Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

July 2007 News

Page updated on July 31, 2007
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JOAN JETT Rocks Paso!

Click to enlarge Like wine, some things just get better with age, and if you like your Rock n Roll aged to perfection but still tasting as fresh and sweet as it did three decades ago, you enjoyed a delicious treat if you saw JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS Rock the California Mid State Fair, July 26th. Love was all around as Punks, Jocks and every other type representing five decades of Rock fans came together in thunderous unison to cheer on the First Lady of Rock n Roll.
Jett and The BLACKHEARTS are on tour to promote their latest CD "SINNER". Released last year the disc has spawned the hits "A.C.D.C." (check out the video w/Carmen Electra), "Change The World" and "Androgynous". Additional tunes "Riddles", "Everyone Knows" and "Watersign" make this CD nothing short of amazing, considering it is 25 years after Jett released her first hit with "I Love Rock n Roll". KENNY LAGUNA, Jett’s longtime partner and collaborator once again does a brilliant job on production duties updating the Blackheart sound while still keeping the signature Jett vibe intact.

Jett and her band actually raised the temperature, which was approaching the triple digit mark when they hit the stage for the first of two sets at 6:30PM. Fans from all over California packed both shows at the Fort Frontier Arena to capacity and were treated to hit after hit from three decades worth of material, from favorites "Bad Reputation, "Crimson and Clover", and "I Love Rock n Roll" to the newest classics "Fetish", "Change The World" and "A.C.D.C".

Like her music itself, JOAN JETT is timeless, as evidenced by her appearance. The toned abs, leather pants and eyeliner never looked so good on a woman in her 40s. It wasn’t surprising that Blender Magazine named her one of its "Sexiest Women". Jett is still relevant and thriving in today’s music scene also, so much so that she was able to headline last years Vans Warped Tour, which prominently features young up and coming Punk and Alternative acts. Rolling Stone Magazine listed Jett in their 2003 "Greatest 100 Guitarists of All Time". Look for JOAN JETT on tour throughout the summer and when she hooks up with Aerosmith for dates in September, and you can get your weekly dose of JOAN JETT’s Radio Revolution on Sirius Satellite Radio’s "Faction" every Sunday night on Sirius Satellite Radio.


Multiple Sarcasms (2008) Movie

Click to enlarge Multiple Sacrasms is a new indie film that Dana Delany is starring in with Tim Hutton. It has a low budget but the cast is incredible, also including Mira Sorvino, Stockard Channing, Mario Van Peebles, Tom Skerrit, and JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS!

Gabriel (Timothy Hutton) is a man who on the surface has it all-successful professional life as an architect, a beautiful wife, ANNIE, and a devoted youg daughter, ELIZABETH. But slowly it dawns on him that he is not really happy. Gabriel decides that he wants to write a play about the sorry state of his life. He quits his job, gets a pushy literary agent friend to represent him and starts writing. Although his marriage ends in a divorce, the play is success and although his life is different than it was, he is happier. Written by Brooks Branch

Multiple Sarcasms, tells the story of Gabriel Richmond, played by Timothy Hutton, a man in his late 40's, who is a successful architect. He begins questioning his life choices, which ultimately turns into an art form, as he goes from architect to playwright, examining his own life. This is a quirky relationship drama. Written by Brooks Branch

Gibson Backstage Pass — Electric Ladyland

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JOAN JETT will be 49 this year, but her sinewy arms still light into her beat-up Gibson Melody Maker as if it were 1982, when she first broke onto the scene with her braying hit "I Love Rock N’ Roll." Even then Jett had more than just smash records on her mind. "I really wanted to make it OK for girls to play," she says.

Fellow ’80s hitmakers Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s and Nancy Wilson of Heart fought for the same leg room for their all-female bands. Of her early gigs with the Go-Go’s, Wiedlin says, "It was horrible. Everyone hated us because we were chicks, and so we would just get spit at and bottles thrown at us every night."


JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS, the Dollyrots, the Paybacks at Hudson River Park, New York, NY

low resolution image Not Enlargeable It's mandated by law that anytime JOAN JETT plays a gig, NYRock is there to report back. Billed as a free show at the Hudson River Park at Pier 54, the lineup featured the Paybacks, the Dollyrots, and JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS. Unfortunately, the weather reports were not in our favor – there were threats of damaging winds, torrential rain, hail, lightning, flooding, and Republicans. But would that stop us? Pish.

First thing to know: the Hudson River Park is a pier of concrete. I didn't see a lick of greenery, save for the girl with the emerald Manic Panic locks. Second: there is a very thick, frothy layer of khaki-colored scum coating the Hudson River close to the pier. It's nasty as all get-out yet impossible to stop staring at.

