The Quatro Sisters and their bands/CD's:
The Pleasure Seekers "What a Way to Die" (available now on CD Baby and major outlets)
Cradle "the history" (available now on CD Baby and major outlets)
Limited Edition T-shirts available at www.quatrorock.com
DISCOVER THE FULL PIONEERING JOURNEY OF THE ORIGINAL "GIRLS FROM THE GARAGE"....
THE QUATRO SISTERS, AND THEIR MUSIC AT WWW.QUATROROCK.COM.
DETROIT ROCK CITY, 1964…
Detroit in the 1960’s was musical ground zero for everything from Motown to the MC5…
In that time of social and political unrest…
Before the Vietnam conflict,
Before the Women’s Lib movement,
Before the Summer of love,
The Quatro sisters started a revolution for WOMEN WHO ROCK!
In the 60’s, deep in the shadows of Motown, in garages and basements of the blue collar, Motor City, a young generation of teens were reacting to an explosion of new rock music. Teenage angst and nowhere to put it but the music….and they did! Driven by the industrial strength of their Detroit roots, musicians became infused with the influence of Motown colliding with the British Invasion, and later acid rock, spewing forth a raw, “gritty” new rock sound, full of sheer primal ferocity. It took a special, raw kind of manic energy to try and defy a destiny of work in the shadows of car plants, and it drove kids into those instruments with frenzied determination, unlike anywhere else in the country. Detroit’s “guitar army” was a way to grasp the ever-elusive “cool” and, in their unspoken hope, to find the fastest, loudest way out of the surburbs, past Detroit, and on to the stars. Turning the music into something more than musical entertainment, Detroit music became a lifestyle, spanning decades. “Music was not simply weaved into the culture, as in other cities…….it WAS the culture.” In that amazing rock era of the roots of Detroit’s musical legacy, there existed a silent scream of a generation finally vocalized….a teenaged call to arms heard all over the world….. “Kick out the jams motherfuckers” (MC5)……
And so it was, that the Quatro girls took over the garage, and unleashed their own brand of Detroit rock on an unsuspecting world……
BEHIND THE CURTAIN…
In 1964, a teenaged Patti Quatro, intrigued by the exploding music scene in Detroit, decided to start an all-girl band with her friends. Patti Quatro (guitar), Nan Ball (drums), and Diane Baker (keys) started rehearsals, with no particular direction in mind at the onset. Soon after, the trio rounded up the younger sisters Suzi Quatro (bass), and Marylou Ball (rhythm) to formalize the band, and enter the rock scene, calling themselves, "The Pleasure Seekers". Shortly after, Golden World’s John Rhys gave them their first recording experience, recording two singles, “Long White Line, and “He’s A Rebel” with the newly formed group. One night, Patti told teen Hideout Club manager, Dave Leone, that her group was better than many of the live bands he was featuring at the club. Daring him to put her group on stage, Dave took up the dare, offering the Pleasure Seekers a 3-song audition in two weeks. The group quickly put together a 3 song set, and 2 weeks later, tuned up on the Hideout stage, to laughter, curiosity, and skepticism. By end of their three-song set, they had turned the response to dropped jaws, frank surprise, and cheering.
The girls from the garage had arrived……
With a quick trajectory, the Pleasure Seekers began playing teen clubs, country clubs, parties, colleges, events, and local TV shows through the region. By 1965, Dave Leone had recorded 2 singles (“Never Thought You’d Leave Me” and “What a Way to Die”) with them on his Hideout Label, both popular in the region, and later included them on the infamous Hideout album, “Friday Night at the Hideout”. In a short time, the Pleasure Seekers had gained such momentum that they were one of the early Detroit groups touring out of state and throughout the country. Two of the girls had to leave high school (Darline and Suzi) to accommodate their rigorous touring schedule as they gained in popularity.
In 1967, ABC signed them to a nationally prominent booking agency contract, while seen at Trude Heller’s hot spot in NYC’s trendy village. Joe Glaser, president (who only handled 4 acts in his agency: Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Eartha Kitt and the Pleasure Seekers), toured the group extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada.
