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AofA Culture Interview: Suzi Quatro – Musician, Poet

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Suzi Quatro, 66, is still out there in those leather trousers. She was the first female bass player to become a rock star. Pre-punk!!! Next Friday, Oct 21st, she will be reading from her collection of poems and lyrics, Through My Eyes at the Archway Tavern in London. As part of the Archway With Words festival. Info re tickets below.

Has age affected your songwriting and, if so, how?

Age and of course experience, although writing is organic. Sometimes it comes easy, sometimes nothing comes out at all. I simply tune into the vibes around me and when i have something to say and it usually flows. I ‘love’ writing songs. I ‘love’ writing poems. I simply love the written word – poetically or lyrically.

Who inspired you to play the bass?

I was trained on piano and percussion, both ‘rhythm’ based instruments. When we did our family trips and singsongs, which were frequent, my dad always played the bass part , which always appealed to me. Then in 1964 we began our first all girl band. Everyone quickly took and instrument and my sister Patti said, You are playing’ bass.’ It was lucky because there could be no better instrument for me. It was a perfect fit from day one.

You’ve kept your poetry under wraps until now. Was there a reason?Archway with Words

No. No reason. It was just always sitting there on my bucket list. It has come out now at exactly the right time.

Are there any women or men that have influenced your writing?

Many. Rod McKuen, Shakespeare, Kahlil Gibran, song wise, I am a total sum of the music I learned at my fathers knee, right up to the present day with an emphasis on lyrics that mean something. My last few albums had some excellent examples of this – Back to the Drive, In the Spotlight (Deluxe Edition) and indeed QSP, my new super group which has just been signed to Sony Records in Australia composed of myself, Andy Scott (guitarist from Sweet) and Don Powell ( the drummer from Slade).

Have you ever been tempted or felt forced to alter your appearance in any way?

No, never. In fact, quite the opposite. I fought to stay exactly as I am, even refusing to put on make up for Top of the Pops! I am a stickler to remaining who you are. It’s all we have in this world.

Despite being American you have lived in the UK for the best part of your life. Why?

It was my career that brought me here. I was supposed to make the album and go back after 3 months. It didn’t work out that way. It took longer. I formed a band, fell in love and basically put down roots here. But saying that, even after all these years, I am still an ‘American’ in London. I am a Detroit girl in every bone of my body.

Do you have any philosophy about dying?

Yes I believe we go around again and again. The spirit lives on but that’s another story. See my poem about Egypt. It says it all ‘The power of One.’

Have you planned your own funeral?

No, only the song I want played which is Nat King Cole’s ‘When I Fall in Love,’ which to me says it all.

Can you imagine your ideal old people’s home and how would it be?

OMG. Difficult. It would have to have lots and lots of rooms with different activities, lots of old movies to watch, lots of music to play, just lots of everything. I bore easily!

Do you have any thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn? 

Mmm. I don’t like to get political. I will just say I would not have voted him in.

Suzi Quatro is appearing at Archway with  Words on 21st October. You can purchase tickets here.

Archway with Words is ten-day day festival and that there are more than 40 other events, with the programme here.

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