When my harem of rock whores and I were let onto the pier, we made our way to the stage because – as regular readers will recall – the Paybacks are one of the baddest-assed bands on the planet. I had a moment of inner turmoil when I admitted to myself that I was more excited to see the Paybacks than the BLACKHEARTS probably because the latter has played a bunch of times over the past year, and it's not like the Paybacks come into town as frequently. With a dark gray cloud looming to the north, the Paybacks brought their own electrical storm in the form of knee-knocking, titty-twisting Detroit rock 'n' roll led by human hurricane Wendy Case. The wind was picking up, but save for a stage banner coming undone and flapping in the air, and Case's dress threatening to end up around her shoulders, we avoided Ma Nature's wrath – turns out she can be soothed with a dose of rawk.


JOAN JETT rocks Newport

Say the name ‘JOAN JETT’ and the first file the brain opens will likely be "I Love Rock N Roll," then a series of other mega pop hits, "Do You Want to Touch Me," "Crimson and Clover," "I Hate Myself for Loving You," etc. All singles she made with the BLACKHEARTS, all considered Big Hair ’80s songs. But, Jett’s music history eludes those outside the Punk genre.

A 15-year-old runaway in the early ’70s – yeah, she’s nearly 50 now – Jett helped found a band called, The RUNAWAYS (how creative) and from that band came her popular "Cherrybomb" single. By the end of the ’70s, she produced The Germs first album, then went solo for a while before the rise of The BLACKHEARTS.

Undoubtedly, Jett’s commercial success stems from her primarily ’80s work with The BLACKHEARTS, and even the recently released album, SINNER, won’t top the pop, despite the contemporary lyrics.

But Jett’s real fire comes life-on-the-streets roots, and the throbbing chords of Punk rock provide a vehicle for the simmering fury she displays on stage and in song.

Now, in mid-life, Jett burns like a teenager, as she demonstrated at Newport’s Sunset Music Fest. Granted, Sunset leans more toward a ‘concert series’ than a fest, I mean you can’t put out blankets or anything. But, I go once a year and catch some of the best international and local talent. Beyond Blonde drew a strong early crowd and kicked butt opening for Jett. (Always a treat to see some of OUR excellent bands get an opportunity on the big stage with great sound.)

Back to Jett. The ’80s were cool, and they’re over. Sunset, however, doesn’t book retro. Acts like Jett bring an iconic attitude and contemporary energy. Check out Sunset closely.

God Bless Those Sputniks

Terrestial radio was getting to me. I can only handle so much NPR. On KFAN they seem to talk about the same stories on every program, so I might as well only listen for the two hours of tomfoolery and the "Tough Love Covenant" that makes up the genius that is the Common Man Progrum. The Current plays too many chick singer-songwriters, hardly any rock 'n' roll, and is just too soft for me. Radio K will always have a place in my heart, but sometimes the screamcore and third world music drives me nuts. Needless to say, the commercial music stations in town are a joke - though an hour or so of KOOL 108 now and then is generally fun. (Especially if The Geezer is on the air.)

So a couple of weeks ago, I signed up for Sirius Internet Radio. I mostly did this so I could listen to Little Steven's Underground Garage station. I had heard it before via a friend, and it's one of the top three stations I've ever heard in my life (the others being Z-Rock and REV 105.) (Also on this station I heard an awesome song by the Pretty Things. I tracked down the album on which it appears and bought a copy. I will pretty much use this song as an excuse to do another podcast just so's I can play it.)

This service will come in handy when I'm at clients plugging away at a computer all by my lonesome. Plus via gadgetry, I am able to beam the sound of Sirius from my Mac to my home stereo receiver.


Jett’s iconic career still thriving

low resolution image Not Enlargeable For the last 30 years, rock music icon JOAN JETT has been a staple in the music industry. And unlike many of her peers, she has managed to stay true to her beliefs. Working with some of the biggest names in music, Jett has had numerous hits, most notably 1982’s "I Love Rock ‘n Roll," she has been able to appeal to an extremely wide and varied audience.

And though her career has been significantly less visible than it was in the video-crazed ’80s, Jett has never stopped working, as evidenced by the creation of BLACKHEART RECORDS, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and a slew of records that continue to mark her as one of music’s most stable and unflinching artists. Many people might not know this about Jett. Likewise, many people might not know about her close collaborations with writer/producer KENNY LAGUNA, who co-founded BLACKHEART RECORDS and helped write many of Jett’s most memorable songs.

"We’ve been lucky to have the relationship that we have," Laguna said during a recent interview with Local iQ. "We know how each other works and have our own style."

While other musicians from her generation have ebbed and flowed over the years, Jett has kept the same in-your-face attitude she’s always been known for; the same sneer that she had with her first band, the seminal all-woman outfit The RUNAWAYS.

