As a teenaged Runaway, she and her mates in that 1970s LA proto-punk girl group wound up on more magazine covers than they did milk cartons — and have been vindicated as that rare “concept” band that played their own instruments, and navigated their own way through the star-machine rapids.
When Joan Jett staked her claim to solo stardom, she did so with a crunch-guitar style that connected the dots between such disparate influences as Tommy James, Iggy Pop, Gary Glitter, the Rolling Stones — and The Arrows, whose “I Love Rock and Roll” she jukebox-jacked all the way to the top of the Billboard charts in 1982. As a platinum-plated rock star of her own classic style, she’s managed to build and maintain an awesome mountain of indie cred at the same time — and when Jett brings her 2014 edition of The Blackhearts to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre on Saturday, October 11, she’ll be returning to the backyard of the Jersey-bred songwriter who penned the title tune to her film acting debut, “Light Of Day.”
Scheduled for 8 pm, the show — pegged to the sixth anniversary celebration of Rich Russo‘s syndicated free-rock radio show Anything Anything (heard locally on 95.9 The Rat) — promises to deliver a Jett set of hits that include “Crimson and Clover,” “Bad Reputation,” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You” (lately a Carrie Underwood-covered theme on NBC’s football telecasts), as well as selections from the most recent Blackhearts release, Unvarnished. If it runs true to form, it can also put forth more than its share of surprises from the frontwoman’s encyclopedic mental database of pure rock knowledge.
Opening for Joan Jett will be another headline-worthy performer in his own right — Jesse Malin, the on-again/ off-again frontman of D Generation (and proprietor of NYC’s Bowery Electric) whose own Light of Day connection saw him cover Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” for a 2003 Bruce-salute album. Rivaling Joan Jett herself for his mastery of covertunes (Clash, Ramones, Harry Nilsson, Jim Croce) — and collaborating with playmates that ranged from Green Day to Ryan Adams and The Boss — Malin classes up the Basie boards in an evening for which tickets ($29 – $99) are available right here.