Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

December 2010 News

Page updated on December 31, 2010
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The heart of pure rock

low resolution image Not Enlargeable YOUNGER fans at this week's Falls Festival may not be overly familiar with the work of veteran rocker JOAN JETT and her band The BLACKHEARTS.

But Jett -- who in recent years has played to predominantly young audiences when headlining the Vans Warped Tour in the US and touring with the likes of Green Day -- knows one sure way to get through to the kids: get up there and rock out.

"I think there's not a lot you can do except go right out there and play," Jett said.

"I don't really know what the kids know -- sometimes you're surprised by the breadth of people's knowledge. You're maybe not expecting some young kids to know the words, but then you see a whole audience of them. I know it has happened here in the States, so I'm just hoping that there'll be the same sort of reaction in Australia.

"But if people don't know who we are, all we can do is play our music and hope that they like the rock 'n' roll. It's about the music and not about the more flashy bits of the entertainment business."

Jett has been in the business of entertaining people since the age of 15, when she co-founded pioneering all-girl punk quintet the RUNAWAYS.

A long-awaited film about the band, The RUNAWAYS, was released this year, with Twilight star Kristen Stewart playing Jett and Dakota Fanning portraying lead singer Cherie Currie.

Jett served as an executive producer on the film, heading to the set every day to work with Stewart and "make sure it didn't get too far off track from the real story, which I was very concerned about".


JOAN JETT talks to "She" about rock and The RUNAWAYS

low resolution image Not Enlargeable I unabashedly love JOAN JETT.

After all, she is a kick-ass woman, completely open about her sexuality, who has been rocking the world for more than 20 years. She understands her place in the history of rock, especially women in rock. But she still has a modest, soulful demeanor that belies her in-your-face onstage presence.

The RUNAWAYS movie introduced a new generation to Jett and her music. The film on DVD comes out this month and a Greatest Hits collection is on the way, giving She magazine the perfect reason to interview her. As if anyone really needed a reason other than the fact that she's Joan effin' Jett.

Here are some highlights from the interview.

On when she realized her impact on the punk rock scene:
Even at the onset, when the whole dream of forming an all-girl band first came about, I wanted that to definitely be one of the results. Beyond having fun in a band, I wanted to inspire other girls to do what we were doing.

On breaking down stereotypes of women musicians:
I figured rock and roll was such a liberated world, no one would have an issue with girls playing rock. But you know, it's like anything, the glass ceiling is everywhere. Once people realized we were serious about playing in a band and it wasn't a gimmick, then people started to feel threatened É We just didn't play into that.

On how male rockers treated the band on the road:
Some really had a great affection for us and looked after us. Even the hard rockers, like Motorhead -- like these bikers and pirates -- they did care about us. Then there were other bands that really had a big problem with us. They would stand at the side of the stage and throw things at us, trying to make us slip or trip in our heels and platforms and laugh at us. Typical baby s--t because they were scared we would blow them away.


Busch Gardens Announces Big Thrills and Big Names for 2011 Events
Big names in country, Latin, contemporary Christian and classic rock, plus a NEW extreme sports series and Florida's first triple launch coaster are coming to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in 2011. It's the biggest lineup yet with country and classic rock legends at Bands, Brew & BBQ, Viva La Mœsica's chart-topping salsa and meringue, a new breed of speed on Cheetah Hunt, Glory at the Gardens' contemporary Christian music and Ramp Jam -- a brand-new event featuring BMX, skateboarding and in-line skating by some of the sport's top athletes.
Can't decide which event to attend? With a 2011 Fun Card, you can pay for a day and come back all year to catch them all! It's the best value for again-and-again access to all of the amazing animal encounters, world-class thrill rides, exciting big-name entertainment and family adventure Busch Gardens has to offer.

NEW! A New Breed of Speed is Coming in Spring 2011
Busch Gardens' new mega-attraction brings guests face-to-face with the world's fastest land animals, then invites them to race across the Serengeti on Cheetah Hunt -- a one-of-a-kind launch coaster.

