Queens of noise The Runaways. The groundbreaking Ramones. The great Joan Jett. All three cite Suzi Quatro as a major influence on how they made music. Hell, Joan Jett is still rockin’ that vibe today. On March 29, Quatro’s new record No Control dropped, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that her son Richard Tuckey played a big role in this project.
Says Quatro: “This was our first attempt at writing and recording something together. The creative progress began with ‘Don’t Do Me Wrong.’ And, through this unusually beautiful English summer of 2018, we sat outside, acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, iPad recording app, and lots of paper, throwing ideas back and forth.” The chemistry between Quatro and her son? Blinding. No Control shines like a diamond in the sun.
Right off the bat, she hits you with “No Soul-No Control,” which sounds like something The Runaways might’ve recorded back in the day. Big energy, lots of punky swagger, and full-on guitar. However, this isn’t punk or hard rock. This is Suzi channeling music from her soul, music she’s grown up and grown with. The best way to describe No Control? Think Chuck Berry. “Too Much Monkey Business,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene.” Now imagine Suzi Quatro interpreting Berry’s sound and style, and killing it I might add.
Track four, “Love Isn’t Fair,” has a late 50’, early 60’s feel to it; track seven, “Bass Line,” is early-to-mid-70s-inspired pop, and track ten, “I Can Teach You To Fly,” is very much an ode to 60s bubblegum fare. Where’s the riff rock, you ask? Fear not, track one, “No Soul-No Control,” track five “Macho Man,” and track nine, “Heavy Duty,” are straightforward, guitar-driven rockers with a smidge of 70s glam mixed in.
I love the diversity of No Control because it feels genuine and real, not manufactured. When I hear this music, I imagine this is what Quatro experienced creatively as she navigated the writing and recording sessions with her son. I feel like the 11 songs that comprise No Control paint a picture, a roadmap even, of who Suzi Quatro is now and how she arrived here with this record. Musically, this is her story growing up in the fifties, coming of age in the 60s, and dominating 70s rock. The cohesion that keeps this record together is the essence of Quatro herself, and that’s why No Control works so well.
There’s both a maturity and playfulness to this disc. I like what she and her son have created and hope their partnership continues with future releases. No Control is classic Suzi Quatro doing what she does best: making music on her terms, no one else’s. Buy this record, and let it grow on you. Then, check out her back catalog. It all comes together. You’ll thank me later.
Remember this: Suzi Quatro is the undisputed queen of strong, female rockers, past and present. She, along with Tina Turner, Debbie Harry, and later, Patti Smith, paved the way for artists like Cherie Currie, Pat Benatar, Siouxsie Sioux, PJ Harvey, and Courtney Love, to name a few. No Control is Quatro’s rock ‘n’ roll manifesto, circa 2019. Long live rock, and long live Suzi Quatro.