Sunday, October 14, 2007

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - I Love Rock n' Roll

Sudden memories this morning of a weird sexual attraction I had to Joan Jett in the 6th grade. Weird in the sense that all prepubescent sexual crushes are weird, given the surplus of imagination and drought of experience at that age (what exactly did I imagine Jett would do with my emaciated 12-year-old self if we were alone together? Snap me in half over her knee and use my flat ass as a coke table?)

I Love Rock n' Roll was the first album I ever bought, on tape. I played it till the text was completely gone from both sides, and the blank plastic began to yellow. Jett's infamous "Yeaaow" on the title track (1:19 in the video above) made the hair on the back of my neck stand up every time. See the way Jett immediately turns her back to the audience after the "Yeaaow," then flips back around to sing the second verse in close up, while chewing gum? That blew my mind. I wasn't 17 like the guy Jett is creeping on in the song, but I got the point loud and clear (much to my Jackson Brown-listening moms dismay.)

The next summer, in a state of excitement way out of proportion to the actual event, I stood in line with my endlessly patient Aunt Sue to see Joan Jett live at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. I was just young enough to not realize how utterly uncool it was to be chaperoned by my aunt. I was dressed in what I thought at the time to be suitably 'badass' attire: black converse, combat pants and a Clash-Combat Rock t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. A studded leather bracelet about 7 sizes too big for my pale twig of a wrist finished the ensemble off.

My main memory of the show itself is of being lifted onto some huge guy's shoulders when the band launched into "I Love Rock n' Roll" and carried up to the front of the stage. I didn't know who the guy was or who had lifted me onto his shoulders. It didn't matter. I shook my fists in the air and screamed loudly. The band played the song, just like on the tape, complete with the bendy guitar solo. The bassist (the guy with the v-neck in the video above) pointed his bass at me and the crowd actually cheered. Jett even gave me a little cool nod at one point.

A few years later my attraction to Jett was replaced overnight with another weird sexual obsession, this time with actress Jenette Goldstein (or more specifically Vasquez, the character she played in the film Aliens.) Again, weird in the sense that I can't for the life of me remember what I could have possibly been fantasizing about. I don't normally find 'butch' women attractive, and I've never had the urge to be tied up or dominated by a woman. Why this early fixation on hard asses?'
Maybe it wasn't completely sexual. Maybe I just wanted to hang out with them. Or maybe I was attracted to them precisely because I knew they would never be attracted to me. They were my antithesis in every way.
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