The once dark brown hair is dyed coal black. The eyes, bursting prettily out of a pale face, look black. A black T-shirt (logo: Leather Forever) lies taut over a tomboy body. A black leather jacket, black scarf and black socks keep out the winter chill.
The girl can't help it, she's got gold on her mind.
Joan Jett, pride of Wheaton High School and the Rockville malls, used to be one of the girls as singer and guitarist for the Runaways, California's punkette queens of noise. Now she's one of the boys, leading the Blackhearts up the rock 'n' roll charts with a little power ditty called "I Love Rock and Roll." She's to the clamor born. Jett's come home for a Bayou concert and she's boosting it and her new album on DC101.
"How's it be back in DeeCee?" gurgles deejay Rick Anderson.
"Well, we just got here. I haven't had a chance to run around but it's great to be back," Jett murmurs in an accent that sounds like Rockville, Long Island. "I was freak-in out driving around Rockkkkkville, Be-thessssda."
Jett won't sit down for the interview; she stands next to Anderson, looking like she's waiting for an order of fries at a carryout counter. "There's probably zillions of people out there yellin' and screamin' riggghhhht now, YEAH!" Anderson cues up a record. "Where was you last show?"
"Poughkeepsie, New York."
"AWWWWRIIIIIIGHT!!!! YOOOOOOW!! Ev-ery-bod-dy loves you in Poughkeepsie. It is definitely a crazy town."
After the record plays itself out, Anderson confirms his name is Rick, not Jack. "Who do you think influenced, I mean, like overall?"
"I can't really pick one band," Jett says. "It would be that whole early '70s British glitter scene -- Gary Glitter, T. Rex, Slade, David Bowie. I also liked a lot of heavy metal. Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid' was one of the first heavy metal albums I had."
"What's happening with the Curries also in the Runaways , they went the nice girl way, so to speak, didn't they?"
Jett looks surprised. "Well, they are nice girls."
Anderson presses on, undaunted. "Well, I mean, as far as projecting that image as opposed to kickin' --- and things like that.
Jett looks surprised all over again. "Oh, you're allowed to say that on the air, huh?"
Anderson looks proud. "Occasionally. I hope we won't get into too much trouble."
One cut later, Anderson asks whether the Runaways ever felt they were being taken advantage of by ad campaigns that pushed them as "teen-age jailbait rock and rollers."
"Did they, like, try to exploit you back then?"
"What, the Runaways? De-finite-leee. And we weren't aware of it."
Jett and manager Kenny Laguna ask whether the next cut from the album, a remake of Tommy James' "Crimson and Clover," is being played by DC101. No, just for tonight. Anderson is suddenly seized by an idea. "Do you play guitar?"
"Do I wanna play guitar now?" Jett looks like she's just been asked to go mooning down Rockville Pike.
"Yeah, we've got an acoustic right behind the door."
"No, go away. I can't do it, I feel funny unless I'm with the band. No, this is Joan Jett, not Joni Mitchell."
The interview finishes with Jett promising her fans that "I sweat extremely a lot when I'm on stage. I put everything into it."
As a thank-you for stopping by, Anderson asks her what she'd like to hear.
" 'Wild Thing' by Jimi Hendrix."
DC101 has the original by the Troggs, but not the Hendrix version.
Jett's not through, though. The DC101 staff has a few other ideas, and since they're not dangerous, Jett goes along. She's hustled into a studio to cut a few station identifications and messages. Things kick off with a birthday message for morning deejay Howard Stern. Jett looks over the copy.
" 'Hi Howard, this is Joan Jett from the Blackhearts. Lick my' . . . aw, I said boots. Nobody in this band can do i.d.'s without writing them down."
Jett regains her composure. " 'Hi, Howard, this is Joan Jett from the Blackhearts. Lick my Pro-Keds, you pencil-necked geek. Happy Birthday.' " This time she's proud, a near-shy smile breaking briefly across her face.
"All right, that's good," says the station man. "How about 'Hi, this is Joan Jett and I love rock 'n' roll on DC101!' "
"That's easy," Jett says, getting into the swing of things. She does this one flawlessly.
The DC101-er is on a roll now. "Okay, how about 'Hi, this is Joan Jett from the Blackhearts. Happy Valentine's Day and Leather Forever.' "
Jett balks. "I don't know about the 'Leather Forever.' " There follows a brief discussion on the merits of the new phrasing ("hearts and valentine go together real nice, that's catchy"), while the singer starts getting nervous. "I can't do these things on the spot."
Manager Laguna helps out by writing it down. "Hi, I'm Joan Jett . . . J . . . O . . . A . . . N . . ."
"Kenny, don't get smart," Jett says smartly. "I know that part."
The impromptu recording session concludes with Jett declaiming, "CRANK IT UP WASHINGTON, this is Joan Jett on DC101." Gee, maybe they'll keep playing her record, too.
Leaving the station, Jett runs into an old girl friend from Wheaton High. The friend is nervous. "How's life treating you?"
"Not too bad," Jett replies. The friend is staring. "You haven't seen me with black hair have you?"
"You haven't seen me with short hair, either," says the friend, struggling for dignity. "I want to congratulate you. I didn't think you could really do it from T. Rex."
"Yeah, can you believe it? I said I would."
"Well . . ."
"Well, take care of yourself."
The friend goes back to Rockville. Jett climbs into the limousine that will take her to a sound check. On the way she remembers old days.
"I saw one show at the Capital Centre, took my best friend to see Grand Funk Railroad. I remember 'cause somebody lit something on fire where I was and I started getting really scared. I'm happy to be in a band. It's not like you thought it was when you went to the shows. You think it's all glamor; it's not."
She clutches at the Baltimore Orioles necklace around her neck. Jett, a rabid Oriole fan, dedicated her first solo album to the team. She remembers watching Jim Palmer throw a no-hitter against the Oakland A's. "I was instantly in love. I finally got to meet him at the beginning of last season." She tucks the necklace safely away under the black T-shirt. "I wear it all the time, I never take it off."
Jett remembers being a tomboy into T. Rex. "I was playing the guitar in my room to records and stuff. Everyone thought I was crazy. I said, 'I'm going to be in a rock band, I'm going to be famous some day.' They said, 'Yeah, sure.' "
Jett bounds out of the limo; she's got work to do. That night, there are a lot of Rockville fans at the Bayou, saying "I told you so" with their applause. Joan Jett cranks it up, but this time it's for herself.