Bad Reputation (2018) - full transcript

Documentary about rock star Joan Jett.

Subtitles by explosiveskull

Ever since I wanted
to play guitar...

when I was about 13,

I asked my parents
for a guitar for Christmas.

And they kind of thought,
you know,

that's strange,
but they got it for me.

It's like this thing
you get at Sears, you know,

Thirty dollars, you get
the guitar and the amp.

I was really excited.
I had no idea how to play it.

But I got it plugged in,
and I just sat there

on the low "E" string...

...for hours, and drove
my parents absolutely insane.

Then I wanted to learn
how to play

and went and took a lesson,
and the guy said,

"Girls don't play
rock 'n' roll."

♪ I don't give a damn
'bout my reputation ♪

♪ I've never been afraid
of any deviation ♪

♪ An' I don't really care
if you think I'm strange ♪

♪ I ain't gonna change ♪

♪ An' I'm never gonna care
'bout my bad reputation ♪

♪ Oh, no
No, no, no, no, no, no ♪

♪ Not me
Me, me, me, me, me, me ♪

♪ Oh, no
No, no, no, no, no, no ♪

♪ Not me
Me, me, me, me, me, me ♪

♪ Pedal, boys! ♪

♪ Not me! ♪

Growing up in the '70s,
it was sort of a feminism,

and I didn't think that it
would be such a big deal

for a girl to try
to play rock 'n' roll.

I'd started reading
about this club

probably when I was 12,

Rodney Bingenheimer's
English Disco.

He was the first to play
records by Blondie,

The Ramones, Sex Pistols,
and Nirvana, to name a few.

They'd play Bowie,
and they'd play T. Rex,

Iggy Pop, Suzi Quatro,
who I'd never heard of,

who was this girl
playing bass.

It was a disco for teenagers.

If you were, like, 21,
you were already too old,

though rock stars of that era
would come in.

I was a naive kid,
so going to Hollywood,

it was a big night out.

I talked some kids
to come with me,

and there were guys and girls
with tons of makeup on

and crazy hairdos
and lots of glitter

and really short skirts
and dresses and fishnets,

and it was just,
"What the fuck is this?"

A club full
of a bunch of weirdos

living in a city that's known
to be full of weirdos.

♪ I love you so ♪

And they're blasting
all this raunchy and dirty...

but clean dirty, you know,
like playing on

double entendres
and stuff like that,

and some of it
was straight-up dirtier.

That music hit you in a spot
you couldn't really describe,

and it made you want to do it
and there was something...

down there.

As you're a kid, you can't put
your finger on it yet,

so to speak.

I'm walking into
all these dirty jokes.

I only remember the sex.

I don't remember anything else
about LA at all, apparently.

There was
a kind of depravity

going on in Los Angeles
at that time.

Quaaludes were really
important to understanding

1970s rock 'n' roll culture
in California.

I think everyone
was into Quaaludes then,

'cause you could. Quaaludes
were a ridiculous drug,

but everyone
seemed to like them.

They were young suburban kids
out to wreak havoc,

and get the hell away from
the suburbs and their parents.

It was just a nutty time.

Again, this was
coming out of Stonewall,

the start of
the gay liberation movement.

The nuclear bomb has gone off
in the nuclear family.

♪ Bye-bye... ♪

My mother and I
used to go to the movies

pretty much every weekend.

We went to go see Cabaret.

Really blew my mind.
I loved Liza Minnelli.

I loved the combination
of the campiness,

1920s Germany,
and the flapper girl vibe.

So obviously being around
a place like Rodney's,

that was campy, too.

It was exactly the sort
of vibe in Cabaret.

♪ You're better off
without me... ♪

But whatever happened,
Cabaret, Hollywood,

and the idea about playing
music all fused into one.

I always called Joan Jett

and David Bowie "time travelers"

because they're into all
this music before it happens.

At one point, I met
a girl, and she wrote lyrics.

Kari Krome
was just another kid like me

hanging out at the Disco,
and she said, you know,

"Maybe you should talk
to my publisher.

His name's Kim Fowley."

He called me up one day
and, you know,

"So-and-so says
you want to form a band."

I said, "Yeah, I want to form
an all-girl band.

I can't be the only girl
in Hollywood

that wants to do this."

He said, "Well,
do you have any demos?"

I didn't even know
what a demo was.

A couple days later,
it happened that Sandy West,

who was the drummer
of The Runaways,

she drove up with some friends
to hang out at the Rainbow,

the Rainbow parking lot,
which is a place

where people go to watch stars,
and people would hobnob

and shoot the shit
for a few hours,

and she went up to him saying...

I said, "Hi,
you know, I play drums,

and I'm in a band right now."

He goes, "How old are you?"
"Well, I'm 15 and a half."

He says, "You're kidding me."

He goes, "I'm working with
a girl right now who's 14.

I think she knows
a friend out in the Valley

who plays electric guitar."
Turned out to be Joan.

She arrived
a couple weeks later

with her little Sears guitar
in hand,

three buses
and four hours later

from Canoga Park
to Huntington Beach,

and she had such great rhythm

that hit it off
so well together.

Picked up the phone,
called Kim,

said, "Listen to this,"
and we played

some sort of
Chuck Berry-ish thing

or maybe "Wild Thing."

♪ Wild thing ♪

♪ You make my heart sing ♪

♪ You make everything ♪

♪ Come on... ♪

Man, Sandy,
we really connected.

That was the genesis
of The Runaways.

It was the heart.

What were your
first impressions of LA?

It was Rodney and Kim Fowley
walking down somewhere together.

Kim Fowley looked
like Frankenstein

if Frankenstein was on crack.

He had produced a couple
of very obscure novelty hits.

I think he was involved
with something

called "Alley Oop"
by the Hollywood Argyles.

I always loved the song.

♪ There's a cat
in the funny papers ♪

♪ We all know
Alley oop-oop ♪

♪ Oop, oop-oop ♪

♪ He lived way back
A long time ago ♪

Et cetera.

He flirted around
with working with me,

and I really didn't want
to get too involved.

One day, he said,
"Well, I've got a group going,

and they are The Runaways."

I said, "Joan,
let's go to the Sugar Shack

because there will be
some girls out there

who will know who you are."

We had a three-piece lineup

that we created
in the first month,

but I was so shy at this point,

it was obvious
I couldn't sing lead.

You know, I was...
I was too shy,

and I was embarrassed
kind of to be on stage.

The whole room was full
of miniature lipstick lesbian

teenage girls,
and then you had the gay boys

who were mincing around.

And a girl, Cherie Currie,
walked up

and in a stage whisper said,
"That's Joan Jett!"

♪ You better watch out
if you got long black hair ♪

I had heard
about The Runaways.

And there was this little bit
of a buzz going on

about this teenage rock group,
so when I met her, it was...

you know, it was a little,
"Wow, it's Joan!"

I said,
"You're either cruising her

because you're a dyke,
or you want to be

the lead singer of
The Runaways.

Can you sing?" "Yes."

"Good, you're gonna
audition tomorrow."

And then she brought
her twin sister up.

And I said, "I'm not
interested in a sister act.

I'm interested
in one Brigitte Bardot

fronting the screaming, loud,
obnoxious, rebellious girls

who can take over the world."

And everybody had big smiles
on their faces.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."

The Runaways!

I think Sandy came across
Lita by December of '75.

The three-piece was over,
and we had Cherie

and a bass player
named Jackie Fox.

♪ Can't stay at home,
can't stay at school ♪

♪ Old folks say
"You poor little fool" ♪

♪ Down the street
I'm the girl next door ♪

♪ I'm the fox
You've been waiting for ♪

♪ Hello, Daddy, hello, Mom ♪

♪ I'm your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch...
Cherry bomb ♪

♪ Hello, world
I'm your wild girl ♪

♪ I'm your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch
Cherry bomb ♪

Kim and I wrote
"Cherry Bomb" on the spot

when Cherie came to audition,

and it became such an iconic
song for The Runaways.

♪ Bad nights
Causing teenage blues ♪

♪ Get down, ladies
You've got nothin' to lose ♪

When we were putting
The Runaways together,

it was based on Darwin.

Let's start with the evolution
of a man in show business.

♪ Hello, world
I'm your wild girl ♪

♪ I'm your ch-ch-ch... ♪

The guys just kept getting
more and more

and more and more feminine.

Elvis was feminine.
Sinatra was feminine.

Bing Crosby was feminine,

but if you keep getting
more and more feminine,

you're gonna get
to female, duh.

♪ Hello, Daddy, hello, Mom... ♪

What Jimi Hendrix said
about women

playing rock 'n' roll

and when they do, they'll be
looked at like aliens.

In our case,
it was absolutely true.

♪ Cherry bomb! ♪

If you look at the lyrics
of The Runaways,

you'll find that there
is an openness

that most teenage girls
did not have in real life.

happened really fast.

We were playing gigs.
We were in the studio.

We just cut the tracks live.

I was so into this idea

of girls being able to play
rock 'n' roll,

and that they'll play
as well as boys will,

and girls playing
rock 'n' roll

would be so cool and sexy

because it's never been done.

I thought everybody
would love it.

Once they realized
it was serious

and we planned to make
an album and go on tour

and do everything
the male bands were doing,

the tables turned
where it went from,

"Oh, cute, sweet,"
to "Slut, whore, cunt."

