Listening to Joan Jett: I Don’t Give A Damn About My Reputation


When I was young, I worshiped at the feet of Joan Jett. I fell in love in high school and never looked back.

The last time I saw her live, Joey was just over a year old, so nearly 20 years ago. I saw her somewhere between 3 and 5 times in the eighties. I can’t remember for sure. I know it was at least 3 times, probably 4. Maybe, 5 times. It was a long time ago and I went to a lot shows. I am positive I saw her more than any other artist.

Randy has been cultivating a playlist for when we paint or clean or any of the other horrible chores we have to finish getting our new house in order. There is a comfort in this list. I know how it starts and I know the order. I just am never sure how it will finish up because Randy adds to it.

He learned to not insert songs. Because if Primus doesn’t come after Greta Van Fleet, then we’re going to have a problem. My mojo gets fucked up.

Anyway, he recently added Bad Reputation to the list.

Randy: This is the perfect rock and roll song.

Me: You aren’t telling me anything I don’t know.

Randy: It’s really good.

Me: I am the president of the Joan Jett fan club. I have been for over 35 years.

Randy: Who’s in that club?

Me: Just me, but we still hold meetings. Usually when it’s a work night and I can’t sleep.

Anyway, after listening to Randy’s addition to the playlist, I had to watch all the Joan Jett videos.

You guys, I needed that so much.

I remembered in my younger days that while her songs played, I was fearless. Fearless was not my natural state. Joan was a bad ass and when I listened to her, I felt strong.

I needed to get a small glimpse of that long ago fearlessness.

Less than 3 weeks until the midterms, I am terrified.

I am terrified that we won’t at least get the house. I am terrified if Republicans lose majority in the house or the senate that the president will react badly. Like worse than anything else he’s done. I’m afraid that no matter what, the days that follow November 6th will dark and frightening.

Then, I listened to Joan Jett for a while and remembered.

No matter what happens, I will still fight. I can be scared, that is cool, but they don’t get to win. No matter what, they don’t get to win.

  • I will fight.
  • I will laugh.
  • I will play with my kitties. My cats don’t fucking care who the president is and for some reason, that thought comforts me. No matter what happens, Alfie Gertie the Catthe kitty will still sleep every night with his butt shoved into my armpit.
  • I will listen to music and maybe even get serious again about finishing up the painting.
  • I will write and take long baths and cook for my family.

Maybe, I will even bake again someday if we ever figure out how to relight the pilot light on our stove. The stove can be lit with a match, but the oven has been unusable for going on two months now. Randy and I have a lot of fun together, but we’re not very good at being grown ups.

And when the terror comes back too thick, I’m going to skip ahead through our playlist and listen to Joan Jett and remember that while I’m not always a bad ass, I am definitely sometimes a bad ass.

Also, not trying to be a broken record, but you all are committed to voting on November 6, right? And take a friend. Talk to people about the importance of voting. We are in peril and our democracy is depending on this election. Please vote.


About the author


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I missed Joan Jett as a force in pop music by about a year. I started listening to popular music in 1983, and I think she was largely done by that time. Now that I’m listening to Apple Music streaming service, I can go back for free and check out everything I missed.

    Early voting starts on Monday here and I work a couple days a week right next to where they do early voting, so I’ll get my voting done early. I’m going to come as close as I’ve ever come to voting straight ticket (a couple Republican family court judges deserve to stay). I’m uncomfortable with voting for a single party, but when the house is on fire, you don’t complain about the furniture.

  • I was thinking about changing my name to Ang Gri Lee. If we don’t take the House, at least, I will. it is so discouraging. I make husband tell me if there is news because I get too upset to read it sometimes.
    I bought a shirt at a local thrift — the owner takes thrift sweatshirts and paints “vote” in great big letters. All the mannequins in the window wear vote shirts. The money goes to Emily’s list. And I get a great shirt that says “vote” in 8 inch letters. Wearing it with my new boots makes me feel badass. and jeans, I wear pants. I’m not naked in between “vote” and the boots! eew, I can’t believe you thought that.
    This used to be the song that woke me up in the mornings. It still makes me feel happy and badass at the same time.

