Uno, Dos, Tres…. Quatro!
Elvis wanted to meet her, she’s lived it up with the likes of Led Zeppelin and rocked along with the Rolling Stones. She started touring at the age of 14 and, at 66, is still on the road today!
Having sold over 50 million records worldwide, hits Can The Can and Devil Gate Drive among them, the Detroit-born, Britain-based chart-topper also found fame as a Hollywood actress, starring as Leather Tuscadero alongside the Fonz in Happy Days, while in 1990, she landed the lead in Annie get your Gun in London’s West End.
Angela Sara West talks to Suzi Quatro about how she’s still going hell for leather, how she became ‘Doctor’ Suzi, and why the Spanish island of Mallorca is just the ticket when it’s time for some well-deserved time out.
What have you been up to lately?
I’m always busy… always creating… I’m now Doctor Quatro – I received an honorary doctorate of music from Cambridge University last October. It’s a great honour. I will be doing lectures and everything!”
Tell me about your latest books…
My poetry book, Through My Eyes, has now been released worldwide and I’m about to release my first fiction/novel, The Hurricane.
You recently formed a supergroup…
Yes, Quatro, Scott and Powell (QSP) comprises me, Andy Scott (Sweet’s guitarist) and Don Powell (Slade’s drummer). We released our album in Australia (on Sony) for my tour. We were my support group, so I supported myself! The album, QSP, made the Top 20.
And you’ll be touring the UK later this year on the Legends Live tour, which has previously seen Dionne Warwick and Roberta Flack take to the stage…
It’s going to be excellent! I am ‘headlining’ myself. Other acts include David Essex, The Osmonds and Hot Chocolate. An evening of hits… what could be better?!!
Any other projects we can look forward to?
I have been offered to do UNZIPPED (my autobiography) – Part 2. I’m considering it… I’m also working on a new album, yet to be announced.
You famously once said “I will retire when I go on stage, shake my ass, and there is silence.” What motivates you to keep working and touring?
Simple. I love what I do. I was put on this earth to entertain and communicate… and will do so until my dying day!
Every rocker needs a place to chill, so where does the first woman of Rock’n’Roll go to unwind?
Mallorca. My husband (tour promoter, Rainer Haas) and I have a home in the south-west of the island.
How long have you owned your property there and how often do you visit?
We bought our home around 13 years ago and head there around four times a year.
Can you describe your property?
It’s an apartment in a modern development on the highest point in Bendinat, on the luxury estate of Sa Vinya. You can see the water and the mountains, as well as a golf course. It’s a small place, just for two, which is ideal for us since we have two big homes in England and Germany. We actually bought the show flat, because we already had two homes – one in Essex and one in Hamburg – and we just wanted ‘easy’ on our holiday place.
How you have decorated your property? Is it typically Spanish in style?
It was typically Spanish, having been decorated by a Spanish firm, but we have changed it around, thrown out some of the furniture and personalized it, especially with art, statues, photos and big-screen TVs. Once we started living in it, we saw what worked and what didn’t work for us.
As an avid art collector, what pieces have you added to your home there?
We brought in all the art on the walls and threw away anything that was there already. We now have lots of personal photos, miniature cars and shoes, wine racks… it really is very much us, but still Spanish in texture.
You’re also a fan of feng shui…
I think it does some good to de-clutter… in a room, in your life, in your mind….
What attracted you to the island, and the Bendinat area in particular?
My husband came to Mallorca before me and recommended it for a family vacation. Before we bought our apartment, we’d been visiting for around six years. We’ve gradually grown to feel very at home there. Mallorca’s very pretty and feels safe to me. The island’s natural beauty, tranquility and low crime rate are among my reasons for buying there. You also have a choice of noise or total quiet. We get to relax, get the sun, go to restaurants and shop. It’s a place to unwind.
How do you like to spend your time there?
I like to swim, jog, sunbathe and read a little. Then I go to the port, Puerto Portals in Portals Nous which, I think, is the nicest harbour on the island, and drink my coffee whilst reading The Daily Mail newspaper. This is my ritual.
Which are your favourite hangouts on the island?
The Japanese restaurant, Tahini, in Puerto Portals is one of my favourites. There’s a great place in Deià we always go to – Josef Sauerschell’s Es Raco d`es Teix. We also love Olivera at Castell Son Claret (a restored castle) in Calvià. At the port, we go to Flanigan… it’s always packed and has a small, but excellent, menu.”
Where do you head for retail therapy?
Shopping-wise, I like going to Palma and Puerto Portals.
How’s your Spanish?
I spoke Spanish in school and although I don’t speak it now, I know that if I tried it would all come back. Sometimes, when you shop it can take forever to get something as simple as a hairdryer, just because you don’t know the Spanish word for it!
Do you feel fully-integrated? Do you get involved in local fiestas/customs?
I’m not a local. This takes many, many years. It’s a vacation place. We have some friends there and our next-door neighbors are great people.
Do you mingle with other big names in this playground for the rich & famous?
I’m not really a mingler… although we do run into each other. Stan and Viv Boardman are friends we dine with.
Any downsides to living there?
Well, this is the first house my husband and I have bought together, i.e. sharing every cost. So, being new at this, we argued about every pot and pan! It was very funny and a lesson well learned on how to ‘share’!!
Do you ever visit the mainland or other Spanish islands?
I’ve been to Ibiza and the mainland, touring there in the 70’s and visiting in the 90’s, and I did a gig in a bullring about 13 years ago. I like Barcelona very much.
What would be your perfect day on the island?
Up at 7am for a jog down the hill and back up again, then cool down and stop sweating! The temperature should not be too hot – I prefer spring. Then off to Puerto Portals, where I religiously buy my English newspaper. I then have my quiet couple of cups of coffee and do the crosswords. After that, I stop at the grocery store and pick up a few things before heading back to the house. I sunbathe while reading or playing Yahtzee (I can’t just lay there) interrupted by some swimming. At 6:15 pm it’s The Weakest Link on TV and we then go out somewhere to eat. A couple of glasses of wine or champagne while we watch a movie, then sleep time. A perfect day…
Is the island a source of inspiration for your music?
It’s more a source of inspiration when I am writing my books and preparing my radio shows… Quatrophonic on BBC Radio 2, themed each week.
Finally, what does Mallorca mean to you?
Mallorca means escape, peace and quiet, and the best thing about it is that it’s easy to get to from the UK, so no jet lag. I have enough of that for a lifetime in my profession!
Suzi’s poetry book, Through My Eyes, is available worldwide and keep an eye out for her forthcoming novel, The Hurricane, out in June (both New Haven Publishing Ltd). Listen to Suzi’s radio show, Quatrophonic, on BBC Radio 2: www.bbc.co.uk/radio2. Find out more about Suzi’s Legends Live Tour at: https://legendslive.org. Further information is available on Suzi’s website: www.suziquatro.com