Those of you in the US of A may not be that familiar with the rock pocket rocket Suzi Quatro. Whilst she was born and raised in Grosse Point, Detroit, she came to London when she was young, and it was throughout Europe and Australia that she had her biggest hits.
Suzi came to the fore in 1973, a period in time when a woman in a band was rare, a woman in a rock band even rarer and a woman leading a band was unheard of.
For that woman to also be feisty, dress in leather and rock out was something that floored people at the time. Suzi Quatro arrived on the scene in a blaze of leather and bass guitar, diminutive in stature alone.
Director Liam Firmager (“King Of The Mountain”, “The Julian Paradox”) takes us on a trip through Suzi’s life, from her early life in the musical family she grew up in, with four sisters and one brother, to her still being on stage now.
There’s an undertow of resentment that starts early in her life when her and her sisters’ band, the Pleasure Seekers, is torn apart when a producer wants only Suzi from the band. The resentment isn’t fully explored but it is clear that it is on both sides of the family.
Whilst Suzi craves her sister’s approval, constantly wanting them to tell her how her shows have been for instance, one of her sisters seems, almost, to out-right hate her, or at least, hate her as ‘stage’ Suzi Quatro.
It’s a shame this aspect isn’t delved into further and yet, at the same time, it’s good that the documentary isn’t side-tracked by it either. A dichotomy I know, but there it is.
What we do see is plenty of Suzi, which is great, it’s wonderful to see a documentary about a star who is still around to be in it themselves.
She is a woman who comes across as a bit of a dichotomy herself. On the one hand she has her stage presence, a loud-mouthed, pocket-rocket who, you get the impression, would take no prisoners.
But offstage you have this woman who seeks her family’s approval, who appears somewhat annoyed that she never managed to make it in America.
Suzi also diversified massively, from time in the West End to writing her own play, hosting a radio show, even doing pantomime. She says she doesn’t want to be put in a box and does everything she can to not be in it.
We hear from a host of peers including: Alice Cooper, Cherie Currie, KT Tunstall, Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, even Henry Winkler. Yes, that’s right, The Fonze himself because, let’s not forget, Suzi starred in the Happy Days, she was even offered a spin-off show for her character.
Suzi Q is a great insight into a leading lady, a trailblazer who deserves many more accolades than the plethora she already has. Whilst many dismiss her music as glam-rock, particularly State-side, what this documentary shows is that there is so much more to the leather cat-suit wearing, bass guitar playing, one and only, Suzi Quatro.
1st July 2020