Update: Hello Nimrods! We hope you enjoy reading today's featured article contributed by Spencer Blohm and hopefully expand your musical knowledge just a tad bit more!
On Friday, December 6, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts made an appearance on DirecTV’s Guitar Center Sessions. Not only did Joan and the band play some of her classics, including “Cherry Bomb” and “Bad Reputation,” but she also sat down with host Nick Harcourt to discuss how her life in rock and roll has led to her present point.
The interview revealed a softer and more sentimental side of the rock icon than fans are familiar with. It also revealed the incredible passion she felt, and still feels, regarding girls having equal standing with men in any field they so choose, a belief she continued to reiterate throughout the interview. She told Harcourt, “I just wanted to get the message out there that girls, you can do whatever you want to do in this life regardless if it’s rock and roll or being a nuclear physicist. Don’t let people tell you what you can do...you go and do what you want to do, if you fail, great, then at least you took a shot.”
Joan herself is a prime example of going for it, having taken that very shot toward her dreams and not failing, despite many times when she felt like she had. She credited her parents with always encouraging her, and insisting that her being female meant nothing in regards to what she wanted out of her future: “I must have been very young because they told me that as a kid and I guess that really stuck. Maybe they didn’t know what kind of trouble they were starting.”
She and Harcourt also discussed the incredible difference between the treatment she and The Runaways received in America as opposed to what they experienced in England and Japan, the latter being almost fanatical about the girl group. Jett compared their reception when they arrived to Japan in 1977 to Beatlemania. The band was consistently selling out concerts and ranked 4th in terms of the most popular imported music act behind only ABBA, Kiss, and Led Zeppelin. “In Japan,” explained Jett, “I learned to understand that girls were much more second class citizens. So, what we were doing over there was really breaking down the barriers of what a girl can do.”
However, the band’s days of success were short-lived as creative differences began to strain the relationship between the girls. During the interview, Joan took the opportunity to discuss the breakup of The Runaways, something she still is very emotional about. “It was devastating, it was devastating for me because it kind of felt like we’d just grown apart,” she told Harcourt. “I did not want to get fired from a band I started so we all just went our separate ways.” After the breakup she said she became a bit out of control with her partying, and even admitted, “I was in bad shape.”
Despite the challenges Joan faced during the early parts of her career, she managed to persevere, eventually coming out back on top. In the performances she gave between interview segments it was clear the 55-year-old rock goddess is not slowing down. She has also released a new album, Unvarnished, back in September, which earned solid reviews.The icon still knows how to stir up some controversy too, as she recently got kicked off South Dakota’s float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after ranchers complained about her heavy involvement with PETA. Those of you who watched the parade know that she did get to perform. She was, however, moved onto another float - proving she’s still one of the baddest chicks around.