Magazine article Guitar Player

Suzi Quatro

Magazine article Guitar Player

Suzi Quatro

Article excerpt

WHEN I WAS A KID IN THE 70s, you could name the serious women players on one hand. I was introduced to Suzi Quatro from her appearances as Leather Tuscadero on Happy Days, but prior to that, she was a multi-million selling artist with a reputation as a badass rock chick. Actually, she may have been the first "rock chick." She dressed in black leather, played the hell out of the bass, and held her own with a group of rough Detroit dudes.

When I interviewed Suzi a few years back, I was struck by her seriousness as a player, her humility, and her outspoken opinions on female musicians. I love how she holds us all accountable to master our instruments. Even though she's a grandmother now, and has lived in Europe for decades, Suzi Quatro is real Detroit grit--a self-invented, unique, and courageous trailblazer.

You created the rock chick.

Well, yeah, because there wasn't anybody for me to model myself after. I was aware I wasn't succumbing to being like other girls, and I was nervous about that, but I had to stick to what I was. I made up my mind after seeing Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show when I was eight years old that I was going to be like him. After his comeback concert [in 1968], the whole leather thing made sense to me. I actually had a big argument with my first manager about it. He said it was old hat, but I said, "Well, it has never been done by a girl." So he suggested the leather jumpsuit, and that was it.

Was it difficult being an originator when you were young?

It was hard all through my life. I never knew where I belonged until I got on stage. …

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