SWS Productions


  May 2, 2001

joan jett & the blackhearts

The original bad girl of rock & roll miraculously appears in our totally undeserving town. We're not worthy! We're not worthy! Guitar legend and general goddess Jett paved the way for feminist musicians in the same way Courtney Love said Madonna did: "She hacked through the jungle 

by herself and the rest of us are traipsing along in her wake, picking daisies and complaining about it." Jett's classics "Crimson and Clover," and "I Love Rock & Roll" may have been guilty pleasures in the '80s but these days, critically acclaimed albums, collaborations with Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and a starring role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Broadway have put the lady's cool factor through the roof. Hakken Kraks Howl opens. The Rio Theater; $15; 8pm.

--- Hiya Swanseyer


  May 1, 2001

joan jett

Do you love rock 'n' roll? Well, then you better get tickets ASAP, as this show will sell-out (if it hasn't already). Jett's loud, stripped-down style of basic rock 'n' roll endeared her to more than one generation of rockers, who will be happy to know that apparently, nothin' about that formula has changed. According to friend, promoter and fellow musician Lois Petrozza (who plays in the opening band, Hakken Kraks Howl), Joan is "kicking ass more than ever and rockin' hard." And although the Blackhearts aren't with her, Jett will be doing all your favorites: songs from the Fetish album, "Crimson and Clover," "Do You Want To Touch Me." The show is part of the beginnings of Jett's indie tour of the U.S. summer festival circuit, interspersed with her part in a traveling "Rocky Horror Picture Show" production. When: 8 p.m. Where: 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. cost: $15 Info: 689-0923

--- Janet Blaser

Cabrillo College Voice  May 11, 2001

Bad grrl Joan Jett rocks the reborn Rio Theater

Sean McCourt - Entertainment Editor

The RioTheatre, which has been reborn as a performing arts center and music venue, hosted one of rock n roll's original bad grrls, Joan Jett, at a sold out concert on May 6.

Jett brought her Blackhearts and her ever present attitude and energy to the stage for a show which left no question as to her rightful place in punk's pantheon, playing her own classics such as "I Love Rock N Roll," and "Crimson and Clover," along with a few cover tunes including the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog."

I was a little surprised when I heard that Jett would be coming to the Rio, but was thoroughly impressed with the outcome of the event. Having the theater seats at a rock show was a little awkward at first, but it didn't phase the crowd a bit, which packed the aisles and area directly in front of the stage to dance and sing along.

Jett responded in kind, plying guitar at the edge of the stage and constantly interacting with her adoring fans, even getting them to yelp like dogs at her command during an interlude while performing "I Wanna Be Your Dog."

I was also impressed with the sound at the theater which I had originally expected would echo around inside the spacious room. From my vantage point in the front, the mix was actually really good, bolstered by the tight musicianship of the band.

I'm glad that the Rio has come back to life, and hope that the promoters can continue to book first class acts like Ms. Jett in the future. Perhaps something can be done with the Del Mar Theater in the same vein too. These old buildings have a great history and provide a much more colorful and interesting location for local cultural events.


  May 3, 2001

Jett Fuel

What a trip it's been for rock icon Joan Jett, from the snarling guitarist for the neo-punk all-girl band the Runaways to revered elder and inspiration to a generation of cutting-edge female rockers,. Now past 40, Jett is showing no signs of fading away. She brings her band, the Blackhearts, to the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15.


  May 9, 2001

Blackhearts & Jetts

It's official, the new and improved Rio Theatre stage is now blessed with MTV rock-star sweat. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts steamrolled through their May 6 set like the '80s powerhouse arena rockers they are (minus the big hair and presumably minus the cocaine). Playing to a sold-out audience that was equal parts grown-up New Wavers and fledgling twentysomethings who were probably 2 years old when they first heard "I Love Rock & Roll," Jett, with her signature raw voice, had both guys and girls ready to toss their underwear onstage.

