Monday, March 22, 2010

Reinvent the Dream - A Blog Inspired by The Runaways...

This is not a movie review blog.  I am not a movie reviewer.  I don't see enough movies to know how to review them.  I can't remember the last movie I saw before The Runaways.  Oh yeah, Precious.  Whoa, that movie was SO heavy.  I couldn't talk about it for days after seeing it.  I still can't.  

But last night I saw The Runaways.  And it was equally heavy for me in certain ways.  My heart hurt at the end, for sure.  My instinct was to fix it.  Just get back in the booth, Cherie!  Don't fuck this up for us!  I mean for you guys.  See?  It hit a nerve for me.

Cathy and I were born dreaming of starting an all female rock band.  And when we got into Jr. High, our music teacher fueled it for us.  Mr. Campbell (he played keyboards on our 'From the Ground Up' CD), had a drum set and an electric guitar with an amp set up in his class room.  So Cathy and I would hang in his room after school and play I Love Rock n' Roll.  We made one of our girlfriend's sing, and another one play bass.  And we talked Mr. Campbell into letting us use his instruments to play the Jr. High School talent show.

It never once occurred to me to have a guy in our band.  It's not that I didn't like guy bands (hello, VAN HALEN).  I just knew there were all girl bands, like The Runaways & The Go Gos. That's the type of band I wanted to be in.  Those girls had no idea they were paving the way for me and my sister and countless other girls who went on to start bands or pick up instruments.  They were just doing what they loved.  And subsequently, I was just doing what I loved.

In 1998, our lead singer, Peppy, told us she was leaving the band.  My heart sank.  I had no idea what we were going to do.  But we were working with a producer who swore we could figure it out.  A producer, who, incidentally, did not throw dog crap at us while we rehearsed, thank you very much.

She told us we'd find the right girl who could sing the songs.  I was skeptical.  And it took a few tries.  But we did figure it out.  And I learned the most important life lesson ever.  If you're chasing your dream, toss out the road map.  Because there is no page in that Rand McNally Atlas that's going to help you figure it out.  Seriously. 

I grew up with a Joan Jett poster on my wall.  It hung there because I thought she rocked.  And I wanted to be just like her.  I was too young to get all the other stuff.  But when Cherie Currie walked out on The Runaways, Joan Jett didn't give up her dream.  She just reinvented it.  And because she did, I knew I could...And I'll do it again. (Joan Jett - Love is Pain)



  1. Kristen, we always knew you'd 'do it again'. And again. Oh, and how true about tossing out that road map. I know if I tried following any set map for my creative endeavors, I'd end up resenting what I do, that map would be wrong.

    Thanks for sharing that story. And I plan to see The Runaways this week. Looking forward to it.


    PS. I had to look through my videos, and yes, I do have Love Is Pain...

  2. I personally foresee her using a walker still banging her head back and forth for the old folks in the home, asking for requests..and the old folks would respond, as soon as they found their dentures.

  3. Wow. You may not have written a movie review, but you wrote a wonderfully moving review of Joan Jett. I can't say that I ever felt that motivated by anyone or anything when I was younger, but I felt your determination in reading this.
    I'm glad you and Cathy have continued to reinvent your dream. It's the movie I'm enjoying right now.

  4. I forgot to say the rest of what's on my mind... Rock on Joan. Rock on AR. See..THAT was easy:-)

  5. If you REALLY love WILL find a way. Or you'll realize you're a glutton for punishment who keeps coming back (oh wait, that's me). ;D

    Antigone Rising (from the ashes) has proven to be quite the phoenix of hope for a lot of us female rockers. You probably don't hear it enough but thank you for that.

    Keep up the stellar, inspiring, heartfelt work, ladies.

    Much respect,

  6. This blog says more to me than any review can because it's from your perspective, someone who can directly relate.

    Even though my "creative endeavors" keep leading to dead ends, I just u-turn it and find another road. Screw the map indeed :o)

  7. I have been of fan of Antigone Rising's for many years through all of your changes and I continue to be a bigger fan today than I was back when you started.

    Kristen Henderson, you are my Joan Jett. Thank you for inspiring me to do whatever I want.

    I am looking forward to seeing this movie thanks to your (non) review.
    Lisa Delgado

  8. Blimey.... Thats bought back some memories.
    Used to be a huge runaways fan many many many years ago - I have an urge to go and try and find the old vynils.

  9. Joan Jett was my first rock and roll love,first concert in 82,her posters all over my walls,I even cut blackhearts out of construction paper and dangled them from my ceiling with fishing line.She influenced me as well.Not so much in playing guitar,although I tried.But just a passion for the music I love.20 years later,enter Antigone Rising into my life! I love your band as much even more,so much I gave you that precious first Joan Jett concert shirt.
    You still have it right??? LOL
    Thanks for the review,can't wait until April 9th when it opens in my area.


  10. I agree with Lisa... you're a Joan Jett to me. :) Every time I see you perform or read your tweets, etc. about performing you remind me that music is what I need to do. So I know how you feel about having someone influence you like that. Thanks, Hendo.

    To all women in music, rock on.

  11. I saw the movie too and it's shocking what the women before us had to endure. Really gross actually. You and Cathy are amazing and inspiring. Thanks for showing us all how to keep the dream alive and that it can keep getting better and better.

    Welcome back.


  13. I had to sample a section for my own status. Great words there. Send the royalties statement and I'll cut the check.

    PS. I was speechless for days after seeing Precious as well. I don't know if it was for the same reasons.

  14. I have a feeling we had the same JJ poster on our walls! Amen sistah and more power to you - I know exactly what you mean!

  15. Use to be a huge Runaways fan, many many many yeasr ago - I have an urge to go and try to find all the old vynils !