Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

September 2010 News

Page updated on September 30, 2010
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JOAN JETT Proves She Still Loves Rock & Roll

low resolution image Not Enlargeable (RTTNews) - JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS took center stage at the Virgin Mobile Free Fest between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., on Saturday, September 26. And though Joan was the oldest act on the bill, she still riled the crowd up as much as any of the younger acts.

Jett and company tore through over an hour of classic tracks sandwiched between newcomers Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Matt & Kim on the festival's main pavilion stage. Jett turned 52 just days before the fest, almost the collective age of indie duo Matt & Kim.

During the set, the band ripped through their mega-hit "I Love Rock and Roll," plus a collection of covers including Garry Glitter's "Do You Want to Touch Me" and the Tommy James and the Shondells standard "Crimson and Clover." The latter earned the BLACKHEARTS a number seven hit on the Billboard Hot 100 nearly 30 years ago.

Along with M.I.A., Ludacris and the recently reunited Pavement, JOAN JETT and company played to an estimated crowd of 40,000 at Saturday's fest in Columbia, Maryland.

Live Review: Virgin FreeFest at Merriweather Post Pavilion

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Music festivals are generally plagued by blazing heat, clouds of dust and overpriced beer, and Saturday's Virgin FreeFest had it all. What it mercifully lacked were stinkbugs.

The smelly insects currently swarming the Washington area were, for the most part, absent from the festivities at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Perhaps the heady aroma of sweat and wacky tabacky kept them away. Huzzah!

The epic slate of bands at FreeFest was a test of endurance for concertgoers on festival overload, from early afternoon act Jimmy Eat World to midday chill wave band Neon Indian. But the fest really kicked into high gear after the sun began to drop, pitting its heavy-hitting headliners against one another and forcing some difficult decisions for attendees.

JOAN JETT by Kyle Gustafson for The Washington PostFirst there was JOAN JETT in the Pavilion at 4:30 p.m., delivering BLACKHEARTS-era tracks like "Backlash," "Crimson and Clover" and the crowd-pleasing "I Love Rock 'n' Roll." Jett, much like her cougar-in-arms Madonna, proved that age just means knowing how to rock harder: She pranced, she purred, she had the audience in the palm of her hand.

After Jett wrapped up, it was into the Dance Forest for electrofunk duo Chromeo, who drew a larger and larger crowd as Dave 1 and P-Thugg got the party started. By the time they launched into "Hot Mess," awkward dancing was in full force. Flailing limbs and non-ironic robot-ing continued through "Tenderoni," "Call Me Up," "Needy Girl" and "Bonafide Lovin,'" and the hazy steam rising off bros and indie kids alike got darker and darker as a sea of feet kicked up the dust below.

The cloud of smoke (of some kind) hovering over Ludacris's set on the West Stage was inescapable. The crowd packed both lawns to watch Luda rip through older tracks like "Ho" and "Cadillac Grills" while also peppering in his verses from Fergie's "Glamorous" and Taio Cruz's summer smash "Break Your Heart."

As much as girls dipped it low during Luda's set, nothing came close to the energy level at Sleigh Bells' 30-minute set in the Dance Forest, where fans crowd-surfed during Derek Miller's and Alexis Krauss's 10-track performance. Surprisingly, it seemed that the same people head-banging during Sleigh Bells couldn't be bothered to wait around for M.I.A., who signed the pair to her N.E.E.T. record label.


JOAN JETT: She loves Rock N' Roll

low resolution image Not Enlargeable 2010 has been an eventful year for JOAN JETT. The female rock n' roll pioneer turns 52 years young today, and she has plenty to be thankful for.

Not only has she released a career spanning Greatest Hits album with her long time back up band the BLACKHEARTS, but a whole new generation has discovered her first group, The RUNAWAYS, through the movie of the same name.

While the film was not a blockbuster in the theaters, it has been a consistently strong seller on DVD and rental.

