Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

August 2012 News

Page updated on August 31, 2012
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low resolution image Not Enlargeable JOAN JETT is a rare breed of rock 'n' roll artist who has played anywhere and everywhere that has requested her services. When she pulled in for a show on January 17, 1982 at the Youngstown Agora, she was already a veteran of three shows at the club with the RUNAWAYS in the '70s. This show was at the start of her trip into super stardom as the eventual No. 1 hit single "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" was released three days after. Reviews of the show at the time have the attendance at about 1,000.

WHAT THE SHOW LOOKED LIKE: Here's Joan in 1982 (much later in the year) performing the famous Arrows cover to a crowd of rabid German rock fans.

BLACKHEARTS Beat in Brooklyn

low resolution image Not Enlargeable When people think of women in rock and roll, their minds immediately go to JOAN JETT. Jett, now aged 54 years knows this and continues to uphold her title as the one of the most influential female musicians of all time. This ability to uphold her legacy was brilliantly showcased on Thursday night with a free show on Coney Island.

The show could not have been better, with JOAN JETT taking the stage around 8:30 to the blasting beat of the Beastie Boy's "No Sleep Till Brooklyn". As the recorded electric guitar faded away, Joan's guitar ripped through the fading static and shot out across the audience of nearly 2,000. Despite the size, the energy in the crowd was almost mellow, what with the cold breeze blowing off from the ocean and the smell of hot dogs wafting through the air. Even when JOAN JETT took the stage I had the feeling that crowd of New Yorkers was used to this kind of spectacle.

I myself having come from the half conservative, half wacky town of West Chester PA where every bit of music was cherished, and every oddity was looked upon with a mix of scorn and admiration, stood in awe of the small woman clad in a sparkling red jumpsuit. Her guitar was slung around her shoulders and hung lightly on her hips as she prowled the stage grinning widely.


BLACKHEARTS Beat in Brooklyn

low resolution image Not Enlargeable A crowd of over 2,500 people came to watch JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS perform a free set in part of the Coney Island Summer Concert Series on August 9th. This wildly diverse crowd ranged from preteens to rocking grandparents ready to party.

The opening act was none other than Coney Island's own set of freaks; The Coney Island Sideshow. This was upon the request of JOAN JETT herself.

These performers included:
¥ The Human Blockhead (who hammers and drills nails into his nose)
¥ Insectavora (a tattooed wonder who walks barefoot on a staircase of swords)
¥ Serpintina (snake charmer)
¥ Betty Bloomers (sword swallower)
¥ The self proclaimed Worlds Strangest Strongman (who lifts an anchor using only fishhooks embedded in his eyeballs)
The audience was not expecting this freaky opening act. The host of the event, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said it well, "This is Brooklyn for you!"


JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS: like a ton of bricks

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Rouyn-Noranda - JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS put in full view of festival-goers who braved the bad weather, August 11, to catch the show in the Festival Osisko light.

The U.S. gave a solid performance, to discover several new songs. Generous on stage, it occurred repeatedly between songs to thank his fans or to show the papers to come.

As might be expected, these are the classic "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" and "I Hate Myself For Loving You" that will have the opportunity to the crowd to be heard at most of the musician of 53 years . Novelties, such as hits, frankly reflect influences from punk rock group.


JOAN JETT's through an hour set and the Cal Expo State Fair

low resolution image Not Enlargeable JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS performed a one hour set during the last weekend of the California State Fair. It was a Friday show during a surprisingly mild summer night. The crowd jammed inside the outdoor amphitheater and the lawn seating for the free music lovers was filled with excited fans. Joan didn't fail to rock the stage as she blistered through her most well known songs (Cherry Bomb, Do Ya Wanna Touch, I Love Rock n Roll, Crimson n' Clover and I Hate Myself For Loving You). She also performed some material off of her later albums. But one song she played quieted the raucous crowd and that was a cover of Sweet's AC/DC (and no, it has nothing to do with the hard rock band by the similar name.


Loving Rock 'N' Roll with JOAN JETT

When JOAN JETT sang "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" at the Ventura County Fair on Saturday night, you knew that she still means it.

Jett, who co-founded the seminal all-girl jailbait band The RUNAWAYS back when she was a teenager, then burned bright as a solo artist in the early '80s, seemed immune to middle age as she tore through an hour-plus of power-chord-driven songs in a skintight, sparkly red jumpsuit that most women half her age couldn't pull off.

