An Introduction to the Music of Suzi Quatro

Recently I started listening to this chick called Suzy quarto. Quatro is best known as Leather Tuscadero in Happy Days, a show best remembered nowadays for the wacky episode in which the Fonz leapt over William F Buckley while the latter was out for a swim.

Unfortunately for Ms Quatro she was born two decades before women could get away with being this loud and raucous. As a result her career never reached the heights it should have outside of Europe, where nobody objected because they didn’t realize she was a girl – they had instead confused her with Robert Plant.

As an introduction to this much neglected artist I present here two of her best songs, along with a brief description of their subject matter.

“Devil Gate Drive” seems to be about a woman who has no idea what her daughters are getting up to. As far as I can make out, the younger one is working at the bowling alley as a shoe sniffer; the middle one is an escort who specializes in servicing out of town business men while wearing a clown costume; and the eldest, who I suspect is Suzy herself, is secretly the editor of High Times.

Eventually the old woman realizes what’s going on with her wayward brood and decides that the only way to end her family’s disgrace is to kill herself. She decides to do this by stealing the neighbor’s Chevy and tearing down a stretch of the interstate called Devil Gate Drive – hence the otherwise cryptic title “Devil Gate Drive”- and launching herself off a cliff. Unfortunately for Old Lady Quatro, her attempt to make a Chevy fly is thwarted when the car skids to a halt against a tree after hitting a large patch of skunk oil. I don’t know what skunk oil is either but don’t blame me, blame the people who wrote the song.

Overcome with frustration and disappointment the disgruntled mother flees to California where she starts a cult for people with an unreasonable hatred of anchovies.

Here is the video…

“Can the Can” is possibly Suzy’s most personal song, referencing as it does her days as a choirgirl in a Catholic church in Detroit. In this song we learn that young Suzy gave up hymns for Rock n Roll after realizing that the communion wafers were made by Guatemalan orphans who were paid in frijoles. The young and impressionable Quatro was very distressed by this even though at the time she had no idea what a frijol was.

This act of rebellion eventually led to a complete loss of faith and Suzy decided to dump all her Jesus memorabilia in the trash can, hence the line “Put your man in the can, honey. Dump him while you can.”