"We’ve always stayed true to what we set out to do," Jett said.



Click to enlarge Just got home, and all I can say is…JOAN JETT rocks! In a world where pop princesses somehow reign supreme, thank goodness this 80’s icon is still going strong. I’ll admit, I didn’t know what to expect when Billboard gave me this first assignment, as punk/indie rock isn’t usually my thing, but hearing classics like "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)," "Love is Pain," "I Love Rock & Roll," and one of my faves "Crimson and Clover," reminded me of how many JJ songs I grew up on and love…and how much fun a good ole rock ‘n roll show is.

Die hard fans had already secured themselves in front of the stage by the time I arrived, but I managed to squeeze myself up to the front, albeit on the side, for a good amount of the show. Despite the initial rainy weather, Pier 54 was packed with all sorts of fans, from older veterans to the pierced/tattooed to those not even born yet when JJ was first topping the charts. Probably the best quote of the night was when she yelled out to us: "Good. You’re all rowdy & wet, just like I like ‘em." Not like this NYC crowd needed any riling up! "Five" and "Riddles" are definitely two of the best live ones off of the new disc. Signature raspy voice and hard-core guitar riffs aplenty, JJ definitely knows how to put on a kick-a** show. She looked like she was having just as good of a time as the rest of us…thrusting and dancing on stage and even smiling for some of the camera phones a few times. Ending with a cover of Sly & The Family Stone’s "Everyday People" was definitely a highlight for me. I’m psyched that I got to catch this show. Had such a great time!

Set List: Bad Reputation Cherry Bomb Light of Day Touch Change The World Androgynous Five Love Is Pain Naked MTM Riddles Fetish I Love R&R Crimson Hate__________________ AC/DC Everyday People Now on to the Dollyrots, who I was lucky enough to hang out with for a bit after their set.


Mariella Laguna, free-spirited abstract painter

Mariella Laguna, an abstract painter from Oceanside who friends describe as a free spirit and a firebrand, died June 23 of complications from Parkinson's disease at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Fla., near her winter home. She was 84.

"She went to Italy one time with nothing but a pair of jeans and a backpack to create art," her sister, Dorothy Wolff Coleman, of Boca Raton, Fla., said. "Everything in her mind was about painting."

An accomplished artist, Laguna painted large-scale abstract and impressionistic landscapes, drawing inspiration from such painters as Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky and Marc Chagall, said her son, KENNY LAGUNA, president of BLACKHEART RECORDS Group in Manhattan. Skies and trees were favorite subjects.


JOAN JETT, "The Godmother Of Punk," And Her Longtime Partner KENNY LAGUNA Reflect On Three Decades Of Battling It Out In The Hostile World Of Rock ‘N roll

Click to enlarge JOAN JETT, "The Godmother Of Punk," And Her Longtime Partner KENNY LAGUNA Reflect On Three Decades Of Battling It Out In The Hostile World Of Rock ‘N roll Back in the 1970s, there used to be this notorious nightclub in my hometown of Lancaster, Ohio. It was called Siggy’s and the local Puritans were always up in arms over the goings-on there — usually because they were pissed that someone might actually be having a good time. In the summer of 1976, I was 15 years old. One day that is forever etched in memory, I was out riding bikes with a pal who like myself was hot on discovering the glories of rock and roll. As he cruised up to me, he excitedly announced, "Dude, did ya hear? The RUNAWAYS are playin’ Siggy’s tonight!" Wow, I thought, The RUNAWAYS! They were all over my most recent copy of Rock Scene Magazine. They were just kids like me. I was already aware that I was supposed to be more impressed by the fact that they were all women. That was all the music press wanted to write about. But more important to me was the fact that they were my age and they were doing it. They were making kick-ass rock! I’d already tried to pick out the chords to "Blackmail" on my Epiphone acoustic I needed to see them! I needed to see The RUNAWAYS!

So being the super-stud I was at 15, I snuck out of the house that night and pedaled my manly ass down the craziest bar in town in the hopes of somehow catching a glimpse of rock’s newest goddesses. The first thing that struck me as I rode up to the front of the bar was that this place didn’t seem so dangerous. I mean, these folks didn’t exactly look like me, but they weren’t fornicating in public or committing acts of cannibalism either. In fact, thinking back on it, the vast majority of the denizens of Siggy’s were your usual mix of power-drinkers and bikers who, it turned out, were surprisingly tolerant of the 15-year-old who was suddenly making the scene with them.

