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Suzi Quatro has a new album out in August, 'In The Spotlight'. Joe Geesin catches-up with her for a chat about the new album...

The legendary 70s rocker is back with a fantastic new album on which she continues to sing and play bass. This album sees a full reunion with songwriter/producer Mike Chapman, who first worked with Suzi when she signed to Mickie Most's RAK label in the early 70s.

Suzi was a member of The Pleasure Seekers during the 60s, a band she joined aged just 14. They released several records throughout the 60s, but Suzi didn't find fame until she moved to England and recorded solo, hits including Can The Can, Devil Gate Drive and She's In Love With You. Big in the UK, Europe and Australia, Suzi is better known in America for her role as Leather Tuscadero in the sitcom Happ Days. Since the 80s Suzi has acted, DJ'd and performed in a West End production, but has continued to record and still tours.

Her new album. In The Spotlight, features 11 numbers that are typical Quatro rock'n'roll, ranging from 70s Glam to Riot Grrrl and a ballad or two thrown in too. There are three covers, Rhianna's Breaking Dishes, Goldfrapp's Strict Machine and Elvis' Hard Headed Woman. The closing track is a tribute to Elvis and it features The Jordanaires.

The CD is really enjoyable and worth checking out; expect a tour soon!

Joe How did you get back working with Mike Chapman?

Suzi We never really separated. We're good friends, we've collaborated on a few tracks over the years, and he oversaw my last album, Back To The Drive, which came out on EMI. Andy Scott from The Sweet produced the recording, Mike was more of an executive producer. It was kinda autobiographical and after that I did my book, Unzipped. That exorcised a lot of stuff and Mike said “Why don't I do your next album” and I gave him complete control, I trusted him, he made the decisions, and it all worked out great.

Joe The album features some different styles, was that intentional?

Suzi I think mostly it's just a rock'n'roll record, a few covers, a few of Mike's songs, a few of mine. I covered an Elvis song on there, he's been my hero, since I was about 5 years old. When I did the tribute song, Singing With Angels, the Jordonaires get 100s of requests a year and turn them down, but I did the track and within minutes they got back to me, saying it was the best one ever, and it was great to work with them on that.

Joe When will you be touring to support the album?

Suzi Not until the album's out, which is in August. I'm touring all the time, I've got gigs in Australia coming up, so we need to set something up in the UK, probably be early next year, by which time the album will have had time to settle in.

Joe Do you still enjoy playing live?

Suzi Are you kidding? I love it, I live for it, it is my life.

Joe Going back to the early 70s, how did you get to work with Mickie Most?

Suzi He came over to Detroit with Jeff Beck to do an album at Motown (with Cozy Powell, album remains unreleased) and he was invited to a gig I was doing. He then invited me over to England to work in his studios.

Joe Did you enjoy working with Mike Chapman back then?

Suzi I didn't know Mike back then, I was recording with Mickie and went on tour, by then he'd signed (Micky) Chinn & (Mike) Chapman as writers. I got working with them, working out my style, and they came up with Can The Can.

Joe What was it like recording with Donovan on the Cosmic Wheels album?

Suzi He was my hero, it was one of the reasons I signed with Mickie. I only did vocals on a couple of tracks but it was a lot of fun.

Joe Didn't you also play bass on Cozy Powell's Dance With The Devil?

Suzi I think I did. Yes, I did. I did a lot of sessions, if Mickie needed someone he'd call my band. I played with Mick Waller, Peter Frampton, a lot of people. I did the RAK Rocks Britain tour with Cozy Powell and The Arrows too.

Joe Were you surprised by your success in the UK?

Suzi I believed in what we were doing, otherwise you wouldn't be doing it. You don't work that hard unless you believe in it.

Joe How did you get the part of Leather Tuscadero? (a part in US sitcom Happy Days)

Suzi They had the part for a long time and couldn't cast it. Then the casting lady saw my picture in Rolling Stone, on her daughter's bedroom wall and she called me for an audition and it went from there.

Joe Was that your break into acting?

Suzi Yes, my first ever, it was excellent, I loved it.

Joe You've also appeared in stage productions, how does that compare with TV work?

Suzi I've done a West End production (Annie Get your Gun), my own musical too (Tallulah Who, based on the life of actress Tallulah Bankhead), I love theatre, it's different every night. It's a different discipline, you can't hide behind cameras, you have to be spot on every night. Even when I do live shows now I do a few numbers first to get warmed up so when you hit the stage you're ready.

Joe Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?

Suzi Not a lot, I would love to do a movie, a movie of my life would fun.

Joe Which musicians, dead or alive, would you most like to work with?

Suzi Elvis, Otis Redding, I'd love to play bass behind Billie holiday.

Joe Who are your influences?

Suzi As a bassist, James Jamerson, the original Motown bassist.

Joe What were the first and last records you bought?

Suzi My first was by Bobby Darin, when I was a child. The last was Adele.

Joe Will the Pleasure Seekers play together again?

Suzi I don't know, who knows? It would be fun. They were a teenage garage band, so I've not moved forward that much (laughs), but more girly, more bubblegum, now I have more attitude.

Joe Have you done any sessions that fans might not know about?

Suzi I think fans know them all now, with the power of the internet.

Joe Do you still have the leather catsuit?

Suzi I do, I still wear it onstage. I have some of my early ones in my Ego Room up on the third floor.

Joe Do you have any message for your fans?

Suzi Just stick with me, I'm not done shaking my ass.