I've been hurt.

I've had my head split open
by a beer bottle,

a rib cracked by getting
a battery thrown at me,

like, a big metal rig thing
just because I was a girl.

You know, get spit on.

I mean, I just felt like
I couldn't leave the stage.

You know,
I'd go off afterwards and cry

just because they didn't get it,
and then I'd feel better

after I'd... you know,
cried a little bit, going,

"Why? What's with that, that
people need to be so hateful

because you're playing
rock 'n' roll," you know?

Some of the other girls
got tired of it,

and I don't blame them.

It was just that to me,

it felt like
that's what I had to do.

Tell me I can't do something,

and you'll make sure
I'm gonna be doing it.

Hey, I heard a story,
a rumor.

where you're rehearsing,

what were you guys wearing
during the rehearsal?

I heard it was so hot,

the air conditioner
broke down, and...

What do you want to hear,

"Yeah, we took off our pants"?

I remember early on,
one of my first interviews

where people probably asked me
about sex in the band.

And I thought to myself,
if I answer this question,

that's all The Runaways' music
will ever be about, is sex.

I have to talk about music.
It has to be about music.

Because just being girls
exudes that sexuality.

We don't have to talk about it.

They don't know

what to say
about an all-girl band

besides the fact
that we're just a band.

They don't know where to put us,
and so they just say, well,

we're young,
we sing about, you know,

slightly outrageous things,
rebellious things.

So they stick us in that field.

I was sitting around my house,

and I found an old copy
of Crawdaddy magazine,

it was a review of The Runaways

where the guy just
slammed the shit out of them.

The stuff he didn't like
about them is all the stuff

that everybody loves now,

the fact that they were young
and sexy and female.

We were all sort of rejects

in terms of the industry.

A lot of the criticism
that was heaped on them

was very negative
and condescending

and, you know, misogynistic.

with mainstream press

in, like, the mid-'70s,

You know,
people are fucking stupid,

and they'll do anything
to create an article,

to create some kind of outrage.

Rolling Stone
hated The Runaways.

The only time
they wrote about us,

"Runaways get arrested and
thrown out of Disney World."

We were in a line
taking a photo,

and we put our arms
around each other walking.

"That's it! Lesbians, out!"

But if you listen
to The Runaways,

those are bad-ass rock songs,
and they kick the shit

out of almost everything else
that was out at that time.

♪ ♪

Women were stepping out
as rebels.

Women were getting pissed off
in the culture.

They were getting out there
and kicking some heads.

The guys
were turning into fags,

and the women were turning
into John Wayne.

♪ Hey, you, the air
Is pretty thick tonight... ♪

At this point,
there were signs

the women's-lib movement
was really taking root.

It showed so much promise.

All it meant to us was that
we could do what we want.

♪ We don't care what we do
Is right as long as we do it ♪

♪ We don't care
What we do is right... ♪

Kim took us to see
Clockwork Orange

and Rollerball, and afterwards,

he turned to me and Cherie
and said,

"That's what I want
The Runaways to be."

What he did in rehearsal,
you know,

throwing stuff at us,
calling us names,

that was our boot camp.

We were preparing for exactly
what we walked into.

Kim could come off
pretty intense,

but I wasn't afraid of him.

Kim is the, you know,
most controversial part

of The Runaways.

There were people
who loved Kim,

and there are people
who actually despise him

and think he
was a kind of Satan.

My mother liked Kim,

and he would be on the phone
with her for hours.

He talked to her a lot,
you know, I mean,

probably more than any
of the other mothers

and was probably
the most friends with her.

I think she felt reassured,
but she also knew

how the other mothers
were hesitant.

My parents told me
I could be anything

I wanted to be
when I was five years old,

and I believed them.

So that's the attitude

as a young child
that I took into life.

I wanted to be an astronaut.
I wanted to be an archaeologist.

I wanted to be
all different things.

You know,
I didn't realize, really,

there was this glass ceiling.

When they got me
that guitar for Christmas,

the electric guitar,
I was thinking,

most parents wouldn't do that.

She always had
this inner confidence

that she knew what she wanted.

She didn't care
what anybody else thought,

even when she was young,
and it's, you know,

the single vision,
and that's how she was, always.

My rebellion, as they say,
was not against my parents.

What I saw, that society,

with all this lip service
to women,

women's lib and all that,
I saw that it was... bull.

♪♪♪ Rows and flows of
angel hair ♪♪

♪ And ice cream castles
In the air ♪

There were a lot of girls

who didn't want to be
Joni Mitchell, you know?

They wanted to rock.

The heaviest ones
would drink with you,

do everything with you,

but they were always
in that sidecar role,

and then along came
The Runaways.

Joan Jett
was nobody's sidecar.

♪ ♪

It was
a very male-dominated

rock-'n'-roll scene
in the 1970s,

and the women that were
making music at that time

were in kind of stereotypical,
"I'm a singer-songwriter,"

had a different
kind of cultural power.

♪ In overdrive ♪

♪ Cobra kings ♪

♪ Wet and wild ♪

♪ Love the devil
That's in your smile ♪

♪ Let me tell you
What we've been doin' ♪

♪ Neon angels
On the road to ruin ♪

♪ Let me tell you
What we've been doin' ♪

♪ Neon angels
On the road to ruin ♪

Rock radio did not play
a lot of women artists.

The FM stations at the time,

there'd only be
one female artist

on the air per hour.

This was like a literal policy
of radio stations.

♪ Let me tell you
What we've been doin' ♪

♪ Neon angels
On the road to ruin... ♪

How many radio stations
are playing

this kind of music
in the United States now?

- Do we know?
- I would think almost none.

Maybe like one or two
in New York, one or two in LA.

But from what I've
read about it, there's no music.

It's just chords and ranting
and raving and putdowns.

- Uh-uh-uh-uh.
- No, it's more than that.

I think
it's a B-movie on record.

They were young,
they were hot,

and their music spoke
about who they were

and about their generation.

I mean, it was heartfelt
and mentally correct.

I feel it's a vacuum

because we're living
in a fragmented '70s

where there's so many
different things happening

that there isn't one Beatles
or one Elvis Presley.

It hasn't come yet,
and here we are almost in 1980,

and we're still looking over
our shoulders at the '60s.

There's an inflection
point in every generation

where new ideas bubble
to the surface

and express themselves
in new ways.

The world had never seen
a band like us.

I felt that England got us more
and did take us seriously.

We were selling out
wherever we went.

They seemed to get it.

Kids my age in England
had a much wider exposure

to different kinds of music
and would embrace it.

The Sex Pistols were a huge
part of the British punk scene.

We got a chance to see some
of the punk stuff up close.

Really influenced me.

So I kind of went over
as a glitter person,

came home dressed as a punk.

♪ There's no point in asking,
You'll get no reply ♪

Yeah, so I used to buy
a lot of my accessories

at a sex store,
S&M fetish store

called The Pleasure Chest.

I bought this great ring belt,
and I used to wear that.

We were hanging out
on a houseboat

that we had rented for a month
to record in London.

Sid and Nancy came over
to the houseboat one night,

and he liked my belt,
and so I gave it to him.

Nobody in the United States

was wearing, like, safety pins
on their leather jacket

and all the chains...

and, you know. She was a real
punk rocker in California.

Nobody was a punk rocker.
I mean, she lived that.

♪ 'Cause we know
What we feel... ♪

The Runaways from USA.

Thank you, we're
really happy to be here.

When we got to Japan,
you know,

that's when I felt,
"Wow, thousands of girls,

like, treating you like
the Beatles."

I mean...
I know it sounds funny.

That's the only way
you could describe it.

They love
their music stars over there,

but it felt like we tapped
into something else

with female audiences.

I thought it was exhilarating,

but just because I thought
"That's powerful, man,

it's all girls."

The more I thought about it,
I realized,

"Wait, Japanese women

are treated sort of like
second-class citizens there.

So these teenage girls
were feeling

the power of The Runaways
saying, "No, we can do it."

The studio audiences went nuts.

Oh, God. Oh, boy.

Okay, why don't you just
tell me about...

Oh, they all know you very well,

but why don't you tell me
about how this band was made?

It wasn't until Japan

where we actually got
a paycheck.

We knew something was wrong

when we weren't
really getting paid.

We'd have to ask for money
for Tampax

or a hamburger on the road,

and there was
always some excuse,

but yet we were selling out

and there were the t-shirts,

and there were all the kids
and the fans.

In the middle of the tour,
we got this booklet.

It was an all-color booklet.
It said "The Runaways."

And there was like
a tiny picture of all of us,

and then it was like foldout
soft-core porn shots

of Cherie all the way through.

Kim made a very bad mistake.

He set up a photo session
with the Japanese for me.

Next thing I knew,
there was a complete tour book

with, you know,
me in my corset.

We're, like, going,
"What the fuck is this?"

And we were all really annoyed

by the fact
that Cherie had done it

and that she
didn't say anything to us.

And the girls
really thought

that I had done that myself,
but Kim did things like that

that caused damage to the band

that just could not
be fixed after a while.

You know, they ended up
not trusting me at all,

and that caused me to separate
myself a lot from the girls.

And Joan and I had been very,
very, very close.

Jackie had left from Japan
kind of a broken child,

and I was the second to go.

After she left the band
and after our Japanese tour,

I didn't follow
what she was doing right away.

