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Queens of Noise Paperback – 30 Oct 2014

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (30 Oct. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306822911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306822919
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,935,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Publisher's Weekly Top Ten Music Books for Spring 2013, 1/28/13 New York Times Book Review, 10/6/13 "Scrupulously researched...McDonnell has done her legwork...[and] rightly rehabilitated a pioneering band's reputation." CBSNews.com, 6/17/13 "Extensively researched." Seattle Times, 7/21/13 "[T]he Runaways' legacy as trailblazers who opened the doors for other female artists is assured. Queens of Noise is the definitive account of their pioneering career." New York Observer, 7/23/13 "Reversing the curse that plagued the band's short run, [Queens of Noise] declares: if you haven't heard of the Runaways, that's your problem--not theirs. Paste, 7/30/13 "Celebrates the spirit of what could happen when listeners ignore conventional wisdom about girls-in-rock. An almost-feminist manifest...A primer of how bands come together, what they face in the jaws of trying to create arena-sized success without proper management and how it can all go wrong." Graffiti Magazine, 7/31/13 "For a grim and gritty look at the rise and fall of the band, as well as a look at sexual politics in the 70s and in the 70s rock scene, this is a fascinating book. And for fans of The Runaways, like me, this is a must have." Bookviews "Full of insights." The Advocate, 8/9/13 "Brilliant, must-read." San Antonio Express News, 8/4/13 "This book may be the first Runaways project to successfully represent all five members of the classic lineup...Instead of a riot of conflicting opinions, McDonnell skillfully weaves a coherent narrative that looks at both sides of 'he said, she said,' or is often the case, 'she said, she said.'" Houston Press, 8/21/13 "Queens of Noise is as wild a read as was the Runaways' short-lived career. But in the hands of such a skilled, careful, and picture-painting writer as McDonnell, it's far more than the scandalous jailbait journalism it might have been." Examiner.com, 8/20/13 "An all-inclusive overview that draws hundreds of quotes from dozens of magazine and television interviews with the musicians, managers, confidantes, and kin to paint a bigger, clearer picture than any previous work." NeuFurtur.com, 8/20/13 "An even-handed look at the band, and those surrounding them...[McDonnell] objectively covers the group, warts and all, and does an incredible job of balancing everyone's interpretations of the band's brief but often contentious life." My Big Honkin Blog, 8/18/13 "The sad yet triumphant tale of a handful of California girls who were thrust together to form the at the time revolutionary all-girl band The Runaways...Author Evelyn McDonnell finally tells the band's story in rich detail and accounts for all perspectives in this oft-disputed tale." Los Angeles Review of Books, 9/1/13 "Gives this all-girl hard-rock group, the first to sign a multiyear major record label deal and tour the world, the recognition and serious consideration as pioneers that they deserve, granting them a position in cultural, social, and feminist history. Through extensive interviews and research, McDonnell...provides a panoramic scale, sense, and dignity to a complicated and emotion-filled saga that still divides the key players and band members, replete with ongoing lawsuits and deeply entrenched resentments...McDonnell's writing is straightforward, and her passion comes through in an enticing hybrid of music fandom and academia." January Magazine, 9/7/13 "This is a girl's story. A woman's story. And the influence this bouquet of teenagers would have on the music scene is perhaps still being calculated." Under the Radar (website), 9/17/13 "An essential read." JSItop21.com, December 2013 "A vivid must-read part of music's evolution." Waterbury Sunday Republican, 12/15/2013 "An astonishing story of Roman candle-like duration...the book is a wild and wooly romp...No question that [The Runaways'] story is exciting and unique and McDonnell tells it well." Portland Book Review, 2/5/14 "Crisp, self-aware, and interesting...Particularly of note is the analysis McDonnell offers as she thoroughly explores the curious circumstances that stunted the Runaways' lasting success." Curled up with a Good Book. 2/9/14 "McDonnell...pulls no punches in describing drug use, in-fighting, and the alternate lifestyles many of the girls were following...[Queens of Noise] pulls back the curtains on the facade that, seen from the outside, being in a rock and roll band would be the coolest gig in the world. But when the terrible underbelly is exposed, you realize how easily that dream disappears." Jazzhouse.org, 4/23/14 "Will go a long ways toward rectifying the notion that women rockers stood by virtually unnoticed." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Evelyn McDonnell, author or co-editor of five books, has been a pop music critic for the Miami Herald and a senior editor at the Village Voice. She lives in Los Angeles. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By No Sleep Till Saltburn on 30 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw The Runaways live - when I was just 16 years old. As a result they're not just my favourite band of all time, they're one of my `favourite things EVER'. Which means that unknown to her, Evelyn McDonnell had one of the toughest of all tasks in satisfying me with her latest book. The great news is, she has more than succeeded and with flying colours too.

