What is The Runaways’ drama doing to the fans?

Warnings: 1) I cuss in this post. A lot. 2) It’s heavy on the emo. 3) It’s long.

As excited as I am for The Runaways movie, there are certain unpleasant facts surrounding the making of the film that I’d rather not deal with.

  • Unpleasant fact #1: Jackie Fox and Lita Ford did not want this movie to be made.
  • Unpleasant fact #2: Cherie Currie and Lita Ford still do not like each other.

As a fan of The Runaways, Joan Jett, AND Lita Ford, my plan was to keep the peace and not address these facts. I cloaked myself in positivity and hoped it would be enough to shield me from the elephant in the room.

But yesterday, the elephant stepped on my foot. 

As I began to wade through the latest batch of interviews and commentary on the film, I came across some comments that Cherie Currie made about Lita Ford that upset me. Not because they were extra scandalous or anything we haven’t heard variations of 1000 times before, but because I was naively hoping that we could just ignore the whole uncomfortable business while we enjoy introducing this music to a new audience. I had been praying that no one would ask the questions, which was foolish, I know.

I won’t repeat Cherie’s remarks here, because I don’t want to spread this any further than it already has.

I am not angry at Cherie, and I would never bash her. But I think I need to stick up for the fans here. Please think about what this drama is doing to us.

If this turns into a public she-said/she-said battle, I will throw up. How will they expect us to stay loyal to The Runaways if they make us fight over them? It’s like going through a divorce, and indirectly accusing your children of not loving you because they want to live with their other parent. I’ve been through that, for real, and it hurts. It is mental abuse. I come to rock and roll to soothe my scars, not to get new ones.

I fear that if this escalates any further, no one will remember that The Runaways did something good together. Some of the new fans, especially the young ones, could be inadvertently programmed into loving Joan and Cherie and hating Lita, and if they like Lita’s music they might feel guilty, like they are “betraying” Joan and Cherie. Which would be fucking ridiculous. No one should feel guilty for loving this music. I sure as fuck don’t.

The break-up of The Runaways was a Big Bang that created a whole new universe of music. We wouldn’t have songs like “Gotta Let Go” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You” (both Grammy-nominated, by the way) if The Runaways had stayed together. Think about where the music scene was headed in America when The Runaways broke up in 1979. Punk was gaining momentum on the East Coast, and metal was taking over on the West Coast. Each kingdom needed a Queen, and they each got a good one. Double the pleasure, double the fun. 🙂

Not to say that I never miss the sound of Joan Jett and Lita Ford playing together. They are greater than the sum of their parts, and no one will ever sound quite like they did together. It was pure magic. “You’re Too Possessive,” for me, is a prime example. Joan wrote it for The Runaways’ Waitin’ for the Night album, and I always thought the vocals on that version were a little too slow. But the guitars! Holy hell. A few years later, Joan redid the song with The Blackhearts on I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll. They fixed the tempo and rearranged the song to make it tighter overall, in my opinion. But Lita isn’t there. And I can feel her absence. I wish I could blend the best of both versions together. Listen for yourself:

~

See? Two flavors of the same genius.

You know I love Joan Jett, just look around this site for goodness sakes. But I want to make a few things clear about Lita Ford, right fucking now. Lita Ford is a fucking genius guitar player, and she is also an amazing front woman, something she never got to show in The Runaways. So, not only did she conquer one of the most aggressive genres of music in the history of rock and roll in the name of womankind EVERYWHERE, but she also stepped out of her comfort zone and proved herself to be a singer worthy of her success.

Don’t like Lita’s voice or her style of music? Who cares? There are just as many diehard Lita fans, if not more, who don’t like Joan’s music. Am I leading the charge to destroy their army? No. Because to fight such a fight, I’d have to cut myself in half. I love Lita Ford. I love Cherie Currie. I love Joan Jett. I love Jackie Fox, and the umpteen other women who ever had the courage to play bass in that band. I fucking miss Sandy West, and I never even knew her.