I started to make my way towards the front door but of course as soon as the door guy got a load of me, he shook his head and said, "No way, kid. Ain’t happenin.’" I stood there at the side of the building for a few minutes trying to figure out my next move. One of the bikers who’d witnessed my failed attempt at entry wandered over to me and said, "If I were you, I’d try the alley. At least you’ll be able to hear the band." So I did. And he was right. I could hear the band just fine, and even better, I could see them. And even better than that, I could see JOAN JETT. Trust me friends, the pics in Rock Scene didn’t do her justice. I took one look at her and I was smitten. And best of all, she could play! What could be sexier than a woman who could wail on a guitar like that? "Cherry Bomb," indeed! I’ll make no apologies. That evening, standing in that dirty, urine-soaked, rat-infested alley, I became a JOAN JETT fan-for-life.


Fans slop through mud for ’80s rock

Click to enlarge Her white slip-on sandals almost all brown, Kristen Graff of Windsor winced as she squished through the mixture of mud and manure that was at the Island Grove Arena on Sunday night and joined the crowds in the standing-room-only section near the stage to see REO Speedwagon and JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS.

"I was just stuck," she said. As her husband, Kevin, smooth-ed the mud around with his feet, he said he didn’t mind the mud.

"It’s a fun time away from the kids," he said. "If you want, he can make you a little dry spot," added Kristen, laughing.

The rain and hail that started shortly before the 8 p.m. showtime didn’t seem to bother fans — such as the Graffs —who came out in force on Sunday night for the show at the Greeley Stampede.

JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS opened the show, playing a set that mixed songs from their new album, "SINNER," with crowd favorites "Bad Reputation," "I Love Rock and Roll" and "Crimson and Clover."

While many attendees came to see REO Speedwagon, others, such as siblings Karl and Bernadette Zimmerman, were there for JOAN JETT.


Saint Joan


JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS dropped like a "Cherry Bomb" on a rural smidgen of a town called Otis, Colo., pop. 480, when I was just a soft and impressionable 11-year-old. Being two hours from the nearest concert venue and dangerously low on alternative female role models, I could identify with this sneering savior in black leather and studs. Marianne Faithfull may have swung the first battle ax, but Jett hit the nation hard in 1982, lasting eight weeks at No. 1 on the charts with "I Love Rock & Roll."

What Jett provided for one lonely little city girl stranded in farm country has led many to call her an icon for women in the music business. Tenacious and talented, she commanded the respect of her audience without relying on her good looks and femininity. In 1979, having come away from international exposure with The RUNAWAYS, a band she co-founded in 1975, Jett embarked upon her solo career and was rejected by 28 different record labels before she and longtime producer/songwriting partner/fellow musician and friend, KENNY LAGUNA independently pressed their first album in 1980 and started selling it out of the back of her car. The album, which was picked up by Boardwalk Records in 1981 and entitled "Bad Reputation," marked the genesis of a partnership with Laguna that would become known as BLACKHEART RECORDS. In 1980, Jett and Laguna took out an ad in the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Weekly that read: "JOAN JETT looking for three good men." Thus, the BLACKHEARTS were assembled, and Jett was the first woman in rock & roll to own her own record company.

Since that time, Jett and the BLACKHEARTS have had nine Top 40 hit singles and eight platinum and gold LPs. The aftershocks of their impact on America can still be felt today in the form of groups like Garbage and Bikini Kill, but after the release of their 1999 LP, "Fetish," not much was heard from the group, until the 2006 release of "SINNER." Maybe Jett, having grown tired of waiting for someone to come along and fill her shoes, finally gave up and decided to forge ahead once more to get the job of rocking the world done right.


Interview: JOAN JETT Looks Out For The Youngsters

When JOAN JETT left the RUNAWAYS in 1978, she went solo — but couldn’t find a record label to save her life.

"We still have those rejection letters from 23 labels, major and minor," she says.

That was the impetus for Jett to launch her own BLACKHEART RECORDS imprint to release her music, which she usually licensed to larger distribution companies. And while "SINNER," her first new album in 12 years, came out in 2006, Jett’s focus this year is in using Blackheart to put out others’ records.


Fireworks and JOAN JETT rock Florida Marlins

Add some music to your cell phone and you have a phenomenon -- note all those people lined up outside Apple stores Friday to be the first to buy the new $600 iPhone.

Add some music post-baseball game and you just may boost your attendance, too.

That's the game plan for the Florida Marlins this season with its new Super Saturdays concert series. The latest, Saturday night at Dolphin Stadium after the Marlins fell to the Atlanta Braves before 24,229 fans, featured '80s pop/rock act JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS.


Rocker JOAN JETT warms up

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Rocker JOAN JETT warms up before a baseball game between the Florida Marlins and the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, June 30, 2007 in Miami. Jett, who will play in a post-game concert, threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches.

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