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.)