"Queens Of Noise" is wonderful achievement whichever way you measure it. Empathy for her subjects, knowledge, musical journalism, you name it, she hits the mark in absolutely every respect.

This book is not only a MUST READ for all Runaways, Joan, Lita, Cherie, or Fowley fans, it's a MUST READ for every fan of music, or indeed, for anyone who ever had a dream.

Meticulously researched, written with style and pace (which I sometimes find lacking with biographical matter) "Queens Of Noise" is a towering great triumph of a book which you certainly don't need to be an aficionado of the girls to enjoy, or appreciate. I give it SIX stars out of FIVE!
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By Gorgal Windsor on 28 April 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since when did The Runaways support Metallica?!??Reasonable book that reads a bit too much like a socialogical report on Californian teens in the mid 70s
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By R. Avery on 14 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Most stuff written about the Runaways is from a single members perspective this is a really thorough study of the band and the lives around it from all viewpoints.
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By shona on 4 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Arrived quickly was bought as a Christmas present for a big fan. she was over the moon this being the only book of them she didn't have.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 29 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By Frank - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Runaways have been a part of me for the majority of my life. Turned on to them by my babysitting cousin when I was seven years old, for whatever reason (there are many) this group spoke to me. Over the years I painstakingly collected albums, imports, magazines, clippings, and when I could find them, shirts. MOST of anything Runaways was always difficult to find, and it was a serious high when it would turn up. I had to have all things Runaways. My father even got involved, and was so proud when the rest of the world finally caught on and starting buying Joan Jett's records. He used to help me hunt for Runaways albums. On Long Island, New York that was no easy task. I remember how happy he was when he found me a copy of "Waitin' for the Night", then refused to let me listen to the final track because of the "F Bomb" at the end. A record store clerk even walked out to us with a copy of "Live in Japan" which I've always read was never released in the USA. But there it was in the Smithaven Mall on a Saturday night. Dad and I were both elated, like we'd found a rare treasure. I think I even brought it in for show and tell. NUTS, right?
Over the years, people from my past I've run into have said to me "Do you still love The Runaways? I always remember that about you." The answer has always been and still is "yes." They have been with me through every chapter in my own life, and as I've gotten older I guess they've always been a perfect fit to the outsider in me. They were different, special and unique. The only problem was where to find anything about them. Sure, the internet has helped, and I'd discovered that there were fans even more detailed and crafty than I. Finally, a few CD releases, and Vicki Blue's "Edgeplay", which is great but somewhat slanted in its depiction of abuse over much else about the band, and is unfinished as it lacks so many stories that were around the band, as well as founding member Joan Jett.
The rather recent film "The Runaways" was profoundly disappointing to me as a fan as it wasn't about The Runaways, it was about the singer, Cherie Currie, and Joan Jett. As a Runaways fan I loved all of the members, loved the group as a whole, and my favorites changed back and forth over the years. The eclectic mix of varied musical backgrounds made that band great. I left the theater with a lump in my stomach after seeing that film, as core member Lita Ford, a groundbreaking musician and the greatest female guitarist in history was not only ignored but vilified. Similar fates are so in the miniscule character depictions of drummer Sandy West and bassist Jackie Fox, portrayed as a fictional character with no lines.
I thought that was it. No more behind the scenes to be had. I had thought finally, after all those years, I'd get to learn about one of the longest relationships of my life, my relationship with The Runaways, but no such luck. The movie cheated so many of us, as did "Neon Angel", as it was just unfair, one voice rewriting history and giving voice to four other characters now relegated to a fictional, one-sided voice.
I wanted to know more, had to. I wanted to know what I couldn't find no matter how many magazines I'd collected, how many fans on the internet I'd been lucky enough to chat with. I actually never thought more insight would be available.
I was wrong.
