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“Suzi Q” – revisiting the life and career of Suzi Quatro



American rock musician, Suzi Quatro, is often referred to as the “Godmother of Rock” by many of her fans and peers. She was part of a growing female rock community in the late ‘70s and was recognized for her contribution to the genre. This black leather-wearing bassist has sold more than fifty million records and has also starred in movies and television shows, most notably as Leather Tuscadero on the ABC sitcom Happy Days.

But that’s the Suzi Quatro we know of today. Five decades ago, the situation was quite different, and her identity in the music industry was often questioned by those who put commercial success over everything else.

“Suzi Q,” the documentary on Suzi Quatro, takes us back to the early days of the singer-songwriter’s career and tells the story from the exact moment she entered the American rock scene, to the point we’re at today. It’s a story about struggles, hardships, coming to terms with certain facts, and how Quatro, as a female musician, managed to plod through everything that stood between her and her success as a musician.

The film itself is quite incredible. It does a fine job in depicting the struggles Quatro had to go through in order for her to gain fame in the United States, the drama (or feud, as many prefer to call it) with her family, her projects after music, and what she’s been up to more recently.

“Suzi Q” includes exclusive interviews from Debbie Harry, Alice Cooper, Henry Winkler, Cherie Currie, and a few other personalities who’ve interacted with Quatro during her active days. Appearances by Joan Jett, Lita Ford, KT Tunstall, Kathy Valentine, and others, who were inspired by the female rocker in leather. These interviews, in my opinion, were vital to understanding Quatro as an individual and separating the art from the artist.

One of the key takeaways from the film was how underappreciated Quatro was in her own home turf, both figuratively and literally. Her songs were more popular in Europe and Australia than they were here in the United States. She was not really seen as a commercially successful artist and was identified as someone who couldn’t live up to the expectations of the average American crowd.

But perhaps the saddest part of being rejected by your own people is when they’re related to you by blood. There seems to be some bad blood within the Quatro family. Watch this part for yourself, we’ll skip on all the details.

The rest of the film focuses mostly on her music, her ups and downs in the industry, and how she overcame the odds to become a trailblazer in the industry. The film also portrays the reality of the industry back then where sexism was everywhere you looked, and all aspiring female artists had to tear their way through these cases of sexism.

All in all, “Suzi Q” is a very well-structured documentary and has a tone that’s both bittersweet yet triumphant. Suzi Quatro has inspired many female artists over the years and continues to do so even to this day. We saw her perform at the 2020 She Rocks Awards, where young girls in the audience were blown away by her performance and tenacity. This documentary will find itself in the pages of history as the film that brought forward the reality of the ‘70s rock scene for female artists and the true story behind the icon, Suzi Quatro, who made it through the odds and lived a life she chose.

Tara Low


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