter) It is! Lay down. I'm going to give you my bill.

OK. I feel like another thing that a lot of people in the public eye and people who are performers have is that they regret nothing, but they f*****g dread everything. There's a sense of, "Oh..." and it could be like, "For the next hour, you're going to shove hundred dollar bills into your pants and — you know — have like the greatest musical" — but I would still be going "An hour? Really?" I just — there's something about me that's like once I do something, once you throw yourself off the cliff I've never once said, "Well, I really regretted that." But I will always make myself practically sick dreading it before I do it. It's weird.

No, I'm not — yeah, that is a strange one. That's not trusting yourself, and you should trust yourself.

I will — I'm the kind that will throw myself into whatever project comes my way as long as I have the instinct, and I live on my instincts actually. I live on them. That's why I'm a good people person. If somebody like, you know, somebody said, "Be on the radio." I knew I could do it, and I was very successful. BBC Radio 2 for 15 years — one of their most popular DJs.

I won't do what I can't do. I won't speak about what I haven't probably gone through myself. If somebody throws something at me that I know what I'm talking about, I'll give my opinion, but it's all about — it is about self-belief. That's what it's all about. And you must've been lacking in that for a little while to do that. Why worry? Just jump off the cliff. Once you're off the cliff, it's too late to worry about it, you know?

That's true!

It's like the lemmings. "Ahhhhh!"

[laughter]

Oh sh*t, you've gone off and you go, "Oh sh*t."

I just — I feel like you and I could like just have a chat for — you know — a long time about anything, but I know you have some wine to drink.

And I've got dinner to make. I just finished a song called "Saint or Sinner."

Oh lord!

OK. Let me ask you this question. If you could literally have — you know how in — I mean I'm not a big sports fan, but sports teams and even bands have walkup music. If you could have one song played every single time you enter a room — and it doesn't have to be one of yours, it could be anything — every time, your own little personal soundtrack when you walk in a room, what song would you pick to have?

Crazy. It's crazy. "Desperado."

Really? Well, you've covered it.

(laughter) I know!

OK. So would it be, would it be your version or would it be the Eagles version?

No, my version. It would be my version with Jeff Beck playing guitar.

Oh my god. I love that answer.

Thank you.

No. That is so wonderful. Thank you so much.

I have enjoyed this. Thank you and thank you because you opened up too. Boy, we — if we meet — you know — we're friends already. Thank you so much.

Thank you, Suzi. Have a great day.

My pleasure. You take care.

Bye, honey.

Bye.

Engineered by Erik Stromstad; produced by Luke Taylor; interview transcript by Rick Carlson.

External Links

SUZI Q documentary - official site

Suzi Quatro - official site

6 Photos

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    Musician, actress and artist Cherie Currie in the Suzi Quatro documentary, 'SUZI Q.' (courtesy Sicily Publicity)
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    SUZI Q releases on streaming platforms in the U.S. and Canada on July 3, 2020. (courtesy Sicily Publicity)