Friday, August 26, 1994

Joan Jett brings messages on womanhood

Andreas Harsono
The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): Singer-guitarist Joan Jett proved that she is one of rock 'n' roll most dedicated and hardest-working performers. 

Clad in a black catsuit and red court shoes, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts performed an 80-minute show at Hard Rock Cafe on Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, early this week in the first leg of her Asian tour. 

Opening the show singing her beloved Spinster, the 34-year-old singer with the raunchy voice sang and danced together with hundreds of her admirers to the rhythm of the song.

"I'm a spinster. No one telling me what to do," the singer cried along with the sound of powerful electric guitars and, heart-breaking drum beats. 

Some of the audience waved their hands, some headbanged and sang along with the singer, kissed their lovers while others swayed with ignited lighters in the darkness during some of Joan's sweet songs. 

"Rock n' roll movement is related to breaking down the norms, breaking down the rules, but it's not necessarily breaking the law," she said during a press conference here on Monday afternoon.

"It's not about destruction, but about not following the rules," she said when asked whether she still believed the anti-establishment spirit of rock music.

Joan, who is naturally left-handed but plays the guitar right handedly, introduced some songs from her latest album Pure and Simple, such as Go Home, Eye to Eye, Activity Grrrl, Rubber & Glue, as well as one of her signature songs As I Am.

Western music critics observed Joan's 1994 Pure and When as her most socio-political effort to date, in which only two out of 13 tracks dealt with personal relationships.

Other songs are about social acceptance and single womanhood seared with the with the 1970s. three-chord rock 'n' roll passion that Joan loves so much.

Activity Grrrl talks about women speaking up about abuse, about being put down, while Spinster is about being a single woman and choosing not to get married. 

Guitarist Tony Bruno, drummer Thommy Price and Kenny Aaronson playing bass guitar helped Joan bring back the memories of Cherry Bomb, I Hate Myself for Loving You, I Love Rock 'n' Roll and even Have You Ever Seen the Rain of the Credence Clearwater Revival.

During the press conference, as if referring to her own experience, Joan told reporters about her view on feminism, about how women are treated unfairly in community.

When she was 15 years old, Joan was the creative mainspring of the renowned all-girl rock band, The Runaways, which scored a number of top-selling albums in the United States and European countries in the 1970s.

Yet sad to say, an unstable teenage life, plus the following disappointing record sales and the audience interest, led up to the break up of the band by the late 1970s, leaving a frustrated Joan to turn to alcoholism and drug addiction. 

"No record company wanted to touch her. No one took a female rocker seriously," said her manager, Kenny Laguna, who helped Joan recognizes her talent and produce new records. 

Joan fought her internal demons and with a combination of perseverance and just plain luck, she overcame her drug dependency and the related anti-social behavior to become one of the most exciting solo performers of the 1980s. 

Now in the 1990s, Joan has transformed herself into a socially aware lady rocker, enthusiastically showing a video clip of Go Home, which is attributed to Mia Zapata, a well-known singer of a local band in Seattle, United States, who was brutally raped and murdered on July  7, 1993.

She bluntly said that women should learn simple techniques of self-defense, such as gouging a rapist's eyes, in case they are trapped a sexually dangerous situation.

"I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain," she sang her anthem, while leaving her fans in Jakarta to observe Joan's message about womanhood. 

Joan will also perform at Hard Rock Cafes in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei.

Singer-guitarist Joan Jett rocked Jakarta with her popular tunes, such as Cherry Bomb, I Love Rock'n'Roll, Crimson and even Have You Ever Seen the Rain of the Credence Clearwater Revival, during a show at Hard Rock Cafe on Aug. 22.

No comments: