Tag Archive | Joan Jett

Morrison Hotel Gallery Presents: CBGB — The Age of Punk

Debbie and Chris
Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie (1980) By Allan Tannenbaum (All Photos of the Photos By Gail)

Do you like Punk Rock? I sure do. The true spirit of Punk really thrived in cities like London (where it was born), Los Angeles and New York back in the mid-70 to early 80s, before it became a commercial product and fashion statement that was appropriated by Midwest mall kids, and completely lost its teeth. Kill me. Fortunately, all of that great music still exits, and we can also travel back in time to the early days of the mosh pit with amazing photographs of the iconic musicians and style-makers who embodied the Punk credo. The place to see and live through those photos is the Morrison Hotel Gallery.

MHG CBGB Invite

As the definitive home of Fine Art Rock Photography, Morrison Hotels Gallery has just launched its latest collection, CBGB: The Age of Punk, and it is pretty sweet. I attended the opening reception here in Manhattan on May 17th, and the place was packed wall-to-wall with many of the legendary photographers who shot these photos, such as Bob Gruen, as well as a New York icons Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie. All of the photos in this post were shot while I maneuvered around a drunken, sweaty horde, so I chose to crop most them and you will just have to guess what they look like all framed and nice. Punk Rock!

New York Dolls
New York Dolls (1974) By Bob Gruen

Here’s the Gallery’s Official Blurb about the Collection:

Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock and CB’s became one of the quintessential locations to perform. Bands had the freedom to experiment and bring their own artistry and social commentary, no matter how depraved and raucous, to audiences hungry for new art, music and freedom of speech.

Chris Stein
Chris Stein Being Interviewed at the Opening Reception

Contrary to what the series title would have you believe, not all of the photos were taken at CBGB, or even in New York.

Glenn Danzig
Glenn Danzig of The Misfits, a Band that Got Its Start Playing CBGB

Joan Jett
Joan Jett on Stage with The Runaways By Lynn Goldsmith

Patti Smith
Patti (1978) By Allan Tannenbaum

As you might expect, there a ton of great shots of Patti Smith, both on stage with PSG, and off stage. She was so photogenic.

Patti and Robert
Patti and Robert in NYC (1969) By Norman Seef

Here she is with her boyfriend at the time, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. So hot.

Patti Smith with TV
Patti in NYC (1976) by Frank Stefanko

Patti Smith Portrait
Patti Smith Portrait. Breathtaking.

Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols in Europe (1977) by Bob Gruen

The first wave British punks get their due as well. I got this shot on the wall behind the open gallery door!

Sid Vicious
Sid Vicious (1978) By Ebet Roberts

The Clash
The Clash in NYC (1981) By Bob Gruen

Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer of The Clash (RIP) looking like a Movie Star.

Ramones
The Ramones in NYC (1975) By Bob Gruen

And, of course, the Ramones are well- represented, as they should be.

There’s no telling how long this exhibit will be on public view in the gallery, but you can always view the full collection at This Link should you wish to make a purchase. All orders are filled on-demand up the run limit of that series.

Morrison Hotel Gallery is Located at 116 Prince Street, 2nd Floor in SoHo, NYC.

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Must See DVD: The Punk Singer

The Punk Singer DVD Cover
Image Source

Confession: After hearing the names Kathleen Hanna, Bikini Kill and Riot Grrrl off and on for two decades, I really didn’t know anything about Hanna, her music or the highly influential feminist movement she co-founded until I watched Director Sini Anderson’s excellent documentary, The Punk Singer: A Film About Kathleen Hanna, on DVD last night. In fact, I admit that for many years I had confused Kathleen Hanna with Kristen Hersh of Throwing Muses, which is just embarrassing.

So, I guess it’s extremely high praise for Kathleen Hanna, for being so doggedly determined and fiercely talented and also a thoroughly compelling human being – as well as Anderson, for coaxing her somewhat reluctant subject into revealing her life story with such profound intimacy – that I was completely engaged in The Punk Singer from the first few minutes. I mean, wow, this film is amazing!

If you are already a fan of Kathleen Hanna then you don’t need me to tell you about how Hanna and her band mates in Bikini Kill championed woman in rock like nobody’s business, performing songs about subjects that made people uncomfortable but that stayed true to Hanna’s vision of inspiring positive change. Scenes of Hanna performing on stage in The Punk Singer reminded me of a cross between the late Poly Styrene and Henry Rollins. Punk Rock!

