Tuesday, 16 December 2014


Jett's white Melody Maker guitar has been covered with various stickers over the years, including "Gender Fucker" and the black and blue Leather Pride flag

She may sing otherwise, but the truth is Joan Jett does give a damn about her reputation. That’s why we know so little about her, and so much.

She cemented her legend status with her 2006 comeback studio album Sinner on the Vans Warped tour when fans and critics alike re-evaluated Jett’s hugely important place in rock’n'roll.

"It’s very humbling that anybody will accept you at all," Jett told me at the time. "It’s overwhelming. I tend to deflect it because I don’t know how to deal with it."

This week Jett was among those announced in the 2015 class of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "I'm flabbergasted," Jett told Rolling Stone. "It can be really hard sometimes to assess myself. I'm living it and it's hard to step back and see the larger picture in terms of what the music industry thinks of me."
The other Class of 2015 inductees are Lou Reed, Green Day, Ringo Starr, Stevie Ray Vaughan, influential blues bandleader Paul Butterfield, R&B singer-songwriter Bill Withers and, for the annual early influence inductee, doo-wop group the "5" Royales.

Bugs and Joan Jett backstage
at the Vans Warped tour
at Ile Ste-Helene (circa 2006)
After her all-girl band The Runaways broke up, Jett claimed her spot in rock’n'roll history with one of the biggest number one singles of all time, 1982′s I Love Rock’n'Roll. Over the years there has been much speculation about her sexual orientation, though Jett has never really publicly outed herself.

In her cover of Sweet’s song A.C.D.C. – in the video a seductive Carmen Electra can’t make up her mind whether she wants a male or female lover – a pink sticker of two women holding hands is plastered in the centre of Jett’s guitar. Her songs Androgynous and Everyone Knows also  pull the curtain back further. Most of all, and perhaps the reason she’s never come out as a dyke, Jett seems to believe identity is a trap and coming out can’t tell her whole truth.

"Is it image you want, is it really me?’ she sings in Five. "I’ve fallen over something that I just can’t explain… You want me to but I can’t define desire."

However, in the years since I Love Rock’n'Roll topped the charts in 1982, Jett is sure of one thing:

"I love rock’n'roll, but the business – it’s like any business. It definitely qualifies more and more under ‘show business’ as this ‘reality’ mentality takes over the world. It’s not great," Jett told me. "They still don’t give girls in rock any recognition. All these years after The Runaways and the business still hasn’t changed."

This weerk, finally, Jett got her dues from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Congratulations!


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