Suzi Quatro

ARTICLE ABOUT Suzi Quatro from New Musical Express, September 13, 1975

Here`s a girl you just can`t stop to love. Trying to build her image as a very bad girl in this and other interviews, while we all really knew that inside she was a really, really nice girl. But it`s an interesting story of a girl trying to break into a male-chauvinist business. So the story of Suzi is always an interesting one! Enjoy.

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Madcap of the Fourth or reincarnation of Attila the Hun? They couldn`t tell. It wasn`t what she said, it was…

WHAT SUZI DID

By Kate Phillips

Suzi Q, fantasy figure for the mini-libbers of the nation:
“I get all these letters from little girls telling me that they`re tough, that they swear like me, and they`re not gonna get stuck at home… and I did answer one, it was from a mother who said her daughter wanted to leave school and be like me, and could I write and tell her to finish school first. So I wrote back-”
-And told the kid to wait?
“-No. I said, if your daughter`s like I was, one year ain`t gonna make no difference. So it`s best to let her go. I know my parents could have kept me under lock and key and I`d have got out somehow and run away.”
Pretty much your standard hellcat raunch? Yup, Leatherclad Rap number 49, courtesy Chinn, Chapman and Mickie Most (image-makers to the public). But don`t give up just yet.
Why were you a rebel, Suzi?
“I wasn`t so much rebellious as a loner; and that made me rebellious in the end.
“There`s always one in a big family, and that was me, so I had to learn to take care of myself. I can remember every day of my life when I was a kid, though my teenage years are a bit hazy.
“Yes, that probably is because I was unhappy.
“I wanted more attention. I can even remember when I was three, biting my little sister`s fingers off…”

Whaaaat?
“I just hated her. She was such a pretty baby, too. And she lay with her fingers drooping over the edge of the cradle, and I crept up and just crunched them as hard as I could.
“I`m surprised they didn`t fall off. Then I ran upstairs and listened to her crying, and my mother coming in and saying `What`s wrong with this baby, she`s always crying` and I`d be up there laughing away. Isn`t that terrible?
“When I was about 11 it suddenly hit me. I went into her room late one night, sobbing. `Nancy, are ya sleeping? I`m sorry I used to bite your fingers, I`m sorry…` I was crying my eyes out, the memory has suddenly gone boom in my head.
“So anyway, when I got to the age when my parents thought they had to give me attention and protect me from the outside world, because I was growing up, I said fuck you, you never cared before…”
No, I don`t think it explains why Suzi`s a rebel; I don`t think she is a rebel, otherwise she wouldn`t still be tied up in the baby biker packaging in which her management present her.
It does explain her self-confessed need to be onstage regularly, since otherwise she gets “nervy” and bitchy without the adulation of a crowd to keep her happy. And it`s probably got something to do as well with her ritual “toughness”, which she demonstrates with naive pleasure during the course of our conversation. A nervous minion of RAK Records puts his head round the door to ask a question Suzi considers superfluous, so she sends him off with a chilly reply; and turns back with a conspiratorial smile to her audience.

“See, there, I got nasty there for a minute. I had a guy in here yesterday, shaking. He`d come in with this list of questions – `Why are you so butch?` `Why aren`t your tits bigger?` Really that stupid. I laid into him, told him he made me puke: he was trying to laugh, and pretending to write it all down, but he went out in tears.
“Of course I`m gonna behave like a bitch, if people treat me like one.”
Maybe they wouldn`t ask her silly questions, though, if she didn`t have such a silly image to live up to. Let`s get one thing straight; in spite of the fact that she`s rather small and very pretty and very charming, in her literal-minded way, it is not amazing (a) that Suzi plays bass (some girls play drums, remember?) (b) that Suzi swears (yawn) and (c) that Suzi wears leather onstage (double yawn).
If those things ever had any novelty value, it`s surely worn off by now – a suggestion backed up by the fact that none of her last few singles – “The Wild One”, “Your Mamma Won`t Like Me”, “I Bit Off More Than I Could Chew” – have done much business, and the new one, “I Maybe Too Young”, which is lyrically one of the crassest efforts so far (“I`m little Suzi, the backstreet girl/I`m gonna hang around and wait for you”) isn`t, as yet, creating any stir either.
To give Suzi her due, she`s genuinely bored with all these questions about what it`s like to be a female rock and roller. “It doesn`t matter what sex I am, but other people can`t get used to it,” she complains.

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But until she gives up her position as teeny little cute front lady for all those Big Ugly Men, and till she starts writing her own singles and singing in a way that odd things on her albums have shown her to be capable of no-one`s going to believe her protestations of sexless equality with the rest of the band, or see her as anything other than a willing doll manipulated by Chinnichap.
Nobody has got her to say a word against them yet, or to admit that her claim to have broken the rock and roll barrier for girls is as yet a false one. But sometimes she really gives herself away:
“The only time the boys in my band think about me as a woman is when it`s time to change into our stageclothes and I go off to another dressing room, or when some big heavy guys come up and they know they might have to protect me a little, `cos it might get a bit rough – but otherwise I don`t think they think about it either.”
It`s not that I think the lady`s got to sacrifice her modesty, or get herself beaten up, to achieve parity: but I do think the best thing she could do (after casting Mike and Nicky into Outer Darkness) would be to get herself a gig as one of the boys in a band – a good one – and concentrate on living down her Lulu and the Luvvers aura for a while. After that, if she actually emerged as leader in her own right – well, then all us Little Girls would really have something to inspire us.

