The Runaways didn’t have of a long career, but they were certainly ahead of their time. An explosive outfit both on and offstage, they were one of the first all-female hard rock bands to clear a path for future women rockstars. Though the Runaways had broken up by the early ’80s, former members like Joan Jett, Lita Ford and Cherie Currie have kept the band’s memory alive, not to mention their ever-popular song “Cherry Bomb” and the 2010 biopic about the band that starred Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning.
And though they were originally from Los Angeles, the Runaways will be making a special appearance in spirit this week in New York City. Music critic and author Evelyn McDonnell, who wrote the wonderful 2013 biography Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways, will be reading from her book twice: this Thursday at the Cutting Room, and on Saturday at Bluestockings Bookstore and Cafe. The Thursday event is particularly unique in that it will also feature a performance by the Stay-at-Homes, the Runaways cover band starring Tammy Faye Starlite (as singer Cherie Currie), Jill Richmond (as singer/guitarist Joan Jett), Heidi Lieb (as guitarist Lita Ford), Monica Falcone (as bassist Jackie Fox), and Linda Pitmon (as drummer Sandy West), along with special guests. It may be the closest thing that today’s generation will ever get to hear the Runaways’ music live, other than the original members’ current solo endeavors.
“These are four or five young women who really stepped out there on their own in a very aggressive and provocative manner and traveled the world,” McDonnell told me about the Runaways last year. “It changed their lives and I think they changed people’s lives. They did help pave the way for many bands up until this day, and they continue to inspire many women to pick up microphones, guitars, drumsticks, samplers or keyboards.”
Evelyn McDonnell will be reading Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways this Thursday at the Cutting Room, 44 E. 32nd St., New York, 10pm, $15 adv./$20 day of show (with music by the Stay-at-Homes); and Saturday at Bluestockings Bookstore and Cafe, 172 Allen St., New York; 7pm, free.