There’s also an astounding amount of quality archival footage used in this film which will take you back in time to the beginnings of the Riot Grrrl movement as well as a time when Hanna was best friends with another rebel outsider, Kurt Cobain. I’m sure Kathleen Hanna could not have foreseen what would arrive in the wake if her casually scribbling the phrase “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” on Cobain’s apartment wall. That is a story that takes too long to talk about.

Former band mates and friends of Hanna including Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, Joan Jett, Kim Gordon and Hanna’s husband Adam Horowitz of The Beastie Boys help to color the film’s rich narrative with their stories about what made Hanna a special, unstoppable force in music. But The Punk Singer isn’t just a music documentary; it is a true life story and a film that will draw you in as much as other personal musical journeys such as Jobriath AD, Nothing Can Hurt Me and Searching For Sugarman. I cannot recommend this film highly enough.

The Punk Singer is available for purchase at Amazon.com and for rental and streaming through Netflix, where it has racked up a ton of well-deserved 5 Star Reviews.

The Worley Gig Gives The Punk Singer Five Out of Five Stars

Top Ten Memorable Moments of the 2014 R & R Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

R&R HOF P Gabriel Induction
Chris Martin Inducts Peter Gabriel. (Crappy Photos By Gail’s iPad!)

The Class of 2014 entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night and it was an evening full of magical moments, even for jaded, old-school, Rock Curmudgeon like me. The show went on for over 5 hours – and 90 minutes of that was just the E Street Band members giving their individual ‘Thank You’ speeches! A televised version of the ceremony will air on HBO on May 31st and I’m guessing that, to get it edited down to two hours, they’ll cut out all of the juiciest parts (Courtney Love being booed in front of her dead husband’s family, that was painful to experience). But I got see it all from a comfy seat in the Barclay’s Center. Here are a few moments that stand out.

Listed in the order they occurred:

That Peter Gabriel introductory montage was something else. He’s always been a musical genius (Six Words: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway), but the reminder of how much he’s done in his career was almost jarring. Because, wow. Peter Gabriel is awesome.

Chris Martin’s Induction speech for Gabriel was absolutely hilarious and man, does Martin look happy to be getting divorced.

After talking non-stop shit about each other in press for the past few months (it seems) all four original members of Kiss managed to not be total dicks to each other while accepting their awards (they were the only band to not have any kind of associated performance). I know that Gene thinks that Peter and Ace have no business being inducted along with him and Paul, but if he doesn’t understand that without those two that band would be residing in Nowheresville, he needs to pull his huge, ego-swollen head out of his ass.

I am pretty sure I had seen printed reports that Yusef Islam (FKA Cat Stevens) would not be appearing at the event, so no one was more blown away than me when he not only showed up, looking and sounding great, but also performed three of his classic songs including – wait for it – “Wild World” and “Peace Train”! Holy Effing Ess, “Peace Train.” I can’t even think about that song without losing my shit, so imagine what it was like to hear CAT FUCKING STEVENS perform it flawlessly, live in front of thousands of people. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment that you’ll never see again. I still can’t believe it happened, and I was there!

This out of chronological order, but it was so great to see Art Garfunkel induct Stevens. I love that guy.

Linda Ronstadt is an artist whose music I grew up loving back when AM Radio was a thing you listened to. Ronstadt is now retired and no longer travels due to symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, but many talented ladies of rock were there to pay her tribute including Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris, Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow. Carrie Underwood also performed a stunning version of “Different Drum” (written by Mike Nesmith of The Monkees. Way.) that knocked my socks off. She may have the stage presence of a shoe, but her voice has gotten completely insane since she won American Idol.

I was charmed by Bruce Springsteen’s Induction speech for his longtime musical companions, The E Street Band. They seem like a great family of musicians. Also, Max Weinberg is hot. Also, thank you E Street Band acceptance speeches for providing an excellent opportunity for me to make a much-needed trip to the Ladies Room.

My fondness for the music of Hall and Oates is pretty much restricted to “War Baby Son of Zorro” and, if forced to cite a more recent title, “Method of Modern Love,” on which I enjoy the part where Daryl Hall spells the song’s title. The thing is, despite the fact that songs like “Maneater” and “Sara Smile” serve as very, very effective emetic, their band is one of the tightest live bands I’ve ever seen, and Daryl Hall still ranks among the best voices in rock. I really enjoyed their performance.

