Nicole Miller and Joan Jett Ran Away in 1991
The Runaways is out this week, inspiring teenagers everywhere to re-dedicate their lives to studded belts and leopard-print scarves. Nicole Miller has some better ideas. In 1991, Interview set up Joan Jett and Nicole Miller in discussion to compare the busy worlds of music and fashion. On this occasion Nicole Miller even promised to make Joan Jett of The Runaways an outfit. Check out the rest of our interview:
NICOLE MILLER: It’s been a crazy morning.
JOAN JETT: Already?
NM: Yeah the phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
JJ: Yeah, really.
NM: I didn’t think I knew so many people. So is your album all done yet?
JJ: Basically. Some of the lyrics aren’t quite right, so we keep adjusting them.
NM: Yeah. But are the songs all mapped out? This late in the game you’re not going to drop anything, are you? Or would you drop a song and put a new one in if you got a great idea at the last minute?
JJ: Yeah, that could always happen. I’m more into adding songs, though. We record upward of fifteen and pick ten or so that work best.
NM: It’s amazing how much putting albums together is like organizing a fashion show. For my recent show we have everything planned, and then at the last minute I had an idea. We put a new group together in, like, two weeks, and it ended up being the best one in the show. Does that ever happen to you—your last-minute inspiration ends up being your favorite.
JJ: Oh, a lot of times. But I never feel the pressure of having to finish a song by a certain deadline because I’ll always do another album. You never wanna waste anything that’s good.
NM: How long has it been since your last album?
JJ: It’s been about a year and a half since The Hit List, which was a whole album of other people’s songs. So on the new record, everything is gonna be original.
NM: That’s great. Have any favorites yet?
JJ: A lot of it depends on how a song comes out live. When we’re recording, we do unannounced concerts and put some of our new songs into the shows to see how the audience responds. It keeps us in shape.
NM: So that’s your research and development. Sometimes, when I love something I’ve designed, I’ll wear it when I go out. If nobody pays me any compliments, I’ll get totally disillusioned and scratch it. Do you have anxiety like that?
JJ: No, but I’m anxious to get this album done, because I thrive on being onstage. Not that I don’t have fun in the studio, but I live for being on tour.
NM: Performing must be really exhilarating.
JJ: It really is. Even though you know the outline of what goes on, each audience is different, and you get an energy from them that is indescribable. People ask, “Don’t you ever get bored of singing ‘I love Rock ‘N Roll’ two thousand times?” The answer is no. It’s always new because we go to strange places. And I still get nervous. I guess you must get scared before fashion shows…
NM: Terrified. Terrified.
JJ: I saw you at your last show. At the end you weren’t out there for even two seconds on the runway, taking a bow. It was like, “Hi, I’m outta here.” You were dragging the models off the floor.
NM: Yeah. But you’re used to all the cheering. It’s part of the whole thing. My performance goes on on its own, and I just come out afterward.
JJ: I don’t think of the audience as cheering for me. I think of it as cheering for the music or for the band. Because basically I’m a very shy person. It’s weird to have this job because it’s like being an exhibitionist, which I’m not at all.NM: Yeah, I know you’re not. So do you feel like you’re a different person when you perform?
JJ: No. I think I have different sides to me personality. My work is very athletic. I love to just sweat and run around and do things that people don’t usually see girls doing.
NM: I’ll have to make you an outfit to appear onstage in something really special.
JJ: Yeah, definitely.
NM: O.K., I’ll give you a call and we’ll do that. Bye.