by Tracy Sirotti - March 12, 1998
How and when did you become a member of The Runaways?
I was dancing at a Hollywood club called the Starwood one night when Rodney Bingenheimer (who had a club called "Rodney's" on the Sunset Strip and is now a DJ on L.A. radio station KROQ) asked me if I played an instrument. I said "yes, I play guitar" and he introduced me to Kim Fowley, who arranged an audition. It turned out that the band needed a bass player though, so I borrowed a bass from a friend for the audition. When I got accepted to the band I switched from guitar to bass.
Did you have other band experiences before joining the Runaways?
Just playing with friends.
What are the positive things concerning the band that you want to remember?
Most of the things I remember are positive. In particular, I have fond memories of meeting people all over the U.S. and in Japan and England. It was also alot of fun to be out playing rock and roll instead of going to math class! Most of the time I also really enjoyed being with the rest of the girls in the band and being a teenager.
And the negative things?
The most negative thing about being in the band was not being taken care of by the people who were supposed to be looking out for us. We had a terrible record deal, we sometimes went for days on the road without getting fed very much, and our managers really set us against each other so instead of being sisters to each other, we ended up fighting alot and competing for the spotlight. If I could go back and fix one thing about the band, even more than wanting to improve our record deal and other deals, I would want to go back and try to be a better friend to the rest of the band.
What Runaways member were you closest to musically?
Probably to Joan and Sandy. Lita was really into metal and Cherie was really into Bowie. Joan was a Suzi Quatro and glitter fan, and Sandy was into Queen. I was a huge Aerosmith and Kiss fan. Doesn't sound like much of an overlap, does it? It wasn't!!!!
When and why did you leave the band?
I left the band at the end of our Japanese tour in June 1977 when my 1965 Gibson Thunderbird bass(a very rare, beautiful bass even in 1977) broke and I realized it hadn't been insured and that nobody was taking care of us. I was already at that point sick of all the fighting so it didn't take that much to push meover the edge. I was only 17 at the time!!
What is the truth about attempting suicide in Japan?
It never happened. I cut my arm on a broken bottle and shortly after that happened I quit. I was upset at leaving the band and people made the wrong assumption. That rumor has lasted 20 years, probably because it's a lot more interesting than the truth.
The Runaways did a reunion as trio in 1994 (Cherie-Sandy-Jackie), what were your feelings?
I had a blast playing Runaways songs with Cherie and Sandy and the crowds were incredibly responsive. It was a little bit weird though -- my boss and my co-workers (all lawyers!) were watching and I couldn't really cut loose the way I would have liked to. But it was particularly fun for me because it's not something I do anymore. So I really appreciated the opportunity and the fan support.
How would you see a Runaways reunion now with Joan and Lita?
A few years ago I would really have been into it, but Joan and Lita weren't interested. I don't know how I would feel now because I have a great job and a totally different life. I think the question is hypothetical anyway because I just don't see Joan doing a Runaways reunion. I would love to put together a new compilation (one that is based on the songs fans love, rather than on which former Runaway is hot at the moment) with a great set of liner notes, and have one of the director clients I work with do a video incorporating both old and new footage. That would be a fun project.
The Runaways had 4 bassists but you and Vicki were the most important ones. So what will it happen if you reform the band?
I don't know -- with no disrect to Vicki, most people think of the band with the Mercury line-up (Joan, Cherie, Sandy, Lita and me). So on the one hand, I think the more the merrier (I'm sure we could work out the instruments), on the other hand, it wouldn't be the "original" line-up. By the way -- there were actually 5 bassists. There was a bass player named Peggy who was with the band for about two weeks after Michael Steel left and before I joined. I have no idea what happened to her.
Do you know all the ex members? Do you meet them sometimes?
I just talked to Vicki the other day for the first time and will probably arrange to meet her soon. We have a lot in common! I see Cherie periodically -- we've become friends in the last 5 years or so. The rest of the band is off making music and I really haven't kept in close touch.
Have you played in other groups after the Runaways and made any records?
I did some solo demos after the band broke up, but in the late '70's it wasn't too cool to be a former Runaway. I give Joan, in particular, a great deal of credit because she kept at it in the face of tremendous opposition and didn't give up.
How do you spend your time now?
I work a lot, representing actors, directors, producers and writers on their movie deals. In my spare time, I visit with friends and family, go to concerts and movies, work out, do yoga, surf the net and, on occasion, clean my room.
I know you partecipated to the "Dating Game" on US TV a long time ago. Was it a joke or were you really going to find the man of your life?
I can't even remember the year. My roommate at the time worked for Chuck Barris productions and was responsible for getting potential contestents in to audition. She had a quota and one week when she hadn't met it begged me just to show up. So I went and, since I wasn't taking it seriously, just mouthed off when I got there. Which, of course, they loved. So I went on out of curiosity. The best part about it was that Pee Wee Herman was on the game after me!! It was one of Paul Reuben's earliest appearances as Pee Wee and he was hilarious. I don't have a tape of that appearance. If anyone out there has one, I'd love a copy.
àààJACKIE FOX AT THE MIRROR ààà
FULL NAME:I leave this to the sleuths out there to discover. Here's a hint -- my real last name means "Fox" in another language.
DATE OF BIRTH:December 20, 1872 (okay -- not that long ago, but sometimes it feels like it!)
CITY: Los Angeles
ACTUAL OCCUPATION:Business Affairs executive for a large talent agency.
MOTIVATION AND STORY ABOUT HOW YOU BECAME AN ARTIST:I'm a real night owl and I like to say what I think -- I figured if I became a rock star I could sleep late and speak my mind. I also loved music, so it was a natural desire.
FAVOURITE MUSIC ARTISTS:I like all kinds of stuff. Current faves include Garbage, John Campbell (an old blues artist), K.D. Lang, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Cult, the The, Sugar Ray, the Verve, Kenny Wayne Shepard -- all kinds of stuff!
FAVOURITE SONGS:Ah, this one's hard! My favorite song last year was Smashmouth's "Walking on the Sun." I also love "Rain" from the Cult's first album, "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith, K.D. Lang's "Constant Craving", CCR's "Green River" and "Born on the Bayou", Dishwalla's "Counting Blue Cars", anything loud by Rage Against the Machine or the Beastie Boys. Wow -- there are so many great songs.
My favorite Runaways song is "Cherry Bomb". My favorite Runaways songs to play were "Secrets" and "I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are." Also "Dead End Justice" because Lita and I got to pretend to beat the crap out of Cherie and whenever I was mad at her I could pretend I was really going to!!
FAVOURITE RUNAWAYS ALBUM:Live in Japan.
FAVOURITE RUNAWAYS CONCERT AND WHY:The Royal Oak Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit), because Cheap Trick and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were the opening acts so it was a kick-ass bill we got to headline. We each did two sets that night and it was hours of great music and great performances in front of a crowd in one of the best rock and roll cities in the world.
FOOD YOU LIKE:Italian food (especially risotto primavera), fruit (every kind except grapefruit), and raspberry-filled butter cookies dipped in chocolate.
TATTOOS:An orchid on my, uh, hip, and a tiger lily on my lower abdomen (just inside the bikini line).
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT:My Mom not giving me the money to buy second row tickets to David Bowie's Diamond Dogs tour!
Thank you Jackie!