With a handful of new tunes, cowritten by Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna, Joan Jett's not just a chick with an electric guitar anymore--now she's got an electric ax to grind. Although Jett's hard-edged, stripped-down adolescent rock 'n' roll has changed little since her days in the Runaways, current tastes for simplicity and honesty have brought her and her music back into vogue. Reportedly invigorated by a cult of adherents that includes Bikini Kill, L7, and Babes in Toyland--all of whom took some part in recording her new album--Jett is touring in support of her best record in more than a decade, Pure and Simple (Warner Brothers/Blackheart). The album's opener, "Go Home," is a furious protest against stalking inspired by the still-unsolved rape and murder of Mia Zapata of Seattle's Gits. "Spinster" minces no words about its message--"Baby I don't wanna / Baby I don't wanna / Baby I don't wanna / Fuck you!"--and Jett's delivery keeps the last line nicely ambiguous. There's some more traditional lovey-dovey stuff ("As I Am"), but most of the album is made up of Jett's singular raspy shout, which sounds genuinely energized. D.C.'s Lungfish open. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/George Holtz.