December 2008 News
Page updated on December 31, 2008
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CD Review - A Blackheart Christmas
A musical sleigh full of what I most want for Christmas - "A Blackheart Christmas." BLACKHEART RECORDS issue of classic and original holiday tunes performed by original Blackheart artists. An eclectic compilation of classic punk, power pop, rock n' roll and even a little bit of bubble gum of familiar tunes performed in a way that is as fresh and as new but with an energy so raw it's as if these songs are being sung for the first time ever. 33.61 minutes of pure holiday joy...
Nina Diaz's, ("Girl In A Coma"), rendition of "Blue Christmas" and ""I'll Be Home for Christmas" are delightfully reenergized as is Kelly Ogden's, (The Dollyrots), punked out "Santa Baby". "The Elf's Song", a pure punk tribute to Christmas elves done just perfectly by The Vacancies as well as a very different take on Father Christmas by the same artists. There's the power popping "All I Ever Want Under the Christmas Tree" by modern music rebels "The Cute Lepers" as well as "Christmas Is A Time to Say I Love You" . JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS's original and much loved rendition of "Little Drummer Boy". Interlaced with songs like "Winter Wonderland" featuring the soft vocals of the sweetest Blackheart ever, percussionist, THOMMY PRICE. 60's bubble gum guy and BLACKHEART RECORDS co-founder and producer KENNY LAGUNA's idealistically heart warming "Home for Christmas". "Silent Night", the final track, a compilation of all of the Blackheart artists with virtuoso and BLACKHEART RECORDS founder, JOAN JETT's mellow tones so soothingly spiritual, just full of heavenly peace, the kind of peace that comes from a peaceful heart and mind with an ending that's as incredible as Jett herself. Brushed across a backdrop of electrifying guitar riffs and Jett's underlying soothing vocals yet distinctive from the rest, is a very special surprise. A vocal cameo of President Elect Barack Obama's victory speech, sprinkled with out takes from Senator John McCain's concession speech and a few nonsensical words inspired by neophyte republican vice presidential candidate Governor Sara Palin by SNL's favorite pundit Tina Fey's witty substitution of a 5th grade geography lesson in place of candid foreign policy.
A Blackheart Christmas album unfolds in a way that is as lovely as a dancing sugar plum fairy or the intrinsic warmth of a crackling log in a fire place while an unexpected blizzard rages outside. Each track performed in a truly unprecedented way closing with a summary of the political climate that overshadowed so much of 2008 and will be remembered for generations to come as the beginning of change that did come to America in a very timely, yet unexpected way. This album should be in every holiday music collection.
JOAN JETT Still Flying High as Rocker, Label Owner
In some ways, JOAN JETT has lived three rock 'n' roll lifetimes.
In the '70s, she was a guitarist in the RUNAWAYS, one of the first all-women hard rock bands in the world. Then in the '80s, she was a pop music star with nine Top 40 hits and eight gold or platinum albums. Now she's both a live attraction and a label owner.
Jett and her longtime backing band, the BLACKHEARTS, play a show Dec. 30 at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino.
Jett's BLACKHEART RECORDS label is home to three woman-fronted bands - the Dollyrots, Girl in a Coma and the Eyeliners. Jett told Billboard magazine in 2006 that giving support to women artists in rock 'n' roll is something she aspires to, even if the rest of the industry still is playing catch-up.
"For some reason, women playing rock 'n' roll seems threatening," Jett said. "I guess it implies owning your own sexuality and you're in control of it, so I don't know why that's threatening."
JOAN JETT Talks Gibson, Townshend and Rejection in Rolling Stone Interview
JOAN JETT Ð rock and roll's original "tough" girl Ð has seen it all in nearly 30 years of burning up the world's stages, and she shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Jett expounds on the early days of her career, and how her band the RUNAWAYS was snubbed by the major labels (including Clive Davis), while Pete Townshend and the Who showed them all the love in the world.
She also gushes about her new Gibson signature guitar, the JOAN JETT Melody Maker, gives up the dirt on her upcoming greatest hits collection and new Christmas album, and offers her opinion on the documentaryEdgeplay, which depicts the early, volatile days of the RUNAWAYS.