I don’t want to fight. Because it will tear us apart, and because it doesn’t matter. This isn’t some rapper feud that’s going to end in gunfire. There are no territories to win. I’ve seen Lita Ford t-shirts at Joan Jett concerts, and no one has gotten shot over it. Aside from Sandy West’s untimely death, there is little about this story to feel sad about. These women have been through hell, but they survived, and have succeeded against all odds. Maybe they are more damaged than they let on, but aren’t we all?

To the new fans: Enjoy the music, and respect each other. You can love these women in any configuration you choose, and don’t let anyone judge you for it. Joan, Lita, and Cherie are all extremely gracious and kind to their fans, and you are safe with all of them. I hope they always have that in common. I can’t tell you how to react to this drama, but I hope that you don’t give in to the temptation to choose sides. These women are grown adults, and can take care of their disagreements without our help.

To all surviving members of The Runaways: I love you. Thank you for your music, your conviction, and your courage to tell us your stories in your songs, books, and movies. Because of you, we can face our own demons, and win. You have taught us that, underneath it all, we are all the same, and none of us is alone. When you get scared and things get rough, please remember that.

~~~~~~

This is the first and last time I will ever address this. I run this blog to have fun. For my own sanity, I am going to lighten up on the movie news for a little while and focus on the new blog features I’ve been working on, so I can stop making you wait for them. I also have a ton of concert archive updates to make, and I want to catch up.

Rock Till Ya Drop! 😀 😀 😀

(Updated the YouTube links on 1/17/2013; the previous videos had been removed from YouTube.)

25 thoughts on “What is The Runaways’ drama doing to the fans?

  1. Beautifully written my dear….as always. I remember when Lita came out with Kiss Me Deadly…and I was a “rocker chick” at the time hahahaha…had the hair and everything. But I never got too much into her. But I liked the song. I haven’t seen the clip you’re talking about…I’ve been soooo busy….maybe it’s a good thing 🙂 And…I’ve never heard such language from you young lady! lmao! You know I’m teasing right? 🙂

  2. You’re a great writer.
    I like this idea of “big bang”. Some ppl can’t understand it…
    I love Joan for lyrics and her life-style.
    I love Cherie for her unbelievable voice.
    I love Lita for her guitar solos.
    Sandy was perfect drummer. All the bassist done good job.
    Peace, grrrls, peace… 😉
    Cheers

  3. “The break-up of The Runaways was a Big Bang that created a whole new universe of music”

    BEAUTIFUL! And agreed – I, too, will throw up if this shit gets any worse.

    I mean – this is EXACTLY the kind of behavior that makes women in music a mockery to the misogynistic men in the industry. This cat fighting, grudge holding, etc. So what if Lita really IS an ass – she was an integral part of “the big bang” (I’m so quoting you on this – can i?), and if she wants to be an ass still, let her be. I expect it out of Lita – she has said some nasty things over the year and is unapologetic – it’s her way. Cherie is sweet as apple pie and it seems somehow more bitter coming from her.

    So ladies! Let’s show women and upcoming women in rock how the big girls do it! Support each other, it’s not a competition! There is room for us all.


    Zoe

  4. Could you please provide a link to the remark Cherie made. Your commentary has merit but I’d like to decide for myself, if what she said was upsetting.

    • And I know that it was probably taken out of context, and Cherie didn’t intend to sound nasty, blah blah blah. But all we needed was one slightly popular tabloid-style publication to pick up on that and everything would have been for nothing.

      This is why I didn’t want to include the quote in my post. I have no desire to bash Cherie or make her feel bad, and I certainly don’t want to draw more attention that it deserves. Which is NOTHING.

      • I think it’s totally out of context. The writer doesn’t even show the context.
        It’s posted as a stand alone “great quote” along with a fan’s unrelated comment.

        Anyway, even if it is an accurate Cherie quote, I would assume that what she meant was that if Lita would embrace her past (with The Runaways) it would only furthur her career, which is true, imo!

        Thanks for the link Danielle!!!
        Gus

        • I am willing to give Cherie the benefit of the doubt, which is why I didn’t want to repeat the quote. But in ANY context, that quote was still harsh. It was a very, very poor choice of words. I would be just as angry if Lita had said that about Cherie, and you probably would be too.

  5. well said JJ! I don’t follow Lita too much but I agree about her guitar playing… and you just know that no matter what her and Jackie say its gotta hurt the way they are not involved with the movie (whoevers decision that may be)

