Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

August 2010 News

Page updated on August 31, 2010
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Rock and Roll with a Cherry Bomb on Top PNE Summer Night Concert Series - Aug.27.10

low resolution image Not Enlargeable You've heard her described as legendary, iconic, a rock and roll goddess and a Queen of Noise. She is none other than the Runaway herself, JOAN JETT. Jett, along with her band the BLACKHEARTS and fellow BLACKHEART RECORDS co-founder, KENNY LAGUNA, rocked out at the PNE in Vancouver Friday night.

Fans began filling up the floor and bleachers early afternoon for the 8pm show. The early birds were rewarded for their punctuality and pleasantly surprise when JOAN JETT herself stepped onto the stage an hour prior to show time to wave to the crowd, and to tweak the sound of her guitar and microphone.

As the sun began to set, the audience got more and more anxious and rowdy. One fan claimed that he has Jett tattooed on his leg, while a handful of others waved around Jett's 1981 record I Love Rock 'n' Roll hoping to score an autograph.

A sombre Jett started the show with a few words. Jett wanted to dedicate this show to her mother, who had passed away the day before. Despite being obviously and understandably distraught, Jett put on a brave face and launched into her first song, "Bad Reputation". Fans were already in a frenzy when she followed with an explosive rendition of "Cherry Bomb". Every person in the house was singing along word-for-word.

Jett later described the first song she wrote while in the RUNAWAYS called "You Drive Me Wild", appropriate since the performance drove the fans wild. Other songs performed included "School Days", "Love is Pain"," The French Song", "Backlash"," Crimson and Clover", and "Androgynous" -- a perfect medley of Jett's greatest hits and fan favourites.


Stars, Cars and Guitars: Gibson GuitarTown Debuts on the Sunset Strip

low resolution image Not Enlargeable A drive down the Sunset Strip always promises a few things: flashy billboards, rockin' (usually studded) get-ups, beckoning marquees and maddeningly slow-moving cars. Now there's something fun to look at next time you're inching along in S.S. cruiserville.

Yesterday, Gibson unveiled its public art project called GuitarTown, which features 26 10-foot-tall Les Paul guitar sculptures dotting the famous boulevard, each celebrating a rock god or music moment from the Strip's colorful history.

The Doors, Motley Crue, Jimi Hendrix, The Roxy's Lou Adler, Slash, Cheech & Chong and The RUNAWAYS (see above) are just a few of the bands and personalities paid tribute in these unique axes, each one by a local artist. Some pieces evoked a period of time or music movement associated with The Strip, such as that of Shamrock Tattoo's Mark Mahoney (on hand for the event). His piece depicted the heavies who shaped nightclub culture in the area in the '30s and '40s.

The event yesterday afternoon began with a ribbon cutting ceremony and vintage car procession down the Strip. We missed this part because --you guessed it--we were stuck in traffic!

We did get to see the fascinating new photo exhibit at The Comedy Store --part of the evening's Block Party festivities-- featuring its stellar comic alumni (Richard Pryor, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Robin Williams, and many more) and the space's famous regulars when it was Ciros nightclub (Dean Martin, Jane Mansfield). The Store's marketing director/photo show curator Alf Lamont, tells us the photos will be up indefinitely, so check it out. It's a must-see for entertainment and LA history buffs.

GuitarTown's big centerpiece bash was at The Rainbow, where a presentation with West Hollywood officials was held in the parking lot, and brought out our pal Rodney Bingeheimer aka "The Mayor of the Sunset Strip," Brian Wilson (whose likeness graces a sculpture), Cherie Currie, Matt Sorum, Slim Jim Phantom and Vicky Hamilton (original manager for all the bands who blasted from the Rainbow's patio during the party: Guns n' Roses, Poison and Faster Pussycat) to name a few.



low resolution image Not Enlargeable Can anyone be cooler than JOAN JETT?

At 51, the everlasting queen of rock 'n' roll is catching a new wave of popularity and mass appeal, something evidently displayed at her PNE performance Friday night, where everyone from teen girls to regular family types to seasoned rock scenesters were showing Jett their appreciation. You can thank the RUNAWAYS flick and the casting of Twilight's Kristen Stewart playing Jett alongside Dakota Fanning portraying Cherie Currie for the younger fans joining the fray but, really, what's not to like about Jett's no-BS, heart-on-her-sleeve R 'N' R?

