SUZI Q

Reviewed by GREG KING

Documentary

Director: Liam Firmager.

Suzi Q (2019)

An informative and comprehensive documentary about the legendary Suzi Quatro, the pint sized leather clad singer and bass player whose career has spanned five decades. She has sold something like 55 million records, and continues to tour and produce new music today. Quatro was something of a pioneer and trail blazer for female rock stars as she paved the way for a  number who followed like Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hinde and Cherie Curry. Quatro also established herself in the largely misogynistic and cut throat world of the rock music industry of the 70s.

It’s hard to believe that there hasn’t been a documentary about Quatro before now. But Melbourne filmmaker Liam Firmager (Brock: King Of The Mountain, etc) gained Quatro’s approval and full cooperation to make this revealing, definitive and insightful documentary, and he has been granted access to a wealth of archival material, live concert footage, and personal video footage, and extensive interviews with Quatro herself. She is quite open about her success and her personal life.

This entertaining and insightful film follows her from her childhood in Detroit, where she was born into a musical family, to her first experiences singing with her sisters in a group called The Pleasure Seekers at the age of fourteen. This lead to her heading off to London to pursue a solo career, under the auspices of producer Mickie Most, who had worked with the likes of The Animals and Lulu, which caused a rift with her sisters.

Quatro was introduced to songwriting and producing team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who wrote some of her biggest hits including her breakthrough #1 hit Can The Can, the first of a number of chart topping hits. But while she regularly topped the charts in Australia and Europe, she failed to make inroads in the biggest market of all, the US market. The US never really bought into the whole glam rock era. The film considers reasons for this. It wasn’t until her appearance as Leather Tuscadero in the popular 70s sitcom Happy Days that American audiences finally began to notice her. But ironically she is still remembered more for her role in the series than for her music in the States.

The documentary also reveals more about her little known work in musical theatre, including a lead role in a West End production of Annie Get Your Gun and a musical she wrote about actress Talulah Bankhead.

Revealing interviews with the likes of Alice Cooper, Henry Winkler, Cherrie Currie and former husband and bandmate Len Tuckey give us further insight in Quatro’s drive and determination. But it is the candid interviews with her family that give the material some real bite.

Firmager spent four years working on this documentary and has done a superb job in assembling a wealth of material. Suzi Q cements her rightful place in the pantheon of female rock stars, and is a must see for fans.

★★★★

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