At the top of two twisting staircases in Suzi Quatro’s rambling old manor, there is a room full of memorabilia she calls ‘‘the ego room’’. ‘‘To get to the ego room is not easy,’’ she says. ‘‘There’s a big, heavy wooden door with a little sign I had made that says ‘Ego Room: Mind your Head’. You go in and there’s the red This is Your Life book, posters all over the walls, stage passes, pictures, scrapbooks, jumpsuits, guitars, CDs and videotapes. I will send people up there, they don’t come down again for like three days. I don’t know what it is. But the important thing is that when you come out, you shut the door.’’
So it wasn’t ego, she says with heavy emphasis, that motivated her to agree when Australian filmmaker Liam Firmager approached her with his idea for a documentary about her life. She had been nursing the same idea for years – she had worked with another director on a similar project 10 years ago, ultimately without success – because she wants, as she puts it, ‘‘to set the record straight’’. To tell her story ‘‘because it hasn’t all been wonderful’’ and to establish her rightful place in rock’n’roll history.
Quatro had a cluster of hits in 1973 and 1974, including Can the Can and Devil Gate Drive, trailing off through the ’70s until she fell from the charts altogether at the end of the decade. By that time, however, she had a loyal audience, especially in Australia – she is currently on her 37th tour – and an image burned into the collective retina of a little leather-clad belter with a bass guitar, a lone woman in rock’s closed shop of men. ‘‘A lot of times I do interviews and they say ‘oh, you were one of the first’,’’ she says. ‘‘And I say ‘no, I wasn’t one of the first. I was the first’. That belongs to me.’’