Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

Volume 4 Issue 2

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Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Joan Jett

Dear Bad Rep. Members,

Well, we're coming to the end of another year and I'd like to take the time to thank everyone for their support of
Pure and Simple and also the touring. This is a good time to wish you all the best of Holidays. Be smart. Stay safe. We want to see you all next year in great spirits. So, in parting, I send my love and hope your dreams come true.

Joan Jett

A conversation with Joan. . .

What's the band been doing lately?

JJ: We've been on the road touring for Pure and Simple. We're lucky enough to have the album out around the world. We went to South East Asia about a month and a half ago when the album had come out over there. The album just came out in Germany and the people there are really excited. I went over there a few weeks ago and did some press. It was a three or four day press blitz - a really tough sort of thing where I did interviews all day long. The purpose was to let people know what was going on with The Blackhearts. A lot of people in the European countries get the impression sometimes that since they haven't heard anything since "I Love Rock N' Roll" or "I Hate Myself For Lovin' You" on a major scale, that we haven't done anything. So I was over there explaining that we put out an album every year and tour every year. We were actually in that country (Germany) several times. It's just a matter of keeping your eyes open and looking for the band when we're playing. The album (Pure and Simple) is out in France, Scandinavia, and other European countries, so it looks like there's going to be an upcoming European tour. I don't know when that's exactly going to happen, but I know it won't be until the New Year. I do know that we're not stopping or finished with the United States. We're going to keep playing here as well but I don't have any solid dates right now.

For now, will the band continue playing a few one-off dates until the New Year?

JJ: Probably, yeah.

What's happening with the single "As I Am?"

JJ: From what I can tell and what I hear on the street, people seem to love it. It gets a great audience reaction, which is always a good sign and there's a lot of markets that are having really, really good success with the song. I think it flows well heading into the holiday season. We just have to keep fighting.

Didn't the band shoot a video for the single that was scrapped?

JJ: There is no video for "As I Am." We didn't want to put out a video that we weren't happy with. We want to release videos that the whole band is happy with and that wasn't necessarily the situation this time. Also, I don't think you need to have a video to break a song. It's gotten to the point where stations like MTV have gotten so big that it seems if you have a 'cool video' that it's going to make you have a hit -- as opposed to having a hit song then making a video. That seems more logical to me. Depending on what band you're talking about, they may spend a quarter of a million dollars on a video and they don't even know if the song's a hit. An upstart band could spend $1,500.00 on a video and they have no idea whether it's going to get played or seen. In a way it doesn't make sense to spend that kind of money if you don't know if it's going to be seen, especially for upcoming bands that don't have the money.

Does Warner Bros. plan to continue supporting Pure and Simple?

JJ: Oh yeah, definitely. They made that clear in the beginning to me and that was the whole reason for us going with them. It seems like we found a label so far that fights the way we do. They're not giving up or throwing in the towel. They realize that it's a lot of hard work and if we keep at it, we might get results.

Is that why Warner Bros. set up the album with two videos before releasing the first single?

JJ: The first two videos weren't released as singles "As I Am" is the first single off this album. "Go Home" was an introductory track. It was something to let people know what the album was all about and what it sounded like. I wanted to make a video for "Go Home," because the message was very important to me. We had the opportunity to work with some great people and everybody was into it including Warner Bros. It was just the ultimate situation as far as I'm concerned. I didn't really care if the song was a hit or not, that wasn't the point of that song. That song was supposed to carry a message, but not in the same way as "I Love Rock N' Roll," which said, 'Hey, go have a good time.' This was a different and serious subject. Then we had the song, "Eye To Eye," that we did a video for and put it out just for the heck of it. We wanted to see what would happen and a lot of people and radio stations liked it. It could still windup being a single. The video ("Eye To Eye") is pretty much live. It was shot in San Francisco -- both the show footage and the stuff of the band walking around the city. It's not a theme video, it's just The Blackhearts messing around. It's a fun video.

Are there any plans for a third video or second single?

JJ: Right now we're working on "As I Am." We've thought about another song, but there's so many options and so much thinking to do about it. We want to try and give ourselves the best chance possible. We're far from over with working on "As I Am." It's been getting some good reaction and people seem to like it when we play it.

Are you working on new material for the next album yet?

JJ: I feel that we have written the best album we've ever done with Pure and Simple. Writing for the next album is something that I've thought about it. I've jotted down a lot of song titles and I've been playing a lot of different guitar riffs, but as far as really getting into it, I haven't yet. Probably within the next few weeks, I'll begin some writing. Whether something comes of the early writing, that's not the point, it's just to get in the flow and see if anything comes up.

