Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

April 2004 News

Page updated on April 30, 2004
All news is attributed to the source from which it was received so that readers may judge the validity of the statements for themselves.

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The Majority

Tune in and turn on...Tuesday, May 4th JOAN JETT will be on the show "The Majority" with Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder.

Click here to find out where you can hear the show in your area.

From The Vault: Bad Reputation
from: The Leader

JOAN JETT: punk icon, international rock star and--good God!--a woman. Often hailed as the original Riot Grrrl--read: radical feminist/punk of the early '90s--Jett has been paving the way for women in music and busting down walls in the boys' club that is punk for nearly 30 years.

Before there were The Donnas or Bikini Kill, there were The RUNAWAYS. Years ahead of boy-band pioneer, Lou Pearlman, a producer by the name of Kim Fowley helped create what was supposed to be the pre-fab, estrogen-loaded answer to The Ramones. Fowly brought together five teenage girls from Southern California, including JOAN JETT. In 1975, the band began recording and touring to only minor acclaim. If they achieved nothing else, The RUNAWAYS gave the talents of Jett and Lita Ford their start in the music industry. But despite big success in Japan in the late '70s, The RUNAWAYS never quite lived up to expectations and, after internal fighting about which direction the band should take, the group split in '79.

You can't talk about JOAN JETT's solo career without talking about KENNY LAGUNA. Jett met her musical partner in crime during her time with The RUNAWAYS. Laguna helped fund and create her first album and has been Jett's right-hand-man ever since, playing the role of producer, songwriting partner, backing vocalist and manager.


JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS at 9:30 club in DC from:

Often referred to as an "icon" and the "backbone of today's feminist rock 'n' roll revolution," JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS broke ground in the '70s by being among the first women to really rock. She's a tiny (5' 1/2") musician with a big presence. Probably best known for her mega-hit "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," Jett has also appeared in movies, an episode of The Highlander and was in the original Broadway cast of The Rocky Horror Show. At first glance you may not recognize her -- lately she's been alternating her eternally black locks with a cropped, platinum do. But at the first sound of that strong voice, you'll know she's still rockin'.

Catch Joan at the 9:30 club Sunday (April 25).


In what has become a yearly tradition, JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS return to Asbury Park on Saturday evening, April 17. Jett began her career with the seminal Southern California teen group The RUNAWAYS in the late 1970s, and became known to even the most casual music fans when her hit "I Love Rock'N'Roll" spent seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts in 1982. Consistently performing and fostering new projects, including her own BLACKHEART RECORDS label, Jett has been at the forefront of American culture and music for over twenty years. Returning to the Pony for what will surely be a memorable evening, the BLACKHEARTS are currently supporting the new 2-DVD release "Real Wild Child: JOAN JETT Video Anthology," featuring 35 music videos from throughout her groundbreaking career.


Canadian Music Week
from: Carleton Music Official Website

If I had to pick a favorite part of Canadian Music Week I would have to say it was listening to JOAN JETT's seminar on the music business and her career. I think I enjoyed it because it wasn't what I expected. I've always pictured JOAN JETT as sort of an edgy rock chick. Although she may be that (I'm not sure), JOAN JETT possesses many other admirable qualities. The first words that come to my mind are intelligent, principled, worldly, logical, thankful, successful, well spoken, wise, and humble. It is no surprise that she has had such an amazing career. She's a genius. It's hard to put in to words why I was so impressed with her. All I can say is if you ever have a chance to chat with JOAN JETT or hear her speak, I'm sure you'll end up being equally impressed.

Results of a Misspent Youth:
JOAN JETT's performance of female masculinity

from: Women's History Review

ABSTRACT The article maps JOAN JETT's performances from her days with The RUNAWAYS in the mid-1970s through her successful solo career in the 1980s to her recent affiliations with the riot grrrls in the 1990s. Unlike some critics, who, while acknowledging Jett's influence on generations of female rock performers, dismiss Jett as an inferior copy of male rock musicians, the author argues that Jett's various performances of female masculinity challenged conventional understandings of masculinity and femininity. The article explores how Jett's interest in punk enabled her to carve a space for herself in a male-dominated genre. It is further contended that as more spaces opened for women in the early 1990s, Jett's performances took a more aggressive stance on traditionally feminist issues and enabled her to use her sexuality as an offensive weapon.

