‘Bad Reputation’ Is A “Good” New Tribute To A Rock Legend

Courtesy: Magnolia Pictures

Joan Jett is one of the most important figures in the modern history of rock music.  From her days with The Runaways to her time with The Blackhearts, she has blazed a trail for countless musicians while also making remaining active in a variety of causes.  Now thanks to Magnolia Pictures, Jett is getting the recognition that she has deserved for such a long time in the form of the new rock doc Bad Reputation.  Released on DVD on Jan.1 via Magnolia Pictures, the 93-minute doc takes audiences through the life and ongoing career of the famed rocker, who proves in this program to be anything but the typical rock star.  That story forms a strong foundation for the documentary, and will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material included with the documentary gives audiences at least a little bit more to appreciate about the presentation.  The documentary’s average price point rounds out its most important elements.  Each item is key in its own way to the whole of Bad Reputation.  All things considered, they make Bad Reputation a very good documentary.

Magnolia Pictures’ new profile of Joan Jett, Bad Reputation, is a fitting tribute to the trailblazing musician/performer.  That is proven in part through the story at the center of the documentary.  The story is told in part from Jett herself and those closest to her, such as former and current band members, fellow celebrities and friends.  Listening to Jett talk, audiences will appreciate her grounded nature.  She does not have any sense of self-indulgence or ego.  Rather, there is a certain sense of humility about her as she talks about The Runaways’ acceptance overseas, The Blackhearts’ place in the music industry and her own personal views on items, such as animal rights and feminism. Jett said of The Runaways’ acceptance in Japan, “I thought it was exhilarating.  They loved their music stars over there.”  The tone in her voice as she made those statements truly exhibits that humility.  Comments from the likes of Iggy Pop, Jett’s sister Ann Larkin and Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong prove even more, that said humility is real.  Larkin notes in one segment that Jett’s rebellion was not against her parents, but against society.  In fact, Jett herself recalls warmly, how supportive her parents were of her from an early age, adding that they were the ones who gave Jett her first guitar and told her that she could do anything that they wanted to do in life.  Pop notes that the era in which Jett’s star was rising, “A lot of women wanted to rock.  The problem was that they were always in a sidecar role.  Joan Jett was nobody’s sidecar.”  Armstrong adds to Pop’s statements, noting that Jett’s work as being “kick-ass songs.”  This emphasizes that determination from Jett to be noticed in what was then (and still is today) a very male-dominated industry.  Between the comments from Jett’s contemporaries, her family and friends, and those from Jett herself, the story that is presented proves to be one that will keep audiences fully engaged throughout the course of the program from start to end.  Keeping that in mind, the story at the center of Bad Reputation is a very good story, and gives audiences more than enough reason to watch.  Of course it is just one of the items that makes the recently released DVD worth viewing.  The bonus material included with the DVD gives audiences a little more to appreciate.

The bonus material featured with Bad Reputation is a pair of performances from Jett and company.  One is a performance of her hit singles ‘Bad Reputation’ and ‘Fresh Start’ at the premiere of Bad Reputation in a semi-acoustic setting.  The other features Jett and company performing the same two songs on the group’s tour bus and at a live soundcheck.  In essence audiences get a light glimpse of the same songs in different settings through that bonus material.  There is also an extended piece of backstage footage of Jett and company at the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  That was the ceremony at which Jett was inducted into the famed institution.  Some of the footage was included as part of the story at the center of Bad Reputation.  Getting to see the footage in more depth creates even more appreciation for the overall presentation that is Bad Reputation.  Given, it is not much when it comes to bonus material.  There is no getting around this.  However, considering all of the live material and “home movies” that are used to help tell the central story of Bad Reputation, this additional material proves to be entertaining, if not invaluable.  To that end, the bonus material, while bare at its best, is still a positive in its own right to the whole of the doc.  When it is considered along with the central story and all that said story offers audiences, the pairing of the two still gives audiences plenty of entertainment and engagement.  The documentary’s average price point makes that entertainment and engagement money well-spent.

The average price point of Bad Reputation is $15.88.  That price was determined using prices listed at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  Considering that the most expensive of the listed prices is $19.98 (at Walmart.com) and the least expensive is $13.99 (Best Buy and Amazon), that average price is actually a relatively solid mid-point.  Add in the overall depth and breadth of Bad Reputation’s story, and audiences will agree that a price of less than $20 for this deep story is not a bad price at all.  Rather, they will agree that it is money well-spent on a documentary that generation of audiences will appreciate.  When all of this is considered together, audiences will agree, again, that Bad Reputation is a doc whose reputation is in fact quite good.