Obviously, there were parts
of me that was very hurt

by that because we were close.

You know,
a band is like a family.

No! No!

If you wanna see "Cherry Bomb,"
find Cherie

because we're fucking tired
of that song.

Shortly thereafter that,
they fired Kim Fowley.

I think Kim's
biggest mistake in life

was not recognizing
that Joan Jett

was his great star
and his great discovery.

Joan took over
the front person's role,

which she earned
and which she deserved,

but it changed the perception
of the band by the industry

because the industry
was so focused on Cherie

and the blonde-bombshell look,
and that's haunted

not just the music business
but all entertainment formats,

TV and film, for years.

What you do when
your iconic lead singer

just is gone, you know,
and you gotta step up?

It's kind of incredible
that she, you know,

had the balls to even do it.

So do you have a new
record or anything coming out?


No we're going to Europe,

two days after the Whisky,

and we're gonna record
in either London or Berlin.

♪ Blue-skinned
Sleeping boys ♪

♪ Man,
You're lookin' wasted ♪

♪ Greasy wheels,
Streets of steel ♪

♪ No tellin' what ya tasted ♪

We did "Wasted"
on the TV show

Old Grey Whistle Test
when we were in London.

First time The Runaways
were on TV

with me as lead singer,
which was really scary.

♪ Sad you are so shattered ♪

Everything was just
kind of splintering.

I felt the album was going in a
very heavy direction musically,

and I could feel
a camaraderie between Sandy,

Lita and this producer,
John Alcock,

and I was not part of it.

He drove a wedge between Sandy
and Lita on one side

and Joan on the other
that destroyed the band.

You know,
I'm not gonna get fired

from a band I started,
so we're not on the same page.

So I should probably
let you guys do your thing.

You know, we'd always
been close enough to laugh

and all that stuff,
and you could tell

those sort of elements
were leaving.

You know, you felt like
you had to walk on eggshells,

and I didn't want to fight.

You know, I loved these girls.
It was our baby.

♪ It doesn't
Really matter... ♪

I remember at the end
of The Runaways period,

she, you know, gained weight
and was really bummed out

as it was closing.

If they had, you know,
proper management, you know,

they probably would have gone
a lot further a lot longer.

How did I personally deal

with the crumbling
of The Runaways?

I drank a lot starting
at 8:00 in the morning.

Not a good thing.

Not a good way to deal
with things.

No, it got heavier than that.

Felt like LA was totally
laughing at me going,

"We told you it wouldn't work.

We told you
you couldn't do it."

She moved to Sunset
and San Vicente

in that weird house
across from the Whisky.

It was decadent, honey.

I would go by there,
and it was like

tons of people all over
the living room,

and I remember being
with Chrissie Hynde,

and Chrissie's like,
"Honey," to Joan,

"You gotta pull it together."

Her friend Lisa called
and said, "Joan's very sick.

"I have to take her
to the emergency room.

She's sweating.
She's very sick.

Something's wrong,"
and she had a heart infection.

And she ended up in Cedars,
and it was pretty scary.

I'm lucky I'm still here.

I know my mom
was really worried about her.

It was a really hard time.

She was really depressed

because she had high hopes
for The Runaways.

It is funny
that it's a heart infection

because she did have a broken
heart for losing The Runaways.

I was angry.

I didn't know how to make sense
of a world

that would give girls shit
for playing guitars, you know?

Like, "Don't you have important
things to be upset about?"

I thought, you know,
I'm gonna fucking kill myself.

but I'm gonna do it.

I gotta do something.
What can I do?

Maybe I'll join a branch
of the military,

straighten up,
learn something.

I considered that because
I didn't know what else to do,

but we still had
some legal obligations.

We had signed to do
the music for a movie,

and even though the band
wasn't together anymore,

I cannot get sued,
I can't afford to get sued.

I need to write these songs.

I went through
a few offers to produce them,

and I wasn't really interested.

Although I was intrigued
by five crazy girls

who were attractive,
took a lot of drugs,

made good music,
and the band broke up.

And they were teenage girls
so they didn't care

about commitments
or responsibility.

I probably would have
turned it down again.

I was in England.

Joan Jett
was the only one left

who was gonna live up
to the commitment.

They had eight days to create
six songs when Toby called me.

Before John Alcott,
I had thought of Kenny Laguna

as a guy who might produce
this Runaways album.

He blew me off.
I went back to Kenny Laguna

because I'm obviously
a masochist.

"I know you're
a good songwriter,

and I really think
that you'd click with Joan."

My wife Meryl
said to me,

"I've been reading
about Joan Jett.

I think she's significant."

I was in the studio
with him,

and I used to read
"Melody Maker" and the "NME,"

and there was a picture
of The Runaways,

and Joan just popped
out of the picture.

I said,
"I think this girl's got it."

And we went and stayed
at the Riot House,

the Hyatt House on Sunset,

and Joan walked in the room
with Toby,

and I saw this girl
with a black leather jacket,

and she was a little beat up
by then.

She was drinking.

She was hanging
out with Sid Vicious

and Stiv Bators,
Sid's girlfriend Nancy,

and a bunch of people
who all ended up dead.

She had a sad look in her eye.

She was
this lost waif,

and your heart
just went out for her

'cause you could see she was
so upset and destroyed by it.

You know,
I was pretty much a mess.

Hi, guys.

But he saw something.

I don't know
what it was, you know?

He bought me a pair
of pants first, though.

he couldn't write songs

with a person
with ripped jeans or something.

We head into the studio,
and I said,

"We'll cut the tracks
with the session guys,

and then we'll put
your guitar on.

It's no big deal."

She goes,
"Then it won't be a record,"

and she wasn't kidding,
but I dug it.

One, two, three, four!

So we fulfilled the contract.

It wound up being on
some weirdo porn movie,

which was not
what we signed up for.

Joanie Jett, she's got the
greatest voice I've ever seen!

Now, I went out to California
to meet Joan

with a fella named
Ritchie Cordell.

I said, "You know, Ritchie,

I think we can we have hits
with her.

I think we should make her
a partner."

"What, do you wanna fuck her?"

"We're gonna steal
her money."

I'll never forget it.

♪ I want you like I never
wanted anythin' else... ♪

But I knew that this girl
should be a partner.

She was that unique.

Things were definitely
looking up.

I felt good, I felt, "Okay,

I've got someone to talk to,
to write music with.

Let's see where this goes."

♪ Yeah! ♪

And then I took her
to England.

I had a flat
on the Kings Road,

and every day,
we'd go to Ramport,

The Who's studio, and
record the Joan Jett record.

I was
introduced to Kenny

by a guy called Peter Meaden,

a real character,
and in so doing,

he also came to me with
an artist called Steve Gibbons,

and Kenny produced the album
for Steve Gibbons,

a fantastic album.

♪ Go ahead on, Tulane ♪

♪ He can't catch up
With you ♪

♪ Go, Tulane, he ain't
Man enough for you ♪

♪ Go, Tulane,
Use all the speed... ♪

But the thing he's got
extra is he's got great ears.

He can produce.
He knows what he wants.

I was born
in the Village,

and my parents were...
predated hippies and beatniks.

They were Bohemian.

They started me on piano
lessons five years old.

I learned Mozart and Bach,

and then
I saw "Jailhouse Rock,"

and he was doing art,
and he still had a Cadillac,

and that was all
I needed to know.

When I was about 16,

I moseyed into New York City
and started hustling.

They gave me a songwriting job
at Kama Sutra Records,

and their specialty
was bubblegum music.

♪ Sugar ♪

♪ Oh, honey, honey ♪

...which was coined
by Neil Bogart,

the great record exec.

♪ You are my candy girl... ♪

Kenny Laguna did
some great stuff pre-Joan.

I don't know where we would've
been without that guy.

He was a bubblegum hero.

Our generation,
when we were kids,

that's what the music was.

No guilty pleasure.

It's just like, "Look, we're
making this music to make money.

"We're gonna
sell it to kids.

"We're gonna turn it into,
like, you know,

records that are on literally
the back of the cereal box."

All the songs were,
like, about, like,

naughty sexual things
that they sort of acted

like they were about candy
and bubblegum.

♪ Yummy, yummy, yummy
I got love in my tummy ♪

♪ And I feel like
a-lovin' you ♪

♪ Love, you're such
a sweet thing... ♪

One of our little sayings
was "Don't bore us.

Get right to the chorus."

But something weird happened.

When the punks
got on the scene,

they didn't like
Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

They hated Neil Young.

They thought those bands
were pretentious.

I am a hook guy.
Kenny and I share that.

I like a hook.

Problem with bubblegum
is that sometimes,

it's was so saccharine, for me,
it was almost unlistenable.

There was a lot of shared
DNA between bubblegum and punk.

Bubblegum was short,
to-the-point little songs

with hooks
and an ass-kicking beat.

And that was punk.

♪ They're going
Through a tight wind ♪

♪ The kids are losing
Their minds ♪

♪ The blitzkrieg bop ♪

I was making 100 grand
when I was 17.

I remember my father said,

"You should try to save
some money."

I said, "I can have a hit
anytime I want."

By the time I was 19,
bubblegum died,

but we wanted to be cooler
than bubblegum.

I did a soundtrack album
for Andy Warhol,

Lonesome Cowboys,
and I used orchestration.

I was putting horns on
and then strings

without much of a plot line.

