For Joan Jett, accepting the role of Columbia in ”The Rocky Horror Show” was all about roots. No, not the kind you can discern pushing up from her freshly mown scalp (she calls her recent decision to join the clean pate club ”a millennium ritual”). A quarter century ago, the rocker was a rabid fan of the 1975 film version of the musical, the debut of which coincided with the formation of Jett’s first band, the ill fated teen nymph quintet the Runaways.
”When the movie came out, me and my friends would go to see it all the time,” says Jett, 40. ”We went a lot. So when this was offered to me, I jumped at it.”
Talking with Jett, one gets the sense that it’s not careerism that impelled her to take the role. Though she’s never replicated the chart topping success of her 1982 single ”I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” the transplanted California tough girl, who now lives on Long Island, N.Y., doesn’t seem to view this latest endeavor as any sort of ”comeback.” Indeed, even though she’s been off the mainstream radar for more than a decade, her passionate love for and commitment to rock & roll have ensured that she’s managed to make a steady living. She tours aggressively and says she is ”always in the process of making a new album” (her last was 1999’s ”Fetish”).
She’s also dabbled in acting (remember the 1987 potboiler ”Light of Day”?) and was in the middle of filming a martial arts scene with Chuck Norris for the season finale of ”Walker, Texas Ranger” when she got the call to audition for ”Rocky.” Quicker than you can say ch- ch- ch- cherry bomb, the gig was hers, and she began intensive rehearsals. ”It’s been pretty demanding,” she admits. ”I’m pretty sore and tired and trying to catch up on sleep and stuff.”
Since Jett plans to continue working on her own music while performing in ”Rocky” six nights a week, there’s apparently little rest for the weary in the offing. And maybe that’s appropriate. As the workaholic rocker admits, despite the back breaking schedule, she’s ”totally lovin”’ doing the Time Warp again…and again…and again…