In the mid 70s, the fairly repulsive svengali producer Kim Fowley picked up five teenage girls at Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco – the glam rock place to be in Los Angeles – to form the first all-female, all-teenage hard rock band The Runaways. A gimmick to Fowley yet a deadly serious weapon of empowerment in a male-dominated rock ‘n’ roll world to the girls, the group dazzled audiences with rough ‘n’ ready glam stompers such as Cherry Bomb, I Love Playing With Fire, and Is It Day Or Night.
Their career culminated in the spectacular Live In Japan album and then went downhill quick. After plenty of in-fighting, the group dissolved and Joan Jett and Lisa Ford embarked on solo careers, but their legacy survived and inspired virtually every female punk and heavy rock band from L7 to the Lunachicks. A biopic simply entitled ‘The Runaways’ and starring Dakota Fanning as Cherie Curry and Riley Keough as Joan Jett, has just hit the international screens.
Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture The Runaways contains the lead actress’s interpretations of The Runaways’ dirty glitter anthems as well as music that accompanied the era and milieu in which the group thrived: Suzi Quatro, The Stooges, Sex Pistols, MC5, and others. It is a glam-punk lover’s wet dream, and this author is ecstatic about the movie that pays tribute to one of his all-time favourite bands.
Of course, it’s bound to be a routine biopic – whether Tina Turner or Adolf Hitler, the story is always the same. But here’s hoping it will not sink to the depths inhabited by Oliver Stone’s The Doors and Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy.