Here is a screenshot of one of the many blurry concert footage videos I’ve watched on Youtube of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. One of my biggest influences, Joan Jett has been a pop culture icon since her days in the Runaways in the mid to late 70’s. She said a big ‘Fuck you’ to every record label that knocked her back when she formed the Blackhearts and sent out demos, which included the songs ‘I Love Rock’n’Roll’ and ‘Bad Reputation’. Instead of “losing the guitar” to help get herself signed, she sold records out of the back of her manager’s car, and using his daughter’s college fund to help Jett’s record and touring.
Very few people have come close to the je ne sais quoi that Joan Jett holds (maybe Kristen Stewart got close in the Runaways film, but that’s an entirely different blog). Moving between rock ‘n’ roll and punk Joan Jett has influenced many bands, and generations of girls to pick up guitars and sing songs that people told them they shouldn’t.
But what can I say about Joan Jett that hasn’t been said a thousand times before, and what does it have to do with this blog and Networked Media? I can answer one of those questions, and probably bullshit my way through the second. Are you ready? Let’s go:
Joan Jett reminds me that the music that I create doesn’t have to be the most complicated prog rock meets psychedelic baroque’n’roll masterpiece in the world in order to make it good and get people to listen to it. So many Blackhearts songs are three or four chords, a simple rock beat and a lot of grit in the vocals, and they sound amazing. The same thing has applied to many a popular band, let’s take Green Day for example, they have a similar song writing style, and have been one of the biggest bands that came out of the Cali punk rock scene of the 90’s. In terms of Joan Jett’s relation to Networked Media, she’s a shining example of the fact that sticking to your own style or voice will gain you a following that much more passionate, as well as a longevity that wont fade out because you chose to follow the current trend, ie, blogging about what you want to blog about, not just what’s popular or what’s clickbait.
Joan Jett wasn’t the first woman to play guitar like a god (all hail Sister Rosetta Tharpe), and she wasn’t the only woman in the music industry to break down every wall that was put in front of her ( the roll call includes Brody Dalle, Courtney Love and Kathleen Hanna to name a few), but her influence on everything from music to fashion (the ‘Joan Jett’ is a term used for hairstyles, makeup looks and outfits in the wonderful world of the fashion industry) in pop culture is something that is an influence and a motivation to me.