Back to Suzi`s childhood. Her own inspiration, she says, was Elvis: “It never occurred to me that I couldn`t look up to him, just `cos I was a girl. I just said, Oh I`d love to do what he does. I was one of those kids who practised in front of the mirror with a chairback and four big rubber bands for a bass. It really worked quite good. And I`d practise facial expressions – I could match myself in the mirror and not be embarrassed, it was like watching someone else. I didn`t even care when my mother caught me at it…”
Do you use any of those expressions now?
“No, not any of them; I use such ugly expressions onstage, and people say I`m a sex symbol! They must be mad. Sexy to me is when someone`s got their leg pointed, or they`re putting their body into pretty shapes…”
But you don`t only fancy men when they pose, do you?
“No but men are different..”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Procul Harum, Genesis, Andy Pratt, Uriah Heep, Buddy Holly.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, April 19, 1975

This is certainly a strange article. First, it tells us almost as much about Detroit and Suzi Quatro as the main subject, Alice Cooper. Maybe that was a point from Mr. Murray as he most certainly didn`t like the directon that Alice was moving into. Like most fans, and as much as fans today, he clearly feels a little betrayed when a favourite artist of his suddenly moves away from what they originally represented. In Mr. Cooper`s case, it is important to understand that he now was a solo artist, despite keeping the same name as when the original Alice Cooper band played together. In effect, this was the first tour of the first album in his solo career. I like both periods of Mr. Cooper`s career – even if his solo albums are a little bit more polished than they were with the original band. And I highly recommend the album “Welcome To My Nightmare” – it is considered a classic today for good reason.
Have fun!

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Welcome to Alice Cooper`s new show. It`s good, honest music,delivered with minimal hype.*
Alice just knows you`re gonna love it.

*In a Pig`s Eye, mate.

Feature: Charles Shaar Murray
Pics: Bob Gruen

I do not believe this hotel room.
It looks as if all of Led Zeppelin had been partying it for a week. The heating`s on full blast, there`s stained sheets all over the floor, someone`s vomited in the bathroom, half-empty booze glasses, over-flowing ashtrays, torn-up magazines all over the place and an all-pervading sweaty odour of Essence of Musk.
Hmmmmm – snf snf – make that Led Zeppelin and two camels.
At that moment Room 2137 in the Sheraton-Cadillac right there in the colon of beautiful downtown Detroit (Michigan) ranks about 2,137th on the Cosmic List Of Places To Be, so there`s nothing to do but hit the bar and wait for someone to start cleaning the place up. Downstairs, the place is swarming with well-dressed spades, all of whom look like Second Div Motown acts. They all have little plastic badges pinned to their lapels (or equivalents thereof).
“Hey, Berry Gordy just checked in,” someone mutters. They do a lot of shouting in the corridors. The next day it turns out that they`re all social workers.
After all, tonight is Hometown Night. Alice Cooper, who classifies as a Favourite Son even though he spent more of his youth in Arizona than anywhere else, and Suzi Quatro, Detroit`s fave emigree, are in town tonight, and Detroit looks after its own. Alice hasn`t been on the road since `73 and Suzi`s only played one Detroit date since her reincarnation as High Priestess Of Idiot Pop and God`s Gift To The Dry-Cleaning Industry, so tonight`s concert instantly attains Event Status. Besides, no-one big`s played Detroit since Led Zep blew through a couple of months back.

Detroit is Heavytown, U.S.A. The usual litany of social evils: unemployment, mass scag use, pollution, violence, all of which are usually blamed on the spades. “I got nuthin` against them – don`t get me wrong,” rasps the limo driver. “They`re great people, ya know? But you go round to their houses and they gotta goddam Cadillac outside and it cost more than everything in the house.”
There ain`t a single black kid in the hall, though. Detroit has two music myths – Berry Gordy`s revolutionary cross-breeding of soul, MOR and wimp right alongside the pharmaceutical lunacy of the MC5-Iggy-Cooper-Grand Funk-Mitch Ryder white industrial rock thing – and never the twain shall meet.
The Detroit Olympia is kind of like a squashed-down Madison Square Gardens which means that it`s a massive toilet with a multi-tiered people gallery and a stage at one end. Into the valley of dope-smoke ride the 16,000 – and friends, these happy peaceful kids are a credit to their parents, their generation and Alice Cooper. Only a smattering of top hats and sloppily applied eye makeup, less glitter than you`d find at the average Budgie gig, and v. clean hair. The only real peculiarity is that nearly half of them wearing glasses.
Scooting backstage looking for hot teenage gossip, free booze and a chance to get in there with the pop stars, I bump into Susie Q. fully be-leathered and scampering bogwards. The band are seated morosely around the dressing room, which is not exactly overflowing with well-wishers, friends and fans. We go through the oh-what-look-who`s-`ere-orright-then-`ow-yer-doin`-`ow`s-it-goin`-man routine which is obligatory under such circumstances: Nobody says anything about pig brains. Len Tuckey`s slimmed down to touring weight and his hair is almost overwhelmingly clean.

