No Control: An Interview with Suzi Quatro

Suzi Quatro

Suzi Quatro has been rocking for over five decades. Hailed as the first female bassist to become a major rock star, she scored hits in the 1970s with songs like “Can the Can,” “Devil Gate Drive,” “Stumblin’ In” and more. This year she’s here to let you know she’s not slowing down.

The Detroit-born bassist has just released a new album called No Control, which contains a variety of rock, blues, and Latin influences. Quatro wrote the album with her son from her first marriage, Richard Tuckey. That’s a natural fit for her since her beginnings in music revolved around family.

We caught up with Quatro to get the scoop on the new album, her love of touring, and why she doesn’t focus on gender.

No Control is available on CD, vinyl and as a digital download (iTunes and Amazon MP3).

As a pioneer of female rockers, what kind of obstacles did you face early in your career?

To be honest, not a lot. My father was a musician and raised us all in the industry. I never thought about being a ‘female’ rocker. I was just who I was. I never did, and still, don’t do gender.

Family seems to be an important part of your musical career. What was it like writing these songs with your son?

Yes, family has always been important. Starting with my own upbringing, starting the first band with one of my sisters at age 14, then coming to England, forming an English band, and marrying my guitarist. (Divorced since 91, and remarried to Rainer Haas since 93; 26 years now) So, then finally to my son, who is an excellent guitar player and really, really wanted to write with me. He was ready and I was ready. What a wonderful heartwarming collaboration it has been.

What is your songwriting process like?

I am very organic. I like everything to be real and to flow. Every lyric is important to me. I am a truth person. When you start the song, it has a feeling and a reason for being there. I just follow the path.

No Control has a pretty wide variety of styles. Where do those influences come from for you?

Suzi Quatro: No ControlI have been in the business for 55 years as a professional [and] longer than that being raised on my father’s music. I feel like I have been around the block and back again.

Back home, in a way, but with everything I have gathered on my travels. This is where the variety comes from. Also, I produced myself so nobody put any creative restraints on me. I was able to truly fly and it has been a wonderful experience.

What artists or genres have you been listening to recently?

I listen to everything. I love Ed Sheeran, he is a truly gifted writer. I am working on songs with KT Tunstall, we have written 3 together and have recorded them and will do some more. I also like Adele and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

What kind of bass gear are you using these days?

I am using a double stack Orange system, but sometimes Ampeg if Orange is not available overseas. I prefer a Fender Precision but onstage go with Fender Jazz just because the end of the neck is a little smaller, which helps during bass solos.

You have a pretty massive tour coming up. Do you still enjoy touring? What do you do to prepare?

I have been on the road nonstop this year. We just finished a 10-date headlining festival tour of Australia [that was] all sold out. Now [I’m] about to begin headlining a UK Arena tour April 4-14, then my sit down 2-hour solo shows in Europe. I LOVE what I do, otherwise, I wouldn’t do it. I was put on this earth to entertain. I prepare by staying fit. Being on stage is like an aerobic workout. With a heavy bass guitar, leather, hot lights, and jogging around the stage singing… boy you better be fit. Also, I never do a show without doing a vocal warm-up.

What advice do you have for up and coming bassists?

Learn to ‘hear’ bass notes first. Listen to some good examples: Jamerson and the 60’s Motown funk brothers, Carol Kaye, Canned Heat… The bass and drums are the engine that drives the song: nothing is more important. And if you tried guitar and failed, the bass is not for you. You will always play it like a guitarist, which is NOT what the bass is. Feel the touch of your fingers against the strings and let the bass go through you. It should be natural.

Suzi Quatro 2019 Tour Dates:

UK Tour

Apr 4ManchesterO2 Apollo
Apr 5LeedsFirst Direct Arena
Apr 6CardiffMotorpoint Arena
Apr 7BrightonBrighton Centre
Apr 9NewcastleMetro Radio Arena
Apr 10NottinghamMotorpoint Arena
Apr 11LondonThe SSE Arena
Apr 12BirminghamGenting Arena
Apr 13LiverpoolEcho Arena
Apr 14BournemouthBIC

German Tour

Apr 24BerlinFriedrichstadt Palast
Apr 30SchopfheimStadthalle
May 6HamburgLaeiszhalle
May 11BremenMetropol Theater
May 12NeuruppinKultur-Kirche
May 14RostockStadthalle
May 15HannoverTheater am Aegi
May 29MunichCircus Krone
May 30FrankfurtAlte Oper
Aug 30PlauenParktheater
Aug 31ThaleBergtheater
Sep 1KranichfeldFreilichtbühne Niederburg
Sep 22LeipzigGewandhaus
Sep 28DortmundWestfallenhalle 3A
Oct 1ReutlingenStadthalle
Oct 2KasselStadthalle
Oct 4WuppertalStadthalle
Oct 5OsnabrückOsnabrückhalle
Dec 7HeilbronnHarmonie
Dec 13DresdenKulturpalast
Dec 14JenaSparkassen Arena
Dec 15NürnbergLöwensaal

European Tour

Jul 27Fahrwangen, SwitzerlandOpen Air
Sep 14Knebel, DenmarkFuglsocentret

Australian Tour

Oct 26SydneySydney Cruise “Rock The Boat”
Oct 27PerthRegal Theatre
Oct 30RockhamtonWest End Hotel Arena
Nov 1Gold CoastThe Star Theatre
Nov 4MelbournePalais Theatre
Nov 6NewcastleEntertainment Centre
Nov 8SydneyEnmore Theatre

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  1. Shaun

    Heard Suzi Quatro interviewed on the radio.She was asked why she chose to play the bass?
    “Because it was easier than the guitar….” I disagree ,to play as badly as her must be very difficult.

    • Well Shaun, how long have you been playing ? how many tours have you done, how many records have you recorded and how many have you sold ? i was in my teens when Suzi was 1st successful and i did like those early records. I have not followed her career but being in the business and still touring after 50 years say’s to me that Suzi must have been doing something right for a lot of people who continue to enjoy her music. I have been playing bass for 30+ years when I started ,I wanted a record contract and everything that would go with it but as I have aged, I have developed a more realistic view . . .and that is to enjoy playing 1st and if someone wants to make me an offer , great but if not, then I still enjoy playing anyway. The band I am in recorded a 9 track CD in 2017 and it has been received well by those that have heard it . . .it hasn’t made me or the band a great deal but I have still enjoyed the journey and will continue to enjoy the journey going forward . . . At 62, I am unlikely to ”make it big” but so what, as long as I enjoy playing, I will continue. Your crass comment will probably have inspired me to take a listen to Suzi’s Album . . . . it may not be my cup of tea but but you can’t argue against a 50+ year career. I congratulate her for being able to do what she loves and make a damn good living doing so ! so Shaun, whats your band called ? I’d like to take a listen . . . . the band I play with are called ”Dreams Of Carnage”, check us out on Bandcamp ! Although we remain unsigned, we have all our 9 tracks on a compilation series in America on the indie Lable 8UP . .it is called give us a future.