Suzi Quatro built a legendary – and long-lasting – rock career by putting two fingers on convention. A woman who plays the bass guitar and wears leather? Put it on, she said (and still says) at the age of 70.
It was the same with her private life. For 27 years she has had an outright rock & # 39; n & # 39; roll marriage. While she lives in an Elizabethan mansion in Essex – with a moat, please – her husband, the German rock promoter Rainer Haas, lives in Germany. Wonderfully unconventional, but ultimately harmonious, she always insisted on it.
“My life is about travel anyway, and he promotes my shows so we can be together when we're out and then travel to see each other.
Suzi Quatro (pictured), who lives in an Elizabethan mansion in Essex, built a legendary and long-lasting rock career by putting two fingers on convention
& # 39; He lives 15 minutes from Hamburg Airport. I live 15 minutes from Stansted, ”she explains. What could possibly go wrong?
Answer: a global pandemic. After Suzi had spent much of the year behind her moat – and separated from her husband longer than they were both satisfied, she fought Covid. Alone. Or more precisely, just with the ghosts in her house (yes, she has several, she says) as consolation.
She admits that the disease has put her down. Occasionally used to a champagne breakfast (another of her rock & # 39; n & # 39; roll habits), she was bedridden for five days with no appetite and without her husband.
“I slept 18 out of 24 hours and didn't really eat for six days, save for a few bites. I would drag myself downstairs to heat up some soup, ”she says.
The miracle is that today she is upright and strong enough to carry one of her famous guitars, which is an accomplishment in itself. It sounds like what got them through was sheer determination.
Her husband, the German rock promoter Rainer Haas (pictured together), lives in Germany in an environment that she has always described as wonderfully unconventional, but ultimately harmonious
As soon as I could get up, I tried to keep moving, going up and down the stairs, changing sheets, and raising my arms.
"It was important to regain that strength," she says.
When she married Rainer in 1993, living separately seemed of course a reasonable compromise. At that time, Rainer did not want to leave his homeland, where he had a sick mother, and so Suzi planned to move to Germany with Laura and Richard, their two children from their first marriage to her fellow musician Len Tuckey. In the eleventh hour, she confesses, her feet got cold.
& # 39; It was quite a situation. He actually bought a house with the thought that I would move there with the children. I realized it wasn't going to work and I said, "I just can't do this." & # 39;
She says she is by nature a "half full glass person" and before Covid, she might find the humor in her facility. & # 39; He's a strange guy. He lives like a bachelor in Hamburg – I don't mean he's messed up. We are very direct with one another and our marriage is based on trust. I mean more that he doesn't use his kitchen.
“I don't think he ever turned the stove on. He lives in a bachelor museum. & # 39;
Suzi (pictured in the Netherlands in 1993) made a career by acting tireless but admitted that she was on the ground after catching coronavirus
She now loves a busy house and kitchen. Unfortunately, she believes that is what led her to sign Covid.
In early November, Suzi woke up at 3:30 a.m. with a splitting headache. A few nights earlier, after having been "very careful" for weeks, she had hosted a curry night at her house – one last hurray before the second lockdown.
Her daughter Laura, "Part of My Bladder", came with Suzi's 12 year old grandson Taylor. The virus was unknown to all of them. “We followed all the rules too, and I was so careful about doing that. I was in Germany for a gig and flew with my mask on, took all the precautions and used the disinfectant – then I got it at home even though we followed the rules but we think Taylor must have it in the School. Laura got sick and tested positive, then he was positive too. It was like a domino effect. & # 39;
A week later she was supposed to have a routine Covid test before flying to Germany, but when she started showing symptoms, Suzi called her doctor.
“I had neither a fever nor a cough. I had a slight metallic taste in my mouth, but mostly it was just this headache and exhaustion like I had never felt before. I was completely alone and just got up to do what needed to be done. My husband was on Skype the whole time, and so was my daughter. We joked about how awful we both looked. It wasn't sexy! She said she looked like Kathy Bates in Misery. & # 39;
Suzi (pictured) has a recording studio on the premises of her home and insisted that work be her salvation
There was something from the horror movie.
Didn't she suddenly feel vulnerable when she was alone in her hospital bed?
She made a career because she looked tireless, but that was a completely different situation. "I refuse to think in those terms," she says. “I had every confidence that everything would be fine. I wouldn't let that stop me. And it doesn't. I had another test earlier this week and it's negative. Covid has left the building! & # 39;
Perhaps applause for Ms. Quatro's lungs for crediting them with their recovery. Her unmistakably gritty singing voice may sound like she's been drinking cigarettes and alcohol for a lifetime, but actually she hasn't.
The only habit she has is in the gym. She is Ms. Superfit and Ms. Fearless.
“I've been training my lungs for 56 years. I go on the treadmill every morning. I do yoga. Getting fit enough to be on stage – singing, dancing, screaming – takes work, you know! My doctor has confirmed that it helped me fight off Covid, thank god. «
Isn't she just like any other 70 year old then? "I'm nothing like a 70 year old."
Whether she needs to rethink her marriage agreements now and become a bit more Mr and Mrs Traditional remains to be decided, but it is clear today that Suzi is desperate to see her husband.