Evelyn McDonnell has written the one and only stop for all things Runaways. Painstakingly compiled, this book is, if it's anything, fair. She often plays devil's advocate in attempt to tell every side of every story, which is truly what readers and fans deserve. Though the author may have her own opinions on some songs (which is a great addition, us fans have tossed over thoughts of the songs for years) when it comes to the members and all of the she said he said she said, McDonnell takes no sides and really, really tries to just tell it from as many points of view as possible. From beginning (and I do mean the very, very beginning of the groups' history) to end (there are so many built in, emotionally moving stories in this groups' bio) as many voices as possible are given their chance to tell their side of the story. I was so dissatisfied reading Currie's "Neon Angel" as there were so many contradictions, so much assigning blame, along with such a lack of self-awareness that I couldn't help but feel I wasn't getting the truth. "Queens of Noise" offers the surrounding players, original members, roadies, parents, friends, fellow musicians, tour details, siblings, and ALL sides of the stories. There isn't a chapter in this groups' history left out. Also, I'm so grateful that much attention is given to the foursome line-up, the 77-78 Ford, Jett, West, Blue era. So often overlooked in writings, this incredibly tight line up finally has a documentation of their important contribution to The Runaways' legacy. The same goes for the early players, Kari Krome, Michael Steele, Peggy Foster, and many others.
At this point in time I thought I'd heard all there was to hear about my life long obsession, The Runaways. I'm so glad that I was so wrong, and so grateful to have this volume that is in part, a love letter to what I consider to be the greatest band of all time.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Don't simple mistakes bother anyone? 27 Dec. 2013
By Matthew Resnick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Interesting but a biography where most of the participants are still alive best be very accurate. At one point the author says The Runaways opened for Metallica at a show in Europe. The problem? Metallica was not formed until 1981.The Runaways broke up officially in 1979 and played their last shows before that. When discussing Joan Jett after the group she mentions her excellent work in Rocky Horror playing the character Columbine. Might not be the authors fault but if not the editor screwed up. Columbine is a town in Colorado Columbia is the character in Rocky Horror. Silly little errors but when you catch stupid little mistakes in a biography you have to start wondering what else they got wrong.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars and two thumbs! 2 July 2013
By Jan Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In my opinion this is the book that has earned the right to depict who The Runaways were. Unbiased, well researched, well written and gritty. A page turner!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
the one i've been waiting for 16 July 2013
By Buddy Barker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was lucky enough to see the four piece Runaways open for the Ramones in Charlotte,NC back in my college days. It was a great show by both bands and the audience was quite receptive. Sadly when I wanted to read more about the band the rock mags at the time (Creem,Rolling Stone)were not exactly all that infomative or open minded. Most of what I've found out about the Runaways through the years has been in bits and pieces. The documentary Edgeplay and the recent Runaways Hollywood treatment seemed to omit big parts of these pioneering musicians complete history. This book IS THE ONE to go to if you really want to know about the band and ALL of its members. I think the writer has done a great job in her portrayal of all the key players. She is even unbiased about Kim Fowley (who is really hard to pin down. is he a villain? a genius? a conman?) and I don't think that's an easy task. It's a comforting thought that my daughter can't imagine a musical world without female hard rockers because of the groundwork the Runaways laid down. God bless the Runaways!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A MUST HAVE for any Runaways, Joan Jett, or Lita Ford fan! 24 Aug. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Finally! A book about this fantastic, groundbreaking, innovative band!! They should do a movie based on THIS book! (fyi, I HATED the Runaways movie. So many factual errors and the fact that Kristen Stewart wore leather pants throughout that entire film bugged the hell out of me. Joan did wear pants and jeans ya know!). It really tells the story of this band, from how it started, who was involved, why they left, and what they did after. It's extremely well researched and put together. My only critique would be the author would often go into little tangents about things unrelated the band--or even music really. Like describing Los Angeles in the 70s and quoting other authors to drive home said description. But I guess it was to paint the picture to reader of what the world was like then. For me, I didn't need a in depth painting, a sketch would've been fine. But other than that, I found this book extremely entertaining. Rekindling my love for this band (the Runaways Live In Japan is my number 1 favorite live record!) If your a fan of the band, Joan, Lita, Cherie, Sandy, or just plain old rock n roll, GET THIS BOOK!
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