Suzi Quatro is zipping into her famous outfits one more time as she embarks on her farewell tour of Australia after five solid decades of rocking out
ROCK MUSIC ROYALTY SUZI FAREWELLS GOLD COAST FANS ON HER VERY LAST AUSTRALIAN TOUR
If you have had even a passing interest in rock music in the past five decades, you will have crossed paths with a Suzi Quatro song.
Whether it was the gritty
hook-laden Devil Gate Drive or Can The Can, Quatro was an intriguing and ubiquitous presence on the AM band during the ’70s.
The hits may have dried up after Stumblin’ In, but Quatro doggedly endured on the live stage where loyal fans never tired of seeing the bass guitarplaying rock chick in action.
After 50 years of rocking all over the world, with 30 tours of Australia alone since 1974, the 64-year-old Quatro has decided it is time to embark on her final tour of Australia.
She laughs when it is suggested she may be doing a John Farnham. “Everybody keeps saying that!” she says.
So why now?
“Listen, Australia is getting the first final tour. I want it to be special, it means something,” she says.
“I did wait until I got to 50 years, which is a milestone and I want to mark the occasion. I planned the things out that I wanted to do.”
If you have been to one of Quatro’s tens of thousands of concerts or read her 2007 autobiography Unzipped, you would be well acquainted with her story.
Raised in a musical family in Detroit, she formed an allgirl band with her sister Patti called The Pleasure Seekers when she was only 14.
She was discovered by famed British producer Mickie Most, who helmed hits for The Animals, the Jeff Beck Group, Donovan and Lulu. She was signed and she relocated to the UK to kickstart her solo career.
Quatro parlayed the profile afforded by the string of hits she enjoyed throughout the ’70s into a decent acting career, kicking off as Fonzie’s rocker pal Leather Tuscadero in Happy Days.
One of the measures of her pop culture resilience four decades after the peak of her stardom is the T-shirt.
Like her enduring rock goddess contemporaries Deborah Harry and Chrissie Hynde, Quatro’s striking image as the leather and then denim-clad rock chick remains a constant on music merchandise.
Is it surreal to be walking down the street and see your own face walk past you on someone?
“That happens all the time, but it’s crazy, yeah. It doesn’t do my head any good,” she says, laughing. “When a lot of fans come up to ask for an autograph or photo, the next thing they will say is ‘I bet this bothers you’ or ‘Don’t you get fed up with this?’
“I would get a lot more fed-up with no one asking.”
Another staple of fan expression is the “gift” thrown on stage and Quatro has often been bemused midsong by items tossed in her general direction.
“I got joints thrown up on stage in Detroit – the only problem was my parents were in the audience,” she says. “I got a jock strap one time, but no one was touching that.”
Quatro’s longevity seems to discount the accepted wisdom that musicians need to “grow” with the times. She has steadfastly kept to her schtick.
“I could have changed my act many times before I made it to go along with the current trends, but I stuck to me,” she says.
“Nobody ever tried to change me as such and there were a few times I had to say no to myself, when success wasn’t coming. Should I switch from the bass and the ripped blue jeans? That was a conversation I had with me.” The image still resonates. “I will never regret that image. When I zip up that suit, I feel like Suzi Quatro. It’s a good look and it has stood the test of time, so that proves I chose a good one.”
She says she has no regrets about “giving my life to rock ’n’ roll” and still feels healthy and fit. So why the end?
“You get older ... it’s going to be hard doing those shows. I am sure there will be tears,” she says.
Suzi Quatro, Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, tomorrow night
I COULD HAVE CHANGED MY ACT MANY TIMES BEFORE I MADE IT TO GO ALONG WITH THE CURRENT TRENDS, BUT I STUCK TO ME