Monday, May 9, 2011

Rebel Rebel

You know Joan Jett - it's nearly impossible not to. She was a founding member of all-girl teen rock band the Runaways ("Cherry Bomb," "Queens of Noise") and then went on to have a successful solo career with the Blackhearts ("Bad Reputation," "I Love Rock 'n' Roll). She's freakin' awesome. In the Runaways days, from 1975 to 1979, she established herself as a punk-rock style icon, sporting other band tees (Sex Pistols, Ramones, Cheap Trick), leather, glitter, platform boots, and Converse. She accessorized with more leather, light chains, rings, and shockingly- a pocket knife that she always had with her. Her hairstyle -similar to Cherie Currie's platinum-y 'do- was almost a mullet. There was much less business in the front, and the party in the back wasn't wispy or long, but short and choppy. In '75 it was a light brown, but by '76 she had dyed her hair black. She kept her eyebrows super thin and when she wore make-up, she went all out on her eyes.
Joan on her style: "My style? It's probably a mixture of a lot of different things. But when I was a kid — when I was starting in the Runaways or just before the Runaways — I used to go to a club in Los Angeles called Rodney's English Disco. They played all the British glitter singles that were coming out of England that, at the time, American kids never got to hear. Things like T. Rex or "Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie and Gary Glitter, Suzi Quatro, the Sweet, a lot of bands American kids never heard and still aren't really familiar with. It's a lot of heavy drums, handclaps, big choruses, that sort of three-minute very catchy rock 'n' roll stuff. The music really turned me on; I would listen to the records and learn how to play guitar to these singles. But the style also turned me on, lots of big platform boots and flashy clothes, lots of satin — really actually kind of horrible, when I think back on it. Now, I've got my high-priced leather look and my street leather look, and I don't know if you can tell the difference. I pretty much bum around in jeans and a T-shirt most of the time, and onstage, leather pants and latex tops mostly, just clean, simple lines. I like to be hot onstage, so the latex helps keep me a little warm."

(Photos from Brad Elterman, Fanpop, and F*** Yeah Joan! Title from "Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie.)

This is the first in a series I plan to do on '70s stylistas. So, what do ya think?

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