In the act of what can only be called musical multi-tasking, Suzi Quatro put her in-between concert time to excellent use with the release of a six-track EP called Uncovered, which has six cover versions of songs that have been an influence on her music and career.
Here, Suzi talks with MetalTalk’s Mark Rotherham about her song choices for Uncovered.
Bad Moon Rising
“I had to go through my whole choice of stuff,” Suzi says. “Fifty-eight years in the business, and I didn’t want to do the predictable, but I did want to remain true to what influenced me as I was growing up. I love Creedence Clearwater, and when my son suggested a Creedence Clearwater song, and I said, we’re doing Bad Moon Rising.
“That’s the one track I wanted out of all of them. I wanted to write to John Fogarty and tell him this. It felt like it could have been a Suzi single when you hear it on the album. It just is so me, is it not? It’s so natural to whatever I am. That song is natural to me. I love it. And he did Susie Q too, so I had to return the favour.”
“I did that when I was fifteen in the first band I was in, The Pleasure Seekers. It was always a big crowd-pleaser. And very few songs have an intro that is instantly recognisable, but that’s one of them. I think I did a good job on it. I Suzi-fied it but I still stuck to the original.”
I Feel The Earth Move
“My son suggested this. I was kept alive in my first eighteen months here in London by myself before I had success. I was kept alive by the Tapestry album. So I said absolutely to anything from that album. He played me the live version that Carole King did and I thought, yeah, I can rock that just a little bit more. So it meant something to me to do this.”
Walking The Dog
“That’s a real riff song from the sixties. If you were a cover band, which we were back then, there were certain songs you did that any band must do, and that was one of them. I love it. And if you don’t get it right, you don’t get it right. It’s got a groove to it, and not everybody can do that, but we sat in there nicely. And again, I put my own stamp on it vocally and my own kind of baseline.”
“That was my son’s suggestion. I can’t do anything unless I adore it, or I can’t do it right. I didn’t know the track, and I wasn’t crazy about the idea, but this is the one he insisted on. By the time it was done, I was just absolutely in love with it. And so many people have picked it as their favourite track because it’s unusual for a woman to do that track.
“I was so mad. My son got it right. People said it’s just that your voice sits there nicely on that track. It’s very cool, but I didn’t get it until it was done, and now I see what it is. And I’m a James Brown fan anyway, but I do like saying I’m a bad mother.”
This is another good example of Suzi and her son working really well together. “Yes,” Suzi says. “He had the balls to say, ‘trust me, and I know I’m right.’ And he was right. Absolutely, correct.”
Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay
“This has been a favourite of mine since the day I heard it. I’ve always wanted to record it, always wanted to do a spiritual version of it. I always felt that he almost knew what was coming, you know, and I wanted to record it with that flavour. It’s like you’re almost not here anymore. And the funny thing is, when I interviewed Steve Cropper, who just wonderfully guested on guitar for me, he co-wrote that song and produced and played guitar with Otis Redding, and I just love him.
“When I did a big documentary on Otis Redding for BBC Radio Two, I went to see Steve. He said Otis had called him quite late one night, like eleven at night and said, ‘I’m on my way over. I want to put a bit of this song down that I’ve got an idea for.’ Steve actually said, ‘can’t you wait?’ Otis said, ‘No, no, no, this has to be done now.’
“So he came over, and they cobbled it together. I think the drummer came in, and maybe one other person. They just put down the basics. He didn’t even have another verse. So he whistled, right? And about a week and a half later, Otis was dead, and the company called, and they said, ‘do you have anything we can release?’ And Steve said, ‘well, I’ve got this track that we started to do.’
“So he had to organise it and put it all together, and he got everybody in, and they finished it off. Steve said, ‘It didn’t hit me what I’d done until I put the waves out at the beginning and then I cried.’
“So, that track was released posthumously, and so I thought, one day I want to record that, but I want to do it spiritually. I sent it to Steve, and he said, ‘I absolutely love this version, and I’m happy to put some guitar on for you.’ He played wonderfully on it. Doesn’t he just drop in those little bits of icing on the cake, you know? And I’m really glad I did it, and I love singing it. I love singing it that way. And I think Otis, God bless him, I’m sure he’s happy with what I do with his track.”
For more details of Uncovered and Suzi tour dates for 2023, visit http://www.suziquatro.com.