Just very effeminate guys
dressed as cowboys

hanging out together,

and I remember giving
a spiel to Andy Warhol

and Paul Morrissey
about the art,

and Morrissey said,
"Don't talk to us about art.

We hired you
because we want money."

It was very shocking to me

because I grew up
with artists

who thought it was gauche
to want money.

I really
liked Kenny

from the first moment
I met him.

I don't know why.
I always have.

I remember saying to Kenny,
maybe getting a bit bored,

I don't know,
but just saying, you know,

"Go talk to Bill."

- Stop all this shit.
- Oh, Bill! Oh, my God.

- How you doing?
- What's all this shit?

What affected me
was their self-belief,

but under the self-belief,
there's a fear,

"Oh, is it ever gonna happen?"

Or, "Are we ever
gonna get a break?"

And for me,
life's about that.

And Bill said to Kenny,
"You know what?

"Why don't you just go
into our studio, Ramport,

do what you gotta do
and pay us when you can?"

Now I'm in business.

And that was the start
of their relationship and ours.

I'll tell you all
about this girl.

I'll tell you the truth
about this girl. Mwah!

It felt you were kind of
blessed by, you know,

the rock-n'-roll gods,
and then we were like,

"Well, we want to tour
this music.

This is great."

So we needed to form a band.

And went back to LA,
put an ad in The LA Weekly

or something and said,

"Joan Jett looking
for three good men."

I remember very clearly
going to the audition.

I knew all The Runaways songs

because as a 13-year-old kid,
14-year-old kid,

I'd been at home
playing along with the records.

♪ Hey, you must obey ♪

♪ Or you will bleed, you know
I need to get my way... ♪

And Joan knew me from
the punk scene.

I kind of knew in my gut

that there's no way
I could play with girls again,

certainly not right away

because it would only
be compared to The Runaways,

and that was not good
on any level.

We got
the Whisky A Go Go,

and we picked the worst night
of the week,

which was Tuesday,

and we played there every week
for a month,

and by the time
we were done with that,

we were on the map there
in LA.

All of a sudden, there's...
there's a lot of chicks here.

I'm kind of getting into it,
and by the last gig,

I was like, "Well,
wait a minute, they're...

they're looking at her."

You've got
this weird punk rocker

who has an extraterrestrial
good voice,

and then you have someone
who's worked in the business

of making bubblegum music.

♪ I was caught
So unaware ♪

♪ When you made other plans ♪

She brought menace,

and I brought a lot
of pop sensibility.

♪ More than you
Could stand ♪

♪ You don't know
What you've got ♪

♪ You don't know
What you've got ♪

♪ You don't know what
You've got till it's gone ♪

You mix that together,

and you've got, like,
a Molotov cocktail

that's gonna, like,
totally do some... damage.

First one we wrote was

"You Don't Know What
You've Got Till It's Gone."

To me, you know,
Kenny was taking my life.

You know,
I guess being a therapist.

And the more
we knew each other,

the more she trusted me.

♪ You don't know
What you've got ♪

♪ You don't know what
You've got till it's gone ♪

Joan sort of needs
to experience heartache

to write about it.

♪ I gave you love
So true ♪

♪ But you ran away ♪

♪ So you just don't know
Whatcha blew ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah ♪

Kenny actually
was looking for record deals.

So Kenny would send
the tapes in.

We sent it to all the labels,
all the majors, all the minors.

That was 23 labels,

and we got back 23
rejection letters

all saying,
"You need a song search.

No songs here.
Maybe if she loses the guitar."

These people heard five songs,
four of which were top-20 hits.

That can't be a song search.
That's you don't have ears.

We asked for no money.

Just put out the record.

I know it had something
to do with my image,

The Runaways, the girl.

I think Kenny thought it
was going to be a lot easier

than it ultimately
turned out to be.

My mom
was an outrageous feminist.

She used to drive the car,

and my father sat where
everybody else's mother sat.

So when I met Joan
and heard about The Runaways,

I never really thought
it was, like, weird

or groundbreaking
until I tried to promote her,

and I ran into these...
walls, these brick walls.

An interviewer
who once said to her,

"When you're playing on stage,

do you feel like a man
or a woman?"

And I was like, what?

Could you ever see
yourself getting married?

No, you know,
I don't like to knock

the American dream
or anything...

Do you ever
want to have children?


If you really want
to be a musician, now,

that's where you gotta really
do some soul-searching

and decide, do I want
to be a musician,

or do I want to be
a flash in the pan

and ride in limos for a week?

You gotta decide what you want
to do with your life.

♪ Are you in the mood
For a lot of singing? ♪

♪ Are you in the mood
For a lot of singing? ♪

Kenny Laguna came over,

and he literally
pulled out the map.

He's like, "Look, here's Boston,
New York, Washington, DC.

Look at all these towns."

In LA, there's
a limited amount of cities

you can hit when you're
a poor band

and you're struggling,
making every penny count.

He just convinced us
on the spot

that we would move
to New York.

♪ Yeah... ♪

It was a circuit.

There was The Rat in Boston,

The Malibu
and My Father's Place,

Privates and The Ritz
in New York,

The Left Bank in Westchester,

these places
that were incubators

for rock bands,
and they'd give you $500.

Didn't cover much.

But you had
a lot more opportunity

to play and survive.

♪ Yeah, oh, yeah... ♪

We got a minor deal
in Europe.

That was the beginning,

but we couldn't get
anything going in America.

And all of a sudden,
we find out

that we are
the number-one import.

The record's on the radio,

and nobody wants
to be our label.

I'm seeing something going on
that I can't put my finger on,

but I know we're tapping
into something.

So it gave me the courage
to empty our bank account.

My daughter was just born.
She's only a couple months old.

And we started a college fund,

so there was like $3,000
or $4,000 in there.

I mean, it was like
I jumped off the diving board,

and I was hoping somebody
was gonna put water in the pool.

But we discussed
about, you know,

"Let's print up
these records.

We'll make our own records...
nobody's gonna sign us.

We'll take music
we believe in so much

and just do it."

Our first office
was, more or less,

Kenny's big,
huge Cadillac.

And so we had this big
old 1976 Sedan de Ville

We used to always have
records in the trunk.

♪ Temperature
Is running high ♪

You know, we'd hang out,
and there'd be a little crowd

of 30 or 40 people,
and we'd sign autographs

and then if anybody
wanted the record,

we had the trunk
full of albums.

And it wasn't done.

In those days, you did not
sell records at gigs.

It wasn't part
of the landscape yet.

♪ Yeah, yeah,
Do you wanna touch? ♪

♪ Yeah!
Do you wanna touch? ♪

♪ Yeah! Do you wanna
Touch me there, where ♪

♪ Do you wanna... ♪

And that was the beginning
of Blackheart Records.

We're not getting
any traction?

Like, fuck it,
we'll put out our own records.

I don't know if that came out
of a punk aesthetic.

Maybe it did,
or maybe it was just

that they were just punks
before they knew it.

Oh, you mean
I don't need to have someone

trying to discover me?

I can actually
just do this myself?

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

In the beginning,
the first gig we did

was at The Malibu
in Long Island.

Fifty-four people came.

Twenty-five of them were
my guest list for my neighbors.

The next time
we played there,

they had to shut down
the Southern State Parkway.

♪ My, my, my,
Whiskey and rye ♪

♪ Don't it make you feel
So fine? ♪

♪ Right or wrong,
Don't it turn you on? ♪

♪ Can't you see
We're wastin' time, yeah? ♪

♪ Do you wanna touch? ♪

♪ Yeah!
Do you wanna touch? ♪

♪ Yeah! Do you wanna
Touch me there, where ♪

♪ Do you wanna touch?
Yeah! ♪

The way that Joan
and Kenny have done things,

it inspired people
to make their own labels

because people figured out
that they don't need

a bunch of guys
in suits and cigars

and cash to start a label.

♪ No, no, no! ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ Do ya, do ya? ♪

And I think it was
in a bar in upstate New York,

and a big tour manager...

I'll never forget him
saying this

because at this club,
the line was around the block,

and when we got in,
he said to me,

"Remember these days.

This is the best time
you're ever gonna have,

and never take it for granted,"
and I never have.

- ♪ Yeah ♪
- ♪ Fuck you ♪

- ♪ Yeah ♪
- ♪ Fuck me ♪

- ♪ Yeah ♪
- ♪ Fuck everybody ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

Is that something
that gnaws at you,

the fact that they'll take you
seriously fronting a male band,

but they wouldn't
take you seriously

being an all-girl band?

I think audiences
are forced to listen more,

and they're more accepting
than maybe the business.

Like, I think
the record companies

haven't come far at all.

Until women get into
the position of A&R men.

Oh, I'm sure she
had to go through a lot of,

you know,
"I can play guitars

just as good as you can,
motherfucker," you know?

"Just 'cause I'm a girl,
don't think I can't play."

I know very
few men that can play like her.

You know, she's ferocious
when she plays that guitar.

Out of nowhere,
an old friend of mine,

the head of Buddha,
Neil Bogart, decided to help us.

Neil ran
Casablanca Records,

which had KISS,

but they were a disco label,

♪ I love to love you,
Baby ♪

I mean, this guy knew senators
and presidents and made movies.

He was really
into what we were doing,

and that was so different.

