Five Reasons to See Joan Jett Documentary Bad Reputation!
Hitting the Kiggins Theatre on September 27th for one night only is Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation. The documentary explores the rebellious life and raging music of Rock ‘n’ Roll legend Joan Jett. Whether you’re die-hard Jett fan or can only hum along to “I Love Rock ‘n Roll,” here are five reasons why Bad Reputation is a must see for all!
1. Joan Jett Helped Pave the Way for Women in Rock Music
In an interview with Variety magazine, the director of Bad Reputation Kevin Kerslake described being “taken by ‘the arc of a young girl, and then a young woman, cutting a path in a man’s world throughout her entire career, as a sort of feminist manifesto in the flesh.”
Alongside her music, what makes Jett a true Rock ‘n’ Roll icon is her brazenly defiant attitude towards the double standards women face in the music industry and, in a larger scope, society. Although there had been powerful women in the rock scene before Jett, it was still overwhelmingly a boys’ club that was not welcoming to women. As Jett describes in Bad Reputation, she felt this exclusion even at first guitar lesson when her male teacher simply explained that girls don’t play Rock ‘n’ Roll. Instead of listening to her naysayers (who sometimes even went as far as to use violence against her), Jett kept rocking. For example in the early 80s, Jett’s solo album was rejected by 23 labels due to her ‘bad girl’ image. So, she founded her own independent record company Blackheart Records. She was the first female artist to do so. She made her ‘bad reputation’ into a hit album, song, and symbol of pride.
In the song, Jett matter-of-factly sings “a girl can do what she wants to do and that’s what I’m gonna do, and I don’t give a damn ‘ bout my bad reputation.” This message and the example set by Jett’s career inspired a generation of musicians (such as the feminist musicians of the 90s Riot Grrrl movement) and is still heavily felt today.
2. Jett’s Music Changed Rock ‘n’ Roll
Arguably, Jett’s most popular song is “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Although the song is a small part of her musical career, it helped define the hard rock movement of the 80s and the MTV era. The music video, featuring Jett, was one of the first videos looped over on MTV. Her other hits have also had massive impacts including the titular “Bad Reputation,” “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” and “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah).” She has had three albums go either Platinum or Gold and has worked with many renowned artists. Jett was also greatly influential in creating the sound of the punk genre. For example, she produced the Germs album “(GI)” which is often cited as one of the first hardcore punk albums ever made and largely revered today. Her musical legacy and her titles as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Godmother of Punk were cemented in 2015 when her band Joan Jett & the Black Hearts were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In Bad Reputation, the audience ride the ups and downs of Jett’s career, highlighting her strength and relentlessness. These same qualities can be heard in her own music and the music she’s influenced.
3. Bad Reputation Features Interviews with Rock Icons, Actors, and More
In telling Jett’s story, Bad Reputation compiles interviews with a laundry list of prominent rock musicians like Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, and Pete Townshend. Also featured are interviews with actors Michael J. Fox, Joan Jett’s acting partner in the musical drama Light of Day, and Kristen Stewart, who portrayed Jett in the film The Runaways. However, nothing can beat the interviews with the star herself. A reviewer from the film blog FilmThreat states that Jett was the most engaging interviewee: “Every time she showed up on screen she commanded my attention, and almost always she had the best one-liners, and hands down funniest and most interesting stories.” All these perspectives paired with the archival footage create a vivid look into the evolving rock scene of the 70s and 80s and the force of Jett’s work at that time.
4. Kevin Kerslake, the director of Bad Reputation, is no stranger to Rock N’Roll
The director of Bad Reputation, Kevin Kerslake, also has an extremely impressive list of credits that show him to be a important force in the rock industry. He has directed music videos for bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and the Rolling Stones. Furthermore, his other documentaries include Nirvana’s Live! Tonight! Sold Out! and the Ramones’ We’re Outta Here! Kerslake clearly knows his way around the rock music world and is a perfect choice to relay Jett’s story to the world.
5. September 27th is your only chance to see Bad Reputation at the Kiggins Theatre!
September 27th at 7:30 pm is the only day Bad Reputation will be screening at the Kiggins Theatre. The film’s synopsis reads: “Even though people tried to define Jett and keep her stuck to one hit, she never compromised. She will kick your ass, and you’ll love her all the more for it.” Come hear Jett’s music pumped through speakers and see her energetic live performances on the big screen to truly feel the magnitude of her story as it ought to be felt!