The Original Sin
The Original Sin I don’t give a damn about my reputation You’re living in the past and it’s a new generation A girl can do what she wants to do and that’s what I’m gonna do And I don’t give a damn about my bad reputation — Joan Jett, Bad Reputation 00:00 Introduction of Micco Caporale’s “The Runaway Runaways” Episode 3: Secrets 01:18 The Runaways, Little Sister (Joan Jett) 04:19 Interview of Siouxsie Sioux, Toronto, 1981 05:33 Siouxsie and The Banshees, Nicotine Stain (Siouxsie Sioux) 08:28 BBC’s “Who Is Poly Styrene?”, 1979 09:12 X-Ray Specs, Plastic Bag (Poly Styrene) 14:04 Chrissie Hynde on “The New Music”, 1991 14:19 The Pretenders, Precious (Chrissie Hynde) 17:53 Nardwuar vs. Joan Jett, 2006 18:30 Joan Jett, Bad Reputation (Joan Jett) 21:10 Kendra Smith on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic”, 1995 21:41 Opal, Happy Nightmare Baby (Kendra Smith) 24:32 Pixies on VPRO, 1988 25:33 Pixies, Gigantic (Kim Deal) 29:22 The Muffs on “The New Music”, 1993 29:38 The Muffs, From Your Girl (Kim Shattuck) 33:05 Hole on M6’s “Métal Express”, 1994 33:39 Hole, Olympia (Courtney Love) 36:21 Interview of the Breeders, London, 1993 36:55 The Breeders, No Aloha (Kim Deal) 39:00 Elastica on “Rock Profiles”, 1996 39:49 Elastica, Connection (Justine Frischmann, Donna Matthews, Annie Holland) 42:05 Interview of Veruca Salt, Brisbane, 1997 42:50 Veruca Salt, Victrola (Louise Post) 45:06 Corin Tucker in “Rock N Roll Mamas”, 2013 47:17 Sleater-Kinney, Modern Girl (Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker, Janet Weiss) 50:14 Best Coast on “What’s In My Bag?”, 2010 50:35 Best Coast, Crazy For You (Bethany Cosentino) 52:23 Marisa Dabice on KXSF, 2019 53:09 Mannequin Pussy, Drunk I (Marisa Dabice) 53:54 Interview of Ex Hex, D.C., 2014 54:26 Ex Hex, Waterfall (Mary Timony) 56:40 Interview of Lindsey Jordan, Barcelona, 2019 57:30 Snail Mail, Anything (Lindsey Jordan) “The Original Sin” is a subjective playlist of rock and roll tracks and interviews from the US and the UK, arranged chronologically, being written and performed by women. It opens with The Runaways’ tidal wave and in its wake Siouxsie Sioux, Poly Styrene and Chrissie Hynde, later echoed by Kim Deal, Courtney Love and many others. Among acts that could be obvious in this playlist, Grace Slick, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry and Kim Gordon were not included notwithstanding their significant influence in rock and roll. By being experimental, sophisticated or by exploring poetry or other musical genres, they embodied something more respectable, less purely raw and sexual than rock and roll. That could also be said of The Slits, Kate Bush and Lydia Lunch. The early artists in the playlist were put together because playing rock and roll they radically, physically and at their expense opposed a gender behavior (a general behavior, actually) considered socially acceptable in their time. Many other interesting acts that performed in specific genres at the edge of rock and roll, pursued unusual and experimental music, stayed small or amateur are not part of this playlist. They include many bands from the 70s Los Angeles punk scene, from the 90s “Riot grrrl” movement, hardcore punk bands (The Gits, Lunachicks, Sourpuss, The Distillers) or more recent artists. “The Original Sin” is young women in 1975 plugging electric guitars, wearing leather jackets, writing and performing their own rock and roll songs when we were all taught that they had no place near the forbidden fruit. A move none of them would ever regret, a door opened that would not be closed again. The original sin is also the rape of one of the Runaways by their producer Kim Fowley, in the presence of other band members, before they had released any album. It’s the fact that they made it a secret and kept on going as if nothing had happened, to become the band of women that started it all. It’s the fact that they buried traumas that would eventually destroy them, to the benefit of their aggressor and the sometimes obscene, vaguely “trashy” marketing that surrounded their legacy, some of which being the work of the Runaways themselves. The playlist opens on an excerpt of Micco Caporale’s “The Runaway Runaways”, a podcast that fully explores the topic in an acute and respectful way. If “The Original Sin” begins with this difficult ground, the playlist draws an evolving trajectory, sometimes sad, sometimes fierce, but mostly ecstatic, of which a conclusion, if any, is to be found in the words and songs of these rock and rollers. Enjoy! Notes: — To better understand what the cost of breaking through rock and roll has been for The Runaways, listen to Micco Caporale’s series of podcasts “The Runaway Runaways” ( — For an insight into the late 70s women punk scene in Los Angeles, see Alice Bag’s series of interviews “Women In L.A.” ( — For a wide introduction to the early 90s Olympia’s “Riot grrrl” movement, listen to the 1995 compilation “Free to Fight: Self Defense For Women And Girls” ( — For an overview of black women’s presence in rock and roll, read Afropunk’s article “Black Women Rock” ( — For an overview of rock and roll bands fronted by women in 2020, read the New York Times’s report (and its subsequent playlist) “Rock’s Not Dead, It’s Ruled by Women” (