Lockdown was a test too far for marriage, she admits. “I missed my husband. I didn't see him in the first lock for three months and we were never apart for that long. It was pretty hard. We skype every morning and I would cry and say "I miss you, I love you". It was annoying. & # 39; Boring too, she admits. "It's basically the same conversation every day."
She does have a recording studio on the premises, however, so work became her savior. Her 36-year-old son Richard, who is also a musician, came to help. "I just started writing, sat on the terrace and missed my husband." This resulted in an album. “I don't think I've ever been this creative in my life. Creation keeps me alive. & # 39;
She is especially proud of a song called My Heart and Soul (I Need You Home for Christmas), which is about having her husband back home for the festive season.
Will it be possible? & # 39; Hopefully. That's the plan, but it was complicated because he had to have an operation on his eyes. Cataracts. But he'll book the flight tomorrow! & # 39;
She's not a sloppy person, but the song is slower and smoochier than some of her better-known numbers. The video is also outrageously wistful. It shows home shots from a Christmas morning when their children were little and the house was full of presents and laughter. 'My son's idea. The video is from 1990. It was actually the first year Rainer spent Christmas with us, and we watched hours of footage to choose parts that we thought would work. It was very emotional. The piano I play is the one I've had here since I moved in in 1980. & # 39;
She was about to turn off the home video and thought they had enough for her needs, but for some reason they kept watching until the end. “And there was this picture of Rainer who just smiled into the camera. I had never seen this footage before. & # 39;
During the video it seems like Rainer is on the sidelines. & # 39; He was. It was the first year. He hardly knew the children at the time. It was really quite uncomfortable. & # 39;
It got more convenient. Since then, Rainer has made it home every Christmas. In the late 1990s her family started working so well that she had two husbands a day for a year.
By then, my first husband, Len, had split up with his girlfriend, and he had lost his parents and brother in quick succession, and I didn't want him to be alone. Rainer said yes, he could come, but on one condition – he cooked Christmas dinner. So he did it! & # 39;
This year only a few (hopefully) Rainer and their children will take part in a reunited Christmas party.
And then? Will there have to be a rethinking of how their marriage works? She doesn't insist. “I can't see we're ever living in one place permanently, but maybe we want to spend longer together – two or three weeks at a time, not just a few days. Hopefully when the gigs start again next year we can go back to normal. & # 39; This is normal, this is not normal at all.
We're talking about Zoom today, with Suzi surely cocooned in her office. Are there sunglasses next to her? & # 39; Yes, I have 800 pairs. I collect them. My husband arranged it for me on one of his visits. & # 39;
What is immediately clear is that this is not a woman who loves wild life.
First, she is meticulous about order, "lost" without a tour schedule in hand. She's also a kind of housewife who makes her guests take off their shoes in case they mess up her spotless carpet.
On the third floor of her house is a room that she has turned into a living museum. Some of her favorite leather overalls are in here. Others have broken up over the years because they are difficult to turn on and off. Countless guitars, awards, posters, her big red book This Is Your Life. "I call it the ego space," she says. “I invented a brass sign. It's called Ego Room, Mind Your Head. & # 39;
In her day, Suzi Quatro sold 50 million records and had the life they make biographies about. Indeed, there is one coming up to help write with. Miley Cyrus was asked to play her, but she doesn't think Miley is small enough.
“I don't think she's the right one. She's a pretty tall girl and the character who plays me has to be compact. & # 39; Your first choice would be Scarlett Johansson. "There is something about it that I recognize as my mood, something to do with being sexy without trying to be sexy."
Suzi performed in her hometown of Detroit at the age of 14, then left her family band to pursue her own ambitions (which drew her father's wrath). She adored Elvis but, to her eternal regret, declined the opportunity to meet him.
Prince Charles complimented her on her legs ("the best legs since Tina Turner," he judged), she was dating Debbie Harry and was Alice Cooper's best friend.
She even shot him in the face once – although they were playing with darts at the time for clarification. Cooper now plays golf, a fact Suzi accepts (& # 39; I'm a squash person myself & # 39;). Her own hellishly stimulating anecdotes don't exist, which may explain her longevity in both business and life.
& # 39; I am Catholic. I'm pretty square and always have been. I'm not a sex, drug, or rock & # 39; n & # 39; roll girl. I am really a married girl. I've been married twice and had a year in the middle and it wasn't for me at all. & # 39;
Not a sudden discovery that you loved one-night stands? & # 39; No way. I must be in love & # 39;
Suzi Q has always been sexy, however, which is the confusion. She absolutely insists that the leather catsuits – actually their trademark – weren't a smart marketing ploy. Yes, they were her (male) manager's idea, but at the time she considered them practical.
& # 39; To me, they were wild. I didn't see her as sexy. Even now I see a sweet sexuality, not a threatening one. I was never really broken. & # 39;
She still wears her leather for work, she adds. They fit?! & # 39; Most of them. I still wear the same size jeans. & # 39; Is there a minimum age for wearing leather catsuits?
She stares at me: "I don't have a minimum age for anything!"
My heart and soul (I need you home for Christmas) are out now.
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