Suzi Quatro is a trailblazing musician and still proving she's the Queen Of Rock N' Roll. One of the very first female musicians of the genre to break through into the mainstream, the bassist, songwriter and vocalist remains an inspiration as she strides into her fifth decade as a player with over 55 million record sales.
In this new episode of Rotosound's Our Generation YouTube series (opens in new tab) below, Suzi Quatro reflects on her incredible journey as an icon and looks forward with her latest album, a career benchmark The Devil In Me, written with her guitar player son, Richard Tuckey.
"A lot of people who know me well say it looks like I was born with a bass in my hands," reflects Suzi. "When we took family trips, because with five kids you don't fly because it costs too much money so we drove, and we all would have little sing-songs in the car and we would all take our harmony notes. And my dad would always be in the front going [mimics bassline] and I used to think, that's just the best part!"
Growing up surrounded by instruments and accompanying her dad to his weekend gigs, Suzi became a multi-instrumentalist, learning classical piano and the playing drums at high school. By 14 she was the bassist by default in her first rock band, The Pleasure Seekers, alongside her sisters, with her father giving her a 1957 Fender Precision to use. "The Rolls Royce of basses," as Suzi notes now.
"I put it on, started to play and it was perfect," she remembers. And she still has it, as you can see in the video above. "I can't remember using any other strings," she adds. "I've been using Rotosound forever."
After pairing with producer Mickie Most, followed by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, Suzi came to the UK to find her solo sound and launch her career, with her second single Can The Can hitting number one in 1973. She became the first female bass player to become a rockstar.
Suzi now celebrates her career with two-hour solo shows in prestigious venues including Sydney Opera House and The Albert Hall alongside her son and guitarist Richard Tuckey. Another Rotosound player, he has collaborated with his mother on her last two studio albums.
"Richard's been in bands since he was 14, the same as his mum," notes Suzi.
While Suzi relies on Rotosound Swing Bass 66 hybrid gauge bass strings (opens in new tab), Richard favours the UK company's Roto Blues hybrids (opens in new tab). "I've only ever used Rotosound… the first set of strings I ever bought were Roto blues 10-52s and I've never looked back," says Richard. "Unless I'm tuning to E flat and I use Roto Reds. (opens in new tab) But I've got 40 guitars and 30 of them have got Rotosound Blues on them."