I can’t even remember who said in their speech that the “Greatest pop song ever written was Beethoven’s 9th,” but that person was 100% correct.

Joan Jett Performs with Nirvana
Joan Jett Performs with Nirvana

Nirvana’s Induction started at 11:45 PM, but it was so worth waiting for, not only to see Joan Jett front the band for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the surprise performance of “All Apologies” as sung by teen singing sensation, Lorde, but also to hear David Grohl drop the F-Bomb at least four times. He is my new Hero.

Recommended Listening: Palmyra Delran, You Are What You Absorb

You Are What You Absorb

Well known on the NYC rock scene as the guitarist and primary songwriter behind retro garage-pop quartet The Friggs, Palmyra Delran is a bit of a local music icon. While The Friggs never broke commercially, they opened for legendary bands such as The Ramones and Cheap Trick, earning a devote regional following as well as solid professional props for being an “all-girl” band that could rock as hard as any group of guys. In her second solo venture, Delran stays close to the layered pop sound she helped to hone in The Friggs, while continuing to demonstrate innovation with regard to arrangements and intriguing personal storytelling in songs that draw the listener into her very relatable world.

If Palmyra Delran isn’t the coolest chick on the block, I don’t know who is. Seamlessly blending the guitar rock grit of Joan Jett with the pop sensibilities and subtle humor of Blondie, You Are What You Absorb will feel instantly familiar to fans of the classic Girl Groups, Sixties Psychedelia, Surf Rock and the very best of the early eighties New Wave movement. There’s not a lot of timeless music being made today, but the twelve memorable tracks on You Are What You Absorb certainly qualify as such, being packed with lyrical hooks sharp enough to draw blood and retro musical flourishes, such as sitar and organ, that establish Palmyra’s reverential connection to the past while bringing her music into the present.

A favorite track among many is the single “Shy Boy” – an endearing love song to a reluctant wallflower that will melt the coldest heart. I also dig the way that the propulsive drumbeat and furious guitar outtro of “Lies For You” dig deep to fondly recall the Nick Lowe-penned Elvis Costello classic, “(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love & Understanding.” Bringing other unexpected influences the forefront, Delran’s expert guitar playing on “Never to Be Back Again,” especially, recalls Jeff Beck’s distinctive riffage on The Yardbird’s “Heart Full of Soul,” and I don’t think there is much higher praise to give than that. Palmyra also shows her stylistic versatility on “The Turtle,” which successfully flirts with sixties lounge jazz.

Although it’s still pretty chilly on the East coast, as New York fights hard to break into spring, you need to grab a copy of You Are What You Absorb right away, so you can get ready to take it to the beach with you, add it to Party Mixes and slap it on the car stereo for long drives with the car top down as these songs become the soundtrack to your Best Summer Ever.

Palmyra Delran’s You Are What You Absorb is out now and available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon.com and wherever quality rock is procured.

Grade: A

View the acclaimed video for “You’re My Brian Jones” Below:

Recommended Listening: Lita Ford, Living Like a Runaway

Lita Ford Living Like a Runaway Cover

Lita Ford doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. She’s been playing guitar professionally since she was a teenager, and while she’s partied as hard as any Rock Star, Ford has kept her private life private, raised a family and still managed to maintain a high level of respect in the rock community for her skillful musicianship, which was never compromised by the fact that she’s also a beautiful woman. I remember reviewing her Greatest Hits Live CD when it was released in 2000 and being so blown away by what a great performer she is and how much fun she and her band seem to be having on stage. She’s never lost sight of what it means to have a Rock & Roll heart, and you have to respect that. So many performers could learn a few lessons on how to rock from Lita Ford. Maybe she’s never been a household name, but when she comes around, people take notice. Lita’s new album, the autobiographical Living Like a Runaway, signals that it’s time to start paying attention again.

These ten songs tell Lita’s life story, from achieving fame at an early age, having a successful career in the era of MTV video stars, to motherhood and her recent (apparently messy) divorce. Working with producer and respected rock guitarist Gary Hoey, Lita sticks to her roots of making an album based on strong song writing (Hoey and lyricist Michael Dan Ehmig are contributing songwriters), guitar, bass, drums and passionate vocals that don’t sound like they came from a can. The album kicks off with the high energy “Branded” and never lets up, delivering Old School heavy rock energy and hooks sharp enough to sharp blood. On the title track, a Bryan Adams-esque ballad that compels with its deeply personal lyrics and memorable melody, Lita looks back on her time in the now legendary teenage all-girl rock band The Runaways, a band that launched not only her career but also that of Joan Jett. That was a long time ago, but Ford makes the experience sound like it just happened yesterday.

