March 16, 2010

They say you can’t predict Earthquakes, but this Friday with the opening of  “The Runaways:”, I guarantee there’ll be a whole lotta” shakin’ going on!  Starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, the biopic written and directed by Floria Sigismondi chronicles the adventures of the all-girl ‘70s Rock and Roll group, the Runaways which  included Joan Jett, Cherie Curie,  Lita Ford, Sandy West, and Micki Steele.

In the mid-seventies I was dragged to a rehearsal of the group by their then manager and producer Kim Fowley, the eccentric guru of the Sunset Strip, a “Hippie” with the Jeffery Dahmer smile. I wasn’t expecting much “from the girls”, and then they started playing! Although I’d seen female rock groups before I’d never been as impressed as I was that day.

They didn’t try to imitate their male counterparts and play with “balls”, but played with a “vaginal fortitude” that I had never seen before! The songs reflected a new point of view…but with a new kind of edge!

I always thought the group deserved a lot more success than they ultimately achieved. I can’t wait to see the movie to see what really happened behind the scenes that led to their demise. Although Cherie Curie and Lita Ford continued to record, it was Joan Jett who distinguished herself as a Rock and Roll Star.

I remember visiting my friend Neil Bogart at his new label, Boardwalk Records, when he played me a record he was about to release, “I Love Rock And Roll” and I begged him to hear it two more times!

Photo at top Dakota Fanning as Cherie Curie, Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett


Copyright 2010 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

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  1. Carl Says:

    You nailed it Artie. Definitely a band ahead of their time. When they broke up, a guy named Kenny Laguna pegged Joan Jett as the star (she was considered third or fourth string by most record reps at the time), and had her record “I Love Rock and Roll,” a perfectly great song by the Arrows that Mickie Most thought was nothing more than a B-side. I had the privilege of speaking to Kenny and to Alan Merrill, who wrote the famous song with the Arrows. Quite a story:


  2. Colin Cameron Says:

    I am a friend of Cherie to this day … I performed with her several years ago at the Sandy West tribute (just weeks before Sandy passed)

    Colin Cameron

  3. Uh, Artie…as far as I can see, Martin Scorsese has *nothing* to do with this film, either as director or producer or even executive producer.

    Besides, film is such a collaborative medium that it’s kind of insulting to refer to a movie as one person’s film.

    Still, if anyone deserves credit here, it’s italian photographer Floria Sigismondi, who wrote and directed the film.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Bobbi Cowan Says:

    Hey Artie!
    Great story on the Runaways and Old Weird Kim Fowley!
    When they were playing on the Strip, it was a most exciting time, and it was many years later (’93) that I had the opportunity to work with Lita Ford, when Rock-It Comix came out with its fabulous line of Comic books.
    We took a bunch of press down to Comic-Con in San Diego on the train, and Lita autographed one of her signature guitars for me…Keep Rockin’ ~ Lita Ford! I still have it–a White Alvarez in pristine condition. Never learned how to play it, but it is a cherished memento.
    Thanks for the flashback…guess I will have to see the movie!
    Love ya…

    • NeilRick43 Says:

      Lita is a lying, jealous, attention-seeking sack of shit! Luckily, for them, the other Runaways are too dead or too busy to give in to her bullshit.

  5. Gary Theroux Says:

    I was living in L.A. during the Runaways era, which, by the way, was dominated by disco. I was programming radio coast-to-coast then, knew the group’s manager, saw the Runaways live and came away feeling that they had both talent and real potential — IF they could latch onto worthy material. Unfortunately, the girls were saddled with both substandard songs like “Cherry Bomb” and a lifestyle which burned them out before they ever scoreed a hit or amounted to anything — in the U.S. or the U.K. At least Fanny — the all-girl band which preceeded them with great hits like “Charity Ball” and “Butter Boy” — proved that a rock band made up entirely of women COULD achieve success in the ’70s. At least Joan Jett did rise from the ashes of The Runbaways and enjoy the acclaim her former group could have earned had they been properly managed and given the right tunes to record.

    • NeilRick43 Says:

      Fanny was a rock band like Snoopy was a fighter pilot. That comment is an insult to Rock n Roll. Fanny’s crap was pop music that made Marie Osmond look edgy. Learn the definition of “rock” before you comment again!

  6. porky Says:

    Uh, Artie I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for what “really happened” to the band by viewing this movie. These things play with the “facts” so loosely they’re becoming my least favorite genre. Ask J.I. Allison or Joe B. Mauldin of the Crickets….(or Sonny Curtis).

    Joan Jett’s success story in the 80’s is a classic for the ages regarding short-sighted record execs. Naturally, Neil Bogart was the one who understood.

  7. paul Says:

    Japanese band Dragon Ash do a great tribute sampling I love rock and roll for their song I love hip hop

  8. missy Says:

    Thank you for this fantastic information because finding relevant sites on this topic is sometimes hard to find. You did an excellent job covering the subject and I look forward to more posts from your site. Do you offer RSS Feeds or feedburner to get more content for our blogs? I will be sure to include links from my other blogs to yours.

  9. paula Says:

    Love this site. As Gary said; the Runaways, if they had strong songs would have been huge. They were amazing musicians. I don’t know why there are not more all female bands.
    I was in an all-girl band in the 80’s and we had too much fun…from what I remember.
    Now me and the guitar player are writing a rock-n-roll comedy about two women who use to be in an all-girl punk band in the 80’s and are now going through menopause and decide to get the band back together. Just silly, fun stuff. http://www.hotphlash.com
    Thank you for this site and sharing all the cool info.

  10. MermaidRocker Says:

    I LOVE this site! I too am a real rock and roll chick that actually plays LEAD guitar (what a frikn concept, huh?) Oh and btw, I was playing lead guitar wayyyy back in the early 70’s. Yeah, I’m old now, but so what. Anyway, I also checked out the Hotphlash site and it is awesomely funny and cool. Can’t wait till the next episode ladies…and hey…I also can’t wait till I see this on TV!!! Dorothy and Paula truly rock! And I love menopause, no more monthly visits, no more kids and I have actually lost 180lbs. His name is Earl! HA! (and the pool boy don’t need no Viagra)

  11. Joanne Says:

    Alan Merrill, lead singer of the Arrows, the original artist and songwriter of “I Love Rock N Roll” who released the first version in 1975, seen in this clip captured by phone camera performing the song in London last month at The Lexington in Islington on Nov. 5, 2011.

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