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(Blackheart Records Group)
Release Date: 1st October 2013

Liz Medhurst

liz medhurst

joan jett

Ah, how I love Joan Jett. As a teenager I used to wonder why I couldn't get the same sounds out of my cheap Japanese nylon stringed guitar as she could out of that gorgeous white Gibson Melody Maker (yeah, I know...). Thankfully I did quickly work out that it wasn't actually the make of guitar and I have been in respectful awe ever since.

She looked truly amazing in leathers and a shag hairstyle, and still does, but more than this her talent, self belief and work ethic was inspiring. This wonderful icon demonstrated how to be true to yourself, and was like the cool older cousin I wished I had.

I remember getting over-excited in the early 80s when I heard that Joan Jett And The Blackhearts were supporting Queen – another band I was obsessed with – just a few miles away at their Leeds gig at Elland Road, but I wasn't able to go due to parental restrictions decreeing that it was no place for a 14-year-old.

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The desolation of missing seeing Joan for real was slightly compensated by bumping into Brian May after the gig had finished, when he pulled up in a limo in a suburban street near where I was living to stay for a few days with his then in-laws in a small semi-detached house. Surreal.

Anyway I digress. There is a new Joan Jett And The Blackhearts album out. It's really good. If you are expecting edgy, punchy rhythms, tight guitars, driving beats and plenty of opportunities to shout "hey" you won't be disappointed. If you are expecting it to sound dated and stuck in the past like the punk and new-wave it's influenced by then you will be disappointed.

These are quality, direct and timeless rock and roll tracks. Lyrically, they deal with mature, heavy issues - death, isolation, etc - but the album is packed with songs that will appeal to old and new audiences – there's definitely no question about Joan getting maudlin or depressive, she still rocks hard and writes according to her life experiences, as she always has done, and her performance is as good as it ever was.

As far as highlights go, 'Soulmates To Strangers' is breathtaking in its simplicity, describing a relationship that crashed and burned as strongly as it ignited. 'Fragile' is full of truth about how tenuous life can be but comes multi-layered with strong riffs and hooks and a perfect vocal.

The closing track, 'Everybody Needs A Hero' is direct and honest and there is real strength in that kind of vulnerability. Ultimately the ten tracks are positive and life-affirming and this is real testimony to Joan's lyrical talent and ear for a great hook.

It's fitting that the subject matter evolves as the years go by, but the essence of the band remains consistent.

You certainly don't have to listen out for all of the subtleties or deeper meanings to enjoy this album. It's a brilliantly executed piece of work which has every chance of providing some new classic tracks and is as good as anything in its genre. It makes me incredibly happy that Joan Jett continues to do what she excels at - making great rock and roll records.

Track Listing:
1. Any Weather
2. TMI
3. Soulmates To Strangers
4. Make It Back
5. Hard To Grow Up
6. Fragile
7. Reality Mentality
8. Bad As We Can Be
9. Different
10. Everybody
11.Needs a Hero

'Unvarnished' from Joan Jett on Vimeo.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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