In early 1968, Mercury Records signed the Pleasure Seekers to a record contract, and immediately cut 3 sides (“Light of Love”, “Good Kind of Hurt”, and “Locked In Your Love”), releasing 2 A-sides, which charted well in several regions. Though an album was to follow, the group was not happy with being marketed as a Las Vegas type act, and never completed an album with Mercury, leaving them at the end of 1968. The Mercury “vision” of the Pleasure Seekers conflicted deeply with the group’s “vision” on their musical direction, leaving them with the desire to consider other record offers that would allow them to record their own originals in a heavier rock vein as serious rock musicians, and not “sell out” to mainstream radio.
The Pleasure Seekers continued touring extensively all over the U.S., Canada, the Far East, Guam, and Hawaii, playing on major bills with major acts, as well as headlining themselves. They were forced to fight hard to kick down the prejudicial doors of record execs who would dismiss female musicians as a “novelty”, always wanting them to go a “T & A” Las Vegas style direction. There was a mindset in the era that had women buttoned up and pigeonholed as just good for being vocalists, and as female musicians, would lose interest, become pregnant, or married, thus the record companies were not as interested in backing such a “novelty” endeavor such as an all-girl band.
Besides the huge creative fulfillment, the one bright spot in the Quatro sisters’ bands and their tenuous journey, was the amazing peer musicians’ respect and support as they played with many legends of the era. Driven and determined, the Pleasure Seekers continued to rock their music, make demos, and tour incessantly, staying on course with their goal to break through the first all girl band.
“The Quatro girls were the first all female band that played instruments well, and the forerunners for many bands to follow!”
….Dennis Machinegun Thompson, “MC5”, 3/20/2011
In 1968, a new era was sweeping the country, as the Quatro girls and company were touring the NW with Eric Burdon and the Animals. Arriving home, the counter culture revolution was in full swing, Creem Magazine started up in Detroit Rock City, and there was a far heavier, musical direction spewing forth from the popular ballrooms of the era. The Quatro girls quickly revamped their look and musical direction, morphing into Cradle, and bringing Nancy Quatro (vocals, bass, percussion and keys) into the mix, with sister Arlene, leaving the group to attend to personal changes in her life.
Paring the instrumentation down to a basic trendy 3-piece group, Cradle delved into serious creative originals, mixing a hard edge sound with the versatility of their polished vocals, and intricate time changes. Capitalizing on two lead singers…..Suzi with a Joplinesque voice, and Nancy with a wailing Robert Plant type voice, they carried forward, rocking relevant lyrics, creative harmonies, and heavy original music with attitude. Cradle continued their onslaught, touring the country’s concert halls, large pop festivals, theaters, and ballrooms, jamming, playing, and hanging with groups like Mountain, Traffic, 10 Years After, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Jeff Beck, and more.
Though they were gaining momentum with fans, the personal impatience with the record executives took root deeply within the group. Cradle’s ride was sadly cut short with the hard struggle women had to find credibility with the record companies, finally breaking up in 1973. Sister Suzi went on to an international solo career, and sister Patti went on to join the all-girl Fanny, on the west coast.
“You girls play with more balls than most of the male bands we play with”
…Leslie West, Mountain, 1971
“For us, playing music in our era, in Detroit Rock City, was like breathing oxygen….. All we cared about was moving people, engaging their senses—music, show, leave it all on the stage. That is how we were brought up by our dad, who loved everything about the entertaining arts and music. If we did that, job well done!
We have constantly heard through the years, and from many knowledgeable music people, that we were just ahead of our time. We believe that to be a good assessment of our journey.
Interestingly, there were some key times in our lives when we made decisions that may have turned us towards larger fame, but less happiness—depending on your philosophy of such things. The Pleasure Seekers could have been a Las Vegas show act bringing in buckets of money…..or on Motown, turned very formula girly soul. But we did stay true to our goals of doing what moved us. We stayed our own internal course, rockin’ the music we enjoyed playing. All in all, a rawkin’ ride, out of the rockinest city on the planet….. ‘Nuf said!”
The Quatro sisters have reunited through the years for TV appearances (see video Links) and guest appearances on Suzi’s tour.
Origin: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Years Active: 1964 ~ 1973
Genres: Classic Rock, Detroit Rock, Garage Punk, Garage Pop, Pop Rock
Labels: Golden World, Hideout Records, Mercury Records, Norton Records
Associated Acts: Pleasure Seekers, Cradle, Fanny, Suzi Quatro, Mike Quatro Jam Band, Harlow, Frances Gall
Booking Agency: Mike Quatro, DMA, ABC (signed by President Joe Glaser)
Toured in: U.S., Canada, Far East, Hawaii, Guam