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Sex: Suzi Quatro

Were you popular with the boys at school?

Yes I was, but I was a playmate, a tomboy. I was just one of the gang. I liked to have lots of boy friends and just two girl friends.

When did you notice that boys were taking more interest in you?

Hmm, when did it matter? [Laughs] I guess with my first boyfriend, when I was fourteen. I was a relationships person, I was with him for three years.

Did being in your first band, the Pleasure Seekers, attract more sexual attention?

I didn’t think of it in that way. I had the entertainment gene in me. I started to see that I was sexy when the jumpsuit came in with the band. I only saw that quality when I looked back at pictures about a year later and I went: “Ooh!”

What was the spark with Len Tuckey, your guitarist who you were in a relationship with for twenty years?

He was a big guy, I liked that, and he played good guitar, and was kind and cute. That’s my kind of combination.

Were you propositioned by other stars?

Oh sure. And just because you’re in a relationship, you’re not dead. I had offers, but you walk away. I didn’t go out with very many other musicians because there was a feeling it was not the right thing to do; it’s like screwing your secretary. The famous story is when Alice Cooper and I had The Big Kiss.

Yeah, let’s talk about that.

This is way before Len, before I left America, so about 1970. Alice and I were good friends, and attracted to each other. We had a big smooch, and then we pulled apart and went: “Uh-uh!” I didn’t want to go all the way. It wasn’t right, Alice is a better friend.

_Nothing with Iggy Pop either? _

No. I didn’t even fancy Iggy. Not my type at all. Nice guy, and interesting to be around because his dad was a psychiatrist.

What about your hero, Elvis? If he’d tipped you the wink…

I talk a lot about that in my one-woman show, Unzipped. I had a lot of epiphanies with him that started when I was six and I decided I was going to be like him. I looked up to him too much. He’d be an inspiration, not a boyfriend.

Okay, on to your iconic, sexy leather look. Whose idea was that?

The leather was my idea, because it came from Elvis’s_ ’68 Comeback Special_. [Producer] Mickie Most was dead against it. He said: “Leather’s been done, it’s old-fashioned.” And I said: “Not by me it hasn’t.” Then he came up with the jumpsuit.

A friend of mine remembers seeing you on TV in the seventies with your jumpsuit and Precision bass, and that it was the first time he ‘felt funny’.

Yeah, I helped a lot of men through puberty. Men all the time say to me: “I had your picture on my wall.” And I say: “Oh, that’s nice.” And then they proceed to tell me the details. What am I supposed to do with that information?! I think the reason they tell me is because in a way I was there [laughs].

What was underneath the jumpsuit?

You can’t wear anything underneath something like that. Just a G-string. And socks, as otherwise your boots will rub. People tell me: “You were sexy because you were cute and it was natural.” I think if I’d had big boobs I wouldn’t have had quite the same effect.

Jo Kendall
Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.