The story of Suzi Quatro has been told multiple times by now. The Detroit rocker was in the bands The Pleasure Seekers and Cradle with her sisters in the ’60s before moving across the Atlantic to work with Mickie Most at the start of the ’70s, in time for the glitter boom. Singles such as “Can the Can” and “Devil Gate Drive” were hits in Europe and Australia at a time when bands like Slade, T-Rex, Wizzard and the Bay City Rollers were huge.
That period in the ’70s, and a turn as Leather Tuscadero on Happy Days, helped Quatro really cement her status. It all looked like a ton of fun. But with the benefit of time, we're able to see just how important Quatro has been. Joan Jett says so at every available opportunity. Because Quatro was and is a bad-ass. She didn't over-sexualize herself to sell records — rather, she proved that she could go toe to toe with the men, wearing much the same leather gear. Forty years ago, no less.
Even better — at 68 years old, she sounds absolutely phenomenal. That her new album, No Control, has been released on SPV/Steamhammer — imprints usually associated with the heaviest of metal — is a massive statement. Because from the opening, “No Soul/No Control,” it's clear that Quatro means business here. It's a hard-edged, uncompromising rocker that showcases Quatro's still killer voice.
The album was written with her son Richard Tuckey. “This was our first attempt at writing and recording something together,” Quatro said on a press release accompanying the album. “The creative progress began with ‘Don’t Do Me Wrong.’ And, through this unusually beautiful English summer of 2018, we sat outside, acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, iPad recording app and lots of paper, throwing ideas back and forth.”
Not every song hits home — “Macho Man” and the following “Easy Pickings” fall flat. But that's swiftly rectified by the impossibly raunchy “Don't Do Me Wrong.”
Quatro has spent her career smashing glass ceilings, and now she's dancing in the shards. There are few artists of any gender putting out work this impressive at 68, but Quatro has never given a damn about other people's limits and boundaries. No Control is a triumph, all told.