I liked it
'cause it felt like

he was shoving it up
people's ass.

He helped me put out
the Joan Jett record,

which he renamed
Bad Reputation.

He never checked with us.
It completely pissed us off.

He said,
"You're a cult marketer.

I'm a mass marketer.
I have two Rolls-Royces.

That makes me a lot smarter
than you, Kenny."

We were selling so many
more records than we knew about

because the factory
was printing them up

and selling them
out the back door.

You gotta be very careful
how you handle it

because the guys
doing that are...


So you don't sue them.
Neil knew how to handle that.

We went, and we took
our own money,

and we made
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll."

And people just didn't do that.
Today, it's common.

I had seen this song
that was a B-side

of another song,
I saw it on TV.

It was called
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll."

I'm like, that's a hit.

The Runaways
didn't want to do it,

and so I did a version
with the Sex Pistols

and Steve Jones
and Paul Cook.

I thought their version

was a little unsophisticated,
a little sophomoric.

I thought we could make
a better record.

So once I was with Kenny

and we formed
The Blackhearts,

it was something
that I wanted to try,

and the rest is history.

♪ I saw him dancin' there
By the record machine ♪

♪♪ I knew he musta been
About 17 ♪♪

♪ The beat
Was goin' strong ♪

♪ Playin' my favorite song ♪

♪ An' I could tell
It wouldn't be long ♪

♪ Till he was with me,
Yeah, me ♪

♪ An' I could tell
It wouldn't be long ♪

♪ Till he was with me,
Yeah, me ♪

♪ Singin'
I love rock 'n' roll ♪

♪ So put another dime
In the jukebox, baby ♪

♪ I love rock 'n' roll ♪

♪ So come and take your time
And dance with me ♪


MTV started around
the same time we were starting.

I was brought up
to believe television

is the enemy of rock 'n' roll.

♪ It's all the same ♪

Les Garland
started harassing me.

He was one of the heads of MTV,
and he just begged me,

and I said, "Okay,
but you're only allowed

to play it two times a day."

He was playing it 16 times
a day and freaking me out.

There was very little
I could do about it.

It was number one
for eight weeks.

♪ He was with me,
Yeah, me, singin'... ♪

But I felt
that in retrospect,

the second four weeks
it was probably number one

because all of a sudden,
the image went on.

I mean, I love rock 'n' roll.

Fuck, of course I love
rock 'n'... I'm in.

I kind of wanted to be,
like, you know,

the guy version of that.

It was kind of, "Aha,
I told you so," in a way,

but, look, it's real.

We're good.
It wasn't, "I'm good."

It's, "We're good."
It's a team.

It's an effort,
a team effort,

and we were all out there
to make this music.

Things rapidly
changed immediately after that.

♪ The police were waiting
When the sun came up ♪

♪ Better move your ass
Or we'll really get rough ♪

Touring the United States,
Canada, Japan, and Australia...

- Joan Jett!
- Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.

We just traveled
the world.

We went down to Panama.

It's like if there's trouble,
we go.

So we get there,
and we get a message.

Noriega wants Joan,

and he sends his plane
to pick up Joan.

You couldn't really
tell him no.

We tried to weasel out.

Luckily for us,
less lucky for him,

there was some bad incident
that happened

that saved our asses
because he was serious.

He wanted to meet Joan Jett.

♪ You know I never meant
To cause anybody harm, no ♪

♪ Just a victim
Of circumstance ♪

- ♪ Didn't you know? ♪
- ♪ Just a victim... ♪

David Bowie
and Freddie Mercury

came up on stage
to watch Joan.

We're talking like
80,000 seats or something

in Leeds, England.

A few years earlier,

I was listening to him
on the radio, you know,

and all of a sudden,
you're on stage with him.

The fame and everything
didn't affect her

like I thought it would.

She didn't care about
the press conferences

and the parties
and this and that.

To her, playing was what
it was all about.

♪ I've been shut out ♪

♪ Let there be no doubt ♪

♪ I've never been afraid
Of chances I been takin' ♪

It was like you were
always one foot in the gutter

and one foot in...
possible stardom.

I can't even figure out
how to say it.

♪ I ain't that tough, no ♪

♪ Just a victim
Of circumstance ♪

♪ Didn't you know? ♪

♪ Just a victim
Of circumstance ♪

♪ Doesn't it show? ♪

♪ I'm just a victim
Of circumstance ♪

♪ Wherever I go ♪

♪ Just a victim
Of bad reputation

♪ I got no chance of shakin' ♪

It was surreal,
so surreal.

It went so far beyond me,
it made me realize

what people can do...
in general

if the circumstances are right.

First time I heard Joan,
I was in the car with my dad,

and it came on the radio,
and it was "Crimson and Clover,"

and I heard that voice,
and I was just like...

♪ Ahh ♪

Who is this person?

♪ Now I don't hardly
know her ♪

And then when she
would get to the pronouns.

♪ But I think
I can love her ♪

And say "she,"
I got really interested.

♪ Crimson and clover ♪

You could sing a song

about really caring
about another girl?

- ♪ Yeah ♪
- ♪ Ba da da da da da ♪

'Cause my friendships
were so important to me

at that age that I was like,
"Somebody gets me."

It's that sort of,
"Oh, my God,

she's gonna take me home
and fuck the shit outta me."

It's scary, and it's not
what people grew up with.

They're used to being
the dominant one.

They're not used to girls
using their sexuality

in a way
that they feel they own it.

♪ Ba da da da da da ♪

♪ Over and over ♪

You can say,

"Oh, people just want
to play music,

and they don't want it to
become about their sexuality,"

even if whatever they're wearing
or whatever they're doing.

But sometimes you do wanna
fucking be sexual,

and I think there's this thing
that women are supposed to act

like we don't wanna fuck,

and that we don't
like sex, too,

that only guys like to fuck,
that we don't like to have sex.

The music scene
was a total boys club.

The analogy I always made
was Mick Jagger came out

in Madison Square Garden
riding a giant inflated cock.

And if Debbie or Joan
had come out

riding a giant inflated pussy,

all the fucking male critics

would've been running,
screaming for the exits.

If Mick Jagger
can transcend his sexuality,

so does Joan Jett,
you know what I mean?

It gives you
power to prove everyone wrong.

There's a huge energy in that.

It's so valuable to have
something to fight against.

♪ Over and over ♪

♪ Crimson and clover ♪

I think the attitude
is a really big one.

I think that's impossible
to miss, you know?

I wouldn't know
how to get Joan's sound

because I'm not technical
in that way,

but the attitude I picked up on
right away.

And that's something
that I want in my head

and my heart when I'm going
out there to do that thing

that's so scary
in front of all those people.

Well, because rock 'n' roll
is from the waist down

if you're doing it right.

Neil died
unfortunately of cancer

at 39 years old in 1982,
and at his funeral,

his mother grabbed Joan
and said

that record
meant more to Neil

than all the other hundreds
of hits he had had.

He said, "See?
I can do rock 'n' roll."

Boardwalk went out of business,
and we moved to MCA Records.

It was beginning
of Irving Azoff's tenure there.

MCA gave us
a multimillion-dollar deal,

and while Irving
was brilliant,

they weren't really ready
for a rock-'n'-roll band.

The album known as "Album"

didn't do as well
as I Love Rock 'n' Roll,

and the label kind of started
kicking the shit out of us,

and then we had
an urban-contemporary

pretty big hit
with everyday people.

Joan ran around
with The Commodores

and The Temptations
and Frankie Crocker.

♪ There is a yellow one that
Won't accept the black one ♪

♪ That won't accept
The red one ♪

♪ That won't accept
The white one ♪

It's yellow, black,
red, white.

And then
Glorious Results came out

and by then,
we were fighting with MCA,

and they kind of buried
that record.

Rock is a business for people
who can't do anything properly.

It's what only a shark
would be.

The situation at MCA
became so acrimonious

that they actually
did something unthinkable.

They actually went out
in the street

to try to stop people
from playing our records

to teach us a lesson,
and that was unconscionable.

It's one thing when they're
not helping you at all.

It's another thing
when they're coming after you

and trying to hurt you.

That's hard to overcome.
So what happened?

We were hot, hot, hot, hot,
and now we're cold, cold, cold.

We felt like...
we're back to square one.

Now, we could still sell out
almost any club in America,

but a lot of people
who left us for dead.

It's not gonna
be so easy this time, Patti.

You're gonna
have to prove yourself.

From what I can see,
you're not a fit mother.

I'd always wanted
to act since I was a kid,

and then out of left field,
I got an offer to do a movie.

It was called Light of Day.

There's a young woman
in rock 'n' roll today

who has long had the respect
of her peers,

and now she's breaking out
into the mainstream.

And since when are you
an authority on fit mothers?

Since when are you
an authority on anything?

- This can wait, right?
- I ain't staying in this house.

How did Kenny put it?
Rock 'n' roll cancer movie.

Paul Schrader
of the movie Taxi Driver

and movies like that
wrote this movie

and was also directing it.

People who
haven't done a lot of acting,

but they're natural performers

it's because they're able
to access stuff.

They're able to go to places,
look at things

from a different angle,
and as kind of rock-hard

and stoic as Joan may seem,
she's a very curious person,

and she would test the limits

of where she thought
she could go

and bring in new things
and new emotions.

I've seen other actors

and summon up for roles,

but you always see
the work behind it,

whereas with Joan,
she just had that.