Quatro jogs back in like a bantamweight lady wrestler warming up for the Big Fight. Folks who`ve visited her backstage immediately prior to British gigs have suggested that she hits the vodka pretty hard before meeting the public. However, this is Detroit and Susie is sober as the proverbial judge. “I just had a pee,” she announces. “`Ow was it?” grunts Tuckey, staring into his beer like he left his teeth in it. Her face lights up. “It was wun-der-fullll.”
Up front, the kids are clambering around the hall in best Notting Hill Gate adventure playground style. In England, audiences locate their seats and either stay there or gravitate to the bar. In the States, they swarm all over the place, climbing over barriers, standing on seats and generally making themselves at home. The other main difference over here is that blowing a joint during a gig (especially during intervals when the houselights are turned on) is a pretty furtive enterprise, whereas over there the children of the revolution glug their wine and toke their grass with perfect equanimity -and no-one messes with them. The police who roam the hall walk right through the clouds of smoke without even turning round.
Every so often someone fires a cap-gun, though there`s the odd diehard traditionalist who`s still into such recherche pursuits as firecrackers and sparklers. Which begs the question: if the security are allowing people in with guns – even cap guns – it means that no-one`s worried about the Coop getting shot on stage any more, which is not illogical since (a) no self-respecting nut would be seen dead at an Alice Cooper gig, and (b) he`s no more likely to get shot than Bob Hope.

Anyway, the man with the rheostat turns down the houselights and a gorgiously tacky backdrop emerges from between the twin turrets of a collapsible plastic gothic arch on the stage. The P.A., which has hitherto maintained a decorous silence, clears its throat and trolls out Elton`s “The Bitch Is Back”, while figures scuttle over the stage switching on amps and distributing guitars.
Quatro bounces on to the stage like a Mexican jumping bean and launches into “All Shook Up”, while the band chug earnestly in the background. The sound is a trifle on the thin side (particularly the guitar and bass) which could well be attributable to the well-known tradition of only allowing the support group to use two-thirds of the P.A.
In Detroit, our Suze puts on a fairly respectable rockanroll show; a no-nonsense rock set for a rock audience. She does “Your Mama Don`t Like Me”, which sounds okay live if you turn a blind ear to those unbelievably crass lyrics, and “48 Crash”, which doesn`t happen on any level at all, but the rest of the way it`s all rock standards like “Shakin` All Over (complete with Long Solos By Everybody – Quatro`s is finger-popping` good, but Tuckey`s catcheth not fire) and home-grown stuff by Tuckey and Ms Q. One of them, entitled “Michael” and cast in a vaguely similar mould to “Cat Size” (the standout cut from the “Quatro” album) is undoubtedly the best thing she`s ever done, and I start muttering “Heyyyyy -Instant Credibility!” I later find out that she wrote the song nearly a year ago, and that Chinn, Chapman and Most have been sitting on it ever since. Good taste is timeless…

…and the Youth Of Detroit are doing their adventure playground number again. Yours Truly is getting righteously climbed over – me, the idol of millions!
“Hold this joint!” snaps a feminine voice due north of my left ear. The owner thereof is a small and devastatingly agile blonde who`s having a quick clamber over a balcony. “Take a hit,” she orders authoritatively (glurk!). She casts a critical eye over the reporter`s tokemanship, sneers, “Ah, keep it!” and vanishes into the darkness.
Which sets the scene quite nicely for Alice Cooper.
The stage is loaded down with props. There`s a giant bed right in the middle of the stage and – lemme just strain my eyes a little for you right here – a massive toybox and – uh – the aforementioned plastic battlements and looming dimly in the distance, the band. When I say distance, I kid you not. If they were any further away they`d be in the parking lot.
Then it`s heads down for the dry ice. Detroit applauds. (Rock audiences always applaud dry ice). The only act that can follow dry ice is a mirror ball, or maybe even two. (Always works). The Floyd have pioneered the use of dry ice and mirror balls to the extent that the audience probably wouldn`t notice if they didn`t show up on their next tour. Still, the Coop`s above all that stuff. He`s here, folks, he`s actually here. Right there in the middle of all that dry ice, crooning the opening lines of “Welcome To My Nightmare”.