Q&A: JOAN JETT on Her Big Hits and RUNAWAYS Drama
Rock's original tough gal talks being loved by Pete Townshend and scorned by Clive Davis
With Twilight star Kristen Stewart portraying JOAN JETT in an upcoming RUNAWAYS biopic, a new hits collection on the way and even a Christmas album on Jett's Blackheart label, Rolling Stone caught up with rock's original tough gal and her longtime co-writer/manager KENNY LAGUNA to chat about Pete Townshend, being burned by Clive Davis and recording the perfect cover.
You've got a new Gibson signature model guitar now?
JOAN JETT: I sure do. It's a Gibson JOAN JETT Melody Maker. It's copied from a guitar that I've used for years and years. The Melody Maker works with me well because it's light and it's easy to handle.
KENNY LAGUNA: It's called a California style, they only made a very few of them. The one she bought from Eric Carmen, he had played it on those Raspberries hits. Over the years she made modifications. They're very unique, it's part of what the JOAN JETT sound is. This guitar is totally backordered. They're so popular we can't even get them. We're trying to get one so we can get it to Pete Townshend, we can't even get one for Pete!
Speaking of Townshend, is it true that the who put up the money to make your first album?
Jett: Oh absolutely, yeah, we would not have been able to make that record if they hadn?t helped us. They basically let us record what became Bad Reputation and [said], "Pay us when you can." Because Kenny had been friends with the Who and Bill Curbishley, who was their manager for many years. They let us come into their place and do it.
A Blackheart Christmas
Music critic Brian Mansfield picks some of his favorite holiday albums coming out this season.
A Blackheart Christmas, Various (Blackheart). Compilation from JOAN JETT's BLACKHEART RECORDS includes Jett's take on Little Drummer Boy plus contributions from The Dollyrots, Girl in a Coma, The Vacancies and former Shondells member KENNY LAGUNA. A singalong version of Silent Night featuring Jett and others also includes sound bites from Barack Obama's Chicago victory speech. Available through iTunes.
Go Daddy holiday party celebrates 42% sales jump
Video clips from It's a Wonderful Life played on the Jumbotron above the baseball field-turned-banquet-floor. And for employees and guests of one of Scottsdale's high-profile, fastest-growing companies, such was life Saturday night.
Go Daddy Group Inc. threw a $2 million holiday party at Chase Field for nearly 4,000 employees, vendors and guests. With sales up 42 percent this year, the Scottsdale domain name registrar bucked corporate America's Ebenezer Scrooge trend and the otherwise poor economy to treat employees to a bash twice as big as last year's.
Chief Executive Officer Bob Parsons scootered onto the field on a Ducati motorcycle and reminded the crowd that the company had issued no subprime loans, manufactured no cars that won't sell, and hadn't asked for any bailouts.
Off-Broadway's 'Rock of Ages' is Hollywood Bound
...and Spiderman is set to produce.
Variety reported this week that New Line has bought the film rights to the Off-Broadway rockfest, Rock of Ages. Maguire Entertainment (actor Tobey Maguire's production banner) is also attached to the project.
Rock of Ages is a tumultuous love story driven by classic '80s anthems and ballads from "hair band" icons like Journey, Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Poison, and REO Speedwagon. There's even some classic tunes from JOAN JETT, Pat Benatar and more.
While the Off-Broadway musical has yet to be the next big wave to hit New York theatre it is a fun show....especially if you were ever into or lived through the eighties. It also has that rare commodity of being a musical that your boyfriend or husband actually might like to see much less sit through.
Does this mean that Tobey is trading in his webs for spiked dog collars and metal-hair? This producer's spidey sense says it's doubtful. But stay tuned folks...anything is possible Off-Broadway
LI Music Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists, Blender's Hottest Women of Rock - punk pioneer JOAN JETT has had some fancy honors in her time. But now she's back on the cover of Casey Exton's raunchy Outlaw Biker magazine, 20 years after her first appearance there. That puts the ageless rocker cheek-by-exhaust-pipe with such legendary bike-seat beauties as Elizabeth Taylor and Brooke Shields. Some JJ LI trivia: She moved to Long Beach in '79, rehearsed in Baldwin and recorded "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" at Syosset's Kingdom Sound studio.
JOAN JETT and the Legend of BLACKHEART RECORDS
JOAN JETT knows what it's like to be a struggling musician.
She knows what it's like to sacrifice everything in pursuit of a dream-to go after something with guts and determination.