Backed by a very pale pasty male band in '80s garb (muscle tees, guitars hanging below the waist), Jett was rowdier than a WWF wrestler and twice as badass. Jett's always been a balls-to-the-wall machista chica, and her new bald hairdo helps--the amount of naughty sexual tension that she injected into her audience could solve California's energy crisis if channeled properly.

--- David Espinoza


  April 25, 2001

Time Warp

After roughly five months of supporting local cultural events (i.e., poetry readings, film showings, dances) and obscure out-of-town bands, the Rio Theatre is dipping its toe in a top act (she's been on MTV, okay?). Joan Jett, the "I love rock & roll" glamster of the '80s, founding member of the '70s outfit the Runaways (which also included Lita Ford) and most recently Columbia from the Broadway version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, will be hitting the Rio May 6 as part of a mini Cali tour that includes a sold-out show in San Francisco. Praise be to local promoter Lois Petrozza, who also helped put together the Ruins show in March and plays in Surf With Satan. Perhaps this will set a precedent for more '80s big-hair grrrl acts to visit the Rio. Where is Pat Benatar these days anyway?

--- David Espinoza



  April 25, 2001

Two-Chord Terror

Joan Jett brings her power-pop show to Santa Cruz May 6

By Gina Arnold

JOAN JETT is a real conundrum. On the one hand, she's a seminal punk-rock icon, a groundbreaking female rocker who has inspired and influenced countless musicians of the same gender, and a woman who, to her credit, proclaims her favorite bands to be Fugazi and L7.

On the other hand, she is the instigator of much sappy power-pop, the front person for a tacky band, the wearer of Spandex jumpsuits and the willing puppet of a manager so venal that if you call up her website (www.joanjett.com), you will find yourself reading all about him, instead of her.

Jett's career, though extremely long, has few really credible high points, unless you count her current stint as the character Columbia in the revival of The Rocky Horror Show on Broadway.

At the moment, Jett seems like the answer to an '80s trivia question, as dated as shoulder pads, red-and-black striped T-shirts and Flock of Seagulls hairdos. And yet she is no Debbie Gibson. Although her biggest hits came at the start of the MTV era, her career dips well into the 1970s and stretches forward into the '90s.

During the Ford Administration, she was a founding member of the all-girl band the Runaways, an act that is currently being revived in the form of the Donnas, who do the trashy-teenage jail-bait act to perfection and are lauded for it.

And in the '90s, Jett's solo career, if not exactly burning hot, was slightly hipper than it had been previously: she worked with both the Replacements' Paul Westerberg and Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna.

I guess Jett is like a female Billy Idol--that is, a cartoonish figure whose lengthy presence in pop world has made him a permanent symbol of, well, something or other. Like Billy Idol, she's not known for either her musicianship or her songwriting. Both her hits, "I Love Rock & Roll" and "Crimson and Clover," were penned by others.

Thanks to her association with various mentors (first Kim Fowley, now Mr. Laguna), she's a real modern-day Trilby, hardworking, ambitious and somehow directionless, dabbling now in acting, now in singing, now in punk rock, but always staying slightly in our sights, by hook or by crook.

But ... but ... but--all that aside, there is something innately likable about Jett's persona that Idol will never have. And her live show, it must be said, is always a lot of fun. Perhaps that's why I've never met a rock star who didn't adore her, in spite of her mediocre guitar-playing, her silly jumpsuit, her two-chord rock "anthems" that sound so ... New Jersey.

All these things are irrelevant in the hearts and minds of a whole generation of musicians who persist in seeing her as a real rock original--the first pretty girl to eschew mere lead singer­pinup status in favor of playing gritty rhythm guitar--a groundbreaking female loner in what used to be an all-male world.

Respect, as Fugazi likes to say, is due. After all, it's not like after her came a deluge of others: sadly, she is still one of the few female leaders of a male rock band, and perhaps the only one with roots. If you want to jump on the '80s-revival bandwagon, here might be a good place to start.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts perform Sunday (May 6) at 8pm at the Rio Theater, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15.

Web extra to the April 25-May 2, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.