Having Twilight star Kristen Stewart convincingly portray Jett in the recent bio-pic has definitely added to interest in Joan and her music.

An anthology of the all girl group, which included Cherie Currie and Lita Ford, was also released earlier in the year.


Happy Birthday, JOAN JETT!

Put some black frosting on a cupcake and wear your jeans a little extra low in honor of JOAN JETT, who celebrates her birthday today. Though her first band the RUNAWAYS were essentially a prefabricated collective (though to be fair, so were the Sex Pistols), Jett's fingerprints are all over the history of punk rock. The RUNAWAYS produced incredible, volatile music that introduced the world to Jett's gritty, muscular guitar work. Later, she produced the first (and only) album by fascinating Los Angeles punk band the Germs and collaborated with Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook on her early solo work.

And then, something crazy happened. Unable to find a label, Jett established BLACKHEART RECORDS and released a self-titled solo album in 1980 (an album that contained songs that would later become seminal in Jett's catalog, including "Bad Reputation" and her cover of "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)"). A year later, she formed a band called the BLACKHEARTS and dropped I Love Rock n' Roll, whose title track shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and turned Jett into a mainstream rock star. The video picked up a ton of airplay on the just-born MTV network, and the album went on to sell millions of copies.

While Jett would never get back to the plateau of having a number one single in the country, she has continued to churn out excellent music. Her combination of savage originals and playful takes on covers kept her well anchored in the rock world, and she eventually became a hero for female guitar players (her chops are exceptional) as well as girls who want to express themselves loudly (as she has regularly lent her voice to progressive social causes).

Though Jett was thrust back into the spotlight with the release of the biopic "The RUNAWAYS" earlier this year (which saw "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart play Jett), the rocker hasn't put out any new music since 2006, when she dropped SINNER (which, in truth, was mostly a re-released of a Japan-only release from 2004 called Naked). It has some killer songs, including a cover of Sweet's "A.C.D.C.," which contains everything that makes Jett stellar: A killer riff, a playful look at sexuality and Jett's sharp vocal chops.

Happy Birthday, JOAN JETT!

low resolution image Not Enlargeable "The godmother to female musicians with loud guitars and idealistic dreams." That's how the New York Times once described JOAN JETT, expressing a sentiment shared by Jett's legions of fans.

From her pioneering stint in the RUNAWAYS in the '70s, to her trailblazing work on hits like "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" and "Bad Reputation," the artist once deemed "the female Elvis" has paved the way for every young girl driven to strap on an electric guitar.

More than that, however, Jett has given us some of the most unabashed guitar-rock of the past three decades. Injecting sass and sneer into a sure-footed sense of melody, the ever-youthful Jett combines a love of classic radio pop with a gnarly attitude in a way that goes to the essence of what rock music is all about.

"I'm a big fan of [pop music]," Jett said, in 2001 interview. "I think it really has to do with degrees of intensity, as to whether a song is bubblegum or rock 'n' roll. Good rock 'n' roll has to have a good pop sensibility within it. You need to have songs that say something, that have a hook, and that are catchy. Of course I listened to things like Bowie and T. Rex, too. It's all 'poppy' music, but with a harder edge."

Jett has lost none of her passion for her beloved rock 'n' roll. Doubters need only check out her recent performance for the "Nissan Live Set" concert series to see a artist in full flight, still reveling in making music. "I'm so blessed to be doing what I do," Jett says at one point.

Likewise, we're blessed -- blessed that Jett is still going strong and that she's lost none of her leather-clad edge...Gibson joins with Jett's fans in wishing her a wonderful birthday.

Aerosmith shows Vancouver it can still make it through anything

Thursday was a big night in Vancouver for legendary guitar acts from the '70s. Over on the North Shore you had Johnny Winter at the Centennial Theatre, while, downtown, Aerosmith was packing them in at Rogers Arena. I don't know how the albino blues-rocker from Texas fared, but the Bad Boys of Boston definitely acquitted themselves rockingly. Rumours of their demise have been greatly exaggerated, even by me.

Warm-up act JOAN JETT got the crowd of 11,000 in a retro mood straightaway with the title track off her 1980 solo debut, Bad Reputation (not to be confused with Thin Lizzy's awesome album of the same name). Looking mighty fine for 51 in black tank-top and black leather pants, the shades-wearing Jett followed up with the punky strains of "Cherry Bomb", from her old group the RUNAWAYS, and kept the exhilarating vibe going with "Light of Day", the Springsteen-penned theme song of the 1987 drama she costarred in with Burnaby's favourite son, Michael. And I don't mean Buble.

During the cover of Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me", also from Bad Reputation, the audience needed little coaxing to mindlessly chant "Yeah! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!", and Jett rewarded its obedience with "A.C.D.C."--not the band, but the 1974 glam-rock ditty by Sweet of "Ballroom Blitz" fame.


Aerosmith frontmen call truce for Vancouver show

When: Thursday night
Where: Rogers Arena
Let's do it for the kids.

That's what Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry must've agreed to backstage Thursday night before exploding in Technicolor at Rogers Arena.

Thousands of eyes stared up at the legendary Boston blues rockers in anticipation, awaiting the final show of the Cocked, Locked, Ready To Rock tour. Fans looked cool and tough, encased in leather jackets and faded jeans, but beneath this second skin of theirs, they were squirming.

They knew very well the concert might be Aerosmith's last as a classic five-piece lineup consisting of Tyler, Perry, guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer.

Opener JOAN JETT did a great job of setting everyone's nerves free beforehand, encouraging the butterflies to run amok like hoodlums instead of shaking mousily in the corner. She warmed up the stage -- and the audience's vocal chords -- with Bad Reputation and Cherry Bomb.


'One of the last great rock 'n' roll bands left'

Where: Rogers Arena
When: Thursday night
Grade: A

The riff. It's what real rock 'n' roll is all about.

At least the black leather-and-jeans, American variety produced by Aerosmith and JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS. It ain't deep, arty or even that angst-ridden. It's got a good beat and you can you-know-what to it.

A Jett classic such as "Do You Wanna Touch Me?" sends the underlying message of the music slamming home.

Actually, the perpetually-Sunset-Strip-circa-'75 rocker did nothing but slam from the opening chords of "Bad Reputation" to a cover of The Sweet's "AC/DC" that ruled.


Aerosmith Give Calgary A Hall Of Fame Worthy Performance

Aerosmith / JOAN JETT
Pengrowth Saddledome
Calgary, Alberta
I've learned that talent does not have an age and after this concert it definitely doesn't have an expiry date. Both JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS and Aerosmith rocked Calgary with a perfect balance of sex appeal, rock and roll and everlasting Talent.

JOAN JETT owned the stage from beginning to end just with her vocals and stage presence. The performance lacked something, but no one would dare mention it due to the overwhelming natural talent she holds. She captured each and every one of the 10,000 fans that filled the Saddledome, starting with "Bad Reputation" and following it up with "Cherry Bomb" from her first band "The RUNAWAYS." She played a few new ones and a lot of classics that made fans want more and even got a standing ovation of dancing and singing fans when she sang the all time favorite" I Love Rock And Roll."

Jett ruled the night with her raspy vocals that were perfectly edgy. She really proved herself to be a legendary true-blooded, bad ass rock and roll female. After an hour of waiting, the Gods of rock took the stage with instant energy and a performance that confirmed it was going to be a jaw dropping experience. Not only celebrating the years of music and different stages of their careers, they also celebrated Joe Perry's 60th birthday on stage with JOAN JETT and a birthday cake. And let's not forget about the mouth to mouth kiss from a sassy JOAN JETT herself!

