Punk rock, I should mention was a bit of a fluid term at this point and The Runaways, despite being covered in Sniffin’ Glue and playing CBGBs, were, in reality, more of a glam rock/heavy metal hybrid, a fact that didn’t stop many of the leading lights of British punk, including Johnny Rotten, making their way to their Roundhouse set and party later on in the same tour.
At this point for teenagers, The Runaways appeared almost impossibly glamorous and the Apollo crowd for their show on the night apparently largely consisted of hordes of overexcited male teenage Heavy Metal fans.
Afterwards, according to Mick Farren in his NME review, many of these fans crowded outside hoping for another glimpse of the band as they left the venue. Supposedly fire hoses had to be turned on some of the mob eventually in order to let the girls get into their waiting cars. The Runaways were also pestered all night long in their hotel by a scattering of young fans waiting outside.
Did fans really have to be hosed down?
Maybe they did but it does sound to me like the kind of the thing that their manager at the time, Kim Fowley, might have made up in order to further hype the band. Maybe some reader of this blog was there that night and can confirm or deny the story.
Co-composed by Joan Jett and Kim Fowley, this is Cherry Bomb:
Pop genius/svengali Kim Fowley is still best known for his association with The Runaways, although over the years he also collaborated with a slew of other acts. He co-wrote for Alice Cooper and KISS and had some kind of involvement with everyone from Slade (when they were known as The N’Betweens) to Frank Zappa, as well as being a recording artist in his own right.
I can’t claim to have been at that Runaways concert – I wish I had but don’t think I’d heard them yet then although I soon would. Almost twenty years later, though, I did manage to see Kim himself play at the 13th Note in Glasgow, where he was accompanied by various BMX Bandits and, at different points, many members of the audience.
A very mad, entirely unpredictable night that was definitely fantastic fun.
Here’s Kim aka Jimmy Jukebox with Motor Boat. Listen to him rrrrrrrrrrrrr:
Kim Vincent Fowley: July 21. 1939 – January 15. 2015