Even rockers have to grow up some time. That's what Joan Jett has come to grips with as she's hit her mid-50s and experienced the loss of both her parents and others close to her.
The "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" singer has taken a more serious tone in her upcoming album, "Unvarnished," due for release in October.
"I'm in a different part of my life," she said in a recent phone interview. "The songs aren't all sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. There comes a time when you have to go through stuff. For me this isn't very uplifting but I call it the decade of death, losing people, companion animals very close to me, my parents, really heavy things."
Still, Jett won't be all gloom and doom when she performs Saturday at Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys. She and her band will be mixing in her classic hits, including "Bad Reputation," "I Hate Myself For Loving You" and "Crimson and Clover," along with the newer material at the show.
Jett, 54, knows all about having a good time and has been doing just that since she was 13 and her parents brought her an electric guitar. Within just a couple of years, she co-founded the all-girl punk band The Runaways, which gained international success. A few years back, a movie was made about the group, starring Kristen Stewart as Jett.
The band broke up in 1979 over disagreements about musical style, money and management of the band, but Jett went on to greater fame.
She formed a new band, the Blackhearts, which recorded her biggest hit, "I Love Rock 'N' Roll." The song was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven weeks in 1982.
Jett's varied career since then has included a co-starring role with Michael J. Fox in the 1987 dramatic movie "Light of Day" and appearances on Broadway ("The Rocky Horror Show") and TV shows such as "Oprah" and "Law and Order."
She's looking forward to the release of her latest album and sharing its songs with her fans. The first single will be "Any Weather," a song she co-wrote with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. "It's about a relationship it doesn't have to be romantic. It's about how you can get through anything if there's love."
The other songs are mostly serious including "Fragile" and "Hard to Grow Up."
"Some things shock you into recognizing and realizing you've got to grow up," she said. "Responsibilities fall to you. You've got to either step up or not. I want to be someone who steps up. You can't think of just what you're doing for the day you have to think about survival for self and the rest of your family. You start thinking about your own mortality, what you've done in life."
Looking back, she has a few regrets she wishes she would have spent more time with her parents when they were alive. But she tries not to spend too much time with should haves, could haves and would haves.
"I like to think I'm a good person, I have a good heart, I'm not a mean person so I defend myself in the situations that call for it," she said. "I think I'm an OK person when it comes to that stuff."
WHAT: Joan Jett
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Ironstone Vineyards, 1894 Six Mile Road, Murphys
CALL: (800) 514-3849
ONLINE: www. ironstonevineyards.com