The band are now visible to the more long-sighted members of the audience. Togged out in absolutely faaabulous undertaker`s capes and top hats, will you please meet and greet Josef Chirowski (many different keyboards), Dick Wagner (lead guitar and prognathous jaws), Penti Glan (drums and alleged Finnish accent), Prakash John (bass) and Steve Hunter (more guitars).
Cooper is doing his patented prowl in more or less standard apparel. He is encased in tattered white leotards and his standard make-up. His hair looks positively insanitary, and he is earnestly attempting to resemble whatever he thinks a psychopath ought to look like.
Hello! Hooray! Let the show begin!
The first thing that becomes apparent is a weird kind of distanced effect. Normally at a rock show, whether you`re digging it or not, you become involved; you notice a sense of nearness and immediacy. You are drawn into it and unless the show is genuinely dreadful, it holds your attention for the duration. After all, you`re looking at a stage, people are doing things on it and an event of some sort is taking place before your very eyes.
Somehow, the Cooper show doesn`t really work like that. It`s more like watching a movie than a stage show – and more like watching TV than either. In performance, the stage is changed by the events taking place upon it, whereas a movie screen remains essentially the same even when someone`s pointing a projector at it and a few hundred people are watching. As Cooper gets into his show, it seems like a a recording of something that happened two months ago in rehearsal, like those 3D laser holograms that he was supposed to be getting involved in a year or so back. There is no real excitement, no sense of occasion. It`s just something to sit and watch, and you can`t even switch channels.

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Apart from “I`m Eighteen,” a medley of “Billion Dollar Babies,” “Elected”, “No More Mister Nice-Guy” and the inevitable encore of “School`s Out”, the show is basically a canter through the “Welcome To My Nightmare” album, all staged with razor-edge precision, 400 megaton special effects and a cast of thousands. Dancers flit around the set, pop up from the toy box and have periodic tussles with Alice, who portrays Steven, junior bull goose loony and trainee parenticide. When he sings “The Black Widow”, dancers in spider costumes loom from a gigantic cobweb that rises from the floor. When he sings “Only Women Bleed”, a life-size rag doll that he`s tossing around metamorphoses into a real live danseuse. At one point someone in an incredibly cheap-looking cyclops costume waddles out and shambles all over the stage.
The killer effect, though, is when a “magic screen” is used to combine film and live action, and it really looks great. You see, on the screen, Cooper running towards the camera and just as he reaches it, the real Coop slips through the screen and runs out to the front of the stage. Then the dancers do the same stunt and climax the whole deal by carrying him back through/onto the screen. Boy, does Alice give his audiences value for money!
Yet, curiously enough, the “Nightmare” show has but an iota of the power and craziness of vintage Coop. He`s got an infinitely better band, far more expensive props, far more complex effects and all manner of lavish stuff, but all that clowning around with cyclopses and spiders and so on seems far less nightmarish than the death-and-impotence theatre of “Killer” days, when he actually confronted genuine everyday demons, horrors that actually had some relevance. Now, he`s action-replaying the gimmicks of the less inspired type of horror movie, devices that have become so hackneyed through the afternoon and late late show TV with which Cooper bombards his beer-fertilized brain cells that nobody could actually get a fear buzz off them. Instead of relating the macabre to the genuine terrors of the 70s, he`s simply putting on a kiddie version of “The Rocky Horror Show”.

And nowhere – nowhere – is there a moment as apocalyptic as the set-piece in the last show when he confronted the audience with their own mindlessness by inducing them to stomp each other to get their hands on cheap posters and fake money – and then letting them see how much of themselves they`d betrayed. Now he contempts himself with the whole tawdry, meaningless “Who got thuh powuh?”/”We got thuh powuh” claptrap.
Remember when we used to speculate what the Stones` show would be like when they started playing Vegas? Or even when Alice played Vegas? Speculate no longer. The show that Alice is doing now is pure Vegas-rock. It`s unbelievably slick, empty as an upside-down milk-churn and contains instant repeats of well yawn-worn Cooper preoccupations. Just the kind of thing to watch while you`re choking on your scampi and chips. Forget Vegas, Coop – when are you playing Batley`s?
It`s really cute irony, too. Big bad Alice, the most perverse, vicious, conscienceless and demonic rock star of all is now among the most respectable. He ain`t a rock star, he will say in the morning at his Press reception, he`s an entertainer. He claims that the chickenshit-and-sawdust show he`s putting on now is giving rock validity.
But nobody storms the stage. Nobody flips out. Nobody screams out song titles. Nobody throws things. They just sit in front of the show, watch it, do their ritual encore howl and then they leave. Quietly. They have been Entertained in the best All-American tradition of the Big Big Show and they`ve gawked at the sets and grooved on the songs and then filed out like a nice little audience should.

The last time I`d seen Cooper had been at the Madison Square Gardens in New York, and an uglier, meaner and more dangerous crowd it`s never been my privilege and pleasure to sit amongst. The old-style Cooper audience, as was appropriate to the old-style Cooper show, was ornery and crazy and potentially uncontrollable. Every amphetamine fantasy of rock as subversion and bloodbath trigger come to life.
Now it`s 1975 and it`s all just family entertainment. Bring the kids! Bring the old folks! A great night out! Entertainment! “Just entertainment,” to quote the Coop himself. And maybe that`s why it was ultimately so cold and lifeless and irrelevant. words of one syllable, it was slick and tepid and it was about as exciting and dramatic as a ninety-minute monologue by Bob Harris.
The Press conference is set for 10 a.m. the following morning, which is a smart move. Most of the invited press were pretty much wiped out the previous night and are calculated therefore not to be at their sharpest by ten o`clock. Cooper, however, can function at more or less any hour of the day or night and therefore has nothing much to worry about.
Another aspect of Press conference which is calculated to work in his favour is the strange fact that there`s usually safety in numbers – for the act. When a dozen reporters are all gathered together interviewing the same act, they tend to get in each other`s way, plus they hang back on the really heavy, hostile questions in case the act is smart enough to outwit them and they get put down or outargued in front of their peers.
Not that very many rock stars are that bright, but it`s 10 a.m., room service has been too slow to get everybody their breakfasts and no-one thinks too fast with a hangover.

