Sandy West, drummer for legendary all-woman rock band The Runaways died on Sunday after a battle with lung cancer. The Runaways rose to fame as teens in the 1970s, forever changing the landscape of rock and roll for female musicians.
Runaways guitarist and vocalist Joan Jett, who founded the band with West in 1975, compared her talent to that of iconic Led Zeppelin drummer Jon Bonham, and Runaways front woman Cherie Currie called West “the greatest female drummer in the history of rock and roll.”
For a fascinating Behind the Music-style look at the history of the band and the impact of success (and their sadistic, opportunistic manager Kim Fowley) on their lives, check out the documentary Edgeplay: A Film About The Runaways.
The film, directed by former Runaway bassist Vicki Blue, highlights the musicians’ recollections of the rock and roll trenches, and contains some chilling stories about the misogynist and predatory music industry of the era. Though Joan Jett is noticeably absent, the candor of the other Runaways — particularly West — more than compensates.