JOAN JETT knows what it's like to play all the dead-end dive bars and busted-out roadhouses, to live on a steady diet of ramen noodles and tap water, to sell CDs out of the trunk of her car. She knows what it's like to have doors shut in her face, to be told she's not pretty enough, or gritty enough, that she'll never succeed because she doesn't fit the mold of some preexisting pop format.
JOAN JETT knows what it's like to be a chick with real talent in an industry that prefers pop tarts and pedicures. She knows what it's like to be denied access because of her gender. JOAN JETT knows all the struggles that come along with clawing your way to the top. She knows the risks and the rewards, and she knows that in most cases the rewards are a long shot-one that fewer and fewer artists are willing to take.
"A lot of people just want to be famous," Jett says. "They want to get on TV and believe they'll be famous within a month or so, and that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about getting in a van and playing all the shitty-smelling clubs-not just once, but over and over and over again. That's how you build an audience. It doesn't take forever. And it happens to be a lot of fun in the middle of some hard work. It's also what being in a band is all about. But I've found throughout my life, from my earliest times in bands, that not everybody's on the same page when it comes to that. Sometimes people just want to take the easier way, and that's not the way it is."
Kristen Stewart is JOAN JETT
Twilight star Kristen Stewart has signed on to play famous rock'n'roller JOAN JETT in The RUNAWAYS. Music video director Floria Sigismondi wrote and will helm the project. Sigismondi's videos have included Marilyn Manson's Tourniquet, Christina Aguilera's Fighter and The White Stripes' Blue Orchid.
The film is a biopic of the first successful all-girl hard rock band The RUNAWAYS (hence the title), which fell apart after four years due to management and money disputes. According to THR, the film "will revolve around Jett and [singer-keyboardist Cherie] Currie and follow them from the band's meteoric rise as teenagers to their dissolution and disillusionment."
River Road Entertainment hopes to go into production in 2009, but they will have to work around the Twilight sequel New Moon, which is supposedly gearing up for a March 2009 start.
Twilight's Kristen Stewart Is JOAN JETT
It's not often I'm right about something, so excuse me while I take a moment of your time to gloat. In my 2005 review of Zathura, I predicted big things from Kristen Stewart in the future. Sweet Jesus do I wish I had been wrong. I'm usually wrong. Why did I have to be right about this one?
Look, it's not that I hate Kristen Stewart. Obviously back in 2005 I rather liked her. I still like her. She's pretty and to be honest she wasn't completely terrible in Twilight. She's never going to be a Meryl Streep though and unfortunately, the massive, over the top, success of Twilight is causing Hollywood to treat her like she's already halfway to an Oscar. According to HR Kristen Stewart will play legendary fem-rocker JOAN JETT in a rock n' roll biopic called The RUNAWAYS, a movie about Joan's same-named, all-girl band. No not the BLACKHEARTS. That came later.
Here's the thing: JOAN JETT is hella cool. She deserves a goddamn good movie made about her. I want to see that. Unfortunately with Kristen Stewart playing her the best we can hope for is a probably okay movie in which she's played by a really, really pretty girl. Well ok, at least played by Kristen JOAN JETT will look good and I suppose that's halfway to being a decent rock chick. It just would have been nice to have her played by a really solid, younger actress. Not too young though, someone with at least a few years, some experience, to put behind Joan's eyes after she's been living the rock and roll lifestyle for awhile. Give me an Elizabeth Banks or a Rachel McAdams, not 18-year-old, pleasant but not particularly brilliant Kristen Stewart choking out "I Love Rock N' Roll" in her gravely voice.
The Sound & the Fury
S&F isn't your biggest fan of the Christmas album. The sheer cumulative weight of holiday product from the likes of Mannheim Steamroller and Josh Groban long ago left our ears in a state much like those mythical chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
But we'll happily make an exception for A Blackheart Christmas, the new Yuletide offering from JOAN JETT's label, which includes two tracks from SA favorites Girl in a Coma.
GIAC gives Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas" a loping, country treatment, and you can practically see the grin on the face of bassist Jenn Alva, an unabashed Elvis admirer. The band falls into a more characteristic groove with a punky "I'll Be Home for Christmas," which actually turns a bit ominous during Nina Diaz's fiery guitar solo, before a hint of sleigh bells brings some seasonal reassurance.
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