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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays Week 101 The Runaways

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16 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

I watched a YouTube video and both Jett and Ford described their music as "Riff Rock" which is very much like AC/DC. I seem to remember watching a documentary about Rock years ago, and when they were talking about AC/DC, they said they were one of the few hard rock bands at the time that were embraced by English punks. The Runaways could be another example of this. As kinf of an aside, Jett also complimented Ford's ability to shred. She said she would have put her up against any of the big hard rock band guitar players.

I also started watching that documentary you embedded, and Ford said the first songs she played with West was Deep Purple's "Highway Star." The first song the three of them played together was KISS's "Strutter." So, yeah, definitely not punk or punk influenced. 

Yea, Ford went on to a pretty solid career in straight-up metal, so that's not too surprising.

It is interesting, and impressive, how this fairly simple band is so hard to define!

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4 hours ago, grudlian. said:

Yeah, I knew The Runaways were massive in Japan. Wikipedia says they were the fourth most imported music band in whatever year that was. Im curious if Cam Bert has any insight into if The Runaways have a lasting legacy in Japan.

I'm sad to say it is not that big of a lasting legacy. 

I think a lot of this is to do with Japan's weird music system. The bands you hear about here are huge but there are ones you never hear of, get no airplay but are still huge and have followings. I'm sure some people are familiar with "Japanese Idols" like AKB48, Morning Musume, etc. Basically an all female pop group that they sell the girls as much if not more than the music. While the members of AKB48 get charting hits and appear on a variety of variety shows and have photo books released of them, there is a whole subset of "underground idols" that have just as massive and dedicated fan base but you'll never see them on TV or hear their music unless you seek it out.  However, this is not just for female pop groups but every genre of music. The birth of this trend was from the early 80s, so you didn't see a lot of female rockers in Japan. I'm sure there are some female rock groups that were inspired by them but none that leap to mind. I would half expect Shonen Knife was. There are still some female only rock/punk bands out there but they are in that underground status and unless you actively seek them out it's hard to find them or their influences.

Much like other bands that were huge in Japan at that time it's only the ones that continues to perform that have any sort of lasting legacy with the exception being Queen. So while people will still get excited for KISS, Jeff Beck, Aerosmith, etc. sadly Cheap Trick, The Runaways, etc. are mostly a memory.

Fun fact the poster or DVD cover for this movie is the image of their Japan appearance so maybe that look is "iconic" or they're selling it on sex appeal.

1 hour ago, Cameron H. said:

This is somewhat reinforced by the fact that according to IMDb, the band that was giving them shit about doing a sound check was Rush! There’s no way a Seventies punk band would have been caught dead opening for Rush.

I'm no Rush expert but I have a hard time imaging them being like "Ew, girls." Maybe it was their roadies or managers.

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21 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

I'm no Rush expert but I have a hard time imaging them being like "Ew, girls." Maybe it was their roadies or managers.

From IMDB: “In the DVD commentary, Joan Jett states it was the Canadian rock band Rush that bullied The Runaways from having a sound check.”

I’m sure it didn’t go down like it did in the movie, but maybe they were snobs or something.

ETA: I noted in the scene the type of double necked guitar Geddy Lee sometimes plays. Not totally unusual, but not a whole lot of guitarists go the double necked route. Perhaps that was a nod to it being Rush. (It wasn’t the one that was peed on.)

GettyImages-84886243.jpg?w=980&q=75

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While on the talk of things Japanese, I should point out two more facts. One obvious one I found out just looking them up now.

First, yes clearly they didn't go to Japan to film this, but it always shocks me how a simple google search would solve some of their more clearly mistakes. First, a band as big as they were would have been in a luxury hotel which would be fully western. There is an off chance if the room was big enough they would have had a tatami room, but that's more of a specialized thing and wouldn't have a mattress just on the floor. You'd have futons which the staff would put out and put away. Also ramen, the soup is so important. You'd never get a bowl of just noodles, and if you did it would be either soba or udon and not in a ramen bowl. Unless Joan Jett went out and bought some instant ramen and made it herself that's not how it'd look. Come on, just google these things production designer.

Second, it wasn't just any photographer they sent to take pictures of Cherie, it was Kishin Shinoyama. Kishin Shinoyama is a very famous photographer, mostly known for his erotic and nude photography. He also did a ton of album and cover work for a variety of artists. He even worked with John Lenon and Yoko Ono. He's a very famous and well respected photographer. There is no need to point this out in the movie, but it is worth mentioning that this wasn't just some fly by night cheesecake photoshoot.

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6 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

From IMDB: “In the DVD commentary, Joan Jett states it was the Canadian rock band Rush that bullied The Runaways from having a sound check.”

I’m sure it didn’t go down like it did in the movie, but maybe they were snobs or something.

