19 February 2010

Something 4 The Weekend # 154

Man, you would think that as a hormonal teenaged boy, I would have had a serious musical boner for The Runaways, but the truth is, I hated 'em. Oh sure, they were attractive to me, especially Cherie Currie and Jackie Fox, and super-especially Joan Jett, but they were a manufactured band, the brainchild of Rodney Bingenheimer, an LA DJ and impresario, and even in my youth, I had no use for that kind of pre-fab bullshit. It seemed Bingenheimer was going out of his way to sell boys like me The Runaways through our dicks, and not through our ears. I can't blame him for that, because the band sucked, and if he couldn't sell the band's music, his only other option was to sell their gender, their sexuality. I wasn't buying it.
Now, I'm not saying the women of The Runaways were horrible musicians, because they were certainly good enough to play the kind of music they were playing, and hang with all the more "legit" Rock and Punk bands of 1970's Los Angeles, their peers, but there was always a sense with this band, and you could hear it in their songs, that they were weak sauce, that they weren't quite good and real enough to matter.
But in the aftermath of The Runaways, there was Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and for reasons I still can't explain (physical attraction played a part, no doubt), I loved Joan Jett. I loved Joan Jett so much that for the better part of a year I wore a red bandanna around my right wrist just like the one Joan is sporting on this album cover. I took plenty of shit for this from my friends, but I didn't care. Joan was snarly, and angry, and relied on old school rock to inform her own amplified music, and I was cool with that.
These days, I'm much less impressed with the music she was putting out back in the 1980's. She relied on cover tunes to fill up her albums and propel her to stardom, and many of her originals don't hold up so well, but I do respect the fact that she's become a bonafide lifer, closing in on 40 years as a professional musician. I don't follow her career very closely any more, but it's still good to know Joan Jett's out there, living the dream.
Hotcha! Hank

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Anonymous Cherie Currie said...

LOL! I don't know where you got the idea that The Runaways was Rodney's brain child. Wasn't his idea at all, it was Joan's. It's to bad when someone rants like this and didn't even do the research. Sorry you thought we sucked so bad. I'm sure you could have kicked our asses up and down. Too bad you didn't have the guts yourself to follow your dreams. Instead you choose to slam those who did... kind of sad, don't you think?
Oh well, Have a nice life.. what was your name?
Sorry, I forgot.

Cherie Currie

February 20, 2010 4:01 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

uh oh, based on the jan 23rd post you, Hank put up, eoither some sources must be cited or there's a whole lotta crow to be eaten!

dj wormparts

February 20, 2010 5:41 PM  
Blogger Hank Mohaski said...

Hi Cheri (though I doubt you'll be back to read this)...

I suppose I should apologize if the Runaways history, as I've come to understand it over the years through discussions, half-baked memories, etc, is incorrect. Rodney's and Kim Fowley's name seemed to always be mentioned as often as any of the band members. Would it be safe to say The Runaways might not have happened without their helping hands? I dunno. Kim Fowley certainly liked to take alot of credit, didn't he? In any event, I'll stand corrected, and I apologize.

Yeah, I hated The Runaways. I was barely a teenager at the time, so I can't speak to my tastes at the age of 12/13. At this time, 30+ years later, I can't even claim to have much of an opinion on the band. I've still got a vinyl copy of Queens Of Noise, but that's really the extent of my involvement/interest in the band.

As for my own dreams, it's not that I didn't have the guts - I played in bands locally for 15+ years, and have been recording my own stuff at home since the mid-1980's - guts and ambition were never the issue - talent was the issue. I have no misgivings, no regrets, and no bitterness, because I tried hard, and tried my best, and I've certainly made my peace with the lack of talent. I still make music despite that reality because I enjoy it.

I "slammed" The Runaways because that was my opinion of the band at that time in my life, not because I've got axes to grind all over the place because my own dreams of rock glory didn't come to pass. I praise artists on this blog far more often than I slam them, for what that's worth.

A blog that hardly anyone reads, and yeah, I've made my peace with that as well. I'm just one more person in this world who will go to my grave quietly, and mostly anonymously. That's the human condition, innit?

But hey, you're being played in a biopic by Dakota Fanning. I guess that makes you the better person.

You win. Right?

February 21, 2010 1:45 AM  
Blogger Hank Mohaski said...

Hi Ben...

I'm chewing on crow right now, buddy!

Ms. Currie is right - I didn't do my research when I typed this out last night. I relied on my own memories - memories of those discussions one has with friends, record store clerks, whomever.

If I felt like arguing, I'd say that The Runaways would never have happened (the way their history ultimately unfolded) without Bingenheimer's and Fowley's involvement, but "manufactured" is probably the wrong word. Ultimately, I'll defer to the actual singer of the actual group in question.

This crow is making me thirsty.

February 21, 2010 1:55 AM  
Anonymous Cherie Currie said...

Wow.. you're a bigger man then I thought. No one can say that The Runaways wouldn't have happened without the help of Fowley or Rodney spinning our records. I can say that without KF we may have stayed together. It's silly to say something 'wouldn't have happened' without one thing or another. We will never know will we.
Anyway, thanks for the apology.
Take care... Hank
(wow, amazing how being a little human can jar a persons memory)


February 21, 2010 2:36 AM  
Blogger Hank Mohaski said...


The most regrettable part of my original post is that I ignored one of my deepest held beliefs about music, and how I approach it intellectually.

I've long held the belief/idea that there's no such thing as "good" and "bad" music - there's only music I like and music I don't like. I think this is a sensible approach because music, and our opinions of it, are wholly subjective, and it's this approach I always TRY to take in the many discussions I have amongst friends and coworkers who care about music as much as I do, or on this blog.

I usually go out of my way to make that distinction, to avoid making blanket statements like "they suck". It's not only intellectually lazy, but pretty unfair. Obviously, I didn't this time.

And here we are. Regrettably.

Take care.

February 21, 2010 3:27 AM  
Anonymous Cherie Currie said...

Well, Hank.. that's the story of our lives as The Runaways. Being 15, 16, female and 'putting it out there' in our music, unfair was how we were treated. You are not the first by a long shot, just one of the mass.
Don't worry, we are used to it. But now at 50, I see how unfair it really is and how scary we must have been to the male musician want-a-be's.
Your apology is appreciated and taken.
Hopefully next time, look at the whole picture and know for a fact that the The Runaways were not a manufactured band, but five girls that devoted themselves and their childhood to music, enduring ridicule that would have crushed even the toughest of men... all for the sake of Rock and Roll. (good or bad)


February 21, 2010 10:06 AM  

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