Cinema Australia Original Content:
Directed by Liam Firmager
Starring Suzi Quatro, Cherie Currie, KT Tunstall, Joan Jett and Alice Cooper
by Gavin Bond
It’s hard to believe there hadn’t been a career spanning big screen documentary on trailblazing female rocker Suzi Quatro, up until now.
Aussie filmmaker Liam Firmager (Sticks and Stones, King of the Mountain) has rectified this curious oversight by helming this enlightening, slickly produced and unashamedly affectionate tribute to the enduring Detroit born bass guitarist.
And it’s only fitting that Suzi Q is an Australian produced and funded doco, as Suzi’s most fervent fans and followers are arguably, from right here downunder.
Not only did she dominate the charts in Australia throughout the 70’s, but, to this day, continues to tour each major city and play to a loyal band of head banging mature age audiences.
Backed by Screen Australia and Film Victoria, Suzi Q traces the leather clad bassist from her formative years in suburban Detroit, Michigan through to her first foray into rock music in the mid-60s, with her sisters Patti and Arlene in the all-girl band The Pleasure Seekers.
Suzi soon found herself plucked from obscurity, when she was discovered by British record producer Mickie Most and was capitulated to fame in the ‘70s, thanks to a string of hits (Can The Can, Devil Gate Drive, 48 Crash) penned by Australian born songwriter Nick Chapman and pal Nicky Chin, and Quatro’s undeniably charismatic persona and stage presence.
The film also follows the titular musician’s fall from grace in the rock world and her resultant dabbles in TV (Happy Days) and live theatre.
This engrossing expose also explores her relationship with ex-husband and guitarist Len Tuckey, and, thanks to the cutthroat nature of the industry, the splintering of her relationship with her siblings.
Using a deft combination of interviews, archival footage and live performances, this irresistible rockumentary will delight fans of the pint sized pioneer and nostalgic devotees of glam rock and its tacky costumes and boppy anthems.
The undisputed highlights of this revealing portrait, however, are the candid interviews with rock luminaries the likes of Debbie Harry, Alice Cooper and Joan Jett, and the honest self-deprecating musings of Quatro herself.
Like most insightful music documentaries, (Searching for Sugarman, The Devil and Daniel Johnson) Suzi Q not only educates the uninitiated on her career, but clearly illustrates the considerable inspirational influence Quatro had on budding female musicians and, regrettably, just how unjustly underappreciated, and virtually forgotten, she is in her native country.
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