Today (or yesterday, depending on when this gets posted and what time zone we’re going by) starts Women’s History Month. So I’ve decided to celebrate with this video capturing a live performance by one of the most badass bands of all time, The Runaways. For some reason (probably that they were more or less seen as a gimmick or a novelty or whatever, which yeah, they were kind of marketed as), they were way more popular in Japan than in their native US (probably because being a gimmick/novelty does not hurt one’s street cred in Japan like it does in the states. It might even be actively encouraged, or so I’ve been led to believe). Which is a shame, because they really rocked hard-core. Their image and musical style was very glam (check out frontwoman Cherie Currie’s Ziggy Stardust swagger in this video), but as far as attitude and sticking it to the man, they were just as punk as, well, their punk contemporaries (yeah, deal with it, Sex Pistols). I mean, they were the biggest all-female rock band of their time, and just in case their name doesn’t ring a bell, surely you’ve at least heard of Joan Jett and possibly Lita Ford, both of whom got their start in The Runaways (Joan’s the one in the red jumpsuit, like I even need to point that out since her look still hasn’t changed much except for that brief period when she had the platinum blond buzzcut; Lita’s the one in the supershiny short-shorts). That’s right. Two guitar hero(in)es in the making here. And the thing I love about this song is, it’s like those myriad songs about how rock ‘n’ roll had a profound impact on an impressionable youth (think “Shooting Star” by…one of those Paul Rogers groups or something…you know the one, about Johnny and how old he was when he heard his first Beatles song. That one), but this one is about it affecting a young girl in that way, which is kind of unusual even today. Enjoy.
Oh, and one last thing: a few years ago, a biopic of The Runaways called (duh!) The Runaways was made. The feature-length debut of music video director Floria Sigismondi (she did that weird Christina Aguilera “Fighter” video. Also, she’s done at least one video for each of Jack White’s bands. Which makes her pretty awesome in my book), the flick is worth a watch, even if you’re a bit skeptical of Kristen Stewart’s acting skills (I was/still kind of am. But she was pretty good as Joan Jett in this movie, I thought) or wary of seeing Dakota Fanning in fancy lingerie (don’t ask. For what it’s worth, it’s an iconic outfit that Cherie Currie really did wear in real life when she was about the same age, and she was more or less marketed against her will as jailbait. Currie, I mean, not Fanning. Oh, and just be glad you’re not watching Hounddog. Yipes), or if you’re made uncomfortable by the occasional lesbian subtext (because Joan Jett actually is…I’m not entirely sure what, but she’s almost definitely not totally heterosexual, at the very least).