Memorable Music Gets Your Toes Tapping at Real Music
The Real Music Concert Series presents notable names from music's most memorable eras. From sock-hop era idols to swingin' big bands, the lineup features something for everyone:
March 16--19 TONY ORLANDO
March 23--26 CHARO


Boy George, JOAN JETT, and Iggy Pop for Isle of Wight 2011 plus Seasick Steve, Hurts, Stornoway, Lissie, and more

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Boy George, JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS, and Iggy & the Stooges, lead the latest raft of acts announced for next summer's Isle of Wight Festival.

Joining the acts on the main stage on Saturday will be Iggy & the Stooges, Seasick Steve, Hurts, Stornoway, and Lissie.

Boy George will headline in the Big Top on early entry Thursday, with punk pioneer JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS topping the bill there on Friday.

The Big Top will also host performances from Wild Beasts, The Vaccines, and Semi Precious Weapons on Saturday, with the headline act still to be announced in the coming weeks.

Kings Of Leon will headline the Friday, Foo Fighters and the reformed Pulp appear on Saturday, and Kasabian closing the festival on Sunday, with The British Pink Floyd Show headlining the Big Top on Saturday, and The Manic Street Preachers on Sunday. Other acts include Tom Jones, Jeff Beck, Beady Eye, The Script, Plan B, Public Image Ltd. (PiL), Cast, Hadouken!, Nick Lowe, and more. For the line-up details, day and stage splits, as available please click here.


JOAN JETT still sets own rules

low resolution image Not Enlargeable THEY say it's a man's world. But it's never been that way for JOAN JETT.

After forming her first band with close friend Sandy West in 1975, Jett and The RUNAWAYS would go on to break all the rules of rock 'n' roll.

In just four years The RUNAWAYS showed the world that teenage girls could rule the live stage, becoming the seminal all-girl rock group.

Parting ways with her bandmates wasn't an easy decision for Jett, who would go on to release a dozen albums herself and top the charts around the world. But this year, the singer/guitarist was given the chance to relive her teenage years all over again with the release of the film The RUNAWAYS, in which Twilight star Kristen Stewart played Jett.

Those years defined the woman that Jett is today.

"It's been interesting to relive it all," says Jett.

"It's something that I was very proud of then and I still am. I'm just glad that it's getting the attention and it brings the music back and the story - we lived that.

"The good and the bad - I had an amazing experience in The RUNAWAYS."

The film was a success with critics - even Jett approved of Stewart's performance.



low resolution image Not Enlargeable When JOAN JETT's band The RUNAWAYS expired in 1979 Jett had, in the previous four years, headlined shows with Van Halen and Tom Petty; written the classic hit Cherry Bomb; and toured worldwide, imbibing copious amounts of narcotics en route.

As explicitly shown in new film, The RUNAWAYS, it was a chaotic time for Jett and her bandmates, but even as frontwoman (we should probably say, frontgirl) Cherie Currie left the group, but Jett pushed on, fulfilling vocal duties herself, essentially keeping the wheels on the operation. When The RUNAWAYS disbanded in 1979 JOAN JETT was just 19 years old.

Although various RUNAWAYS members continued playing -- Micki Steele went on to play bass in The Bangles, Lita Ford and Sandy West still play metal guitar; Peggy Foster plays jazz bass -- without doubt Joan is the most notably successful performer of The RUNAWAYS. Her cover of the The Arrows' I Love Rock ÔN'Roll is a classic anthem and in 2010 Jett continues to tour heavily, heading to Australia as part of the Falls Festival lineup. It's the first time she's visited our shores since 1982 and of course, as then, she'll be bringing her BLACKHEARTS.

Given the heady days of The RUNAWAYS, did being executive producer on the film raise personal concerns about the emotional toll making the film might have on you?
No, my worry wasn't the emotional stuff. I had a blast with it all. You know, it's life. You have ups and downs but I loved [working on the film]; it was my baby. I loved it so much, that wasn't the problem -- living it -- I just didn't want 'em to fuck it up, you know what I mean?

