Glycerine queen, forever!
Suzi Quatro talks fame, Fonzie, rock stardom and growing up in Detroit
Published: April 25, 2012
MT: What do you remember about the Grande ...
Quatro: We played all those places. I used to first go there a lot. I went to see whoever was in town. I'd never be in the audience because I just can't stand to be there, it feels unnatural. First of all, I'm too little so I end up looking at people's backsides which I don't really like. I always go to the side of the stage. I used to go to every show that was on there. We were away playing at all the gigs. We didn't play so much all the gigs all the other bands played. We were gigging more than the other bands because we were all girls. When I went to see a show, I would more or less go to see it rather than be in it, until we changed from the Pleasure Seekers to Cradle. Then we started playing those gigs. Initially, we were more of a club show band, with the mini skirts and all that kind of shit that they wanted at the time.
MT: How long did the Pleasure Seekers last before morphing into Cradle?
Quatro: From '64 to '69, then '70 to'71 was Cradle. Then I was discovered by Mickie Most and taken to England to have a solo career.
MT: Why the change to Cradle?
Quatro: We had lost a couple of the original members. For me, we did a gig at the Detroit Pop Festival that my brother had promoted. He put the Pleasure Seekers on the bill. We had brought in my little sister to start singing some, because she was a good singer. Up till then, I was the only front person. We decided to let her have a little shot so she came up and did some stuff. Because we were a show band, I feel that we bombed at that show. It was a festival and we'd never done festivals. We decided after that we needed to change the format of the band. We started to get a little bit heavier and write our own stuff. I played mainly bass, a little bit of keyboard, and sang five or six songs. We changed it around. Cradle didn't last for very long. That was the band that Mickie Most saw me in, and I only did two songs on the evening but he said, "I want you," and that was that. I went to England.
MT: How did that meeting go?
Quatro: I was a fan because I was a huge Donovan fan. That's just one of the people Mickie produced, but I particularly liked the production of Donovan. He saw the show then called me over. I went to the back of the hall and sat down with him. He asked me how I'd like to make an album. I said that I'd have to have him meet the band. He didn't mean the band, he meant just me. I went along with him that night to Motown studios with Jeff Beck and Cozy Powell. Mickie didn't want to be the one to break up the family so he let it roll a little bit, didn't say too much but kept in contact. When the band was about to break up about three months later, which Mickie sensed anyway, one of my sisters said give him a call. He said good. He was glad, and he offered me a solo contract. It was within two weeks that there was a solo offer from Jack Holmstrom at Elektra for me, and the next week the offer from Mickie. That was my time. It was up to me to take the opportunity, and when the offer came, I went to England.
MT: And never came back ...
Quatro: I didn't plan it that way. I initially went there for three months to make an album. We recorded with people like Peter Frampton, Big Jim Sullivan and Alan White from Yes. It just wasn't gelling. Mickie Most (bless him, he's not with us anymore) really never knew how to produce me and he'd be the first to admit it, and it just went on and on. I was determined not to come back to the States until I had a hit. I found a band, we wrote "Can the Can," and then I had my first million-seller. It was from '71 to 73, then I had my first No. 1. Mickie Most absolutely believed in me. He thought I was going to be huge, and it didn't matter how long it took. He was determined to stick with me. We just kept going. All of a sudden, you're a year down the road, then 15 months down the road, and I guess I just put down roots here. Then I fell in love with my guitar player, and that kept me here too. Eventually we got married and had kids. So I put down roots here, but saying that, I've never really left Detroit in my heart. That is who I am.
MT: What did your family make of you moving across the pond?
Quatro: They hated it. My father was very supportive of my following my dreams. At the same time, he hated that I was gone. My mother couldn't stand it. But she would have never asked me to come home. That's the kind of parents I had. They hated it but they understood. Isn't that a good way to be? I can never be happier than when I'm doing what I do.
MT: You were considered part of the British glitter rock scene, with Slade, Sweet and Mud ...
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