By ten, Cooper is curled up on a sofa in a direct line with the TV clutching a Budweiser (from which he doesn`t drink). He`s wearing a T-shirt inscribed with the legend “Goochie” (and I don`t know what it means, so don`t ask) and a really disgusting pair of crocheted trousers. The stubble is already starting to show.
Yes, he really likes the new show.
No, he`s not sure if he`ll be working with the old band.
Yes, he`s still contracted to Warner Brothers.
Yes, he did sing on Michael Bruce`s solo album.
No, he`s not concerned with politics, he`s just into entertainment.
Yes, he knows that “Department Of Youth” is “School`s Out” part two, but it just came out that way when he was writing it.
No, he hasn`t started on a new album yet.
Yes, he has started thinking about his next stage act. (Work that one out if you can. I couldn`t).
Yes, he thinks it`s great that a rock artist has cultural validity (he means himself, gang).
Yes, he`d love to work Vegas.
No, he doesn`t read.
No, he doesn`t go to the movies.
Yes, he just watches TV
And so on and so on and so on.

Alice Cooper doesn`t matter any more. He still fills halls, he still sells records, but what he is and what he does no longer has any relevance to what rock and roll has got to do if it`s going to survive as anything more than – to use the Coop`s own phrase – “just entertainment.”
What Alice – by the way, you don`t call him “Coop” any more, you call him “Boss Vinnie” (urp) – is doing is just entertainment. It`s entirely devoid of any central thesis or any governing aesthetic beyond the idea that if you put enough on a stage and keep it fast and loud and extravagant, then nobody`ll bother to ask what the point of it all is, what any of those dummies and dancers and sets are actually doing.
Hurry up and get to Vegas, Alice. You sure got no reason to stick around here with us any more.

YES is the band and Gryphon was/is their friends!

YES is the band and Gryphon was/is their friends!

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Phil Manzanera, Curved Air, Tammy Wynette, “How to compile an album”, “An investigation into Japanese Rock”, Grand Funk, David Crosby, Hedgehog Pie, Ralph McTell.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 12 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Suzi Quatro FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 25, 1975

This article is quite nice. I like the way the journalist gives us insight into who this female bass guitarist and band leader is through his descriptions of her throughout the interview. And believe me, Mrs. Suzi Quatro may be cute as a button, but she is not to be messed with!
Enjoy this treasure from 40 years back.

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For your information, she happens to be a lady.

Delicate, feminine Charles Shaar Murray plays dialectical hop-scotch with hairy, muscular SUZI QUATRO. A Spare Rib special.

“Alistair…can you go through your solo again and count exactly how many bars you need for it?”
“Can`t we just leave it loose, Suzi?”
“No, because we`re gonna haveta get it exact for when we record it. When we play it live you can blow a bit, but for now I wanna know exactly how many bars you`re gonna take. `N remember that it goes C-G-C-G-C-riff and then your solo, now let`s try it again.”
Suzi Q runs a tough rehearsal, and the guy who`s copping most of the heavy-lidded stares is Alistair Mackenzie, her piano player.
For a kick-off he arrived two hours late and when he finally staggered in, looking mucho dishevelled and mumbling about demonic traffic wardens, he kept stumbling over his parts, forgetting where his solos were supposed to be, where the riff was, and even which key the song was in.
Over on the other side of the room, Suzi Q is perched on a compact rehearsal-sized Acoustic amp, half-hidden behind a microphone and a massive bass.

She`s pumping away on her axe, eyes closed and head nodding, with a cigarette clamped in her mouth and rapidly burning down a la Ronnie Wood. The observer, safely stashed in a chair next to her amp, is mentally taking bets as to exactly when the half-inch of ash on the cig is going to splatter all over her jeans. He has just decided that it`ll take precisely another 16 bars when guitarist Len Tuckey busts his G-string right in the middle of a solo that sounds so Jeff Beck that you`d `a sworn it was Mick Ronson.
Suzi unclamps the cigarette and deposits the ash neatly on the carpet. “Sheeeit, man!” she complains. “Right in the middle of a buzz!”
Tuckey is the guy on the cover of the first album who`s swiging brown ale with one hand while the other is tucked into the front of his jeans. He`s a taciturn hulk of man – a big, heavy, grouchy-looking mutha who`s actually pretty amiable, but who`d look unnervingly at home down a dark alley with a broken bottle in his paw and a sideways leer plastered across his mug.
He`s Suzi`s songwriting partner and – ahem – constant companion.
He`s also a pretty nifty guitar player and a singularly arresting visual counterpoint to Ms Q. I mean, she`s so tiny that she makes the average-size bass guitar look like a bull fiddle – and when Tuckey`s holding a Les Paul it looks like a toothpick.