I suppose you would have had time to truly consider what it would mean for you. It took Kenny [Laguna Ð Blackheart guitarist, Jett's best mate and business partner] years to get someone to transform Cherie's book into a movie, though didn't it?
Yeah. And once I said yes I had to be all in it. I had to make sure it was true enough to the spirit of The RUNAWAYS, and some of the things that we went through, before I could live with it, for sure. You got to step back and look at it in a different way. That was difficult at first, for sure. Once I got a sense of what to push for and what to leave alone it was easier.

No doubt it was an incredibly exciting time for you [in The RUNAWAYS] but given your age when the band broke up, it must have been a bit daunting trying to find your feet in a new band. You must have experienced doubts at some point.
Well, I had belief by the time The BLACKHEARTS formed because KENNY LAGUNA had belief in me. It's hard to go out there and fight if you don't have any support. You know, at least in the RUNAWAYS we were in support of each other, on the road you know, we did what we did and...I had a great time.


JOAN JETT on rock 'n' roll life with The RUNAWAYS

low resolution image Not Enlargeable

THEY say it's a man's world, but it's never been that way for JOAN JETT.

After forming her first band with close friend Sandy West in 1975, Jett and The RUNAWAYS would go on to break all the rules of rock 'n' roll.

In just four years The RUNAWAYS showed the world that teenage girls could rule the live stage, becoming the seminal all-girl rock group.

JOAN JETT heading to Sydney

Parting ways with her bandmates wasn't an easy decision for Jett, who would go on to release a dozen albums herself and top the charts around the world.

But this year, the singer/guitarist was given the chance to relive her teenage years all over again with the release of the film The RUNAWAYS, in which Twilight star Kristen Stewart played Jett.

Meet the real Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart preferred kissing Dakota Fanning than Taylor Lautner


JOAN JETT Takes Over the Magic City Casino This Saturday

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Virginia Woolf once said, "All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the grave of Aphra Behn...for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds."

Had Woolf been a teen with a 'zine during the late '70s or early '80s, she might have said the same about JOAN JETT -- sans the whole "grave" part, since Jett is still very much alive. And instead of "the right to speak their minds," the literary legend could update it to "the right to plug in and rock out."

It's hard to overstate the scope of Jett's influence, especially since many of the female rock stars who followed -- Courtney Love, L7, Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and the Go-Gos -- have named her as an inspiration. And last year, Jett's legend status was confirmed when her four years alongside Cherie Currie was eulogized on the big screen in The RUNAWAYS.

After that landmark all-girl group split, Jett went solo and a slew of Top 40 hits followed, including punkish classics "Bad Reputation" and "I Love Rock 'n' Roll." Even if the hit momentum waned through the '80s and '90s, Jett had already built a substantial fan base that still sings along to her songs in bars across the globe. To this day, any girl who thinks rock 'n' roll is just for boys should look to Jett. She's one of the matriarchs who carved the way.

JOAN JETT. Saturday, December 18. Magic City Casino, 450 NW 37th Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $15 to $100 via Call 888-56-MAGIC or visit

JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS Added To Sweden Rock Festival 2011

low resolution image Not Enlargeable JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS are the latest band to sign up for Sweden Rock Fest 2011, joining artists such as Ozzy Osbourne, Saxon and Styx. Sweden Rock Fest takes place on June 8th through 11th in Solvesborg, Sweden. Tickets for the four day event are now available for purchase at

JOAN JETT entered rock history in 1975 when she co-founded The RUNAWAYS - the world's first successful all-female rock band. The RUNAWAYS folded in 1979 and Joan, the band's frontwoman and guitarist, started a solo career and then a new band, The BLACKHEARTS. The cognoscenti predicted a colossal fiasco, but had to eat crow big time when JOAN JETT and the Blackheart's "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" became a monumental hit in 1982.

Over the years, JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS have released a total of 12 studio albums in their own right, crammed with raw garage-rock in a Hard Rock package. Apart from the abovementioned super hit, "Bad Reputation", "Crimson and Clover", "Do You Wanna Touch", "Light of Day", and "I Hate Myself for Loving You" also rank among her most revered numbers. This is actually the first time the iconic rock 'n' roll heroine visits SRF - could it be the beginning of a beautiful friendship? It promises to be a fascinating experience.
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