I don't give a damn about my reputation
You're living in the past, it's a new generation
And a girl can do what she wants to do
And that's what I'm gonna do
(JOAN JETT, 1980)[1]

Rejected by at least twenty-three record companies and maligned by former managers in the years following the break-up of her first band, The RUNAWAYS, JOAN JETT penned these lyrics as a defiant reply to what she understood as the different codes of conduct applied to male and female rock performers. Significantly, Jett did not suggest that her critics had misjudged her, nor did she promise to be more discreet or ladylike. Instead, she brazenly asserted her right to do what the boys did, a decision she justified by rejecting middle-class economic values - 'I never said I wanted to improve my station / I want to feel good when I'm having fun / And I don't have to feed no one' - and middle-class moral concerns - 'I've never been afraid of any deviation.'[2] Such sentiments led the popular press to label Jett an 'inadvertent feminist,' but to fans, colleagues and eventually music insiders, Jett epitomized, embodied and set the standards for 'the rock 'n' roll girl.'


Ritchie Cordell

Producer and songwriter, Ritchie Cordell has passed away. Ritchie is best known to Jettheads, as the co-producer of Joan's first four releases, Bad Reputation, I Love Rock N' Roll, Album and Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth. Ritchie also co-wrote the hit "Bad Reputation" with Jett and Laguna. Our prayers and thoughts go out to the Cordell family.

JOAN JETT Rocks Freaks And Geeks

Freaks & Geeks opens to JOAN JETT's ode to tough kids everywhere, "Bad Reputation." Then there was freak Nick Andopolis's obsession with drummers Neil Peart and John Bonham. There was the awesome dance scene set to Styx's "Come Sail Away." Not to mention numerous musical moments featuring the likes of The Grateful Dead, Billy Joel and The Who. And thankfully, these great interludes remain in tact on the Freaks & Geeks DVD.

from: Lynn Yamada-Quibuan

Click to go to the Gallery
Lynn Yamada-Quibuan took some photos of JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS at their show in Seattle, WA.

Check them out in the Galleries section!

If you have a review or photos of a JOAN JETT concert, send an email (including your name, the city, venue and date of the show) to

JOAN JETT: Justice for Mia Zapata but the fight goes on

It was a strange coincidence that brought JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS to Seattle's EMP Sky Church on Friday, March 26, the day after Jesus Mezquia was found guilty for the murder of Mia Zapata. Strange because Jett had worked from a distance to find Zapata's killer and give women the power to overcome attackers like him. In 1993, Jett was working with punk band Bikini Kill in Olympia when Zapata, singer for Seattle band The Gits, was raped and killed. Jett became interested in the case and ended up lending her support to Home Alive, a nonprofit self-defense group created in the wake of the murder by local artist-activists Valerie Agnew and Gretta Harley. Jett told Dazed and Confused at the time, "I was amazed... how something so awful could give rise to something so positive."

Jett, along with Bikini Kill front-woman Kathleen Hanna, wrote a song in reference to the Zapata case called "Go Home." Jett filmed a music video of the song in which she plays a woman who gets away from her stalker. The video plugged the Home Alive project and was dedicated to Mia's memory. MTV refused to air the piece, however, claiming it was "too violent."

A couple years later, when the killer's trail had grown cold and police had all but given up, Zapata's family and friends hired a private eye to continue the investigation. Jett and the remaining members of the Gits played a series of shows under the name "Evil Stig" (Gits Live backwards). Though the short-lived musical project had all the rough edges one would expect from an off-the-cuff endeavor, it gave Mia's survivors the emotional and financial lift they needed to pay the detective and carry on in the face of discouragement.

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