“My mother would say, ‘Susan, you’re an angel until your halo slips and it becomes a noose.'” Suzi Quatro knows she’s cheeky. She always has been. “I am mischevious,” she says. “I take it as a compliment. My husband even calls me trouble.” Her brazen spirit—and that line about the “noose”—is the essence of the title track of Quatro’s 17th studio album The Devil In Me.
Following the release of No Control in 2019, and a halt to touring during the pandemic, Quatro was still revved up, releasing her documentary, Suzi Q by July of 2020, and returned back to her home studio with producer and son Richard Tuckey for The Devil In Me.
“‘The Devil In Me’ is the best album in my career to date,” says Quatro, who is rarely decelerated. Already working on the next album, her 18th, with son Tuckey, Quatro approached The Devil In Me with the same tenacity as her 1973 self-titled debut, which was the intent, ignited by Quatro’s incessant fire, bursting through its title track and the chunkier riffs riding through “Hey Queenie” and the anthemic “You Can’t Dream It,” Quatro is in full form. Originally a Christmas single released December 2020, Quatro reveals a slightly longer rendition of the more heartfelt “My Heart and Soul” and revs back up on “Get Outta Jail” and the sexier rocker “Do Ya Dance” then peels back the blues of the pandemic-fused “Isolation Blues,” singing It’s another day, in this twilight zone… I’m g and t ing, getting so high. It’s an alcoholic lullaby.
“You couldn’t get a better lockdown song than that,” says Quatro. “It’s one of my favorites, because it captures it. I put myself in that frame of mind. I think people who don’t drink are drinking.”
Throughout, Quatro runs circles around frenetic “I Sold My Soul,” a soulful “Love’s Gone Bad” and more provocative “In the Dark,” ending on the perfect hometown closer of “Motor City Riders.” Bonus tracks “Can I Be Your Girl” and “Desperado” are also included on the album’s LP version.
Mostly DIY during the pandemic, the video for “The Devil In Me” was also shot in Quatro’s garage, and she recorded the demos at her home studio, where she tracked her vocals, bass and guitar, before working with musicians at nearby studios to lay down other instruments, including keyboards, horns, and vocals.
In some ways, The Devil In Me is a continuation of Suzi Q, the life of a rock maestro that just keeps going… and going. “My life is always continuing,” says Quatro. “I don’t actually have a goal that I can reach. I just keep going. I’m this album right now, and this is what I want to say. I feel comfortable with me. I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve let go of painful times, and heartbreak, and all those kinds of things. We all kind of hold on to them, and there’s a reason we do that.”
Quatro admitting that she’s pulled a lot of great songs out of tough times. “It’s like you have a very comfortable pair of jeans, and they don’t fit anymore, but you won’t throw them out,” she says. “That’s how I feel about all this. I’m not throwing out a lot of my old jeans. I’m just breaking the pattern. Our comfort is in the memory of what we went through. I’ve got so many good songs out of those things, but now I’ve got new things.”
On her upcoming album, Quatro says she’s digging even deeper to her core.
“That’s what the journey in this lifetime is,” says Quatro. “It’s back to you. For me, it means that I have been in the business for 57 years. I’m now 70 years old, and I feel very comfortable, artistically. I feel comfortable in my skin… and in my leather suit.”