Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation NationJoan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation
Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

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Page updated on July 20, 2017
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Concert review and photos: JOAN JETT and Boston unleash timeless hits in Alpharetta

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Among the summer tour pairings of classic rock artists (Steve Miller and Peter Frampton, Styx and REO Speedwagon, Def Leppard and Poison), the union of Boston and JOAN JETT is a solid one because really, sometimes all you want is a loud, fun, rock ‘n' roll show.

At Verizon Amphitheatre Wednesday, Jett opened the night of three-plus hours of music with the 1981 throwback "Victim of Circumstance" and, with her trusty BLACKHEARTS flanking her, relentlessly tore through her anthemic catalog for the next 50 minutes.

Wearing a skintight, age-defying jumpsuit and a black, shaggy hairdo not much different than her alluring MTV-era look, Jett, 58, proved dependably fierce as a guitarist and singer.

As drummer THOMMY PRICE thundered the intro to her hit version of Bruce Springsteen's "Light of Day," Jett flashed her trademark half-grin -- or snarl, depending upon the moment -- while scenes from the movie with her pal Michael J. Fox flashed on the screen behind the band.

Even though the majority of Jett's hits are covers -- the thumping "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)" courtesy of Gary Glitter, the soft-loud dynamics on Tommy James & The Shondells' "Crimson & Clover," the eternal pool hall anthem "I Love Rock & Roll" from The Arrows -- have you ever really thought of them as anything other than JOAN JETT songs?

Her sound, a combination of downtown New York sleaze, New Wave catchiness and pure rock grit, makes even her spunky version of one of the greatest TV theme songs ever, Sonny Curtis' "Love is All Around" from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," churn with energy.


JOAN JETT - Toronto - July 11, 2017 - Crimson & Clover, I Hate Myself & Everyday People

JOAN JETT Detroit 2017 Cherry Bomb


low resolution image Not Enlargeable Jett and the BLACKHEARTS now sharing the bill with top tier classic rock acts.

When JOAN JETT hits the stage at TD Garden Thursday night, KENNY LAGUNA will be standing inconspicuously to her right, near the back of the stage, behind the drummer and outside of the spotlight while playing keyboards and providing backup vocals. It's a role he knows well. As producer, songwriting partner and keyboard player, Laguna has been backing up Jett for the past 38 years, ever since he stepped in to co-write and produce some songs she owed her record company from her time with the groundbreaking teenage girl rock group, the RUNAWAYS, which led to them collaborating on iconic hits like "Bad Reputation," "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," "I Hate Myself for Loving You" and so many others.

It was never easy, but they kept at it, and in 2015, Jett, Laguna and her band the BLACKHEARTS were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, receiving recognition from their peers in an industry that has not been very accepting of female rockers who don't conform to standards.

So, why has Jett and Laguna's relationship endured while so many others have crashed and burned, or at least been severely strained? While tossing in a few references to Lennon and McCartney and Jagger and Richards, Laguna makes it sound simple. "We don't compete with each other. I think that's a big thing. We like the same music. We like the same politics (left and strongly anti-Trump). We're both vegetarians. So, that helps," said Laguna during a telephone conversation while occasionally being corrected or supported by a voice that sounded suspiciously like the interview-shy Jett.

In simple terms, they just get along and really care about one another as friends, as well as working partners. And, it has been that way since 1979 when the already-successful Laguna (Tommy James and the Shondells, Jonathan Richman, Darlene Love and Bill Medley to name a few collaborators) produced "Bad Reputation," Jett's first solo record featuring a mix of originals and cover songs.

Although the album was recorded, at first record companies were not supportive. About two dozen rejected it, but Laguna spent his daughter Carrie Anne's (now the president of BLACKHEART RECORDS) college money to finance enough pressings to sell the LPs from the trunk of his Cadillac at shows and events. Eventually, Jett was signed to a deal with Boardwalk Records and they released it. It did well with several hits, and they were off and running. The second album featured the number one hit "I Love Rock 'n Roll," a song that virtually everyone knows, and they just kept moving forward from there.



This Week:

July 25,2017
Scranton, PA
The Pavilion at Montage Mountain
July 27,2017
Camden, NJ
BB&T Pavilion (Formerly Susquehanna)
July 28,2017
Burgettstown, PA
KeyBank Pavilion (Formerly First Niagara Pavilion)
July 29,2017
Syracuse, NY
Lakeview Amphitheater

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