I told her. I warned her.
I was real clear.

I told her if she mentioned
church or rock 'n' roll

or marriage, I'd walk out
of the room if I was in it,

hang up the phone
if I was on it.

She can't bring up those
subjects no more.

- It was just prayer.
- Yeah, that's her trick.

Thought she could get away
with it. No way, man.

There's no middle ground.
It's her or me.

When she'd get there,
it'd be scary.

Whether she was acting
or she was playing,

she would get to a place where
you just don't fuck around.

Just let her do
what she's doing

and hope you don't get hurt.

♪ Just around the corner
Till the light of day, yeah ♪

Bruce Springsteen wrote
the title song for the movie.

Initially, Bruce
was supposed to play my role.

♪ Driving 500 miles,
Got 500 to go, yeah ♪

♪ I've got rock 'n' roll
Music on my radio ♪

She's sensitive
and emotional,

and things like loyalty and
friendship mean a lot to her

and empathy, and those are all
great qualities in an actor.

He said that you were
very patient with him.

He got the sense that as long
as he took what he was doing

seriously then you wouldn't
have a problem with him.

We treated each other
as peers in each other's worlds,

which was...
I thought was very helpful.

The relationship between
your label and yourselves

I think was capsulated
by Neil Bogart who said to me,

"Think of me as your surgeon.

And if you piss me off,
you're gonna die."

We were a really small
boutique label.

♪ Midnight, gettin' uptight,
Where are you? ♪

A big star machine
is available to you

if you're on Warner Brothers
or Columbia,

and that was what Joan missed
for most of her career

because that star machine
makes the difference.

♪ I turn my back,
And you're messin' around ♪

♪ I'm not really jealous... ♪

So there was a part of me
that always wanted the major.

So when we went to Epic,
we had our little honeymoon,

and then once again,

we had this monster
kind of holding us back.

♪ Away ♪

♪ I hate myself
For loving you ♪

♪ Can't break free from
The things that you do ♪

♪ I want to walk,
But I run back to you ♪

♪ That's why I hate myself
For loving you ♪

We fought like mad dogs.
Joan toured herself to death.

I was working day and night
going to radio stations

taking everybody out,

buying televisions
for their kids in their dorms,

you know, whatever I could
think of to get an edge,

and somehow we kept that record
alive for 17 weeks,

and then we were back,
and we had friends again.

Washington, D.C.

Only two miles
from the White House,

storeowners prepare for
another night of civil unrest.

The summer of '92,
there was a riot

in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood
of Washington, D.C.,

and that neighborhood was
filled with punk group houses.

There was a lot of women
who were very political.

This woman Jen Thomas said,
"We should have a girl riot."

So she said, "We should
be riot girls."

That was the beginning
of the Riot Grrrl movement

or whatever
you want to call it.

♪ Rebel girl ♪

♪ Rebel girl ♪

♪ Rebel girl,
You are the queen of my world ♪

♪ Rebel girl,
Rebel girl ♪

Two girls, Tobi and Kathi
from my band, Bikini Kill,

went to see
a Fugazi show.

And Joan and Kenny
came down for the gig,

and you can see her
in the back of this...

you know, on the side
of the stage just going off.

So they got
one of our demo tapes.

They must've had one
in their bag or something,

and then they wrote
"For a good time call,"

and they wrote
my phone number.

Phone rings, and I pick it up,
and it's like,

"Hey, Kathleen,
it's Joan Jett."

And I was just like, "Yeah,
whatever, who the fuck is this?"

"No, I was at the Fugazi show
last night."

She's like, "I heard
a demo of your band.

I think it's really great,
maybe we could work together."

I was just like,
"This really is not funny."

So I walk into
the living room.

We have this
Glorious Misspent Youth poster.

I said, "Okay, if you're
really Joan Jett,

tell me
what your hair looks like."

And she goes, "It's like
a bastardized, disheveled bob."

And I was like, "Oh, shit,
you are Joan Jett!"

I got such a kick
out of watching them

fight their fight because
their fight was my fight.

I'm not willing to deal
with the mainstream anymore

when they're constantly asking
me questions about sexual abuse,

about if I've been a stripper,
if I haven't been a stripper,

constantly just completely
sexist shit.

And probably on another level,
she related to it

because she's a woman,
you know?

And she had been,
of all people, in the trenches

in an era where women were,
you know, so marginalized.

I wanted to use music
to spread feminism,

and I thought punk
was a great vehicle.

I equated being on a major label
with, like,

"Oh, I'm gonna
start using drugs and die."

Kim and Thurston
from Sonic Youth

were really nice to us and would
let us crash on the floor,

but Joan was the person
who stepped forward

and said,
"I want to be involved."

She really understood
where we were coming from.

For lack of a better term,
you know, an updated version

of what The Runaways
were trying to achieve,

some kind of legitimacy.

She kind of
was the cement

that kept
a lot of things going

for some of the feminist bands
in the '90s, definitely for me.

I mean, she changed
my whole career path

and taught me
how to record a record.

When they did
that Bikini Kill record,

they produced a record,

which was I think
the best Bikini Kill record.

Joan's name is on there,
but Kenny's really...

he's involved.

He's working.
He's always in the studio.

I have to say, this kind of
ties in Joan pretty intensely.

I hadn't heard
of The Runaways.

One of the earliest scenes that
we were really interested in

was the LA punk scene,

and then The Germs' album
came out,

and that record was hugely
significant for us,

and Joan had produced it.

Wait a minute, that's the
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" person.

Like, that's crazy
that she produced this record.

She has been a part
of not only her own music

that she's produced
but also some of the greatest

punk music
that's ever been put out.

We have a few friends
for you to meet,

Mercury recording artist
Joan Jett of The Runaways,

and we have with us tonight
The Germs

performing at the Whisky.

What are you guys
gonna do tonight?

Same stuff we always do.

The Germs,
they were a pretty...

infamous LA punk band.

The lead singer, Darby Crash,
and the guitar player,

Pat Smear,
were huge Runaways fans.

Eventually, they started
this band called The Germs,

and they were hard-core punk.

Darby is some kind
of crazed Colonel Kurtz-like

shaman of teenage people.

Must have been '79
at some point before I moved,

they asked if, you know,
I would produce an album,

and I'm figuring you know,
they think I know what I'm doing

because I've made a couple
albums with The Runaways.

She didn't engineer.
That wasn't her thing.

Had a great sensibility.

She's like, "I think you gotta
tune the guitar, Pat."

It was a no-frills album
but just straight-up punk rock.

I was very proud of the record.

We needed
someone with ears

and someone with
a rock 'n' roll heart

and they're helping us
make a good record,

and she did that, by gosh.

She knew how to get us
to do the things.

And then the last day,
I partied too much

and passed out on the couch,

which Darby documents
in one of the songs.

♪ Joan Jett ♪

♪ Passed out
On the fucking set ♪

Since 1991, the hottest spot

in rock 'n' roll has been
Seattle, Washington.

Nirvana, Pearl Jam,
and Alice in Chains

all came out
of the local music scene.

Many people thought
the next breakthrough band

would be The Gits,
a punk-rock group

fronted by Mia Zapata,
a charismatic 27-year-old

with a tragic destiny.

Two of her roommates

finally broke down

and called the morgue,
where she... where she was,

and she was
an unidentified victim

at the morgue at that time.

She was found strangled
to death by her...

her hoodie tie,
raped, and left in an alley.

Somehow came up in the studio
with Joan, and she's just like,

"We gotta do something.
We gotta be involved."

Next thing you know,
she's, like,

singing The Gits songs

with the surviving members
of The Gits.

The thing
that really struck me

really hard at the time
was how it could've been

any one of us
and how many times, you know,

I've come home late at night
in that exact same situation.

She could've been me,
and I could've been her.

Then he slapped you
right across the face.

And there's no singing.
So it emphasizes that.

It was a very strange thing
because it was...

you're celebrating the music,

but it was about
such a horrible thing.

It's gonna blow their minds.
It's unbelievable.

It's like, really good.

How did you guys
make that very painful decision

to keep on playing?

Because Mia would be
really upset if we didn't.

When you see the footage
and you see how close they were

and you see Andy and Mia
joking onstage

and you see this rapport
and how close they were,

I mean...

It really had
to be devastating, you know?

Hey, we'd like to thank you
all right here real quick

for coming out to Viva Zapata.

Thank you for supporting.

All the money went
to charity.

To help protect women
walking home,

self-defense classes,
all kinds of stuff.

It was a big deal at the time

because women were getting
raped, murdered.

It was also to contribute
money for the private eye...

To find the guy
that killed Mia.

♪ But I think I know
It hurts me to be angry ♪

♪ Kills me to be kind ♪

I'll still
never forget the day

I got a phone call
from Steve Moriarty.

No hello, no nothing.
"We got him."

♪ So messed up
I want you here ♪

The mid-'90s, you know,

we were doing all
of these one-off shows.

You'd be going to
a crappy little town

doing a state fair not really LA
but three hours outside of LA.

I went through a phase where
I didn't really give a crap.

Because they were,
you know,

gigs that I felt we shouldn't
have been doing or whatever.

♪ Now I wanna
Be your dog ♪

♪ Now I wanna
Be your dog ♪

Our business is funny.

You're hot and important,
then you're not.