Watching them perform on stage, especially Steven Tyler, you wouldn't even guess that these were older men. Tyler owned the runway, wearing skin tight zebra printed tights and a shiny Michael Jackson style jacket and hat that was designed to impress. He shimmied and tossed the mic stand like it was a toy and with intense pelvis thrusts, twists and turns. He got even closer with fans, sharing the mic and ordering a fan to hand over her top hat, which he wore perfectly.

Such a electric stage set up full of energy, with perfect backdrops that matched every song, the band rolled through their classic hits all night. My favorite was the worldwide classic "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" they played the Armageddon video which I'm sure brought tears to guests eyes - and the amount of emotion and vocal strength Tyler showed was immaculate.Ê He really was out to prove his talent - his vocals rocked the ol' dome like never before and even received standing ovations multiple times.


Aerosmith still rocks, after all these years

low resolution image Not Enlargeable I've been waiting to see Aerosmith since 1988.

So it was with a sense of destiny and some pretty high expectations that I showed up Sunday at Credit Union Centre for the Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock tour.

I had tickets for their Greatest Hits tour when it hit Regina and my friends and I were stoked -- I think that's the term we used back then -- to see the classic band.

Then I got grounded.


Punk icon JOAN JETT still going to bat for women in the rock world

low resolution image Not Enlargeable JOAN JETT may be in her 50s, but that doesn't mean she's traded in her leather bustiers for 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 who 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 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)."

If you've got the guts, though, you can claim Jett has changed the world.

With the release of the biopic The RUNAWAYS (based on bandmate Cherie Currie's memoir Neon Angel), Jett's life and story have been splashed across the big screen, reaching a whole new generation of teenagers.


Aerosmith makes unsurprising, rocking splash

low resolution image Not Enlargeable If this is the last Aerosmith tour ever, at least they're going out with their wings intact.

The Boston rock veterans brought their Cocked, Locked and Ready to Rock Tour to the MTS Centre Wednesday night for a crowd of 8,500, about the same amount of people who would have seen the band if they played the Canad Inns Stadium last year. That show was cancelled when vocalist Steven Tyler injured himself after falling off the stage during a concert in Sturgis, S.D.

The injury led to a winter of discontent within the band and left the group's future in doubt. They eventually regrouped, but with Tyler set to join the judging panel of American Idol, the quintet's future remains cloudy.

It's not like they are bursting with creativity anyway. Their last album of originals was 2001's Just Push Play, and so Wednesday's concert followed a similar formula to the last few Aerosmith shows in Winnipeg, a mixture of hits from the 1970s and singles from their comeback in the 1980s and 1990s.

At this point there really aren't any surprises at an Aerosmith concert, unless you count the mid-concert commercial for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith that occurred during lead guitarist Joe Perry's guitar solo.

If there is any animosity between Tyler and Perry -- who has been justifiably critical of Tyler's decision to join the televised karaoke contest without telling his bandmates first and knocked the singer off the stage in Toronto last month after Tyler bumped him -- it wasn't evident last night. The pair didn't spend a lot of the time in the same vicinity on the large stage, but during the third song of the night, 1975's No More No More, Tyler put his arm around Perry and the pair shared the microphone on the chorus.

No More No More was one of the early highlights of the night. The band -- Tyler, Perry, guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton, drummer Joey Kramer and a keyboardist -- took to the stage to the classic Same Old Song and Dance before showing off their blues influences with a cover of Train Kept a Rollin'.


JOAN JETT can see similarities with biopic alter ego Kristen Stewart as she advises Twilight star on dealing with fame

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Rocker JOAN JETT yesterday revealed how she is helping Twilight star Kristen Stewart deal with fame.

The 20-year-old actress plays girl-power pioneer Joan in new bio-pic The RUNAWAYS, out on Friday.

Although Joan admits Kristen's fame is far more extreme than she experienced in her days in the girl band, she says they share many similarities.

And she is confident the young star can handle the pressure.

"Look what she's got to deal with," said Joan, 51. "You can be a successful actor and still be able to go out and buy a loaf of bread but there's nothing that Kristen can do at the moment.

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