In 1975, Hollywood teenagers Joan Jett and Kari Krome decided they wanted to start an all-girl rockâ€™nâ€™roll band. They soon hooked-up with looney music biz vet Kim Fowley to launch the now legendary Runaways. Krome soon left the band, and the soap opera was underway.
After some line-up juggling, the band consisted of the stunning blonde lead singer Cherie Currie, future metal maiden Lita Ford on lead guitar, Jett on vocals and rhythm guitar, Jackie Fox on bass and Sandy West on drums. This quintet eventually recorded three albums for Mercury Records (including the notorious Live in Japan).
But the Japanese tour was another turning point as both Fox and Currie were soon ousted. This enabled the perpetually-snarling Jett to become full-time lead vocalist and for the recruitment of Vicki Blue on bass. The arrival on the scene of bands like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols no doubt inspired Jett to take a punkier approach on 1977â€™s Waitinâ€™ For the Night.
Fast-forward twenty-three years. Jett is a highly-successful solo artist best-known for her 1981 mega-hit â€œI Love Rockâ€™nâ€™Rollâ€. Ford , who also had hit records in the â€˜80s, is trying to jump-start her career. Cherie Currie, after a great perfomance in the 1980 film â€œFoxesâ€ (co-starring Jodie Foster), fades into obscurity. And the rest of the bandâ€™s members have also gone on with their lives outside the spotlight.
But the ghost of the Runaways seems determined to rise again. Vicki Blue, now a film and television producer, is putting the finishing touches on the film â€œEdgeplayâ€, which chronicles the bandâ€™s existence through the eyes of its members. Blue hopes to enter “Edgeplay” in next year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Amidst persistent rumors of Runways reunions, box sets, etc…the publicâ€™s interest in the band has yet to wane. We had the chance to speak with Blue about the film and those pesky rumors.
“I was 17 years-old and hanging out with a friend of mine in a shopping mall in Newport Beach, California (where I grew up), ” says Blue, “when all of a sudden this other girl ran up to me and asked if I was Lita Ford from The Runawaysâ€¦It was a very strange moment because right after that, my friend told me that Jackie (Fox) had left the band and that The Runaways were auditioning for a new bass player. So, we left the mall and went to my parentâ€™s house and put in a call to Kim Fowley. That call lead to an audition with the band and within days I was the new bass player. Wham Bam…it was that fast.”
Blue stayed with the band through the completion of their final album “And Now…The Runaways” in 1979. Needing a change, she started working in television production eventually becoming a producer/director. Her company, Sacred Dogs Entertainment, is producing the documentary and Blue is in the director’s chair. She makes it clear that this is no fly-by-night project.
“I started working on â€œEdgeplayâ€ two years ago,” she says. “(Originally) I began compiling all of the footage that I had collected and was going to edit a compilation tape for everyone in the band–so they could all have a bit of their own history. The deeper I got into the editing process – the more it became apparent that there was something here much bigger than just some â€œhome moviesâ€.
Blue says she realized in the making of the film that bandmembers wanted to connect with each other, while at the same time “fearing the loss of ‘positioning’ with each other in the form of solidarity”.
An important part of the process was interviewing her former bandmates. And this took some persuading. “At first, they were very hesitant, yet found it in themselves to exercise some blind faith. And most importantly, trust in me to produce and direct an â€œhonestâ€ film about The Runaways,” says Blue.
â€œI think itâ€™s great that Vickiâ€™s doing it (the film),â€ says Lita Ford. â€œ She’s a very talented director–and has, I think, brought us all closer together.â€
â€œI talk to Sandy (West) and to Vicki on a regular basis,â€ Ford says. â€œAnd there’s no bad blood with the other girls. Even after the split up and all of the years of separate careers–and just life itself–there is still a very strong bond between us all. When you grow up on the road (literally) like we did, I guess you can compare it to a college sorority. Well, a really wild college sorority!â€
For fans who are more interested in seeing the ladies rock than hearing their individual woes, there’s good news, as well. Blue says she’s acquired a sizable amount of “high quality” live footage of the band.
When asked about a Runaways reunion, Blue seems less than enthusiastic. “Personally for me to partake in a ‘Runaways Reunion’ would be redundant. It’s a language thing with me. Don’t get me wrong — I love collaborating with my band mates — and I do, mostly with Cherieâ€¦ Just not under the banner of “The Runaways”. It’s important to me, that I keep moving in a forward fashion.”
But Ford, for one, would like to see the girls give it one more try. â€œI’ve been trying to put the band back together for almost seven years,â€ she says. â€œOf course I had an interest in doing it! So don’t blame me if it doesn’t happen.â€
Blue, however, hints at a possible “reunion” of sorts in the film itself. Which would be a fabulous thing to behold in an age of weak teen pop and obnoxious rap metal boneheads. The world could use a good dose of The Runaways now more than ever.
Get more info from the official site at: Sacred Dogs
PHOTOS: ^ TOP PIC: This is Director Vicki Blue shooting footage in Death Valley for “Edgeplay” the Runaways documentary. ^ BOTTOM PIC: Runways, 1977: (left to right) Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Sandy West and Vicki Blue