It was a bad feeling,
but I always felt

like we had to fight on.

We knew we had what it took.
We didn't stop working.

- And so...
- It was not fun.

Unless you've been gifted
in your 20s

with incredible piles of money

being thrown at you
by the system,

which almost all really,
really good musicians are not...

♪ Yes, and now I'm ready
To close my eyes ♪

♪ Yes, and now... ♪

You need
to exert incredible focus

on maintaining
your own identity

while still using a skill
to enter the system

without destroying yourself
as a force.

♪ Yes, and lose my heart
On burning sand ♪

Come on, Charleston,
I wanna hear you now!

You have to be really
willing to go anywhere with it,

up or down,
you know, sideways, whatever.

Joan, she gives it
100 percent

whether it's a state fair,
a sweet 16 birthday party,

or 10,000 people.

She still gives it her all.
No matter what.

I saw her live at
a summer music festival

here in Las Vegas,
110 degrees out, full leather,

up on stage
just ripping it apart.

'Cause this was mid-'90s
to late '90s.

We ended up doing
some private thing together.

I was like, "Man, I forgot

how bad-ass Joan Jett was,"
you know?

Rock 'n' roll animal, I mean,
is there was ever anyone

that fit that description,
it's Joan through and through.

I would say our period
during the '90s

was the most difficult.

If it was our fate to split up,
it would have been then,

but we stuck together.

Pretty scary sight?

It's a beautiful thing.

You know what?

I'm not trying to tell you
how to do lights or anything.

Doesn't it get cold
in the middle of the show?

We got a band here
from New York City

that have been performing
for soldiers for 18 years.

I wasn't for the Vietnam War,
but I also had people

in my family, like my godfather,
Uncle Nat,

who said, "You have
to serve your country."

So I started doing stuff
for the troops.

I feel it's really
important to give back

and serve on some level,

and since I didn't
in that capacity,

I feel like that's
the least I can do.

I never connected
the troops with the policy.

We put on a show,

packed house in Tuzla, Bosnia,

and you could see
her opening up

and trying to understand
what the people in that region

had been through, a very bloody
three-year conflict.

I'm an antiwar person

who loves the people
in the military.

I don't like the military
for the military's sake.

Isn't it scary
that kids fight the wars?


- It's scary that there's war.
- Isn't it?

It's scary
that they're fighting

because there
are two religions

and they can't just be
curious about each other

instead of dominant
over one another.

Long ago, we decided
that was the tack

we were gonna take
as species, you know,

that we were gonna dominate
instead of sort of merge.

♪ Oh, look good in latex ♪

♪ Get off having rough sex ♪

When 9/11 happened,

the first thing I thought of
was we gotta get over there.

They said they didn't want
the band.

They wanted just Kenny and I.

They wanted to keep
the footprints light.

People were just incredulous.
"Why are you here?"

We said, "We're here
'cause you're here.

We just want to say thank you."

The way she interacted,

there was nothing artificial
about it.

Others would come,
put on a show and leave.

Joan stayed.

I got so much
positive feedback

about how she made them feel.

And, oh, my God,
I have to say this.

You lifted up your arm,
and you've got hair

under your armpits
and no hair on your head!

I love that!
It's genius! It's genius!

You sound like my producer,
Kenny Laguna.

Will you show that again?

Now what are you doing?

Why can't you guys
get off my back?

Because it's such
a lovely back.

Do you want to lick it?

No, I don't wanna lick it.

- There's no hair on it.
- I don't care.

It's almost like watching

The Odd Couple a little bit.

There's something
about those two.

There's a special bond

and chemistry that they have
between them.

Kind of like George and Gracie
in reverse or something.

Can't you just keep your
thoughts to yourself for once?

You've been saying
the same thing over and over

and over and over all day
since I woke up.

Well, 'cause you said
as soon as I wouldn't

hand you the thing,
then you had to storm out!

I'm not arguing
with you anymore.

You can tell there's
a deep love for each other

and that they're
inseparable people.

They're alter egos in a way,
aren't they?

They're twins
from different fathers.

In a sense.

And I guess that happens
with most good friendships.

I think people get so stuck
on relationships being...

a sexual relationship or having
to be a romantic relationship.

What is it
with your best friend

that you hit things off
with so easily?

You know, you actually know
what the other guy's thinking.

You tune in,
and I suppose

that's what they've got
going for them.

People don't find this
in their life partners.

People don't have the love
they have in marriages.

That's why they don't
stay together

as long as Kenny and Joan.

It's a marriage
without the sex, really.

Um, it's a mentor marriage.

People literally
are fucking married

to people that they hate,
and then you see these two.

I'm putting this on just so
it'll be done for the future.

This is going in the trash.

No it's not.
I'm sending it to Caesar.

No. You'll just make
another one, Kenny.

I don't care.
I'm sending it to him.

No you're not, he won't be
able to get the tape off,

and it'll mark up the stuff.

He's gonna do... I know him.
Don't give me a fucking face.

Kenny is just...
He's just the classic

New York dude
that just loves music,

and he's a really caring person
that loves Joan

and just loves rock music

and just wants it
to just prevail.

Out, please.
I gotta get changed.

I'm sending it to
The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

It's the one you almost wore.

He's a hard-core
feminist man.

He is totally
just a contrarian.

And he likes to fuck
with everything

anybody says ever.

They're a family
with each other,

and they're interdependent
on each other.

They really are partners.

Sure, it's dysfunctional.
Everything's dysfunctional.

But it's like
it's my kind of dysfunctional.

And people want
to tell, I guess, everyone

how to be and who to love,

but you can't help
who you love,

and you can't help
what your relationship

is with them either.

they appear to be at odds...

Just wait until it blows over.

Because it does, it blows over,
and ten minutes later...

not even, five minutes later,

they're acting
like it never happened.

Best friends are supposed
to annoy you a little bit.

They gotta push your buttons
a little.

They keep you alive.

So it's an extraordinary

You won't see another one
like it, really.

So the years went by.

Even though we were having
some profile,

we were not making money.

came back from Colorado,

and Cari came on board.

When I got there,
my father was ready

to sign Rick Derringer's
Christian album.

It was "Rock & Roll,
Hoochie Koo,"

and instead of "Rock & Roll,
Hoochie Koo,"

it was "Jesus Christ,
Hoochie Koo."

My father always
had this philosophy of,

"If they're a friend,
we will put it out."

You know, she was like,
"I'll stick around,

but we've gotta treat this
like a real label."

And she had grown up
in the business

but also had the attitude
of a young person.

Like, I didn't want iTunes.
iTunes to me was the enemy.

I'm selling
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" for $17.

I don't want to sell it
for a dollar.

She finally talked me
into doing it,

and the first month,
we sold 70,000

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"

and we were in business.

Cari came in,
and boom, boom, boom, boom.

I had a meeting
with Kevin Lyman,

who owns The Warped Tour.

The Warped Tour
was this hip thing,

and it was kind of
a weird concept for Joan

to go on The Warped Tour.

I think at that point,

Joan was not feeling
as inspired and my father, too.

I didn't see the fire
that I saw

after The Warped Tour.

It reignited her,
and it reignited the passion.

How's everybody doing?
Wow, look where we are.

This is so pretty.

I was actually born
in Pennsylvania.

you're traveling around the US

and playing in parking lots,
and I'm like, "Whoa,

Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
are gonna be on this tour?"

Joan's a real rock star,

and we just all want
to be rock stars.

I just will forever have
that mental image

of Joan on her BMX bike
with camo cutoff shorts

and big black sunglasses
just riding around

hanging out with everyone.

You could just see
she was having fun,

and she was reminded of what
it was in the beginning.

♪ It ain't mine ♪

♪ It ain't yours ♪

♪ But I'm here ♪

♪ I ain't going anywhere ♪

♪ It ain't his ♪

♪ It ain't hers ♪

♪ It's for all ♪

♪ Is that something
We can learn? ♪

Your motivations
in order to survive

doing something like that
can't be, like,

fame and fortune.

You know, it has to be
the overall package

of, like, I'm going to be good
at every single element of this

or work at every single element
of this.

Seeing that as a younger
musician at the time,

you know, those are the people
I want to learn from.

♪ Gotta change
this world ♪

From there,
we found our voice.

We found our next chapter.

She runs the company now.

I think that's just
a beautiful cycle of life

when you see it
right in front of you.

We wanted to be a place
that said yes to people

and gave a platform
for young bands

that didn't fit into any kind
of typical major-label box.

There's a lot of bullshit
going on right now

with a dum-dum in office,
so we're musicians.

We have a platform,

people paying attention
to our music and lyrics.

She always let us speak freely
because she does so herself.

So in my final stay
at the state,

I was giving advice

to the new governor

that I've taken from someone
who I admire,

and they all know
that I love Joan Jett,

and so I just gave
one of her quotes

where she said, you know,
"Be yourself.

That's the way
it's supposed to be."

A lot
of musicians, entertainers,

they develop a degree of success
and notoriety

from their work,
and frequently,

they're less inclined
to take a stand

because that might alienate
a segment of their audience.

Joan, on the other hand,
is very outspoken.

When I came out
in 2012 as transgender, um,

Joan was one of the first people
to contact me to just say, like,

"Hey, you know,
if you need a friend

or someone to talk to,
I'm here."

♪ Well, now,
Don't get him wrong ♪

♪ And don't get him mad,
He might be a father... ♪

And it really...
it meant a lot to me, you know,

that there were few people that
I felt like I could relate to

at that time and few people
that, you know, I felt like

I had any kind
of shared experiences with,

not just, like,
being in a band

but when you're talking
about gender fluidity.

♪ Androgynous ♪

♪ Closer than you know,
Love each other so ♪

I know she championed
for women's causes

and LGBTQ causes,
and that's all great,

but I don't think
she's mushy about it.

♪ See no damage ♪

She's straightforward
about it.

This is the way it should be,

and fuck you...
if you don't see it that way.

♪ Kewpie dolls
And urine stalls ♪

♪ Will be laughed at the way
You're laughed at now ♪

I wish that more people
who were in a position

to use their voice beyond
just the art

that they create, you know,
would do that.

The way we interact
with animals

says a lot about who we are.

When we treat them with cruelty,
it says something.

When we treat them
with kindness,

it says something
very different.

The way our culture
thinks about animals

or doesn't think about them
and their lives

and how they think and that they
feel pain and that they scream.

Chickens recognize each other

by their faces,
just like we do.

What do you want
Norway to do?

Stop supporting
the seal slaughter in Canada.

Joan has always shown up.
She speaks out for animals.

She speaks out for people who
don't have enough of a voice.

Most people
don't think about it.

Animal rights
is human rights.

You know, humans are animals.

We all have the capacity
to feel pain,

to feel fear, to suffer.

And I'm not trying
to demonize people

that do eat meat, and I try
not to preach to them,

but I do talk to people
about it if they're curious.

What have you been writing?
What are you doing?

Where you been?
How you doing?

Well, between watching
The View...

'Cause I watch it...

Yeah. I watch every day.
I did a movie.

I executive produced
a film about my first band

called The Runaways
that had Kristen Stewart,

Dakota Fanning in it,
thank you.

♪ Blonde bombshell
Better wear it well ♪

♪ Your mama says
You're going straight to hell ♪

In a rehearsal,

we actually shot "Cherry Bomb,"

I was, like...
couldn't commit to it,

just felt like I was traipsing
on something.

I'm not good at rehearsal.

So she was like,
"What are you doing? Come on.

You know this. You got this."
I was like, "I know, I know.

I know, I know. I do got it.
Don't worry."

And she was like,
"Pussy to the fuckin' wood."

And I was like, "All right."
It's funny,

'cause, like, rock 'n' roll
is supposed to be messy

and fuck it,
nothing matters,

but it's truly the opposite
of that for her.

She has, like, a diligent
almost, like,

compulsive, like,
dedication to it.

And then was just like,

pussy to the wood."

♪ My brain began to fry ♪

I think
the most surprising thing

is just how emotional
she is,

and I guess in retrospect
it makes total sense.

You look at the music,
and it definitely has

this kind of precious,

girly, feminine snarl
that could only come

from somewhere
that's a little self-protective.

So here is a lady
who I can't believe

is not in
The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

who should be.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Joan Jett.

We all have
our fucking heroes, you know?

And we made friends

with one of our fucking greatest
rock-'n'-roll heroes.

She made Pat want
to fucking start a band,

made it okay to be
fucking dirty and cool

and play rock 'n' roll
like a real rock-'n'-roller.

♪ I'm worse
At what I do best ♪

♪ And for this gift
I feel blessed ♪

♪ Our little group
Has always been ♪

♪ And always will
Until the end ♪

♪ Hello, hello, hello
How low ♪

♪ Hello, hello hello
How low ♪

♪ Hello, hello, hello
How low ♪

♪ Hello ♪

♪ With the lights out,
It's less dangerous ♪

♪ Here we are now,
Entertain us ♪

♪ I feel stupid
And contagious ♪

♪ Here we are now,
Entertain us ♪

♪ A mulatto, an albino ♪

♪ A mosquito, my libido ♪

Hey, just 'cause you wore
a cape doesn't mean I gotta.

You know what?
I had a cape.

And I left it at home because
you were wearing a fucking cape,

and now you're not
gonna wear the cape?

- Can I wear her cape?
- Yes.

Try it on.

Depending on what
you think is a normal,

regular life,

being in a band,
you know,

you're pretty much all consumed
with it, yeah.

Is that healthy?
I don't know.

I'm not a doctor.
Probably not super.

But, you know,
it's what I enjoy.

I think it makes it
sort of difficult

to have relationships.

I would think that would
probably be...

I guess if you call it
a sacrifice, that would be it.

To say music is my mate
would be pretty fair statement.

And I get a lot from it.

But it's not...
it's not a person.

And I think I know
the difference.

I'm gonna start off
this induction

with the first time I wanted
to have sex with Joan Jett.

And we were doing Oprah

and I go up to Joan's
hotel room,

and Joan opens the door,
and I come in,

and Kenny Laguna
is laying in bed.

And I don't know
what the fuck is going on.

Oh, looks beautiful.
You look beautiful.

That's it.
You're wearing the cape.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

I know there isn't one other
person on this planet

that's been an inspiration
to me like you have, and...

Is being famous
important to you?

I want a certain
sort of fame.

Like when they write
the ultimate

rock 'n' roll history book,
I want my name to be there,

you know,
standing for something,

like being one of the first
females to really,

you know, play rock 'n' roll

and have that sort of
rock-'n'-roll spirit.


I think people
don't think of her like,

"Oh, you know, feminist",

like, immediately,
but the visceral experience

of Joan is
a feminist experience for me.

Watching the way she holds
herself like a normal person,

not like someone
who is self-conscious

and trying to be a good girl.

Here's somebody who was born
to do this and is doing it.

There's just those rare times
where you feel like

someone was put on the planet
to show you

what rock 'n' roll music is.

It could be Bowie.
It could be Kurt Cobain.

It's definitely Joan Jett.

I was really gonna try
not to cry and be tough,

but that's
a little overwhelming there.

Thank you very much.

First off, I really want
to acknowledge my parents,

Jim and Dottie, who can only be
with us in spirit,

which I know they are.

Hey, Mom and Dad,
did you ever think

that Christmas guitar
would lead to this?

I want to be a release.

I want to be a hard release,
a good release,

a primal release.

You do a primal scream,
but it's not at someone

or breaking something,
it's, "Aah!" just into the air

about appreciation
being alive, you know?

This is a family
that's been together

since 1979 and never wavered
from each other.

It's all of us.

We all get support and love
and strength from each other

and feel like we can go
to each other when we need to.

And I think
that's really important,

to be able to feel vulnerable
to the people you work with

and be able to feel like
they've got your back.

If you want to get really deep,
there are no two things.

We're all one.

I want to tell you
a story about Joan

being a wonderful woman.

I want to tell you a story
about how people say

that she opened the door
for women in rock.

And I don't think she opened
the door.

I think she took out
a sledgehammer,

and she knocked down
the whole damn wall.

♪ I don't give
A damn 'bout my reputation ♪

♪ You're living in the past
It's a new generation ♪

♪ And a girl can do
What she wants to do ♪

♪ And that's
What I'm gonna do ♪

♪ And I don't give a damn
'Bout my bad reputation ♪


♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah, yeah ♪

♪ Sometimes I feel like
I've been here before ♪

♪ It's like the past knocking
On my door ♪

♪ Sometimes I feel like
I'm standing still ♪

♪ Or better yet
I'm runnin' up a hill, hey ♪

♪ Sometimes I feel like
I need a crutch ♪

♪ Sometimes I feel like
It's all too much ♪

♪ Sometimes I wonder
What are we in for ♪

♪ And if I wanna do it
Anymore ♪

♪ I need a fresh start,
Let's go back to the top ♪

♪ Rewind the tape
And reset the clock ♪

♪ This time
There's no turning back ♪

♪ Hey! ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah, yeah ♪

♪ So you say
You're not satisfied ♪

♪ And you want
A bigger piece of pie ♪

♪ Take my advice,
Don't hesitate ♪

♪ Before you know it,
It'll be too late ♪

♪ To make a fresh start
And go back to the top ♪

♪ Rewind the tape
And reset the clock ♪

♪ This time
We're not gonna stop ♪

♪ That's right, a fresh start
And go back to the top ♪

♪ Rewind the tape
And reset the clock ♪

♪ And this time
There's no turning back ♪

♪ All right ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah, yeah, ow ♪

♪ Sometimes I feel like
I've been here before ♪

♪ Is that the past knocking
On my door? ♪

♪ Sometimes I feel like
I'm standing still ♪

♪ Or better yet,
I'm running up a hill ♪

♪ Don't wanna hear
That you're feeling old ♪

♪ Times are tough,
You better search your soul ♪

♪ There's some time
For one more dance ♪

♪ We may never
Get another chance ♪

♪ To make a fresh start
And go back to the top ♪

♪ Rewind the tape
And reset the clock ♪

♪ This time
We're not gonna stop ♪

♪ That's right, a fresh start,
And go back to the top ♪

♪ Rewind the tape
And reset the clock ♪

♪ This time
We're not gonna stop ♪

♪ This time
There's no turning back ♪

♪ This time
We're not gonna stop ♪

♪ This time
There's no turning back ♪

♪ This time
We're not gonna stop ♪

♪ This time
There's no turning back ♪

♪ This time
We're not gonna stop ♪

Subtitles by explosiveskull