Joan Jett on Her Sunset Strip Glory Days
You have a lawsuit against mall retailer Hot Topic for its Blackheart clothing line. Can you comment?
[Blackheart Records co-founder, Kenny Laguna interrupts our phone conversation:]
I'll just jump in. ...It's weird that a company that buys stuff from us, would start a Blackheart line. The slogan is "for girls who like to rock n roll" ...C'mon.
You have Blackheart merchandise on your site. Have you thought about expanding that?
Laguna: Yes. We've been talking for a long time. Todd Oldham, the famous fashion designer [and collaborator on a photo tribute book about Jett] and Joan actually designed a bunch of amazing clothes, it's just we do so many things and so it's taken us a long time to go anywhere. We have every intention of doing that.
Tell us about your new record Joan.
It's called Unvarnished. For me, it's some of the better writing I've done in a long time. It's kind of a little bit more about life. I called this 'the decade of death' because I lost a lot of people who were close to me. That changes your perspective on things. Losing my parents was big. They were very supportive, my biggest fans. It was harder than I would have imagined. That seeped into my writing a lot, and I thought about life's fragility. There are songs about relationships, sex and our culture, and you know, the private life stuff we talked about, called "TMI" and "Reality Mentality."
Runaways reunion with surviving members any time soon?
I don't really get why we should we do it? The downside is much bigger than the upside. It'd be fun for people to see it, but you gotta remember, we're not who were in 1976-77. It's not worth it to me. We had a great band that kicked ass for three and a half years. I'm very protective of it because it was special to me. And to come back and have the press judge us... Plus you can't gauge the dynamics of the band. I'm just not sure it'd be the reunion the fans are looking for.