Best moments of the night? Jett tearing through Backlash, a song she co-wrote with the Replacements' Paul Westerberg, and the triple-threat of the RUNAWAYS' School Days followed by Jett cornerstones I Love Rock 'N' Roll and Crimson and Clover. Top it off with the always bitter I Hate Myself For Loving You and there you go.

JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS rocked her PNE crowd for a solid hour. A short set, perhaps, but one that proved a point: Jett still packs a punch, and her empowering message is obviously being heard from one generation to the next.

JOAN JETT prefers 'playing all the crappy little clubs'

low resolution image Not Enlargeable JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS
When: Friday at 8 p.m.
Where: The PNE
Tickets: Included in $20 Fair Gate Pass, or $16.80 at

JOAN JETT may be in her fifties, but that doesn't mean she's traded in her leather bustiers for cotton floral-print pantsuits.

Her voice says it all: Over the phone, calling from her home in New York, the infamous tomboy from '70s all-girl punk rock band the RUNAWAYS growls with a sense of authority. She speaks and you can't help but nod in agreement. Like the 15-year-old bruiser that first clawed her way into the world of rock 'n' roll, Jett still has a clear sense of who she is and what she's fighting for.

Which is why calling the 51-year-old a role model might be a bad idea.

"I could never say that about myself. To me that sounds conceited," Jett says in her raspy, East Coast voice. "It's like, 'Oh, I'm great I affected all these people, look what I did.' It's not for me to say, as far as I'm concerned, because any artist can think they change the world. I just want people to get something from [my music]."

Jett's world-changing status can be argued, though, if you've got the guts.


JOAN JETT & Cherie Currie a Runaway success at Pacific

low resolution image Not Enlargeable If anyone needed a refresher course about women in rock history, there have been numerous opportunities lately to catch up with one band in particular: the RUNAWAYS.

Led by lead vocalist Cherie Currie and singer/guitarist/co-songwriter JOAN JETT (above), the influential L.A. quintet released a handful of studio albums during the mid-to-late 1970s that never became commercially successful, but were big in Japan. Still, the RUNAWAYS set an early standard for gals -- especially teenage ones -- playing guitar-driven, hard rock music in a male-dominated field.

Both Jett and Currie were on hand at Pacific Amphitheatre on Wednesday for a rare local performance.

Exiting the RUNAWAYS for a solo music and acting career, Currie soon appeared in both film and TV: Foxes, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Matlock, Walker: Texas Ranger. Jett stepped into the spotlight until the band broke up and later stormed the pop charts throughout the '80s. With the BLACKHEARTS, she racked up several Top 40 singles -- most notably "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," which spent nearly two months at No. 1 in 1982. RUNAWAYS lead guitarist Lita Ford also notched a few pop/metal hits and a platinum album toward the end of that decade.

Meanwhile, Currie recently put out the autobiography Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway. Initially geared toward young adults, she expanded it with more mature content about her longtime struggles with drug, alcohol and sexual abuse in the 2000s. The publication eventually served as the basis for The RUNAWAYS, a biopic starring Dakota Fanning as Currie and Kristen Stewart as Jett (who also executive produced), which arrived in theaters this past spring.


JOAN JETT, Interpol, The Living End to headline Sunset Sounds at Brisbane's Botanical Gardens

low resolution image Not Enlargeable THOSE suffering from post-Splendour blues have reason to smile again, with one of BrisbaneÂ’s biggest music festivals returning to rock out the Botanical Gardens.

The Sunset Sounds music festival is back this summer for its third year and is boasting one of its biggest line-ups ever, with over 60 local and international acts.

The first announcements were made this morning and include New York music heavyweights Interpol; 80s rock n' roll queen JOAN JETT; Aussie rock legends The Living End and up-and-coming indie outfit The National.

Ladyhawke will be over from New Zealand, American DJs Peaches and Chris Baio (from Vampire Weekend) will be playing sets and US noise pop duo Sleigh Bells will be coming down under for the first time.

There will be plenty of local talent on display as well, with folk siblings Angus and Julia Stone, Washington, Tame Impala, Cloud Control and Townsville's very own The Middle East.


American music heavyweights lead Falls line-up

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Three decades of American music history will be revived at the Falls Festival when JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS, Public Enemy and Interpol take to the stage.

Organisers behind the music festival, which is split between two sites in Marion Bay, Tasmania, and Lorne, Victoria, have announced another line-up leaning heavily on US acts.

The Cool Kids, The National, Sleigh Bells, Cold War Kids and The Soft Pack will provide an insight into the latest sounds from the States.

