Z TOYZ opens for Joan Jet and the Blackhearts…

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Joan Jet

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Will Hart

While attending the University of Miami I had the thrill of opening up for Joan Jet and the Blackhearts on the UM patio. The patio might sound humble but it had a big stage and could easily fit 4,500 people. This was Joan at the peak of her success, ‘85.   In attendance was Richard Born from Bronz Records, interested in signing Z Toyz. He was accompanied by Mitch Weisman, an original cast member, (Paul McCartney) in Beatlemania on Broadway. Richard Bron brought Mitch down to see the group as a potential record producer.   Before the show John Suarez accidentally walked into Joan Jet’s dressing room.   Moments later she walked in with her manager and entourage. Joan went ballistic, asking who the hell Suarez was? When he said that he was in the opening band she said, “fuck that, and you can forget opening tonight”. Suarez told me what happened. I told him not worry. I spoke with the stage manager who was a friend. She said Joan was serious. She didn’t want us opening.   Here it was, a record company in town and I’ve got to tell them we may not be playing. I mentioned this to Mitch and he said, “don’t worry, I know the guys in the Blackhearts and I’ll smooth it over,” which he did. The guys in the Blackhearts were great and took care of it.   We had a fabulous show that night, but I always wondered why Joan acted like such a diva. For years I found it puzzling. Then in 2010 I’m with my friend Matthew Patrick and we are watching the biopic, The Runaways, a good film no matter what the critics say. The film is about Joan Jet’s first group.   Joan worked hand in hand with the director and was credited as a consultant. In the film The Runaways are on tour opening and getting little respect from the Headliners.   There is a scene where Joan sneaks into the Headliners empty dressing room, pulls down her pants, and pisses on one of the guitars. She then sneaks out undetected. Wow, mystery solved. It must have been paranoia on her part to see Suarez in her dressing room alone.   She must have been afraid of a little karma.

JJ Pick

Picks acquired by guitar tech Lance Troupe at show

Unfortunately the story doesn’t end there.   After a great show Richard Bron came back to my house.   In one room he is offering to sign the band to Bronz, in the next room Suarez tells me he wants to leave the band. Even though he could be a pain the ass, Suarez and I built Z Toyz. He was talented and we worked well together. I did everything I could to keep him in the band but it was not to be. Eventually he quit the band, Richard Bron who liked the original chemistry decided to pass, which was probably a good thing since they folded soon after. The good news was meeting Mitch who eventually joined the band.   Oh… it doesn’t end there. I told the story of seeing The Runaways movie to our roadie/drum tech, Will Hart. He was shocked. He said, “are you kidding, she was totally cool, the road crew hung out with her and the band after the show and I made out with her.  Yeah we sucked face” The End…

Peter S

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