Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

May 2008 News

Page updated on May 31, 2008
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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JOAN JETT Signature Guitar

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Gibson Guitars released their new "JOAN JETT Signature Guitar" today. Not only did Joan help to design this amazing guitar, but it's also built completely to her specs!

Les Paul made a special appearance in New York at the Hard Rock Cafe and walked the red carpet with Joan carrying the new guitar.

No woman has ever had a Gibson signature guitar. JOAN JETT joins an elite group of musicians such as Jimmy Page, Ace Frehley and Slash to have signature Les Paul Gibson guitars.


Jett-propelled TV Rocker JOAN JETT will ap pear in an upcoming episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," which she's cur rently filming here in New York. In the episode, Jett will play the quintessential "boss- from-hell," an ex-music in dustry...

JOAN JETT: Speaking To The Underdog

low resolution image Not Enlargeable There's something undeniably appealing about JOAN JETT. Tough, great rough 'n' tumble songwriter, unrepentantly sexual, oozing charisma, stylish as hell and rockin' as all get out. When her muscled arms grab an electric guitar and she fixes you with her thickly mascara ringed eyes, well, you gotta be made of sterner stuff than most of us if your knees don't wobble a little. As she slyly queries on one of her biggest hits, "Right or wrong, don't it turn you on?"

Perhaps more than any of these details it's her unshakeable sense of self-possession, a bold line in the sand that says, "You wanna try me? Go for it!" Broadly, Jett's music combines the primal energies of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" with The Sex Pistols' "Holidays In The Sun," sprinkled with spoonfuls of '60s girl group energy, Ramones bluntness and Grand Funk Railroad's stadium igniting fervor. She is Mary Magdalene to Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool, a societal outsider beloved by the Lord. However, not many fringe figures have Number One tunes around the globe or a fantastically active career that stretches from 1975, when she left home at 15 to co-found seminal all-girl punk-garage rockers The RUNAWAYS, right up until today. Frat boy favorite and punk girl icon, JOAN JETT is a complex person, but it's those very complications that have kept us fixated on her for more than 30 years.

"I think you've got two extremes that girls are told they can be. You can either be a dress wearing, lipstick wearing kind of girl or the athletic, short hair, tough chick. There's nothing in between," says Jett. "Most women live somewhere in between. They're not at the extremes, but there's nothing out there for them. It's even difficult to find clothes to wear if you reject these two roles. I have trouble just finding something comfortable."


Illinois State Fair Confirms Additional Grandstand Entertainment

Natasha Bedingfield and JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS are the latest artists to announce 2008 Illinois State Fair appearances

SPRINGFIELD - British pop star Natasha Bedingfield and American female rock pioneer JOAN JETT have joined the stellar Grandstand entertainment lineup that has been assembled for the 2008 Illinois State Fair, State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick announced today.

The 26-year-old Bedingfield, who has sold more than 10 million singles and albums worldwide, will perform Saturday, Aug. 16, with "High School Musical" star Vanessa Hudgens. She is best known in the United States for her chart-topping hit "Unwritten," which in 2006 was the most played song on mainstream American radio.


Jett finds rock 'n' roll's still worth loving

W0hen the Exploited belted out "Punk's not dead!" back in 1981, the British punk band just might have been speaking of one of America's original punks, JOAN JETT, who by that time had moved on from her storied career with the RUNAWAYS to further fame with the BLACKHEARTS.

And even after all these years, Jett's career is nowhere near dead. In fact, it seems to be thriving like at no other time in her long history, and that's just her own career as a performer.

Her 2006 all-original album "SINNER," released on her BLACKHEART RECORDS label, has paved the way for an all-new greatest hits compilation (tentatively titled "Fit to Be Tied," due by the end of the summer. Jett said it could contain at least one new song, but the collection is culled mostly from her newly remastered catalog of songs, including of course "I Love Rock and Roll." Jett said that contrary to what people might think, she does not get tired of performing that song live.

"I try to stay in the moment, and it's a lot of fun," Jett said. "It makes a lot of people really happy, and I respect that. It's not about me; I'm just an instrument. I still love playing the old songs, people know them."