    On the other hand Lita is in talks to get a reality show about her family and IM SURE that this movie is going to help the viewership figures!!

  6. Great but GREAT post, we the fans cannot be discussing because we’re hating Lita because we like Joan, or hating Joan because we like Lita. It doesn’t matter, they’re both AMAZING musicians. Joan is one of the most incredible persons and musicians on earth and I admire her for that, and Lita is one of the best guitar players in the universe and I bet she’s an awesome person (forgetting about the problems with the band) and I bet she’s a cool mom. I don’t know exactly what happened with Cherie and Lita, I know some problems, but Lita and Jackie use to have a little feud, and now they’re friends again (I’ve seen pics of Lita, Jackie and vikki together), I don’t know how bad Cherie and Lita ended their friendship, but we cannot argue about it.
    Jackie was the best bass player and I love her (even she didn’t knew how to play in those days, but she learned) and Vikki was a great bass player as well.
    And I cannot say anything about Sandy because she loved The Runaways and she’s my fav Runaway, and I hope she was still alive but for some reason she left us. But I’m still waiting for the day that the band can get reunited again forget all the problems they had.

  7. SO i’m confused is cherie and joans relationship going to be shown in the movie or not.? I liked all of the girls in the runaways reguardless of the politics

  8. I. Am. Switzerland. I truly love them all! However, I thought the exact same thing when I read Cherie’s quote. I just can’t believe they’re still dealing with the same old drama. In my opinion, the whole situation feels like high school. Instead of bickering, they should be basking in the glow of their mutual success. Certainly, The Runaways have a lot to be proud of. But holding on to old grudges is NOT one of those things!

  9. I saw what you said on the Jett board about why would Lita wanna work with people Joan wrote with? Well, Desmond Child was a hit maker and that’s why Joan wrote with him and that’s why Lita was going to. On the other hand, Joan wrote with Jim Vallance AFTER Lita did so I guess it doesn’t go both ways.

  10. I have to add something here – I’m very sure the post was not meant to call any ONE member out – but we all know that over the years they’ve thrown trashy words each others’ way.

    That’s totally their perogative, but it becomes ours whe our validity is resting upon such a wonderful musical influence. The Runaways opened doors that people didn’t even know were there. That comes with a slight bit of responsibility, like it or not.

    I might not like certain individual members’ careers, but I don’t have to. I love The Runaways together, as a whole, as an influence, as inspiration.

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  12. If anyone read the first version of Cherie’s book, the bad blood between Cherie & Lita has always been there. Doesn’t sound like they ever got along at all.

  13. This is a good post with some very interesting points. Last year Lita and Cherie reconnected and have been the best of friends ever since. Lita and Cherie have finally broken silence on why there won’t be a runaways reunion of ANY KIND and both said that reason is Joan. It appears to be true. Joan will not say yes or no to anything about it. I don’t know what the hell her problem is and why she wouldn’t think of her fans but its been really pissing me off. When I first started reading that stuff that she was the holdup I thought eh probably but I don’t know. But as time went on I reused its true. I’ve been a big Runaways fan and a fan of Lita and Joan’s but I’ve gotta say Joan is really pissing me and I think allot of other people off with this. The Golden God awards were held the other night and Joan was honored and performed. Lita and Cherie were also there ( they have performed together recently but neither with Joan). Why wouldn’t Joan ask them to perform with her?? They have been so bummed you can tell and they’ve been trying not to say much but I think they (like everyone else) are fed up with Joan’s bullshit or whatever it is she’s got going on that she won’t explain.

  14. It’s fucking sad that they can’t even perform a show or something together for the fans. If Lita and Cherie can be this close after 37 years and bury the past , why cant Joan?? Joan needs to put it out there what the fuck her problem is already because its not right.

    • Hi! I’m sure a lot of fans are just as frustrated and want a reunion. I’m on the fence about it, but I have a new essay about it in the works that I will post soon. Things tend to happen when they are supposed to, and if a reunion happens I will fully support it. 🙂

      Thanks for posting, and I am sorry it took me so long to approve your comments. I had no specific reason, just busy with things at work.

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