You could go on fantasising and romanticising the whole trip in terms of beauty-and-the-beast and low-budget biker movies as per the cover of the first album, but one thing you can`t deny is that it works visually.
The only thing dumber than Len Tuckey done up in one of Brent Ferrule`s tuxes would be Len Tuckey dressed like one of The New York Dolls – `cuz it only takes one quick viddy to suss that he`s the kind of guy who likes to play “Apache” and “Walk Don`t Run” during breaks in rehearsal. Plus the Elvis impressions, of course, accompanied by lame gags about how he learned the songs off his dad`s records.
Ultrachuckle, Len.
Talking of The New York Dolls (which nobody`s done for at least six months), didja know that Suzi`s big sister Patti (now Fannying for all she`s worth) was recently approached by the Dolls to join them? The connection was via Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan, who was for a while the only male member of one of the all-femme bands that Our Suze led in Deeeeeee-troit.

“I drove down to New York, went through all the musicians classifieds, found Jerry, and drove him back to Detroit. Two weeks later I hadda take him back. He was a good drummer, but he didn`t quite have the right feel for our band.
“Even in those days he was wearin` girls` shoes, `n the tightest pair of satins I`d ever seen, `n` make-up. He was way ahead of his time, because that was even before Bowie.”
While this section of the conversation is going on, Suzi, Len and yours adoringly are squashed into Suzi`s matchbox-size Merc wildly skidding in the general direction of beautiful downtown Watford, where the band are rehearsing some new Quatro-Tuckey toons prior to going into the studio.
Despite the dashing skin-tight-skin leathers she wears on stage, Suzi`s daytime clobber is such that she`d have a hard time beating out Tony Tyler in a fashion parade. On this occasion, she`s fetchingly kitted out in a striped roll-neck shirt, jeans, and a red anorak.

Tuckey is screeching along at 90, despite Suzi`s rather pointed remarks about 80 being completely sufficient unto the day. A corner and junction catch him on the hop, and the halt is a trifle jarring.
“Just practicin` for me racin`,” he mutters somewhat shamefacedly.
“Great,” retorts Quatro stonily, “but not while I`m in the car, okay?”
There is a brief and simmering silence.
“When you`re a Gemini,” she says later, “you run strictly on nerves, which is what I run on. I`m an adrenalin freak, which can be a great help sometimes, but at other times, when things go wrong, then your adrenalin turns to depression. Not just a regular depression, but a real heavy depression.
“When you`re a Gemini, you`re either high or low, with nothin` in between. Either all go or all nothin`. When you`re depressed you`re ready to kill people. I get very strange and very heavy. I find a million things wrong with everybody.”

Bet the band hate you when you rehearse them depressed.
“Oh Christ, yes. When the pressures get me down i unfortunately start to take it out on everybody else. I get very, very nasty. When we`ve been on the road for a couple of months and get drunk every night, then I start yelling at everybody in sight.
“But at least we can laugh about it the next time we see each other, because we`re all very close. I`ll say, `wasn`t I a bitch?` and they`ll all say, `Yessss!` I can really scream, then ten minutes later I`ll have forgotten what I`m screamin` about.
“When I scream, I scream, but when it`s over I`ll say, `Alright now, it`s all over, okay? Shall we go on to the next song?` – and everybody goes, `Oh my Gaaaaad, how can you switch on and off like that?` and I`ll say, `It`s quite easy, I`ve got an on/off switch right here…`”

True to her word, Suzi`s all happy again in less than 30 seconds.
“I was drivin` down here yesterday and this cop calls me over. He says “ere, myte`” (she`s developed quite a creditable London accent since she`s been over here) “`ere, myte, you sure you`re old enough to droive?`
“I said, `For your information, I happen to be a lady and I`m 24 years old!” He said, `I fort you wuz abaht seven`een`.”
Unit 4 + 2`s “Concrete and Clay” comes up on the radio.
“I used to have that on a `20 English Smashes` supermarket album when I was a kid. I`ve got about 250 albums at home that I stole from supermarkets.
“I useta go in there after school and grab about ten albums and stick `em in my school folder. I`d stay around for another hour or so, because they get suspicious if you leave too suddenly, but they can`t grab you until you get out on the street. They never ever suspected me… because I looked so innocent.”

The rehearsals are taking place in the back of a Watford music shop run by an ebullient French dude named Claude Venet. It`s quite a nice little place, with a far more ambitious selection of Gibsons, Fenders and the like than you`d ever expect the good burghers of Watford to have any real use for.
The slice of hardboard beneath Dave Neal`s drums is littered with a whole herd of fag-ends, enough coffee is consumed to give the assembled company the runs for the next six weeks, and Quatro`s cigarette is burning down next to her on the amp as she starts rocking out again.
Today they`re working on three new songs, “You Can`t Trust Love”, “Bad Bad Girl” and “New Day Woman”, and to one only accustomed to the record-and-TV edition of Suzi Q, they come as something of an ear-opener.
For a start, the band sound infinitely better than they do on record. The brash, tinny, superficial sound that they get in the studio is replaced by a driving, funky rock-and-roll feel and the arrangements are far less cluttered and messy.