 

Yea that makes more sense. I've heard tell of many musicians fucking with, or just being dicks to the opening act because they don't want to be out shined. Denying an opening act a sound check so you sound better than them I'm sure was a very common occurrence. I could see this being the case but like you said I could see them being more snobbish much more the case.

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1 minute ago, Cam Bert said:

Yea that makes more sense. I've heard tell of many musicians fucking with, or just being dicks to the opening act because they don't want to be out shined. Denying an opening act a sound check so you sound better than them I'm sure was a very common occurrence. I could see this being the case but like you said I could see them being more snobbish much more the case.

Well, they’re just such different bands. The Runaways are pretty raw and Rush is super polished — almost mathematically precise. It’s such a weird bill. It reminds me of Hendrix opening for the Monkees.

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I don't know what was Rush was thinking, but I can see it... prog is known for being a little snobby. 'We can play our instruments and look down on music that can't.' I've had arguments with prog-fan friends who dismiss any music that isn't based on skill like that.

Of the course, the irony is Jett and Ford and the drummer West, all were very good.

Maybe it wasn't Rush exactly, more like "Rush" and Jett was using the name as a pejorative.

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2 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Well, they’re just such different bands. The Runaways are pretty raw and Rush is super polished — almost mathematically precise. It’s such a weird bill. It reminds me of Hendrix opening for the Monkees.

Wait, that happened? That's so bizarre.

It's just somebody being like "oh, these people are popular and this person is a popular up and comer just put them together" without taking style of music into consideration.

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Just now, AlmostAGhost said:

Maybe it wasn't Rush exactly, more like "Rush" and Jett was using the name as a pejorative.

Could be. I would kind of like to watch thins movie again with her commentary.

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Ha no I just googled it. Geddy Lee was asked about it!

"The Runaways had a ginormous chip on their shoulders. I remember that show. We had trouble with our gear so our soundcheck got delayed and The Runaways never got one. But we were always good to whoever was opening for us. We had no bias against them because they were girls - none of that bullshit. I know they said that we were laughing at them when they played, but quite frankly they were too shitty to listen to. And 40 years later they have a story to tell about it. Who knew?"

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1 minute ago, Cam Bert said:

Wait, that happened? That's so bizarre.

It's just somebody being like "oh, these people are popular and this person is a popular up and comer just put them together" without taking style of music into consideration.

According to Mikey Dolenz, the thought was they were all “showmen.” It didn’t go over well at all. It went right over The Monkees’ fans’ heads and Hendrix quit after only a few shows.

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Just now, AlmostAGhost said:

Ha no I just googled it. Geddy Lee was asked about it!

"The Runaways had a ginormous chip on their shoulders. I remember that show. We had trouble with our gear so our soundcheck got delayed and The Runaways never got one. But we were always good to whoever was opening for us. We had no bias against them because they were girls - none of that bullshit. I know they said that we were laughing at them when they played, but quite frankly they were too shitty to listen to. And 40 years later they have a story to tell about it. Who knew?"

That’s amazing! 

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That quote was in a Rush forum too btw and it immediately went into the prog fans listening to Runaways songs and declaring how bad they were

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2 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Ha no I just googled it. Geddy Lee was asked about it!

"The Runaways had a ginormous chip on their shoulders. I remember that show. We had trouble with our gear so our soundcheck got delayed and The Runaways never got one. But we were always good to whoever was opening for us. We had no bias against them because they were girls - none of that bullshit. I know they said that we were laughing at them when they played, but quite frankly they were too shitty to listen to. And 40 years later they have a story to tell about it. Who knew?"

Classic prog snobbish and classic Canadian passive aggressive rage.

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1 minute ago, AlmostAGhost said:

c61b17e7d9b40c694c290f61133ab2e6.jpg

HA! Alex Lifeson the only one having a good time.

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2 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

c61b17e7d9b40c694c290f61133ab2e6.jpg

Ah! They were all Mercury Records! That makes a little more sense. Still, putting them together seems like a really bad idea. 

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About halfway through it. Will finish it tonight and give more thoughts then. I will say I’m loving Michael Shannon’s performance—I pretty much always love his performances—but it did remind me of this:

in other words, it was very Michael Shannon-y (another great underseen performance by him was on the HBO shor Room 104).

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Wow, I’m not nearly as familiar with their music as you all are. I did have Joan Jett’s debut album on tape when I was in elementary school. I also had Thriller, y Rain and the Prince album after that one, Synchonicity and some Duran Duran. Then my taste switched to shitty soundtracks (the Dragnet soundtrack, anyone?) until I was in high school and listened to hip hop and R&B exclusively. 

