When rock legend Suzi Quatro said goodbye to Australian audiences back in early 2015, she thought she was ready to hang up her iconic leather jumpsuit for good – but she was wrong. “I really did think it would be my last tour. I mean there were real tears, and it was so important to have one big last celebration with you guys – but then the reality set in,” Quatro explains.
“Time went by and I had so many emails, so many phone calls and people asking ‘What are you doing?’. Then I went, ‘Oh no! I think now I’m going to take the advice that my mother gave me’, and that was to ‘never say never’. She always said it, and I always thought ‘What a dumb saying’, but it’s really not.”
Quatro will return next month with an encore of her sold-out tour, Leather Forever – but this time she is bringing some guests. “Australia is going to see something special. You’re going to witness the birth of QSP”. Taking the initials of her bandmates Andy Scott (The Sweet) and Don Powell from Slade, QSP is Quatro’s latest musical project and will appear in the first act of her upcoming live shows. “Isn’t it great? I think it’s wonderful that I’m in my own support band,” she laughs. “Only a Gemini can do something like that.
“Actually it was my husband’s [German concert promoter Rainer Haas] idea, and he thought of putting QSP together too, by the way. He always wants credit for that!” Quatro jokes. “So he said ‘Why not have them open the show’, and I thought ‘Wow, what a great idea’.”
With hits like ‘Devil Gate Drive’, ‘Can the Can’ and ‘Stumblin’ In’, Detroit-born Suzi Quatro has been loved for decades for her powerful vocals, bass-playing prowess, rocker attitude, and her unique song-writing ability. However, never one to rest on her laurels, in between hosting a radio show for BBC 2, Quatro says she’s been in the studio with her buddies Scott and Powell, and QSP are set to release their debut self-titled album later this month.
QSP’s first official offering features a few hand-picked covers: “I chose Bob Dylan’s ‘Just Like a Woman’, which has been my favourite song my whole life, as well as QSP originals. I wrote a song called ‘Long Way From Home’ and it’s about us as a group – what the three of us represent. The thousands of miles on the road and the thousands of shows we’ve played over the years.”
Quatro has spent over half a century stepping out onto stages and screens around the world, but insists her focus is, and always has been, winning over the crowd one show at a time. “For the second act I’ll play my greatest hits with my eight-piece band – in my leather jumpsuit of course,” she says. “You know me, I’m a people pleaser. I never go out there assuming anything. It’s a healthy attitude to have after 52 years in the business. I know that each audience I walk out to, I’ve got to do it again, and make a connection.
“I never learned the art of bullshit – with me, what you see is what you get,” she adds. “But I’ve worked at being ‘normal’, and the trick is to have what I have in my home, and that’s an ‘Ego Room’. I talked about this on my last tour – it’s a great analogy. It’s on the third floor and you gotta go up three flights of stairs, crooked floors and no walls, and you finally get to a huge wooden door that takes a lot of strength to open and behind the door there’s a big sign that says ‘Ego Room – Mind Your Head’. I go in there and enjoy all of my accomplishments, then I shut the fucking door.”
When & Where: Geelong Arena, Geelong – February 16 & Hamer Hall, Melbourne – February 18
Written by Natalie Rogers