The stiff, stilted Glitter Band style that drummer Dave Neal affects so irritatingly on record isn`t nearly as effective as the loose-limbed, straight-ahead groove that he`s getting into here, and which I suspect is far closer to his natural inclinations.
Mackenzie`s getting a nicely grungy clavinet sound, Tuckey trades off stripped-down Keefish rhythm and blitzkrieg lead, and Suzi`s singing almost completely eschews the hoydenish air-raid siren sound that shivers the tweeters out of pub jukeboxes all over the country.
And of course, Ms Q`s laying down some fair bass. In the tradition of her hero, Motown studio musician James Jamison who taught her the tricks of the trade back in Detroit, she holds up the bottom efficiently and effectively, keeping things interesting without trying to upstage the front line.
So why don`t it sound like that on record? Search me.

Or better still, search Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who`ve aimed Suzi into a solid market with unerring commercial sense, but have totally and consistently misrepresented the band`s live sound on record – and, while we`re working up some righteous indignation, have more or less caricatured her attitude and persona with hey-look-what-a-tough-little-hellcat-I-am songs which do nothing but trivialise her stance.
Still, by her own admission, she`d rather have a tweezer job done on her toenails than say anything against them.
“That`s absolutely right, because they`ve done very well by us. They`ve worked very hard, but we`re only two albums and six singles old. I`ve always said that if we could get this band`s live sound down then it`d be great. I`d like to do a live album, but then the quality wouldn`t be any good, and you can hardly ever get real good quality on a live album, apart from things like `Get Yer Ya-Yas Out`, which has to be one of the best live albums I`ve ever heard.
“But it`s difficult, because when you`re up there you`re bouncin` around and singin` flat and your voice is croakin`…of course, that`s what makes rock-and-roll. We must all progress together, though…”

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The lowest point on the perimeter of Suzi Quatro`s bass is almost exactly level with her knees when she stands up. The head is level with her ears. Her right arm is almost fully extended to let her fingers do the walkin`.
Her wrists are almost startingly thick and muscular, as are those fingers. For smooth, dainty hands and well-kept nails, eight years of bass-playing is not a recommended therapy.
“The Sunday Mirror called me up for an article they were doing on how the stars kept their hands lookin` nice. They asked me what I did, and I said, `I play bass with `em.` And they never even mentioned my name in the article!
“Hey, didja know that I could never be an air stewardess because I`m too short? You haveta be at least five-foot-two so`s you can reach the racks. Besides, at the first sign of turbulence I`d be hiding under the chairs…
“I saw myself on TV a lot in Australia and I still can`t say my S`s right. I had terrible diction when I was a kid. I useta say, `my name ith Thuthie Quatwo.` I did speech training and I still can`t say my S`s.”

You can`t be an air stewardess because you`re too small, you can`t be Sir John Gielgud because of the S`s, you can`t model nail-varnish because of the rock equivalent of dishpan hands, so if you can`t be in the rock-and-roll business there sure ain`t no place else to go…
“Please God, let me be a rock star…if they don`t let me be a rock star I`ll probably end up killing someone.”
The world probably lost a great mugger when Suzi Q got rich and famous, but she`s playing it very businesslike, sitting there on her amp bathing in the bass vibrations buzzing their way up her spinal column and thumping on that massive Gibson Ripper.
“Len, don`t play that riff with him…let the drums and piano do it by themselves and then come in with me on the answering bit. Can you play this bit with me going up in thirds? I don`t think that B-flat sounds quite right. Maybe if you do it in minors…alright? Let`s go through that again.”
As she turns her head, you see this peculiar blue-black ring on her nose and cheek curving around her eye. It looks like someone whacked her in the eye, but it`s just a birthmark. For some reason it doesn`t show up in photos.
Still, it`s things like that that give a face personality, and it certainly puts a different perspective on those cute snubnosed features.

Suzi Q is unmistakably a leader.
She always knows exactly what she`s doing, exactly what everybody else is and should be doing and exactly what sound she wants.
Neal, Mackenzie and Tuckey recognise her authority and have unbounded respect for her leadership and musicianship, and they don`t give her any back talk. Sure, they make suggestions, and their suggestions are received with that strong spirit of mutual respect, but Suzi is head honcho and one hell of a hard taskmaster. What you call professional.
But of course that`s unfeminine – isn`t it?
To be sensitive and observant in long dresses and tinkle away at an acoustic guitar or piano is okay, and being a tortured funky ol` earth mother is okay too – but Jesus Christ, what the hell is Quatro trying to prove, stomping around in leathers humping away at that goddam monstrous bass? I mean, she`s so butch, y`know?
Wrong and double wrong.