Are you planning to write more within the Blackhearts?

JJ: I'm going to be writing within the band definitely and with other people. I have no idea who that will be, but we'll see when that happens. That's one of those go with the flow situations.

Do you have any plans for the holidays?

JJ: I always try to make plans for some sort of vacation, even if it's short. A lot of times on the holidays or very close to the holidays, like the day before or after, we've done gigs. So that has kept me away from spending time with my family or going on a vacation. Usually I have to wait until it gets really close to the holiday and then I call it on the line -- either I'll stay home, take off some place or it could be a variety of things. I really have to wait until it's real close to the occasion because we don't know what's going to happen.

I'd like to talk to you about the fans. I believe you're a very special artist in respect to the fans. I've never experienced an artist as dedicated and involved with the fans as yourself. You take the time selecting photos for the fan club, doing interviews, writing letters, and reading mail.

JJ: I don't want to sound callous or ungrateful, but I no longer read every letter, I just don't have the time anymore. All letters are read and a many as possible are brought to my attention.

The fact remains, you're one of the few artists who really care.

JJ: I want the fans to know that we appreciate all their support and always have. We enjoy the fact that they get so much into the shows because that's what keeps us going and has kept us going. I don't want it to sound generic or like something everybody would say, because I mean it. The bottom line is we always get our butts our there and tour.

As the tour continues, will there be more opportunities for fans to meet you at in-store appearances?

JJ: I thought the in-store we just did in Albany, New York went really well. It was very friendly and really nice. I like doing in-stores a lot. I like it better than signing autographs after a gig because I get a chance to meet one on one with everybody and I'm not drained the way I am after a show. I'd love to do more in the future. I don't know for a fact if we're going to, but I'd love to. If I can make it happen, I surely will.

Have you acquired any new hobbies recently?

JJ: I mentioned painting before and suddenly I received five books on painting and drawing. It's amazing. I'm still painting but it's slowed down because I've been working so much and being on the road. I was really painting a lot when we were doing basic tracks for the album in New York after the songs were written. That's when I found the time to paint because I was around a lot more. Right after the album came out in June and we hit the road to a larger extent, my painting slowed down. Now the paintings are coming very slow, maybe once a month. I still really enjoy it, it's just a matter of finding the time to do it. I don't want to be haphazard about it. When I paint I sit there and look at the canvas for a good two days before I figure out what I'm going to paint. That's the way I do it.

When you paint, do you do it for someone special or yourself?

JJ: For myself. At this point I would be too embarrassed to show them to anyone except my closest friends. It's just a weird thing. There's a magazine that prints paintings by artists and displays their artwork that wanted to show some of my stuff for the cover or centerfold. I sent them three different ones because I couldn't decide which one was best. I figured whichever one they picked was fine with me, because I liked them all and they used all three!

Do you have any hobbies other than painting?

JJ: My new thing is camping. I want to rough it, maybe once in a while in a cabin, but for the most part in a tent. I haven't done it yet, it's just the thought of doing it and getting away in the woods where nobody knows where I am. I want to look at the stars and the moon. I want to get away from the levels of intensity that we usually go through 99% of our lives. It would probably be good for most people to get away from all the stress. A lot of people do various things like camping, sporting activities or other things that make them feel relaxed. I want to try camping. I don't know, maybe I'll hate it. If I went in a lot of snow, I know I'd hate it because I don't like being really cold. Camping is something I'd like to try. It might sound corny, but I think that would be very spiritual for me. I like being with the earth and hanging out with nature.

Are there any hobbies you have on the road?

JJ: It's really hard to have any because we're so busy. I can't take the paints because we're moving all the time and it's too much set up and take down to do it. It would be different if I wanted to do a sketch on a pad, but I can't draw like that. As far as on the road, I don't do any of the things I've talked about like painting or camping. The only thing I do find time to do on the road is Yoga. Yoga is not a hobby; it's a life long practice. I'm very serious about it and I don't discuss it often because I find it to be a very private thing. It's been really good for my head, my spirit and physically. Some people think that you just sit there and don't do anything. If you go to a Yoga class, you'll come out not being able to walk for a week. It's much more intense that some people believe. There's various forms, but some people give the impression that Yoga is just people sitting there and doing nothing but humming or meditating. It's hard because you have to work on several things at one time. You have to concentrate on what you're doing with your body, and everything comes down to the breath. You're concentrating on that because that's what keeps your mind focused and controlled. That's what leads you to elevate your spirit. It's not something that I talk about a lot because it's a personal thing.

This Week:

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