Besides releasing her own music, Jett has also focused on the bands the Dollyrots, the Cute Lepers and Girl in a Coma, which are all housed on her label. All fall into the pop-punk vein, and since each has at least one female member, Jett hopes that by backing these bands, it will continue to keep female punks in the spotlight.

"It gets very frustrating to me, this many years after The RUNAWAYS, to think that girls have not really come anywhere," said Jett. "There aren't girls being played on the radio. They're not in the press. It's not a standard thing. It's still sort of looked at as a novelty."

And as for The RUNAWAYS, the band will get its due with the upcoming film, "Neon Angels," which Jett will executive produce.

"We saw the world around us, saw the music scene around us, and none of that included girls playing rock 'n' roll," Jett remembered about her early experiences in the band. "In some places like Japan, The RUNAWAYS were huge Ñ really huge. Thousands and thousands of girls screaming and chasing us down the street. It was just crazy."

WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 21
WHERE: Camel Rock Casino, 10 minutes north of Santa Fe on U.S. 84-285
HOW MUCH: Advance tickets $30, available through Ticketmaster outlets, 883-7800 or at Over 21 only

Runaway success story
Still drawing crowds after 30 years, JOAN JETT says all a budding rock guitarist needs is a love of rock'n'roll and a guitar that stays in tune


My parents bought me a Silvertone electric guitar for Christmas when I was 13 years old. I was pretty impressed that they got it for me, and spent all Christmas morning making nothing but noise. I remember my dad saying, "Stop with the racket!"

I'm left-handed, and they bought me a right-handed guitar. I knew that, technically, I should flip the guitar over, the way Jimi Hendrix did, but I tried to do it and I couldn't do anything with my right hand on the fretboard because I didn't have any dexterity with that hand. To me, it made more sense to have my left hand on the frets, because I needed to have more dexterity with that hand while my right hand would only be strumming.

I did try to take lessons, but being an exuberant 13-year-old, I figured you could learn everything in one day. I went to the guitar teacher and said, "Teach me how to play rock'n'roll." He looked at me like I had three heads. I quit after one lesson and bought one of those "how to play guitar by yourself" books, which taught me the basic barre chords. Then I sat in my bedroom and listened to records by Free, Deep Purple, T Rex and Black Sabbath because they had big fat barre chords and were slow and easy to play; I learned by ear. Playing with my records didn't seem difficult or like music homework, it was more like fun.




As Promised, Neon Angels On the Road to Ruin

As promised in Sunday's ASK MICK column, above is the song "Neon Angels On the Road to Ruin" as performed live in Japan in 1977. Keep in mind, these are 17 and 18 year old girls, and you're looking at over 30 years ago.

While we're having fun, check out "Cherry Bomb" and try to imagine how this must have seemed in 1976, when it came out. I remember I was floored.

A wet & wild way to open Memphis in May

Festival counts on youth to lead the way on event's opening day

The rains came, but the Beale Street Music Festival can always count on an army of festivalgoers to battle the grim weather.

The event has long been a success, primarily by booking bedrock blues, roots and Memphis-connected acts, but the fragmentation of the pop world at large makes the organizers' task increasingly difficult with each passing year.

Clearly, a strategic need was what was driving most of Friday's early bookings, a selection of youth-oriented acts -- including mall punk and emo bands such as Flyleaf and Drive By and kitsch hip-hoppers Lord T. & Eloise -- geared toward getting teens and twentysomethings to Tom Lee Park early.

There were exceptions, exemplified by the more mature -- musically speaking -- roots songstress Amy LaVere. A fast-rising local talent with a unique voice, LaVere has been tagged a sultrier Norah Jones. LaVere plucked away at her standup bass, while being backed by a tight-knit two-piece, drummer Paul Taylor and guitarist Steve Selvidge, performing a soothing, yet charming set for a late arriving crowd.

The real highlight of Friday's early action came with an appearance by punk-pop icon JOAN JETT and her band The BLACKHEARTS. After a brief delay brought on by a sudden cold shower that quickly abated, Jett strode on stage to the strains of The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Pop" before letting loose with a completely professional yet no less profound shot of rock and roll.

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