Joan Jett interview about rock ‘n roll, women, and the Iraq war


19 November 2007.

This music video from the USA is called Joan Jett -Bad Reputation.

This music video is called Cherry bomb by Joan Jett.

From British daily The Guardian:

Queen of noise

While her friends were into the Osmonds, Joan Jett was strumming along to T Rex. When a woman plays rock’n’roll, she owns her sexuality, she tells Laura Barton. Perhaps that’s why male critics find her so scary. …

The name of Joan Jett has long been tinged with notoriety; the original female rocker [in The Runaways during the 1970s], she has not only enjoyed a successful career with hits such as I Love Rock’n’Roll, Crimson and Clover and Bad Reputation, earning herself a place in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time – one of only two women to make the list – but she has also been an inspiration to generations of female musicians, from the riot grrrl movement of the early 90s to Britney Spears, who covered I Love Rock’n’Roll in 2002, and now to the cluster of female fans who wait, flushed-faced, to meet her this evening in Brighton. …

In fact few record labels would touch Jett. “It’s hard to imagine, now, the resistance,” she says. “It wasn’t only about girls and rock’n’roll but also my image was so much harder than other girls in rock’n’roll, with the black hair and the leather jacket. We still have all the rejection letters; 23 of them.” The labels gave a variety of reasons: “They’d say, ‘You have no songs’,” Jett gives a lop-sided smirk, “and the tape we sent had I Love Rock’n’Roll, Crimson and Clover, Do You Wanna Touch Me and Bad Reputation. So they didn’t only miss one, they missed four hits … And we’d get a lot of, ‘Drop the guitar, stop hiding behind the guitar, change your image, sing softer songs.’ It was you’re not allowed to be edgy and you’re not allowed to be hard if you’re a girl.” She looks puzzled. “I’m so confused about that.”

Jett and Laguna summoned a new band, The Blackhearts, and decided to form their own label – a gamble that paid off in 1982 when her cover of The Arrows’ I Love Rock’n’Roll occupied the US No1 spot for seven weeks. This week she releases a new album, Sinner, and a cover of a track by The Sweet called AC DC: “It’s a little provocative,” she says with a knowing smile. “It pushes the envelope,” – as indeed does its video, featuring Carmen Electra, whom Jett has been rumoured to be dating.

Another track, Riddles, which samples a speech by Dick Cheney, “is sort of about doublespeak, the 1984 aspect of what’s going on in the world.” Speaking openly about American politics is, she says, “a calculated risk … You saw the reaction to the Dixie Chicks [see also here]! I mean it’s pretty frightening to me to consider the fact that on one hand you live in the Land of the Free and that dissent is part of democracy, and then to be singled out for speaking out when you do.” …

In 2004, Jett joined Howard Dean‘s campaign group as he ran to be the Democratic candidate. “I Googled all the candidates, and I found Howard Dean’s record as governor of Vermont: he’d been governor for 11 years, and worked very well with Republicans and Democrats. He got universal healthcare for all children under 18. He got prescription benefits for the elderly. And he was against the Iraq war, way before anyone else was saying it was wrong.

See also here.

The rise of the rock goddess: here.

We Need Rock! We Need Choice! Music Needs a Woman’s Voice: here.

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3 thoughts on “Joan Jett interview about rock ‘n roll, women, and the Iraq war

  1. Pingback: Women in rock music exhibition | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: My WordPress anniversary, Joan Jett and Occupy | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Swedish police anti-Roma discrimination | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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