Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

Volume 1 Issue 1

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Joan Jett Fan Club
The Interview

In January of 1990, The Hit List was released on Blackheart/CBS Associated Records, marking a decade of solo releases from Joan Jett. After a promotional tour of Europe, Joan returned to the United States to prepare for her cross country tour in support of the album. Taking the biggest production of her career on the road, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts have scheduled a series of headlining dates before appearing on the Aerosmith tour. Joan will continue her headlining tour in June, while recording the next Joan Jett and the Blackhearts album.

Despite her hectic and sometimes chaotic schedule, Joan made the time to do the first interview for her newly established Official Fan Club. Stressing the importance of the fans, Joan commented, "The fan club is really important and I'm glad this is finally coming together." Joan is very committed to her fans and wanted to show her appreciation by providing a fan club that will give all Jettheads the attention they deserve. She will be actively involved with the club operation to insure that her fans receive the best there is to offer.

Why did you decide to do an album full of cover songs?

JJ: Because it was an idea that we thought would be a lot of fun. There really wasn't much more reason than that. It was just something to do. We were in the middle of doing an album, and recording the cover songs first. That's usually the way we do it, because they're the ones we know best early into making an album. We were putting them down and got the idea to do a whole album full of songs like that. We did it just for the hell of it.

Is there any cut on the album that has special meaning to you?

JJ: Obviously I like them all, or I wouldn't have put them on the album. The one that I feel best about, and surprised me the most about how well it came out was "Celluloid Heroes." That's my personal favorite on The Hit List. The song talks about Hollywood and walking down Hollywood Boulevard and looking at the names on the stars. Those are all things I did when I first moved to California. When I was doing the record, it reminded me of when I was 14 years old and dreaming about becoming famous. That song really brought back memories about all that stuff. "Celluloid Heroes" became special to me because I was able to go back mentally and think about walking up and down the street dreaming of being famous.

What makes The Hit List more special than any other release out today?

JJ: It's real and it rocks. I'm not so sure much of the other stuff that's been just released does that. We're a live band that went into the studio and made an album.

Did you expect The Hit List to do as well as it's currently selling?

JJ: We never expect anything. We try to do the best record each time we go into the studio. We let it roll in the hands of luck and God. We didn't expect "I Love Rock 'N Roll" to go number one. Our only concern is try to make great music and hope the people like it.

Is it difficult to record in the studio between shows?

JJ: It's very hard, but we've been doing it for years. It can be a little distracting, but it seems to work well.

What are your tour plans?

JJ: We start out in the Midwest with Britny Fox opening for about six weeks then we'll meet up with Aerosmith. We'll be out with them for a month and a half and then we'll be back headlining for a while.

How do you feel about being an opening band for Aerosmith after headlining all your shows?

JJ: I think it'll be a lot of fun. I don't have any head trips about opening or headlining. I always prefer to headline, but I've been opening shows and headlining all my life. When I headline, I get to do a longer show. With Aerosmith, I'm looking forward to the two bands playing together. Sometimes when you play with other bands it can be really special and something that the fans can remember for years. I remember shows that I went to and I guess everybody does. We always want to strive for putting on a good show, especially when we get along with a band that is compatible and we hope the audience is compatible as well. Most of the time it will be. We've never really had a problem.

What can be expected from the tour? Do you have anything special planned for the show?

JJ: We've never really been a flash and prop band. The strength of the band has always been the group, the audience and the reaction that the two have. We like to have the fans dealing with the band and not having all the bullshit in between. It doesn't happen too often any more where you can get right up there with the fans and shake hands and have that actual contact. It's real fun. It's very special for me and for the fans. I know that because I see the same people every tour and they're always there doing the same thing.

Do you have anything special planned for the stage set this year?

JJ: It's a very big production on the headline tour. It's the biggest production we've ever brought out. It features black hearts on the ceiling and on the floor. When we go out with Aerosmith, it will be a little different. With or without the big production, we just want to go out there and rock.

Do you have any superstitions before a show or regular routines you go through?

JJ: I don't have any superstitions but a few regular routines. The first thing I do every day is check the sports listing to see how the Orioles are doing. I arrive at every concert an hour before the show for sound check. After sound check I eat with the crew. Then I spend at least 15 minutes by myself before the show getting into the mood for the performance. I'll do a series of stretching and voice exercises.

What's your most difficult adjustment going back on the road after being in the studio?

JJ: Getting in the routine of being able to sleep when the schedule allows time.

What do you enjoy doing on your days off?

JJ: I like watching and playing sports and of course keeping up with the Orioles. I try to catch up on some sleep when possible. If I have some time I enjoy going out and seeing each town.

How would you describe the ultimate Jetthead?

JJ: Someone who really loves the music and is interested enough in the band to keep up with our current activities through magazines, the fan club or requesting our music on the radio and MTV.

How do you feel about your fans? Are they really important to you?

JJ: I live for my fans. The fans are the ones who make it worthwhile. I never entered show business for money, I did it purely for the human contact. Human contact is really important to me and it is my number one priority in the live shoes and making the albums. To know that one of my albums may have touched someone's life is really everything to me. I want to let the fans know they make everything worth it. I believe what the fans have to say, not what the press, radio or MTV has to say. I care about the people who see me live and listen to the music. Making people happy is really rewarding. They're the ones that make music fun. That's my payment in this business, it has nothing to do with money.

How would you describe yourself?

JJ: The only way I could would be to say, I'm very true to myself, my fans and my music. I'm a proponent of the three chord, simple yet poignant, rock and roll song. I plan on continuing that as long as society will let me.

What are your goals for this year?

JJ: I'd like to finish the album of original material we've started. I'd also like to do a movie and to continue touring.

What is the future of the band?

JJ: We're going to be on the road for a while. We'll be out at least until the summer. We're writing the next album now, which we had been doing while we recorded The Hit List. We're looking forward to the next all original album and more touring. We really don't have a heavy game plan, it's just album, tour, album and tour.

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