JOAN JETT FAQ
(Most Frequently Asked Questions)
Who are your musical influences and why?
born Jett picked up guitar in Baltimore at age 13, inspired by Led
Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, then by the sexually ambiguous Glitter
scene, especially leather clad pioneer Suzi Quatro.
Joan’s ambitions accelerated when her family moved to
Southern California, and the fifteen year old became a fixture at
L.A. rock clubs.” (Seconds, page 14)
rolling Stone, April 1999
first concert I ever saw was the New York Dolls, when I was 12.
I was in the front row, between where Johnny Thunder and
David Johansen were standing.
It was sensory assault on every level.
I remember taking David
Johansen’s beer can off the stage.
That was right when I was becoming a rock fan, coming into
being a teenager and getting turned on to music.
Once I saw that, there was no question what I wanted to
I leaned to play guitar from records – T. Rex’s “Bang a
Gong” and Chuck Berry…I focused on the way rhythm
guitar sounds, the way it feels against the drums…I was
totally unconcerned with the lead guitar.”
one of my influences is Liza Minnelli.
How old are you?
ask a woman her age, but I am younger than you think.
How have you sustained your career for 20 years?
her longevity to “writing and performing songs that they can
relate to and keeping my ear to the ground to stay abreast of
what’s going on.”
I love it. I don’t
think like, ‘I could make money doing this, because there are no
guarantees in this business.
It’s such a difficult business that if you’re not doing
what you love then what’s the point.”
love to sweat like Patrick Ewing, and play guitar and swing my
hair. You feel
How and when did you start your own label?
being turned down by 23 record labels she created an independent
label, and released a self titled album, “JOAN JETT”. Released
in 1980, it was the most successful indie rock and roll record of
all time. In 1981, it was picked up by Boardwalk Records, and named
“Bad Reputation”. It
spawned two hits: “Do You Want To Touch Me?” and “Bad
did you get involved with the Runaways, is there a reunion in the
had this idea that girls could play in an all rock band, and one
day I told this idea to Kin Fowley, who introduced me to Sandy
West, the drummer. Sandy
and I created The
Runaways in 1976. We
were very young. We
broke up New Years Eve in 1979.
1976 we had Lita Ford on guitars, Micki Steele on bass, drummer
Sandy West and lead vocalist Cherie Currie.
Joan and Sandy chose the name, The Runaways.
says that she has no desire to be part of a Runaway’s reunion.
“I tell you, I’m not too keen on it.”
Part of the big reason is, not only the fact hat we were
girls, but we were teenage girls was a big thing, a part of our
essence. And that’s
not the way it is anymore. So,
in a way, you wouldn’t ever really be seeing the Runaways, even
if you saw everybody in
are now compiling a Runaways retrospective
for Mercury Records, and we may even do one more song with
the original band. We
will see, but right now the plans are still forming.
did the Blackhearts form?
1980, we put an ad in the calendar section of the LA Times and LA
weekly that said: “Joan Jett looking for three good men”.
I did not want to repeat the female thing to avoid
began playing with the Blackhearts in 1980 in Los Angeles at the
Whiskey A GO GO. Then
they went to Holland for their first tour, and returned for a
at the Ritz with Klaus Nomi, The Police, and many others for the
Miles Copeland movie Urrgh-A Rock War, this appearance was
heralded by the New York Times, and proved to be a springboard for
her solo career in the USA.
Stig is a fabulous punk side project from Jett. She formed the band with members of Seattle
punk band the Gits to raise money to help find the killer
of Gits lead singer Mia Zapata. “I didn’t know her, but I know people in Seattle who did,
and this freaked them out.”
These efforts were assisted by Nirvana, The Posies, The
Presidents of the
United States, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and many other Seattle and grunge
How does it feel to be female in a mostly male dominated business
and genre of music?
first it was hard to be both sexual and still play hard rock.
“You couldn’t have both.”
When I was playing in the Runaways people called us
“whores, sluts” and “dykes.”
“People said why don’t you get off the stage? You’re
going to get hurt.”
How do you feel knowing that you broke down the gender barrier of
am “proud” to break down any gender barriers in the Runaways.
