JAM Magazine Main Features

Joan Jett

Runaway Finds a Home

Joan Jett's current band, the Blackhearts, started in 1980. Lee Crystals plays drums. Eric Ambel plays rhythm guitar. Gary Ryan plays bass.

The Blackhearts couldn't find an acceptable deal from any big record companies, so Joan used her own savings to start Blackheart Records. She used famous producers. Kenny Laguna, who was a prime motivator and producer for Jonathan Rkhman, Greg Kihn, Jay and the Americans, 1910 Fruitgum Company, Ohio Express, etc., handled the production along with Ritchie Cordell, who has written and produced 18 worldwide hits. Among the 18 are the superhits "Mony Mony," "Indian Giver," and "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin."

Musicians such as Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols and Clem Burke and Fran Infante helped out on her album, which was her first in years. Naturally, it was an incredible, record. As an import it sold 22,000 copies a few weeks after it was released. But Joan still waited before committing herself to a major label. So when record stores sold out of her Import album and needed more fast, she pressed them herself on her Blackheart label. Even then, record stores couldn't keep up with consumer demand.

Joan Jett didn't write current hit blockbuster "I love Rock 'n' Roll." She heard it on an English TV show in 1976 and immediately knew it would be a hit. The song was performed by a group called the Arrows. Joan says there's a lot of other cover songs she'd like to do but she's not telling anybody what they are. "You gotta keep your battle plans secret," she said. Her latest album has covers of "Crimson and Clover," "Bits and Pieces," and a killer cover of "Little Drummer Boy" on the earlier pressing on her latest album. "I’ve been wanting to record that for years," she confessed.

This interview was done over the phone. Joan was answering questions while watching a boxing match on television. She was a tomboy when she grew up. Joan doesn't prize fight or anything, but she's an excellent baseball player. Her favorite team is the Baltimore Orioles and she prefers to play hardball. She's too tough for softball. "Everybody else is scared of hardball, but I play it when I can. I like to play second base because when somebody hits a single and there's a big guy on first base that's ready to take me out and slide into me....l do double plays that you would not believe!!