But the inclusion of three generation-shaping American heavyweights is likely to prove the biggest draw for the festival, which runs from December 28-31.

JOAN JETT's teenage band The RUNAWAYS epitomised the essence of 1970s punk during a turbulent four-year reign, before the singer hit mainstream fame with her number one single I Love Rock 'N' Roll.

A decade later Public Enemy became to hip-hop what The Beatles were to pop music as the collective elevated rap music permanently into the mainstream.

The pioneering group, including Flava Flav and Chuck D, will perform their 1990 album Fear Of A Black Planet in its entirety for the first time in Australia.

Interpol, meanwhile, have grown into one of the most influential rock bands of the last 10 years, trailblazing on the heels of fellow New Yorkers The Strokes.


Jett touches down in Falls to raise the roof

low resolution image Not Enlargeable JOAN JETT will return to Australia for the first time since 1995 to headline the four-day Falls Festival at Lorne from December 28.

As well as the likely treat of singing along to Jett's 1981 anthem I Love Rock 'n' Roll as the clock ticks over to the new year, concert-goers can also look forward to seeing ground-breaking hip-hop act Public Enemy perform its seminal 1990 album, Fear of a Black Planet, in its entirety, complete with their onstage ''army'', Security of the First World.

The album, which contained the tracks, 911 is a Joke, Fight the Power and Brothers Gonna Work It Out, has been hailed as one of the most important rap albums of all time.

Also on the bill is American shock rocker Peaches, who joined Jett on the song You Love It in 2006.

Other acts confirmed for the festival, which tag-teams with the Marion Bay festival in Tasmania for three days from December 29, include major American acts Interpol, The National, Cold War Kids, The Rapture and Sleigh Bells; and from the UK, Klaxons, sibling outfit Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, and dance-comedy act the Cuban Brothers.

Among the local attractions are perennial festival favourites The Living End, Paul Kelly and Dan Sultan. Sweet-voiced Sally Seltmann (aka New Buffalo), psychedelic rockers Tame Impala and brother-sister act Angus and Julia Stone are on the bill.


Longtime love for rock 'n' roll: JOAN JETT survives through talent and self-assuredness

low resolution image Not Enlargeable It's not rocket science to KENNY LAGUNA. JOAN JETT remains one of the most bankable brand names in rock 'n' roll because of a simple equation. "Part of it is she's a very pure person," said Laguna, who's worked with Jett since she helped revolutionize women's roles in rock during the 1970s. "No b.s. There are these artists - sometime it's a Mick Jagger trying to be James Brown and then becoming Mick Jagger - who, for whatever reason, they've just got this thing.

"Joan's just got this thing. She has some God-given gifts. It's knowing who she is. It's not changing with the trends in order to be successful."

As a teenager, Jett blew past conventional constraints with the RUNAWAYS, a still influential and inspirational punk-rock band.

In the 1980s, with Laguna's record-biz savvy and experience assisting significantly, she kept setting precedents. The MTV era helped elevate Jett and her BLACKHEARTS to million-selling status.

It's almost a flashback to the '80s as Jett still streams along successfully. She opens for another MTV pioneer, ZZ Top - the 41-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame blues-boogie power trio of Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard from Houston on Saturday at Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys.

"She's had something going on every couple of years," said Laguna, 58, who emboldened Jett to become the first woman to own a record label (BLACKHEART RECORDS) when most corporations rejected her as a solo artist in 1979. "She did the Warped Tour (2006), and she killed. That gave us a whole bunch of new fans. It's always something."

Jett, 51, and her three-piece band recently completed an 11-country tour with Green Day, the East Bay punk-pop group whose members were kids when she reached No. 1 with the anthemic "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" in 1982.

That "something" continues.


JOAN JETT still a tough act to top

low resolution image Not Enlargeable It remains one of the purest, loudest, sweatiest shows I've seen. The club crowd leaned rapturously forward for two-plus hours; the rocker acknowledged the fans' passion by flicking baptismal drops of perspiration with a lascivious smirk. And all the while, the hits were relentless, grindy pelvic odes to young lust, youthful rebellion and the randy power of an isolated guitar riff.

"Bad Reputation." "I Hate Myself for Loving You." "I Love Rock N' Roll."