In promotional material Lita reveals that after seeing a documentary about Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, she was motivated and inspired to focus on creating Living Like a Runaway as a complete journey rather just than a bunch of individual songs. The effort has paid off, in that this album recalls the experience of listening to an album from start to finish as you retreated to your teenage bedroom, gatefold cover open in front of you, pouring over every lyric and instinctively moving your body to the rhythm of the rock. There are so many great songs on this disc, but my favorites are the aforementioned “Branded,” “Hate,” “The Mask” (which rocks with a slightly industrial feel) and the passionate, frenetic “Relentless”, but if you like real rock and roll, you’ll dig every song.

Living Like a Runaway is Lita Ford’s strongest, most accomplished album to date. Like oxygen in a vacuum, this album is very highly recommended for fans of song-based, melodic hard rock featuring expert guitar work. Who would imagine that such a thing would be so hard to come by these days?

Grade: A

Living Like A Runaway will be released June 19th, 2012 in North America via SPV/Steamhammer. The album will be available in four configurations: a double LP, limited edition CD, standard CD and digital download. Living Like A Runaway is available for pre-order on Amazon Dot Com.

Yes it Exists: The Joan Jett Barbie Doll


She Loves Rock & Roll

The Joan Jett Barbie Doll was released in December of 2009 as part of Mattel’s Ladies of The ’80s Barbie Doll collection (which also included dolls created in the likeness of Debbie Harry and Cindy Lauper). While the doll is no longer being manufactured, a quick Google search reveals that the fashionable and highly collectible Ms. Jett can be purchased at various locales on the Interwebs for between $44 and $56 — quite reasonable for such a find! Happy hunting!

Recommended Listening: Take It Or Leave It, A Tribute to The Runaways

While the span of the band’s career was relatively short, The Runaways changed the landscape of rock and altered the perception of women making music forever. With The Runaways’ biopic just released last year, who would have imagined that their influence would continue to be topical several decades after their break up? I was around for the duration of their rise and fall and, the significant post-Runaways careers of Joan Jett and Lita Ford notwithstanding, I sure never thought we’d still be taking about them 30 years later. So it’s not surprising, really, that Main Man Records has compiled what can only be called the definitive Runaways tribute compilation; a two disc set called Take It Or Leave It. All you need to know is that this record fucking rocks.

If you were alive and digging rock music in the seventies, you don’t really need me – or anyone else for that matter – to sell you on this compilation/tribute. The collection sells itself by virtue of what it is: over fifty separate tracks of badass punk/metal/rock music and interview snippets that make me wish I were 15 years old again and could still get excited about a new band. Because, compared to anything that’s charted in the past 20 years, The Runways kick everyone’s ass. There a few songs here that aren’t “perfect” (really, guys; Bebe Buell may have slept with an impressive number of Rock Stars, but she can’t sing) but they all sound good, and most of the covers are amazing. It’s also fun to hear the brief sound bites from original Runaways members on how they joined the band and other memories. But the bottom line is that this record is Rock & Roll, or what it used to be before everything became emo and autotuned. Yawn city. That’s the most positive review I can give it. Here are a few more details about this faith restoring release.

Take It Or Leave It is a 2-disc collection with 36 tracks that span The Runaways entire catalog. Their best-known songs, like “Cherry Bomb” and “Queens Of Noise” are represented alongside more obscure tunes like “Hollywood” and “Born To Be Bad.” The fullness of the selection makes it evident how generations of artists, from L7 and The Go-Gos to Redd Kross and Guns n’ Roses, call back to the passion-fueled rock sensibility of The Runaways.

While the individual interpretations of each track explore the original contributions of Cherie Currie, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Sandy West, Jackie Fox, Vicki Blue, Take It Or Leave It also includes two performances by original Runaways band members: lead vocalist Cherie Currie’s rocking remake of fan-favorite “American Nights,” and “Dirty Magazines,” the last recording made by drummer Sandy West (who passed away from lung cancer in 2006) with her band Blue Fox.

More Info, and Track/Band Listing after the Jump!

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