It’s not a well-known fact that music royalty Suzi Quatro has called Essex home since 1975. Carl Allen spoke to her to find out what has kept her here for nearly five decades
Suzi Quatro is a Detroit born and raised rock icon. Known as one of the pioneers for strong female musicians in the rough and ready world of 1970s male rock music, Suzi’s no-nonsense attitude, her trademark leather jumpsuit and Fender bass guitar soon became world famous. However, Suzi has not been confined to just music – she played Leather Tuscadero in the TV show Happy Days and has acted in many productions on London stages and has published several books.
What many people may find surprising is that Suzi has lived in Essex since 1975, and since 1980, has lived in her 15th century home just outside Chelmsford in the Essex countryside. Absolutely was invited to share what she loves about her adopted home county and some of her favourite places in the county to go, eat and drink.
Essex has a real variety of natural environments, from one of the longest coastlines in the country to ancient woodlands, plus salt marshes teaming with wildlife and rolling hills – and this is one of the county’s qualities that appeals most to Suzi. “I love that Essex has so much rural and natural environments,” she smiles. “I love that open space, seeing fields stretch out for miles and the network of country lanes that lead to small villages and hamlets, each with their own personality. There’s nothing I like more to do on a Sunday than to jump in my car and drive those country roads. Sometimes I’ll even get nostalgic and drive to where my first home was in Stapleford Abbots.
“Given that my day job consists of being on planes, hotels and on stages across the world, having all the perfect countryside around me is a great balance to the madness and helps me relax!”
The county has a rich history and has many monuments from different centuries and cultures which can be found in every corner of Essex, and it turns out Suzi is something of a history buff.
“I’m fascinated by history and Essex has so much in the county,” she enthuses. “I’ve visited every castle in Essex! Colchester Castle and Hedingham Castle are probably my favourites.
“I love visiting museums too; sometimes when I have friends over from America, I’ll take them to Chelmsford Museum so they can get a feel for the area where I live. There is a display all about me with items that I’ve donated to the museum, a jumpsuit and one of my basses, and a few of my published book including my autobiography Unzipped. So naturally, I lead them to this exhibit!” she laughs.
Shopping and dining
With three cities and a real variety of market towns and villages, the county is a shopper’s paradise, from designer shops to independent retailers, there is something for everyone and every budget. Suzi is a fan of the county’s shopping experience. “I love to shop,” she states, “and Chelmsford is a great place to indulge the habit as it has some really good shops, especially in the new Bond Street development and around Moulsham Street. I’ll always end up in the Pizza Express as I love their pizzas and it’s the perfect place to eat before going to the cinema.
“Although I love pizza, I also really enjoy top quality food,” Suzi adds. “The Michelin-starred Galvin Brothers set-up, the Green Man pub in Howe Green, just a short walk from my home, is great. For me, this was the first place in Essex that offered top quality London-style restaurant food.”
Essex has many top visitor attractions spread through the county, and as a mother and grandmother, Suzi has visited most of them. “When my children were young, I loved taking them to Colchester Zoo,” she recollects, “we’d go all of time, and it was great to see the exotic animals. Now I take my grandchildren there and they are equally fascinated by the animals in the zoo’s collection. I am partial to all birds of prey, and could literally stand there all day long. I’m a big fan of the ‘open’ zoo idea.”
Suzi also loves to be beside the seaside and is drawn to the Essex coastal resorts. “I do like going to Southend,” she says. “There’s something very British and very traditional about the seaside resort. It’s not pretentious, it’s very down to earth and I do like walking along the promenade there.”
With a forthcoming tour on the horizon, it seems that Essex has everything Suzi Quatro needs to get into the right groove.
Suzi Quatro is touring throughout November 2023, including London. For full details visit suziquatro.com