Standing 5-foot-4, and no more than 100 chiseled pounds, JOAN JETT was a marvel that night a few years back at D.C.'s venerable 9:30 Club. There was nothing fancy about her gig, mind you. There was no great meaning to her music. She wasn't breaking rules, at least not then. But there aren't many solo stars, male or female, who can bring it like Jett.

It's been a good year for the 51-year-old Pennsylvania native. In March, she released a remastered swarm of greatest hits, a two-CD, 21-tracker issued by her own BLACKHEART RECORDS. The package was timed to the April cinematic release (now on DVD) of "The RUNAWAYS," a glossy biopic about the first all-female rock band, a glammy '70s outfit that featured Jett, played by half-lidded "Twilight" ingenue Kristen Stewart.

In real life on the unreal Sunset Strip, the RUNAWAYS also starred such notables as destructive singer Cherie Currie, future metalhead Lita Ford and soon-to-be-Bangle Micki Steele. But Jett, just a teen at the time, was the band's catalyst. She co-wrote the stuttering come-on (and the band's unofficial theme song) "Cherry Bomb" with band manager Kim Fowley, and her guitar and vocals added switchblade edge. The RUNAWAYS were built to burn fast, but Jett soon embarked on an '80s run that made her a superstar.



low resolution image Not Enlargeable Hot temperatures didn't keep fans from attending the JOAN JETT concert at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. Jett is best known for her signature song "I Love Rock and Roll" from her 1981 album, and it was among many of the songs she performed. She thanked local entertainer, Tony Orlando, who later joined Jett as a backup singer for her mega hit. Jett has performed several times at the Ozark Empire Fair. Her next stop is Chicago to perform at the Northalsted Market Days.

JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS at Seminole Casino, Coconut Creek, Florida

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Thanks to the release to DVD of The RUNAWAYS film about the all-girl rock band, a new audience is being introduced its executive producer and the band's co-founding member JOAN JETT. Jett is a rock n' roll icon that has influenced the music business, fashion and sound since the mid-1970s and continues to stay fresh and culturally relevant in rock n' roll.

Jett started rockin' early; she started playing guitar at the age of 13, "My parents got me a Sears Silvertone for Christmas." Jett recalls, "The first records I remember really inspiring me to play guitar were T. Rex 'Bang a Gong' and Black Sabbath 'Iron Man' and the first New York Dolls' record.1" From that point on, Jett started perfecting her original approach to playing the electric guitar which portrays a hard-edged, down-stroke rhythm. In the movie adaptation of band-mate Cherie Currie's book, Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway, not only is Jett's passion for rock n' roll music depicted by actress Kristen Stewart (from the mega-hit Twilight series), Stewart is stylized in Jett's still trendy punk look. Jett was still a teenager when she co-founded the band and she continued to develop her style. The RUNAWAYS was short lived, lasting from 1975 to 1979. Even with the band's success, Jett continually faced hardcore skepticism because in the 1970s, there were very few hard-rockin' females. Despite all this negative hype, now in 2010, The RUNAWAYS best-known songs "Cherry Bomb," "Queens of Noise," "Rock n' Roll," "Neon Angels (On the Road to Ruin)" and "Born to Be Bad" are still being played on the airwaves and are now documented on film and DVD.

Jett overcame the skepticism of the 1970s. However, it was not her tight sexy clothing that kept her successful. Her success is due to her music, her playing style and the tone of her electric guitar; a sound so unique that Gibson released the second edition of Jett's signature guitar, a black Melody Maker. According to Gibson, Jett says, "I got my Melody Maker in 1977." In the late 1970s and early 80s, Jett played a white Melody Maker and in time, it was covered with stickers, "It was light and it sounded great. It was the guitar I had in The RUNAWAYS, and then played on all my hits, like 'I Love Rock N' Roll' and 'Bad Reputation' and 'Do You Wanna Touch Me.' It's my baby. " Gibson even has a model with simulated rock n' roll gashes, however you'll have to supply your stickers.

With her signature Melody Makers, Jett has won recognition for her astonishing guitar playing. In 2008, Jett was named by ELLE magazine to be one of the12 Greatest Female Electric Guitarists; in 2006, she was inducted into The Long Island Music Hall of Fame and in 2003, Jett was listing amongst Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Jett formed BLACKHEART RECORDS with producer KENNY LAGUNA in the 1980s and has continued to churned out hit after hit with her hard-rockin' style, hits including "I Love Rock 'N' Roll," "Crimson and Clover" and "ACDC." She has perfected her electric guitar style and continues to tour and record with her band the BLACKHEARTS.

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