    (that should come up as JJ singing love is all around. here’s hoping!)

    • Okay, Joan Jett singing the Mary Tyler Moore song is the best thing I’ve seen all day. This is the first I’ve seen this. I have a shirt that I wear whenever I am in public and I will continue to wear it until the midterms are over. Girls just want to have Fun..damental rights.

  • Freddie Mercury is my go to artist, and you are my go to Badass! Yes I damn well am voting. My kids are both away at college. I mailed each of them an absentee form to fill out along with a self addressed stamped envelope to mail it back. Absolutely no excuses!

  • Happy to meet another Greta Van Fleet fan. I worry about all those who didn’t vote last time. Registrations are way up but will these people show? And what happens after the election? And does Joan Jett vote? You got me started.

    • I love Greta Van Fleet…

      And I am hopeful if people registered, then they will follow through and vote. And if I had to guess, I am going to guess that Joan Jett votes.

  • I love Joan Jett! Added I discovered (or found myself listening to I should say because I knew who they were) the Runaways relatively recently (few years ago) too and me as an *ahem* year old chick loves listening to these bad ass teenage girls rocking out.
    Anyway, I will vote, I have been telling people to vote, we are taking out friends with us to vote. I really need us to get some sort of control though. I don’t have the same thought you can I can make it through another 2 years of no checks and balances on the orange ass in the White House and the people who cheat and do all sorts of things to maintain their power.

  • Joan Jett is the bomb. She recently fronted Nirvana (again) at Foo Fighters show at Cal Jam.

    I can’t really watch the videos as I’m stuck with slow data speeds, but the photo of Joan is the definition of badass.

    I filled out my mail in ballots last night, and I’ll mail them in today.

    Music has been propping up my sanity, such as it is, for not just the duration of this current political shitshow, but for my entire life.
    From the Beach Boys and the Beatles when I was a little kid, to my guitar heroes like Tom Johnston and Joe Walsh when I was a teenager, to the progressive rock that got me through my 20s and 30s, to the expansion of my musical horizons that accompanied my introduction to the internet in my 40s to my current focus on vocal harmony, music has pretty much been where I get my shaky grip on stability since I first heard it.
    And like Harry said already, I voted pretty much a straight ticket, which is harder to do in California than you would think, except for the judges that the LA Times said should all be reconfirmed… I voted against one of them anyway, because I looked up her record and found a dissent she wrote against the state supreme court’s decision to grant same sex couples strict judicial scrutiny prior to the introduction of prop 8, when we were taking the lead in the country in trying to get gay people their civil rights.
    It probably won’t keep her from being reconfirmed, but I take voting seriously enough to do my research.

  • I have been beaten down to the nth degree lately and wish it was as easy as a Joan Jett fix to perk me up. I’m not kidding.

    My best friend seems to have deserted me too. Best friends don’t fucking do that. How could I have picked a fair-weather best friend? My old best friend, Larry, has been dead 23 years. Semper Fidelis, Larry. But now. I’m swinging in the breeze with more than a little resentment.

    The opposite of love isn’t to hate, it’s resentment if you ask me.

    Just wanted to put some on digital paper, even if it’s off-topic. I feel like I have no hope right now. Not a good place to be.

      • Knowing that you’d help if you could… helps. I’m far too far away from my best friend and have been for too long. It reaches a point of it being too long. It’s months in this case.

        I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.

        It’ll be what it’s supposed to be and other positive platitudes that do nothing.

        I’ll be okay. Thank you. You’ve no idea.

          • hi, Troll, just saw this. no platitudes here, but I am wishing you well and sending you some light and power. I’ve been there; it sucks. I’m lucky, it got better. I’m wishing it gets better for you too.

  • There was a profile of Joan Jett in the New York Times a few weeks ago.
    Side note: we get the New York Times. I mostly read the arts section but it amuses me that we support a newspaper the president hates.
    They had a picture of her in an elegant, lacy room and she looked like she belonged there because she’s so badass she belongs everywhere.
    While you’re remaking your house I hope you keep that in mind: no matter where you are you belong.
    And I’m voting this afternoon. Hooray for early voting.

By Michelle

Get the blog by email