Joan Jett talks to “She” about rock and The Runaways

I unabashedly love Joan Jett.

After all, she is a kick-ass woman, completely open about her sexuality, who has been rocking the world for more than 20 years. She understands her place in the history of rock, especially women in rock. But she still has a modest, soulful demeanor that belies her in-your-face onstage presence.

The Runaways movie introduced a new generation to Jett and her music. The film on DVD comes out this month and a Greatest Hits collection is on the way, giving She magazine the perfect reason to interview her. As if anyone really needed a reason other than the fact that she’s Joan effin’ Jett.

Here are some highlights from the interview.

On when she realized her impact on the punk rock scene:

Even at the onset, when the whole dream of forming an all-girl band first came about, I wanted that to definitely be one of the results. Beyond having fun in a band, I wanted to inspire other girls to do what we were doing.

On breaking down stereotypes of women musicians:

I figured rock and roll was such a liberated world, no one would have an issue with girls playing rock. But you know, it’s like anything, the glass ceiling is everywhere. Once people realized we were serious about playing in a band and it wasn’t a gimmick, then people started to feel threatened … We just didn’t play into that.

On how male rockers treated the band on the road:

Some really had a great affection for us and looked after us. Even the hard rockers, like Motorhead — like these bikers and pirates — they did care about us. Then there were other bands that really had a big problem with us. They would stand at the side of the stage and throw things at us, trying to make us slip or trip in our heels and platforms and laugh at us. Typical baby s–t because they were scared we would blow them away.

On her involvement with The Runaways movie:

I wanted to be around for the filming. You know, the reason I never cared about a movie about my life was that I didn’t want anyone to f–k it up. I would be so crazy if someone made a Runaways movie that I hated, you know?

On Kristin Stewart playing her in the film:

I was thrilled … I met up with Kristen and we got along really well … she really studied me — she got down my body language, my voice inflections, expressions. We’re actually very similar. We’re a lot alike, in our energy, when we talk about stuff, being all over the map.[Laughs]

She was so committed. I remember asking her, early on, if she was going to cut her hair for the film and she said, “Absolutely.” I think that helped her to feel like me, rather than wearing a wig. It was good. She wanted me on the set every day. So that was cool.

On the attention surrounding the kissing scene between Stewart and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie:

You know, I was concerned when I saw it in the script. Concerned isn’t really the word. I guess, yeah, I thought about [the “lesbian” scene] becoming the focus. But you know the media. It is what it is.


Lesbian focus or not, I know The Runaways is at the top of my list to watch over the holidays.

You can read the rest of the interview — and all of the December issue of She — at shemag.com. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Have you seen The Runaways? If so, how did you like it? And just how much do you love Joan Jett?

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