EDGEPLAY; A FILM ABOUT THE RUNAWAYS by Victory Tischler-Blue (Shock DVD, 2004)

 |   |  1 min read

EDGEPLAY; A FILM ABOUT THE RUNAWAYS by Victory Tischler-Blue (Shock DVD, 2004)

Clearly timed to ride the coattails of the film The Runaways about this seminal all-girl band of the the Seventies which launched the careers of Joan Jett and Lita Ford and (based on the memoir Neon Angel by lead singer Cherie Currie), the re-presentation of a doco made by the band's former bassist Vicky Blue should be an object lesson in just how exploitive, abusive (emotionally and physically) and uncaring the music business can be.

Put together by the odious Kim Fowley, the five girls in the group were in their mid teens and were promised fame, stadiums to play in and lots of money. What they weren't told is that the fame might come, and the stadiums too -- but only after a slog through seedy clubs and small halls -- but the money would be going directly to Fowley and others.

He put them in "boot camp" and was verbally abusive from day one, threw things at them while they rehearsed so they would get used too it if it happpened on the road, and hooked in a sleazy road manager who at 29 slept with all but one of them and had a relationship with 16-year old Currie.

Then things got really bad: drugs and alcohol, fights and factions . . .

As they note in interviews from the early 2000s, they were all girls from very different backgrounds who had little in common, and to hear them tell it they formed ever-changing cliques just like pre-teens in school. Then their periods synchronised so there were times every month when the air was explosive. The little lesbian flings by Currie with two others in the band can hardly have helped. There was also an abortion.

Interviewed now they reflect on all this with venom towards Fowley and others, and a degree of sadness that it all went so wrong when they actually made some good stomping rock'n'roll.

Drummer Sandy West (whose life after the band broke up in '80 sounds even more dangerous and on-the-edge) wishes they could all get together and tour again. But it is telling that Joan Jett didn't participate in this and that for the most part the former members are interviewed separately. There doesn't seem to be much love between them. 

You suspect nothing would induce the still glamorous Currie and first bassist Jackie Fox (who cracked, tried to committ suicide then quit) to get back out there again.

And who could blame them? If your first contact with the music businesss was Kim Fowley -- who is interviewed here and makes you feel unclean -- then you'd be heading straight back to the boring suburbs as fast as you tried to escape them.

A sad story told with regret, anger and just a few flashes of pleasure, and not enough live footage to convey just how stonking they once were and poorer for the absence of Jett's voice.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

THE ROLLING STONES; CROSSFIRE HURRICANE a doco by BRETT MORGEN (Shock DVD)

THE ROLLING STONES; CROSSFIRE HURRICANE a doco by BRETT MORGEN (Shock DVD)

In a voice-over at the end of the new, officially sanctioned but nonetheless ragged and candid Rolling Stones bio-pic Crossfire Hurricane, Mick Jagger says in a voice between amusement and... > Read more

MAN ON WIRE by JAMES MARSH (Madman DVD)

MAN ON WIRE by JAMES MARSH (Madman DVD)

Anyone who ever stepped out onto the roof of one of the Twin Towers would have been struck by three things: the view from that height; that height when you looked directly down; and the power of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom (1992)

Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom (1992)

Bob Marley was quite a man . . . nobody seems to have a bad word to say about him. Oh sure, a few wacko reactionaries got het up over the dope thing and tossed him into the Godless Heathen... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . CHAPPAQUA: Ornette, Ravi and Rooks at a strange crossroad

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . CHAPPAQUA: Ornette, Ravi and Rooks at a strange crossroad

Think: What if you made a movie -- your personal story of an emotional and dependency struggle -- so very dear to your heart. But no one went to see it? Now maybe here's perhaps something... > Read more