Monday, November 28, 2011


Darby Crash (nee Bobby Pyn), Pat Smear, Joan Jett, 1977

The first people I ever saw slam dance were Darby Crash (then Bobby Pyn), from the Germs, and Joan Jett. It was at a Weirdos show in a rented hall. That's it, a two person pit. You're probably thinking "Joan Jett? Oh, brother..." If you were around, near the beginning of the L.A. punk scene, you'd know that in the waning days of the Runaways, it was more like a day job for Jett. She was always around at punk shows and parties. As Slash magazine, the biggest L.A. punk zine back then, said (to paraprase) "show us the Joany Rotten you really are." Shortly after that, she would produce the Germs only studio album, Germs (G.I.). Now, thirty plus years later, she's on Letterman, playing "Bad Reputation" with the Foo Fighters; on her far left, Pat Smear, the Germs guitarist from back in the day. Mind fuck.

Joan Jett has never been in heavy rotation in this house. In fact, I may only have a couple of her albums, and I can't tell you when I last listened to them. But I've always had a soft spot for her, from way back in those early days. She's always been herself, and unapologetic, as a woman musician, and as a gay person. (You knew she was gay, right? That's why me and her aren't dating. Uh huh, you betcha.)

Joan Jett, ca 1978

Here's how my sister related the impact of a performance on a young fan (from an email I received back in July).:

"It didn’t hit me until last night how empowering her lyrics are for teenage girls – like "As I Am" which beats Lady GaGa’s "I Was Born This Way" by 25 years. It really hit home after the concert how much that message resonated. There was this girl, about 15, in front of me during the whole show. She had short, spikey kind of androgynous hair with bright yellow streaks. She wore a Green Day t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, a studded leather bracelet, and black nail polish. She was going ape-shit the whole night and twice stomped on my toes with her Doc Marten boots, and there’s no way I could get mad."

The Runaways, 1977

"She didn’t have a lick of make-up on, and absolutely no piercings or tattoos, which I thought lent some authenticity to her individualism. But it wasn’t ‘til later after the show, when I saw her walking with a really pronounced limp that I realized she had cerebral palsy which was in no way noticeable while the concert was going on. I thought about how the lyrics must have affected her in a really good way, and stupid me, I got all weepy."

"You’re the only one who would understand what a profound thing that was, to see music set someone free like that, even if it’s music from someone as goofy as Joan Jett." Amen sister.

The Germs, ca 1978

The Germs - Richie Dagger's Crime mp3 at The Adios Lounge Producer: Joan Jett
The Germs - What We Do Is Secret mp3 at Cows Are Just Food Producer: Joan Jett
The Runaways - Cherry Bomb (live) at YouTube Jett is on far left of stage, in black
Joan Jett - I Love Rock n' Roll at YouTube
Joan Jett w/the Foo Fighters - Bad Reputation (live) at YouTube Madison Square Garden, NYC Nov 2011
Joan Jett and Miley Cirus - Bad Reputation, Cherry Bomb and I Hate Myself For Losin You (live) at YouTube Now, before go all "WTF?!" on me, let me add to the weirdness: Oprah is the audience. She's shown a couple times, but the really strange juxtaposition comes at !:45 when she's shown singing along to "Cherry Bomb."
The Germs - Manimal (live) at YouTube
The Germs - Live at the Whiskey at YouTube

1 comment:

Tom G. said...

Video of Joan Jett with the Foo Fighters reposted of YouTube: