Tag Archives: Runaways

Joan Jett by Todd Oldham

Joan Jett by Todd OldhamJoan Jett by Todd Oldham, introduction by Kathleen Hanna

Ammo Books (224 pages; $34.95)

To be honest, I expected this book to be terrible. With the Runaways movie coming out in a blaze of twilit fanfare, you’d assume that any book being released around the same time would be nothing but a quickie cash-in.

But that’s not what this Joan Jett book is…not at all. Nice thick pages with high quality prints, assembled by celebrity designer Todd Oldham, it’s 9×9 size just looks cool sitting on your coffee table. Open it up and in additional to all the great rock and roll photos of Joan Jett throughout her career, you’ve got what amounts to an autobiography, seemlessly assembled from interviews over the past thirty years. Historians might’ve liked to have seen footnotes and a real bibliography so we could place the source of the quotes, but as it is it reads surprisingly cohesively.

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Twitter Roundup #7

Tweet tweetBelow are the things we’ve posted to Twitter recently. In reverse chronological order, just like Twitter…

# Pete Townshend digs Sufjan Stevens, but not Radiohead. http://ow.ly/RqGr 37 minutes ago

# Pete Townshend on Prince: “He’s not just a genius!” he spluttered, “He’s a quantum genius!” http://ow.ly/RqD0 about 1 hour ago

# Pete Townshend: “‘SOS’ is the best pop song ever written. It has all those Swedish folk elements…” http://ow.ly/RqAW about 1 hour ago

# She’s on a boat! RT @lindsaylohan: Peace and Love Mates http://tweetphoto.com/7690284 about 1 hour ago

# Netbook. RT @billboardglenn: FOXNews.com – Exclusive: Apple’s January Announcement Confirmed http://bit.ly/8FSxMY about 1 hour ago

Lots more after the jump…

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I Need Seven Inches Or More: Parental Guidance Suggested

Vanity 6 - Nasty GirlIt’s unfortunate, but I am forced to consider matters of sexual content in nearly every form of media when it is in proximity to my children, ages six and two. It’s a shame because it forces my wife and I to take on the role of entertainment babysitter at all times and the only form of relief is when we put the channel on something that’s exclusively for the age group we’ve sired.

What that means is that our television is continually on this shitty network called Sprout and we’ve both agreed that if we ever come across a real world replica of the cartoon character Calliou, we are going to kill and dismember the little bastard.

When it comes to matters of music, it’s a touchier subject. It goes without saying that I’m pretty opinionated when it comes to matters of controlling our family’s musical playlist and, goddamnit, I don’t feel the need to acquiesce when we’re considering what’s appropriate for the ears of our children. After all, I was fucking raised on Sgt. Pepper’s, Beggars Banquet and Jesus Christ Superstar. I’ll be damned if I’m forced to spin Kids Bop or some album by The Wiggles just to ensure our kids aren’t subjected to an f-bomb, a lemon squeeze, or fifty foot queenies.

As a result, my two-year-old daughter now has a penchant for The Runaways.

Continue reading I Need Seven Inches Or More: Parental Guidance Suggested

Joan Jett Signature Gibson Melody Maker guitar

Joan Jett, January 9, 2007, Las Vegas - Photo by Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Hard to believe it took until 2008 for Gibson to honor a female musician with a Gibson Electric Signature Model guitar. But they’ve launched the Joan Jett Signature Melody Maker, and it looks pretty sweet.

Joan Jett got her original Melody Maker in 1977 when she was in the Runaways. “It was light and it sounded great.” This new Signature Melody Maker is handcrafted to recreate Jett’s customizations. “This is my guitar. Gibson was successfully able to replicate my custom velvet hammer pick ups which have not been available for twenty years.” Its 24-inch scale length, slim-tapered neck profile is similar to the Les Pauls and SGs of the mid to late 1960s. MSRP: $839.

Full press release after the jump…

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Runaways Movie Planned: Neon Angels

Variety: Runaways head to the bigscreen. “Neon Angels” will tell the story of the ’70s all-girl, teenage band that was created by producer Kim Fowley and included members Joan Jett, Cherie Currie and the late Sandy West.

The Runaways

“We certainly utilized to our advantage our image as teenage girls who wore titillating clothes,” Jett told Daily Variety. “But we also became an excellent band and made it OK for girls to play rock ‘n’ roll. It got hard once people focused more on what we were wearing than what we were playing.”



Johnny Loftus

It’s all VH-1’s fault.

The next addition of the network’s ailing “Divas” series – which will likely feature Leslie Carter, Mandy Moore, and the Olsen Twins – will prove exactly what “Divas” does not promote: Women who play guitar will always kick more ass than those who simply sing and look pretty. They should have quit while they were ahead. After the extravaganza’s first incarnation featured actual, professional divas like Aretha, Diana, and Janet, VH-1 had to somewhat broaden the definition of “diva.” Left with C-list young’uns who weren’t around to see Madonna marry Sean Penn, their production probably didn’t inspire any female watching to do anything but switch to an old re-run of Moeesha. The absurd staying power of the Britney brand aside, it’s obvious that the divas are dying. Examples? The recent Josie and the Pussycats redux did not feature a D*Child-style girl group. Instead, a leather-clad Rachel Leigh Cook strummed chords on a black Les Paul. Pacific Northwest stalwarts Sleater-Kinney have finally begun to tear into the national media, achieving for the Riot Grrl movement what it could never muster in its mid-90s heyday: true respect of women who rock. So now that chicks with guitars are back, it’s only fair that The Runaways have their say. Their girl-on-girl rock groove pre-dated the post New-Wave spate of girl bands like the Go-Gos and The Bangles by half a decade. And Vicki Blue is out to prove it.

Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways is an upcoming documentary that has been put together by Blue, the band’s former bassist. It mixes interviews, performances, and tour film together to tell the story of the girls who rocked back when, most notably young, nails-for-breakfast versions of Lita Ford and Joan Jett.

The Runaways weren’t the greatest band of all time. Their tunes suffered from crappy production, and sometimes just weren’t that good. But the attitude was always present, even when their public image was being molded and tortured by Kim Fowley, the svengali who was the Maurice Starr of the 1970s. It was his idea to have the girls perform in lingerie; but it was still Joan Jett who wrote “I Love Rock and Roll,” even if she did have to play it in her underpants. Conversely, when Britney tears her clothes off on M-TV, all she has is her tits and some backup dancers. She can’t smash her guitar, or strike a mean pose behind a big Fender bass. The Runaways may have been a packaged thrill just like Britney and her peeps, but Ms Spears’ll never stick a Marlboro in the neck of her Gibson.

The timing of Edgeplay is perfect. Lita Ford’s been on TV warning of Metal’s return for years, and it turns out she was right. Boy bands and divas can’t rule the stage forever. The triumphant return of the Go-Gos (with new material and not simply another greatest hits package) is in line with the current spate of 80s nostalgia, but their popularity also proves that distortion is finally back. Even Her Diva-Ness Madonna is playing her guitar on the current Drowned World tour. And into this mix comes Edgeplay to show little girls everywhere how fun it is being an 18 year-old girl with long bangs, leather pants, and a scowl that cuts glass.

And the best thing about the documentary? Angelina Jolie is nowhere near it.



The consensus: girls playing Rock is hot, even if they aren’t really playing rock.

The latest in a continuing line of candy cigarette movies that play out like extended advertisements for Clearasil, cutting-edge fashion, and Herbal Essences, Josie & The Pussycats should be commended for realizing that it is exactly that. The film addresses the overt consumerism inherent in teen-oriented cinema, but then kicks its own ass for being a part of the problem. Brilliant. But no one’s seeing Josie for the plot. It’s all about the girls themselves, and their Rock band, The Pussycats.

It would have been so simple to re-formulate Josie & The Pussycats as a trio of Britneys, spouting Simon Fuller-penned dance fantasies while wearing galactic silver lingerie and hot pants. Wisely, the creative team of Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont (Can’t Hardly Wait) used a different model. Instead of pixie stick popstars, the reincarnated Pussycats are a guitar-slinging power trio with equal parts Runaways, Go-Gos, and Blink-182. When we first meet them, they’re performing their single “3 Small Words.” Legs planted, hair blowing back, Josie (Rachel Leigh Cook) hits power chords on her black Gibson and really makes you wish Joan Jett was still young. Bassist Val (Rosario Dawson) nods along, and Mel (Tara Reid) hits her crash cymbal with appropriate Debbi Peterson flair. In an online interview, songwriter Kenneth “Babyface” Edmunds described the sound that the braintrust desired for their new Pussycats. “The music started punk, but we ended up with something more pop-flavored, almost Go-Go-ish.” While the well-fed songsmith is known more for pulling heart strings than guitar strings, the tight, Hole-like harmonies and distortion crunch he created for the new tunes proves his cross-genre ability. (Who knows? Maybe he’ll persuade R.Kelly to do an album of Stiff Little Fingers covers?)

The soundtrack album promises all of the songs therein are performed by Josie and the girls. Don’t believe the hype. While the three actresses are certainly the hot tamales about town, they might have spent a little more time practicing their fake stage moves. Tara Reid’s tangled blonde main goes a long way toward heroin chic fantasy, but it can’t hide the fact that her hands are hitting cymbals while a drum fill plays on the soundtrack. They could have taken cues from the recent Almost Famous, which did a great job of making Sweetwater look like a real band up on the stage. Or the producers could have hired The Donnas, if they wanted looks and chops. Instead, we’ll settle for a few more close-ups of Cook’s to-die-for doe eyes and cool Pat Benatar 2K1 brush cut. But that’s the thing about these new Pussycats. They’re hot, yeah. But in a nails-for-breakfast sort of way. We don’t worry about the technical stuff, because just like Prince and Sheena Easton said, these girls Got The Look. In an early scene, Josie’s bent over the engine of her sometime boyfriend, fixing his alternator as he strums badly on her guitar. Whew. What a way to switch up those gender roles. I’ll be outside the theatre cooling off.

In a genius move, the film makes Josie and the girls heirs to the rock star throne only after evil record company geek Wyatt (Alan Cummings) murders the hilarious boy band send-up Du Jour. While making fun of the N Syncs and Backstreet Boys of the world is easier than pouring piss out of a boot, an opening scene featuring a Du Jour public appearance is spot-on, and hilarious. Sporting a feather boa and a top hat, the always reliable Seth Green (Scott Evil in Austin Powers series) cops the earnest face and head tilt-leg slide combo move favored by so many of our high cheekbone’d friends. It only makes the Rock more powerful when Du Jour’s sickeningly funny performance is followed by Josie and the girls strapping on their instruments and turning things up to 11.

So that’s what it comes down to. While Josie & The Pussycats has its “Believe in Yourself!” afterschool special-isms and too much of a rickety plot involving the curse of disposable income, it still has three gorgeous girls doing their damndest to rock the house (even if the girls we see on celluloid aren’t really the ones rocking us). It’s like my man Jeff said after seeing Detroit girl rockers Stroker Ace:

…[S]ometimes it’s nice to be exactly like the little 12-year-old girls who swoon over the Backstreet Boys. It feels good to embrace the kind of love/lust that you know is totally without merit, because dammit, we all want to bed a musician after we’ve seen him/her on stage. Didn’t you read/see High Fidelity?

(Aside to Rachel Leigh Cook: I’m single.)