If you think Suzi Quatro is obnoxious, you`d have a halfway decent chance of making a reasonable case for it, because she`s an upfront little broad and she shoots her mouth off a lot. But that`s more because she`s a Yank and has an archetypal rock-and-roll personality and is therefore not overly-inclined to go in for coy self-deprecation.
No aw-shucks about this kid, Jack! Quatro has a loud mouth on her, but no louder than most male rockanrollers.
And that`s where cometh the proverbial crunch, because it isn`t so much that she`s trying to come on like a guy as she`s simply behaving in an archetypal rockanroll way and women just don`t do that.
If you think that she`s unfeminine, though, that`s a whole different ball-game. It also means that you`re going to haveta stop tossing words like “feminine” and “masculine” around until you`re prepared to state exactly what character traits you`re talking about, and whether you`re talking about, and whether you`re going to abide by the same cripplingly narrow definitions of “masculinity” and “femininity” that have screwed both men and women up for God knows how long.

I`m not going to trot out that “everybody is bisexual” nonsense that every oafish fool who ever wore sequins on “Top Of The Pops” uses to give intellectual substance to his posturings, but if you`re going to claim that energy, determination, aggression, leadership and the desire to get down and whip it out on stage with a gynormous Gibson bass are exclusively limited to the male, then bro`, you really are a male chauvinist, and sister, you`re selling your own possibilities right down the river.
Quatro has defined her own role, which is something that any human being has a right to do if they`ve got the brains and the willpower to pull it off – and I really don`t care that she doesn`t write her own singles.

A couple of weeks ago, my old buddy Nicky the K, as part of his three-volume epic on Joni Mitchell and Uvver Wimmen, gave Quatro the fast brush-off in approximately a hundred words.
For the benefit of those of you who were callous and insensitive enough to have lost our January 11 issue, voici Kent in action replay:
“There`s Suzi Quatro, the girl everybody wants to dig – an image superficially bloated with potential, but really just Penthouse punk fodder – all lipsmacking hard-on leather, free-wheeling hell-cat raunch projected via a bunch of Chinnychap readymades. Aw, come on now. And she looks too much like Rick Derringer to let the fantasies get truly torrid.”
Right. All Quatro`s ever had in Penthouse is a short interview accompanied by a standard publicity photo, and the whole thing occupied considerably less space than Ian Hunter`s interview in Club International.
Those leather suits wouldn`t even raise an eyebrow if she wasn`t a woman, and as for the Chinn and Chapman stuff, I`d agree that, whatever they`ve done for her commercially, they ain`t doing her no good at all in artistic terms – though I get an argument from Suzi when I mention the subject to her.

And Rick Derringer? Come on yourself, man. Carly Simon`s a dead ringer for Mick Jagger, but no-one`s ever suggested that she wasn`t a fine-looking fox, even though she`s hitched to one of the world`s ace drips.
No, the principal reason that people object to Quatro on ideological (as opposed to musical) grounds is that she represents a kind of aggressive sexuality – a style of feminine macho (and if you think that`s a contradiction in terms then it`s your turn to be Mr. Jones) that most men – and most women – are totally unprepared to cope with.
“When I grew up, I was told night and day, `You`re strange. When are you gonna start wearin` dresses and quit bein` a tomboy and climbin` trees?`
“I had fun climbin` trees. So why should I stop? Because at a certain age you`re supposed to wear dresses? Bullshit!
“That`s what I`m tryin` to fight against. I`m not butch an` I`m not ultra-feminine. I`m just me. And I think that`s good enough for anybody in this world.

“Femininity is usually thought of as being a weakness. People say, `oh, she`s a girl – she`s weak`. It all runs together. All women have this side to them if you give `em half a chance.
“Men have also been conditioned into thinkin` that they`re somethin` that they`re not, and that`s somethin` that the rock- and-roll business today has such a good chance of curin`. Neither men nor women haveta follow that certain set of rules.
“In my life, everything is done 50-50 with whoever I`m with. If a guy enjoys cookin` he should do the bloody cookin`. If a girl enjoys it, there`s no reason why she shouldn`t just because she doesn`t want to be a typical housewife. It all gets so silly when you get down to that level.
“I just thank God that I`ve been fortunate in that respect. I`ve always done what I`ve wanted to do, and I`ve expected other people to do the same. I accept people as they are.
“What I fight against in our society is all that turnin` down of the noses at anything different – turnin` down the noses at Suzi Quatro because she happens to wear black leather and play rockanroll music, turnin` down the noses at the NME because they say nasty things.

“I`m not an idealist, either. I`m just sayin` `live and let live`. If you can make somethin` just a little better, then do your little bit.”
You`re just an old hippie, aintcha, Suze?
“No, I`m not a hippie, because a hippie believes that you shouldn`t have any money and that you should live off the fruit of the earth. I happen to like my comforts…”
There`s another dozen or so fag-ends on the floor. Mackenzie`s got the riff down and Quatro`s starting to bounce a little on the amp.
C-G-C-G-C-G-riff. Then the solo. Exactly fourteen bars.
Stencilled on the guitar-case slung behind the amp is the legend: “Suzi Quatro. Handle with care. Fragile.”
Don`t you believe it.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bob Dylan, Eric Burdon, Barclay James Harvest, Ian Hunter, Billy Preston, Roy Wood, Nils Lofgren, Tommy Steele, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Little Beaver, John Coltrane, The Soft Machine.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
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