Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at Harrah’s Saturday
It turns out that under all the black leather, muscles and tattoos, Joan Jett’s heart is actually made of gold.
“It was a lot about making it OK for other girls to do this,” Jett told The New York Times in August. “Girls play cello in symphonies, in orchestras ” what do you mean they can’t play?”
The punk-rock attitude isn’t posturing, though: Even though Jett is the head of a record label, a satellite radio host, a Hollywood and Broadway star, and maybe most famous for pop hits such as “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” she still rocks. She released “Sinner” in 2006, headed out on the Vans Warped Tour that year, then took the likes of Valient Thorr and the Eagles of Death Metal out on the road the next fall.
Fresh off a tour of Europe with Motörhead and Alice Cooper, Jett is bound for Harrah’s South Shore room for a show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, with her longtime backing band, the Blackhearts.
“I think there’s nothing better than seeing a three-chord straight-up rock ‘n’ roll band in your face with sweaty music and three-minute good songs,” Jett said on imdb.com.
Jett celebrated her 49th birthday on tour with Aerosmith in September: Lead singer Steven Tyler brought out a cake and sang her “Happy Birthday.” But she’s certainly branched out in other directions as well. Blackheart Records ” which Jett started after the Runaways disbanded ” recently celebrated its 28th anniversary and is home to the likes of Cleveland punk band the Vacancies, all-female punk trio Girl in a Coma (from San Antonio) and the Los Angeles-based Dollyrots. She’s also the host of “Joan Jett’s Radio Revolution” on Sirius’ Faction.
“That’s been interesting ” and different,” Jett said on her Web site. “I never aspired to it. I’m really kind of shy, so for me to get on the radio and talk, I had to build up to it. But I’m having a good time, and I get to turn people on to different things.”
She’s evidently turning onto different things as well. The logical career trajectory of a singer who’s appeared in movies (starring in “Light of Day” along with Michael J. Fox in 1987) would put her on Broadway, and that’s just where she went, playing Columbia in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
“I wanted to be an actress before I wanted to play the guitar,” Jett said on her Web site.
One imminent project has her returning to her roots ” she’s signed on as executive producer for director Floria Sigismondi’s “Neon Angels,” a movie about her first band, the Runaways, due out in 2009.
Jett was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Rockville, Md., until she was 13, when her family moved to Los Angeles.
“I went to a school reunion in Maryland not long ago, and some people reminded me I had said I was going to go to California to become a rock ‘n’ roll star,” Jett said on her Web site. “I hadn’t remembered that I had focused on it that early. To say that as a kid and actually do it is pretty cool. It just goes to show you that if you can believe in yourself, if you’re lucky and have the right timing, you have a shot. I’m an example of what can be, if you don’t give up.”
Along with Lita Ford, Kari Krome and Sandy West, Jett founded the Runaways, who released five albums and attracted a large following abroad before disbanding in 1979.
After spending much of 1979 solo in Europe, Jett returned to Los Angeles, where she started the Blackhearts, who released “I Love Rock and Roll” and its hit title track in 1982.
Jett is an avid sports fan, singing the national anthem at the Sept. 6, 1995, Baltimore Orioles-California Angels game at the request of Cal Ripkin Jr., when he broke Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games. She contributed theme songs for the original ESPN X Games, as well as music for all the games since.
Jett has been a critic of President Bush and the war in Iraq but a staunch supporter of the troops, playing the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and attending a meet-and-greet at the Pentagon in 2006. She’s also been a critic of the president’s stand against gay marriage. According to Wikipedia, Jett doesn’t discuss her sexuality publicly, “But I do it in my music, and I always have,” she said. “If you don’t know who I am from listening to my music, then you’re not going to figure it out from me talking to you, either.”
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