Saturday, October 1, 2011
At age 15 Joan was a founding member of the punk-pop all female band The Runaways, along with Lita Ford, Cherie Currie & Micki Steele. The band was the subject of the biopic The Runaways, a film based on Cherie Currie's biography Neon Angel: The Cherie Currie Story. Joan served as an executive producer on the project, and assisted actress Kristen Stewart with her portrayal of Jett. ‘The band was ahead of its time in many ways, with its hard-rock sound emerging during an era when disco music was king. They also felt dismissed by audiences and critics because of their young age and their gender; the public didn't seem to know what to do with five girls who sang about sex, rebelling, and partying. The musicians' fashion choices also alienated them from mainstream fans; Currie chose to wear lingerie on stage, and Jett often appeared in her trademark red, leather jumpsuit.’ (1) Although The Runaways were poorly received in the US, they were popular in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and South America.
In 1980, Jett tried to get a record label to distribute her new album, but she was rejected by 23 different companies. Out of frustration, she and producer Kenny Laguna and songwriter Ritchie Cordell founded Blackheart Records in 1980. Joan toured with her band, the Blackhearts, and put together another album. I Love Rock 'n' Roll became a huge hit, driven in large part to the title track, which hit the top of the pop charts in early 1982.
Although she has not since reached the commercial success of that era, Joan continues to tour extensively. She produced Riot Grrrl acts Bikini Kill and L7. Biography.com notes, "She has also taken an active part in signing bands to her record label. 'We made Blackheart Records what we wanted it to be,' Jett said. 'It's a place where girls can feel comfortable to be—both in a work environment and on an artistic level.'”
Away from work, Jett devotes much of her time to social causes. She is active with Farm Sanctuary, an animal protection organization.” The rock 'n' roll legend has served as a PETA spokeswoman for several years, encouraging others to become vegetarian.