Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Joan Jett 
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There are 477 different Runaways biographies, and 98% of them are either completely false or racked with "facts" that make the members scratch their heads even today. The truth is, a number of perfectly fated moments put Sandy West, Joan Jett, and Kari Krome together with Kim Fowley. The girls wanted to form an all girl rock band, and Fowley was looking for something new that happened to include rocking teenage girls. The meeting of the four began the wild journey of The Runaways. With Kari as a songwriter, Joan Jett and Sandy West, with Michael Steele, started playing as a three-piece band in 1975. They recorded some demos that would later be released as "Born To Be Bad." The search for a second guitarist began and Lita Ford, who originally tried out on bass, answered the call. She was hired, quit, and came back, all in a span of less than a week. Michael Steele either left the band or was fired (depending on who you ask), and in that time, the girls and Fowley set out to find a lead singer and bass player. Michael would later resurface in The Bangles. Kim and Joan ran into Cherie Currie and twin sister Marie at an underage disco called The Sugar Shack. Marie was approached first but she gave a definitive no, but Cherie was more than happy to audition. Bringing her in wasn't a difficult decision. At the same time, Kim called a local bassist by the name of Peggy Foster (who had been playing in bands like Sasparilla and Champion until then) and she became the original bassist of the five piece lineup. Peggy didn't stay long though and after rehearsing and playing some shows she left before the recording of the first album. Jackie Fox, who had auditioned earlier on guitar, was then hired on bass and the original five-piece recording lineup was in place. In early '76, the girls were signed to Mercury Records and released their self titled debut, getting pinned with the nickname "Jailbait Rockers." They toured the world, building a loyal fan base, and released "Queens of Noise," followed by "Live In Japan." Jackie Fox left the band after that tour and was replaced by Vicki Blue. Soon after, Cherie also left the band to pursue acting and a solo career. Joan took over on lead vocals and the band continued. "Waiting For The Night" was the next Runaways album to see release, and it failed to chart. Fowley abruptly left and the band brought in new management. In September of 1978, the album "And Now...The Runaways" was released, after the departure of Vicki Blue. Laurie McAllister was brought in on bass and appears in the "Mama Weer All Crazy Now" and "Saturday Night Special" videos, but didn't have time to record with the band before the final breakup in early 1979. Over two decades after The Runaways' demise however, the band remains more than a short mark in the history books of rock and roll. Bands ranging from Hole to Bikini Kill and dozens more list The Runaways as major influences, and they continue to have a loyal base of rabid fans.

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