A “Dear Joan” Letter to Joan Jett
First off, I will always love you, no matter where we end up or with whom. You will also be my first crush and every woman in my life will know about you. I dreamed of the day Lemmy would oversee our vows but, now, sadly, that day doesn’t seem like it will ever come. I’m sorry.
I’m really sorry, Joan, but I found someone else. You see, you were on tour – and you’re not exactly into the guys – and I was bored, so I went to a Social Distortion concert. That’s where I met her. I’m sorry, but she’s amazing.
Her name is Lindi. Lindi Ortega. She’s a musician. She’s kind of country, kind of rockabilly, and an awesome musician all around. In fact, she was Mike Ness’ opening act and she was amazing. There was another band before her, but they weren’t anything to write home about and the sold-out crowd at the Boston House of Blues was getting a bit riled.
Then she came on stage – just her, her acoustic guitar, and a back-up guitarist and drummer. She was looking great already – long black hair, short black skirt, and tall black boots – with lips so red the back row could see them curl into a snarl. And when she strode to the microphone, long before she said a word, everyone took notice and started to get quite. She spoke in a high-pitched voice that seemed meant for wailing, then she started playing her guitar fast and mean and the place exploded.
Like I said, she’s been around for a few years and has this real cool, sophisticated country-rockabilly sound. One of her first songs out of the gate was Little Lie which has a railroad rhythm that got everyone’s feet moving. And, Joan, if you saw Lindi’s left leg shaking while she played, you’d be in love with her too.
But it wasn’t just her guitar or her leg that got a hold of me. Her voice has this fantastic warble to it that can break your heart during the slow songs and drag you along for the ride on the fast ones. If you listen to I’m No Elvis Presley and not get the urge to dance, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.
I was finding it hard to not fall for her great songs and womanly ways already, but then I started absorbing the lyrics, and damn if she can’t write beautiful poetry as well. Angels is a perfect example of her sharp writing – powerful images to describe a personal feeling that we all have known at one point or another.
Joan, I don’t know if I should write anymore, but I owe it to the future we could have had to admit that what really sealed this whole thing was when she closed her set with Folsom Prison Blues. I’m a sucker for all things Cash, and I think she knew it. In fact, she’s been known to play some other Cash tunes, as well as Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah and Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz. And she makes them all her own, probably because she has a little bit of each of them in her style. All I really know was that when I heard that train a coming down the line, I was ready to jump on board and go wherever Lindi Ortega took me.
Joan, I’m so sorry. This is really hard for me to write. You are amazing – one of the most badass women I will ever know and one of my favorite musicians of all time. I knew all of that from the first time I saw the video for I Love Rock n Roll. But Lindi Ortega has a hold of me now, and I can’t stop listening to her. I bet you and her would really like each other. You both share similar qualities.
Joan, I hope you’ll listen to her and understand a little bit of what happen when I saw her live. I recommend, if you ever get the chance, you go and see her play a set in person, because I know you’ll fall in love with her too.