QUATRO REMAINS SOLID AS A ROCK
blanche on all aspects of her life and the pair took the permission and ran with it – speaking to her three sisters, who resented Quatro’s success so much that the family’s sibling rivalries have left an indelible mark. She also has a brother and a half-sister.
“You never get over that,” Quatro says, shaking her head.
“As I say in the film, I would have liked just a little appreciation.” She sighs. “But I didn’t get it and I never will, but I love my family very much.”
Quatro began her career at 14, performing in an all-female garage band formed by her sister Patti called The Pleasure Seekers, which also included another of her sisters, Arlene. They released three singles, and in 1969, changed their name to Cradle, when another of the siblings, Nancy, joined.
British record producer Mickie Most went to check out the band at the behest of their brother, who acted as manager, and immediately saw something special in Suzi, who returned to England with him in 1971. Her sisters stayed behind in Detroit.
“When one gets picked out of the lot and the rest stay behind, I understand why they were not more demonstrative,” she says. “It always bothered me but maybe it also spurred me on.”
She pauses: “But it nearly killed me. They cut off my lifeline in a way that I knew I was really alone.”
To her credit, she insisted none of the interviews Firmager conducted with her sisters be cut or edited.
“When I saw what they said about me, part of me wanted to cut them out,” she admits, “but then I realised, ‘This is how they feel. They have the right to speak,’ so I left everything in.” She takes another sip of bubbly, and says: “My sin is that I made it.”
And she did – releasing 16 albums, selling more than 55 million records and topping the charts in Australia with hits Can the Can (1973), Devil Gate Drive (1974), and 48 Crash (1974).
Other hits included Daytona Demon, and The Wild One, both released in 1974.
She married the guitarist in her band, Len Tuckey, in 1976, raising two children – Laura, 37, and Richard, 35 – before divorcing in 1992.
She then married German concert promoter Rainer Haas, in 2003, and they’ve been together ever since, residing between their homes in Essex and Hamburg.
The doco also includes interviews with Joan Jett, Blondie’s Deborah Harry, Talking Heads’ Tina Weymouth, L7’s Donita Sparks, the Go Go’s’ Kathy Valentine, and Alice Cooper, all of whom wax lyrical about Quatro’s influence on them.
Yet she insists she always felt like an outsider.
“Why am I still an anomaly?” she asks. “I think it’s because I’m real. It says a lot that I’m still performing. I am still wearing the leather suit, I am still doing what I do. I am the real deal. I am not manufactured and that’s what stands the test of time, the realness of somebody.”
She also made sure to skirt the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll lifestyle she witnessed around her.
“I was an outsider in everything. I didn’t fit in with my family. I didn’t fit in with being a girl. I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t like long hair even though
I was in the hippie era. I didn’t fit in anywhere. I got into the industry because I wanted to be a great entertainer and to me, that didn’t mean being stoned out of your brain.”
Having toured Australia numerous
Thumbs up: Suzi Quatro, pictured with The Fonz (Henry Winker), played Leather Tuscadero on seven episodes of 1970s TV favourite Happy Days.