For one drummer, Joan Jett and the Runaways still resonate
With the biopic The Runaways opening this weekend, we wondered: Do the Runaways, the teenage California glam-rock girl group that launched the career of Joan Jett, Lita Ford and Cherie Currie, still carry much weight with modern female rockers?
For at least one Tampa Bay artist, the answer is most definitely.
Molly Baker, a drummer in the Tampa Bay all-girl punk band Dolls Parts, started listening to Jett even before she could remember.
Her mother took her to a Jett concert in St. Petersburg at the wee age of 3. Growing up, Baker’s mom used to crank Jett’s music as she cleaned the house. She had all of her CDs.
Back then, Baker didn’t really appreciate the rock 'n’ roll beat. She was hot for the new teen heartthrobs, the Backstreet Boys.
Years later, Baker, now 19 (and far right in the photo above), considers Jett and the Runaways some of the best female musicians ever.
“I’m a big believer in women who put themselves out there and do what they want to do,” she said. “Joan Jett has definitely done that, and she’s still out there playing music. She’s a tough chick.”
Like many young female musicians, Baker is looking forward to seeing the movie, which comes out today. Kristen Stewart wouldn’t have been her first choice to play Jett (she called her the “goo goo girl’’ in Twilight), but she nonetheless hopes Stewart rises for the role.
Having started performing with Doll Parts when she was 15, Baker knows well the challenges young girl bands face. Promoters want to put you first, before the more important guy bands. Then, they want you to hurry through your set.
Jett, 51, lived through that and more in the ’70s and continues to perform.
“She had to deal with a lot, but she never stopped,” Baker said. “That’s what I admire.”
— Susan Thurston, tbt*