With the help of the BLACKHEARTS (DOUGIE NEEDLES on guitar, Acey Slade on bass guitar, THOMMY PRICE on drums, and longtime manager and co-conspirator KENNY LAGUNA on percussion and keyboards), Jett kicked the concert off with "Bad Reputation," which still packs a punch more than 30 years after it was first recorded. The song set the tone for the rest of the show, with the memorable lyrics, "I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation," and the nod to her pioneering spirit for women in rock 'n' roll, "A girl can do what she wants to do and that's what I'm gonna do."



low resolution image Not Enlargeable Two musical icons joined forces for one special night at the California Mid State Fair in Paso Robles when JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS AND Paul Rodgers brought Rock and Roll to the Central Coast in full force. Real guitars, real drums, no canned vocal tracks or backup dancers, both bands brought only great songs that have touched generations of fans while also staying current and stylish.

Jett's opening set was kicked off with her signature "Bad Reputation," which had the packed crowd rocking from the first notes. Never one to rest on her past success and grow stale, Jett's set list was evidence of her musical validity through the decades.

Monster hits "I Love Rock n Roll," and "I Hate Myself for Loving You," from the 80's were side by side with "Naked," and "AC/DC" from 2006's "SINNER" CD, arguably the former runaway's finest collection. Two brand new songs were also introduced, "Reality Mentality," and the hook filled sing-along "TMI," (To Much Info) which is an ode to today's instant sharing of needless information in the digital age. "We're making a new record. We've got about seven songs done. Joan's writing a lot of it with the band and some other very famous surprises," Joan's longtime partner and collaborator KENNY LAGUNA told us before the show.


Interview with KENNY LAGUNA

low resolution image Not Enlargeable KENNY LAGUNA is a long time member of the music community, as performer, songwriter, and producer. His body of work spans many genres, demonstrating his versatility and ability to create artist appropriate music. Through his multifaceted talent, his style is always apparent. To music insiders and artists alike, KENNY LAGUNA's name is legendary. He has been with JOAN JETT from the start of her solo career as a producer, co-collaborator, and musician. You started your career as a performer, having hits with music greats The Ohio Express and The Lemmon Peppers, Tell us about breaking into the music business at such a young age.
Well, I was very lucky because of the geography. I grew up in New York and when I was 12, 13 I ran into some guys and I got a gig. The WMCA "Good Guys," they were a famous Top-40 Station but they were also playing the early Rock n Roll. I remember one of the shows, it would be The Shangri-La's, The Regents, who had the song "Barbara Ann," cause the Beach Boys didn't have the first version. I was doing that and then I went up to The Catskills and met Tony Orlando and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and the name of the game was to hustle around the Tin Pan Ally, which was the Brill Building at 1650 Broadway, and I did it. Then one day a guy listened to my Demo and offered me a job at Kama Sutra Records. I did take that gig as a songwriter for Kama Sutra. I sat around with these great, great guys who were all monster writers and producers. That's how I got started. You've produced Tony Orlando, Jay and The America's and of course JOAN JETT. What are some of your favorite memories of being in the studio?
There's so many. But recently I had the recollection that me and my friend Peter went in and sang on Barbra Streisand's Stoney End record. They had like run out of money and time (Laughs) and we went in there and finished up, and Barbra Streisand was there. That was a good one. As I lo'ok back, Don Ho, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis. The idea was I got in it for Rock n Roll and I got sidelined with Bubblegum Music, which is kinda Rock n Roll with nursery rhymes. When Bubblegum died I lucked out when the original manager and producer of The Who, Peter Meaden adopted me and my friend Pete Anderson and we went to England where we weren't has-beens, so we were right back in the game, cause in England they liked Bubblegum Music, which FM Radio in America did not like at all. In England Punk started happening, the Punks loved Bubblegum Music, and hated Crosby, Stills and Nash (Laughs) so I was definitely at the right place. Again, geography.


Reflections of JOAN JETT and the State Fair

State fair concerts are usually just ok and not something you expect to hear about three days later. Crowd enthusiam tends to be polite but not too energetic. JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS, however, changed all that Friday night, July 27 at Cal Expo. I finally bought a ticket to the state fair this year and it was worth the $12 admission ticket. In fact, it felt like it was worth a lot more. JOAN JETT basically rocked the crowd in a way that was both magical and educational.

For a lady in her early 50s, who still looks like she did 30 years ago, there was no sense she was tired or over the hill. It was more the exact opposite as she tore down the myth that rock and roll has something to do with certain generations or age limits. It was an all ages packed crowd that showed enormous love for both rock and roll and the band.

From start to finish Joan's vocals and the songs were top notch. Even her new songs such as "Reality Mentality" easily won the crowd over with cheering support. The sound of the band was as clean, tight, rockin' and professional as any rock band that still knows how to rock. Even the sound system of the Gold Circle stage sounded way better than usual.

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