“For women to have a good sense of self now about playing
music, it makes me feel so good. If I had anything to do with it, then that just makes
me feel so good. When
girls come up to me and say , ‘Because of you I did this’
that’s a really good feeling to know you gave somebody
What do you say to people who declare you are too hard, too
sexual, too angry?
like being dirty and sexual, I like making people’s faces red
and I like making them squirm.” If you don’t like it, don’t
watch- don’t listen.!!!”
How do you feel knowing that you influenced so many people?
is humbling, and I don’t believe it most of the time.
How much input do you have in the running of your record company?
is only me and Ken Laguna who have the last
word on what we do. I
am very active and I have total control of these activities.
How did you meet Kenny Laguna?
alliance came about as a necessity.
Jett’s manager was friends with Laguna and set up the
meeting. The pair met
in 1979 to
collaborate on songwriting for
a movie soundtrack, and found synchronicity in a
more Joan was rejected by the mainstream industry, the closer and
more resolved they became.
acted in a few movies and shows, any interest in returning to the
screen, silver or small?
in “Boogie Boy”
in Paul Schrader’s “Light of Day” with
Michael J. Fox in 1987.
Acted in an episode of
the television show “Walker
in an episode of the television show “Highlander.”
love acting and would love to do it again.”
What is your favorite movie?
Liza Minnelli is one of my
favorite people and has been a huge influence.
you were stranded on a desert island, what record would you want
James and the Shondells.
many albums have you recorded?
How much longer do you wish to make music?
I am in my box.
When you eventually retire from music what would
you like to be remembered for?
is such a privilege to think that you did something in your life
that touched people in a certain way, that reminds them of a
certain time…It’s a great feeling to be able to have that, to
be able to share that with people and know that you’ll always
have that bond.” However,
I don’t ever think I want to retire.
you consider yourself a role model?
I don’t think in those terms.
Why did you dye your hair blonde, and cut it so short?
got bored and evolved to this point over the 90’s. I was going blonde on the way to purple and red from the dark
natural color, and one day I stopped at blonde for the night and
it kind of stayed there.
is life on the road like for you and do you like it? Has it
changed in the last twenty years?
live to be on the road, and thing’s have not changed with regard
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be, and why?
collaborated with members of L7, Babes in Toyland and bikini Kill.
How are you going to celebrate the millennium?
hope to be at home with my cats.
Were you wearing leather before the Runaways, or was that a result
of being in the Runways?
of the image was enhanced and promoted by Kim Fowley.
He played up to each girl’s personality.
“I was the tough girl.”
I always wore leather.
Will we, the public, ever see a softer side of Joan?
always see it. The
question is, can you tell when you do?
After recording a successful single for the
Women’s Final Four do you have any plans to do anymore
“soundtrack” type songs, specifically done to promote a show,
movie or tournament?
did the X-Games theme for 2 out of the last three years.
Three years ago we recorded “Real Wild Child” and this
year a speed rock version of “I Left My Heart In San
Reputation” was in “Ten Reasons I Hate You” and was also
used as the theme for the TV series “Freaks and Geeks.”
“Love is All Around” is in “drop Dead Gorgeous.”
We just recorded a new song for the Nora Ephron film
“Lucky Numbers” and “Light of Day” will be on that
soundtrack as well. This
stuff id going on all the time.
What tends to be the inspiration for your lyrics?
Is there any one thing that seems to come up over and over
again throughout your writings?
life experiences are the inspiration for my lyrics. The themes of independence and being yourself are always
there. There are
other things, but I’m not taking you there.
Like my fans, everyone has to figure that out for
you could or had to donate all of your money to one charity what
would it be, and why?
have a lot of charities, but children’s health issues are very
important to me.
What kind of guitar and amp do you use?
a white Melody Maker.
using it in 1978. “Because
my first guitar was a blonde Les Paul and it was getting really
heavy, so I saw the Melody Maker, it was Eric Carmen’s. I
bought it off one of his roadies.”
a really unique guitar, a California style, so it’s got two
pick-ups, which Melody
Makers usually don’t.”
special pick-ups are custom made by Red Rhodes and are called
amp is a music man 4 by 10 with supped E.V. speakers ( 4 ten inch
have your greatest hits been?
Love Rock N Roll
& Clover – cover of Tommy James song
You Wanna' Touch Me – (Oh Yeah)
Hate Myself For Loving You
Is there anything you would like us to know about you that has not
been asked here or before?
am not mean.