Jett brings modern sound to Moondance Jam
By TERRY D. MIKELSON
WALKER -- Among all the glitter and gloss of Moondance Jam's many legendary
rock and roll stars, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts could be the diamond
in the rough.
At a minimum, Jett's hybrid mixture of punk, heavy metal and traditional
pop-rock will be a welcome relief from all the "bad boys" of
Southern-style rock who dominate the music lineup.
Jett and her band are scheduled to take the Moondance stage at 7 p.m.
Saturday. Mark it down if you want to see and hear one of rock's female
legends at work.
Moondance Jam VIII was to get under way in earnest at 3 p.m. today with
a couple of opening acts before .38 Special, Eddie Money and REO Speedwagon
take over the night, starting at 7 p.m. Northern Minnesota's premier
outdoor music festival runs through Saturday.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts bring a more contemporary sound to the
Moondance music feast. The group's most recent release, "Fetish," appeared
on shelves in just recent weeks. The cover photo features a post-modern,
hair-clipped blonde (it is Jett, isn't it?), neck-tied in bondage gear,
captured naked in a rearview lens.
Plug in the release and you can hear the early Jett of The Runaways
(late 1970s) and the Blackhearts (early 1980s), with her grinding, earth-is-dead
punk-rock sound that has influenced many 1990s alternative female rockers.
It also features a new song or two, co-written with riot girl Kathleen
Jett's music recalls the gritty mean streets of the East, as well as
the underworld of the Far West. She and The Runaways were L.A. women
who released three albums in the late 1970s that had much bigger success
in Japan than they did here.
Jett moved to New York after The Runaways dissolved in late 1979, forming
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts in 1981. Their "I Love Rock & Roll," released
in 1981, brought them international fame. The title track spent seven
weeks at No. 1 on the charts in early 1982.
Jett enjoyed off-and-on success for the balance of the 1980s, turning
her attention from time to time to the movie and television industries.
She appeared in the 1987 film, "Light of Day," and most recently, "Boogie
In 1988 she released "Up Your Alley," which went platinum,
her second to do so, and one of the album's cuts, "I Hate Myself
for Loving You," made it into the Top 10.
Jett's music presents feminist themes, but only as a $1 or $5 in a swollen
wallet, and her sound is "tough, aggressive, sexual and gleefully
defiant," according to one reviewer. That alone will not distinguish
her from the rest of Moodance's lineup -- they all could be described
with the same adjectives -- but she will slap us all awake with that
bet'cha can't swagger.
A film company will shoot scenes at Moondance, according to the festival's
"Chasing Indigo," an independent production directed by Carol
Brook-Marino, has been shooting in northern Minnesota over the past several
weeks. It is an action comedy with an unknown cast, except Zach Hope,
better-known as Bob Hope's grandson.
Jam VIII offers a built-in movie set and the filmmakers are taking advantage
of the situation.
The Moondance promoters are taking over CajunFest from Northern Lights
Casino, an 8-year-old summer festival featuring zydeco and other bayou-Louisiana
Northern Lights will continue as one of the event's major sponsors but
the music and marketing functions will be assumed by Moondance staff,
including founders Bill and Kathy Bieloh of Walker.