Magnolia Pictures’ new Joan Jett profile Bad Reputation is a very good presentation on the famed musician/performer’s life and career.  It is a work that rock and roll aficionados across the board will appreciate.  That is due in large part to the doc’s central story, which presents Jett as quite the humble, down to earth figure, completely unlike so many rock stars past and present.  The bonus material included with the DVD adds a little bit more for audiences to appreciate.  The disc’s average price point of less than $20 gives audiences even more reason to give this documentary a chance.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of Bad Reputation.  All things considered, they give this program its own very good reputation.  More information on Bad Reputation is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.badreputationfilm.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/badrepfilm

Twitter: http://twitter.com/badrepfilm

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lawless Hearts’ Creatures Of Habit Is The First Great EP Of 2015

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Up-and-coming rock outfit Lawless Hearts’ new EP Creatures of Habit is the first great EP of 2015. The four-track disc from the Jacksonville, FL-based five-piece is a good listen for anyone that is a fan of Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and to a lesser extent Pat Benatar among other acts of that ilk. The similarity to those bands should come as no surprise to audiences as the band even notes Heart as one of its influences on its Facebook page. And just as fittingly the band notes in the bio on its Facebook page that its collective dream is to make something entirely its own in terms of its sound and lyrics. Listening to the songs that make up Creatures of Habit, it is safe to say that the dichotomy of the band’s old school rock sound and the songs’ lyrical content has created something entirely the band’s own. That is clear right from the record’s opening number and lead single/title track. The old school rock influence is obvious on the song’s musical side. Lyrically, it definitely has its own identity and will certainly have listeners thinking and talking. The musical bombast of ‘If I Have To’ coupled with its equally deep lyrical content shows this song to have its own identity, too. And the EP’s closer ‘Fallout’ with its seemingly Bon Jovi-influenced sound coupled with its insightful lyrics serves as one more example of how the members of Lawless Hearts have indeed created a record in Creatures of Habit that is entirely its own creation even with its old school rock influences. It is a record that though an EP bodes well for the band and its future endeavours.

Lawless Hearts’ new EP Creatures of Habit only boasts four tracks. That may not seem like much. But when considering the mix of the music and lyrics that make up those four songs, it proves to be a surprisingly enjoyable record. This is evident right from the EP’s opener/title track/lead single. ‘Creatures of Habit’ boast a sound musically speaking instantly conjures thoughts of both Heart and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts thanks not only to the powerhouse vocals of front woman Alex Marie but to the work of her band mates–Michael Thomas (guitar, vocals), Justus Sutherland (rhythm guitar), Rob Joseph (bass, vocals), and Corey Ahlquist (drums)–too. Marie even sounds slightly like Joan Jett as she sings, “Creatures of habit/Liars and savages/Hoping for one more drink from the well/A city for the dead/A silent tomb of regret/Try waking up but the nightmare never ends/It ever ends.” Those first two lines in which she sings, “Creatures of habit/Liars and savages” is a rather damning statement. It appears to be a short, yet rather sharp statement in regards to the nature of people. This is made even more clear as she sings in the song’s second verse, “Dirty little savage/Masochist at best/Looking for one more night to derail/Your time is wearing thin/Better hold before you lose your grip/There’s no one to hear you scream when you slip.” Marie comes across as singing about someone that is on a self-destructive path and who is about to reach a breaking point with no one to help if said subject continues on that same path. It is a powerful statement, especially if it is indeed the correct interpretation. Considering that Marie sings in the song’s bridge, “You’re covered in dirt/From the hole you dug yourself in/An early grave for the ones who deserve it,” it would seem that this is in fact the correct interpretation. It’s almost a warning of sorts. Taking into account the song’s driving musical side alongside with these words, it is no wonder that it was chosen to lead off the band’s new EP. Audiences can check out the brand new video for ‘Creatures of Habit’ online now via the band’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LawlessHeartsMusic.

‘Creatures of Habit’ is a solid opener for Lawless Hearts’ new EP. It is also proof that the band has indeed succeeded in creating something influenced by other bands yet still holds its own identity. It does so quite well at that. It is just one of the tracks on this EP that proves that, too. The EP’s second track, ‘If I Have To’ strengthens that argument even more. It could be just this critic’s interpretation (again) but this song shows something of a Bon Jovi influence. It is so easy to close one’s eyes while listening to this song and see it being performed live. For that matter, the song’s overall makeup makes it easy to see it complemented with a video that matches its bombastic sound; big stage setup, sweeping pans across the stage that capture the entire band, the audience singing along, etc. It doesn’t seem like such a stretch. That is especially the case considering the song’s lyrical content. The song’s lyrical make-up Marie starts out by singing in the song’s opening verse, “I, I’ve been shot down/Fully defeated/A bullet to my chest/Holding my breath/Running on empty/Fear is nothing compared to this.” Obviously she is speaking metaphorically when noting the “bullet to the chest.” As a matter of fact, the entire verse is written in metaphor. She is saying that she has been through the worst that can be thrown at her. Because of that, fear has nothing on what she has endured. Despite having gone through so much, she goes on to note that she has not been defeated, singing, “I’m not afraid to die to save a life if I have to/I’ll walk the line of fire/Prepared to fight/With or without you.” She finishes her statement of firm defiance singing in the final lines, “I am awake/Fully determined/Nothing will be the same.” Such lyrics come across as being rather positive. It is almost as if Marie is singing out proudly that she will not let anything stop her no matter what. Considering this as the possibly intended aim of the lyrics, it makes the song that much more enjoyable. It proves the song to be yet another original work despite its classic rock roots. And together with the EP’s opener, proves once more why this record is the first great EP of 2015.

Both of the first two tracks taken from Creatures of Habit are solid examples of what makes the record the first great EP of 2015. Both songs display classic rock roots yet original lyrics. The combination of both elements gives both songs their own identity and in turn makes the record in whole that much more enjoyable. The disc’s closer ‘The Fallout’ on the other hand, is the polar opposite of those songs. It boasts more of a modern rock sound with only the slightest hint of old school rock influence, musically speaking. The slow build that starts with just Marie and an acoustic guitar is about the only hint at that classic rock influence. It conjures thoughts Bon Jovi, Poison, and others. From there though, the classic rock influence disappears very quickly as the song leads into a much heavier sound. On the song’s lyrical side, it almost seems to bring the record full circle, echoing the topic of human nature presented in the record’s opener. It just presents it in a different avenue. Instead of making a seeming statement about the rather negative side of human nature, this song comes across as discussing people’s refusal to face the music of life so to speak. She sings in the song’s opening verse, “There’s more than two sides to every story/The pain and loss is never-ending/You wanna break down/You wanna scream out as they take, and take, and take everything/What is fair anymore/We go through life always trying to even up a score/You say the truth will set you free/We’re all so damn scared of honesty/But it all comes with a price in the end.” On the one side, Marie presents someone that is miserable, almost shaking his or her fist at the heavens. On the other is someone that wastes their life away holding grudges and trying to point the finger. That person is reminded that doing so comes at a price. In both cases, the individual ends up doing nothing but separating himself or herself from everyone else albeit in different ways. As Marie sings in the bridge, “You say none of it matters/You don’t want to deal with the fallout/You burn bridges/You build castles/To keep everyone out.” It is a statement that whether preaching and pointing that finger or shaking one’s fist at the heavens, doing so is counterproductive. People that do this are doing nothing but wasting their lives away, separating themselves from others. She goes on to warn those people that considering the direction this world is going, wasting their lives away in such fashion simply isn’t worth it. How many mainstream bands can say that they have songs that present such lyrical content? In an age when so much music is still dominated by themes of self-loathing and loathing of the world, this song comes across as a breath of fresh air. And being such a breath of fresh air, it proves even more why Creatures of Habit is the first great EP of 2015.

All three of the songs noted here are prime examples of why Creatures of Habit is the first great new EP of 2015. The combination of the songs’ musical and lyrical makes all three songs stand out from so many songs that dominate mainstream rock radio today. One would be remiss to ignore the EP’s third song, too. It offers its own value to the record in whole, too. All things considered all four tracks prove Creatures of Habit the first great EP of 2015 and one of the year’s best. Given the right support, it could be just the beginning for this up-and-coming band. More information on Creatures of Habit is available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.lawlesshearts.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LawlessHeartsMusic

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.