As an outsider, I found the movie OK but kinda  underwhelming. It was well-acted but I read that the film was made by a music video director and I thought it showed in all the wrong ways. The script felt like the outline of the band’s story rather than a dramatization of who they were and what motivated them. I felt like the movie was more interested in the visuals and would weirdly set up a scene or story beat only to have it abruptly end, so it felt perfunctory. I think the reason that Michael Shannon punched through for me was that his dialogue almost felt improvised compared to the rather flat dialogue everyone else had. I also thought Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning managed to give their roles depth even when the script didn’t.

it was also odd that the movie’s soundtrack seemed to focus more on other bands than The Runaways  themselves.

Side note: I think the reason Cherry Bomb is insanely popular is because it’s on the awesome Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. That’s the only song I know from the band and that soundtrack is the reason why.

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Fuck it, one last Shannon post where he raps with a Russian accent, mystifying Judy Greer:

 

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9 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

Classic prog snobbish and classic Canadian passive aggressive rage.

Oh, Rush. I find it hard to respect or enjoy that band after I found out years ago that Peart (who wrote most of their lyrics) was a huge fan of Ayn Rand. They could certainly play their instruments well. I'll never understand what drives classically trained and/or musical prodigies to play shitty arena rock. Money and girls I guess. Do any of you know the Rheostatics? Arguably Canada's greatest rock band, certainly up there with the likes of The Tragically Hip and Sloan. One of the Rheos guitarists and songwriters, Martin Tielli, is known for playing a double necked guitar with a painting of our old flag on it. Their other guitarist/songwriter wrote a great book about the experience of touring back and forth across Canada called On A Cold Road, highly recommended if you can find it and are interested in Canadian music history from approximately 1985 to 2000.

tielli2.jpg

Also, just to close the circle on a couple other themes that keep coming up in this thread, one could argue that The Velvet Underground were a "manufactured" band, especially once Andy added Nico to the group. The 70s had its share of "supergroups" organized by studio musicians and producers - Steely Dan, the Eagles, Alan Parsons Project.

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I love Rush, and I also love Joan Jett. It seems to make sense that the Runaways would have a chip on their shoulder, it was probably something Kim Fowley sort of ingrained in them. Make a scene with a big headliner that doesn't have much crossover with their fanbase for the publicity. He's a real fucking piece of shit. As for Ayn Rand (speaking of pieces of shit), I never understood how anyone in the arts can love her, but she certainly has her followers. 🤮 Peart is unassailable as a drummer though. 

As for Japanese rock girl groups, there is this niche subgenre of Japanese women doing great power metal (nobody does cool niche stuff like Japan). Not the manufactured sort of thing Baby Metal did/is doing, but actual musicians writing and making music. The connection to The Runaways is tenuous at best, since the micro-genre owes more to Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, and, most prominently, Japan's own Galneryus, but because of the previous discussion, I though I would post an example. Here is the great Mary's Blood:
 

 

 

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13 hours ago, GrahamS. said:

About halfway through it. Will finish it tonight and give more thoughts then. I will say I’m loving Michael Shannon’s performance—I pretty much always love his performances—but it did remind me of this:

in other words, it was very Michael Shannon-y (another great underseen performance by him was on the HBO shor Room 104).

That is a genius performance.  I also like him in Premium Rush.

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2 hours ago, Quasar Sniffer said:

I love Rush, and I also love Joan Jett. It seems to make sense that the Runaways would have a chip on their shoulder, it was probably something Kim Fowley sort of ingrained in them. Make a scene with a big headliner that doesn't have much crossover with their fanbase for the publicity. He's a real fucking piece of shit. As for Ayn Rand (speaking of pieces of shit), I never understood how anyone in the arts can love her, but she certainly has her followers. 🤮 Peart is unassailable as a drummer though. 

As for Japanese rock girl groups, there is this niche subgenre of Japanese women doing great power metal (nobody does cool niche stuff like Japan). Not the manufactured sort of thing Baby Metal did/is doing, but actual musicians writing and making music. The connection to The Runaways is tenuous at best, since the micro-genre owes more to Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, and, most prominently, Japan's own Galneryus, but because of the previous discussion, I though I would post an example. Here is the great Mary's Blood:
 

 

 

There was a Neil Peart tribute concert on September 12th and there will be another this May.

https://www.loudersound.com/news/neil-peart-tribute-concert-to-take-place-this-saturday

 

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7 hours ago, theworstbuddhist said:

Also, just to close the circle on a couple other themes that keep coming up in this thread, one could argue that The Velvet Underground were a "manufactured" band, especially once Andy added Nico to the group.

Honestly, most bands are manufactured to some degree or another. Even if not on a strictly corporate level, there is definitely some artifice going on. Even someone like Tom Morello said in his MasterClass that choosing your persona is just another aspect of Rock. I think I brought this up when we covered Head, but it's a big reason why I give The Monkees a pass as being a "manufactured" group. There's no real "right" way to start a band. Nor is there any "right" way to be a band. As cheesy as it sounds, all that really matters is whether the music is good or not. Everything else is just pointless gatekeeping.

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