The Runaways Vicki Blue a.k.a director Victory Tischler Blue talks music, movies and more with LRI

The Runaways Vicki Blue  a.k.a director Victory Tischler Blue talks music, movies and more with LRI
August 15, 2012 | By More

Victory (Vicki Blue) on the left with The Runaways

Victory, recent pic by Vern Evans

Victory, recent pic by Vern Evans

In the grand scheme of Victory Tischler Blue’s life, the time she spent as the bassist in The Runaways has to seem like a lifetime ago.  One would assume that the passage of time and her own nicely carved out career as an acclaimed photographer and director would eventually slam that door to the California paradise of the 1970s shut.   But it hasn’t.  Fans and media have kept the Runaways in the public eye and Victory is fine with that.  After all, she not only agreed to an interview with us but made one of our all-time favorite documentaries ever, “Edgeplay- A Film About The Runaways”.  Having previously interviewed Jackie Fox, it was a sincere pleasure  talking with Victory about her time in the band following Ms. Fox’s departure, her amazing films and much more.    Read on…

This interview (as well as all of our Runaways-related interviews)  is dedicated to the memory of drummer Sandy West.

Legendary Rock Interviews:  Hi Victory, thanks so much for talking with us.  We were put in contact with you by the great Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper guitarist).  How did you guys come in contact with each other?

Victory:  He contacted me a while back and was wanting to get in touch with Lita Ford.  I was like “Oh my god, it’s Dick Wagner” and I gave him the contact info and we just kept in touch via email and that.  Then we started hanging out together and I just fell madly in love with him.  He’s such an amazing, amazing person and such a good soul.  We’re really, really good friends and I just love him.

LRI:  You also worked with Dick Wagner on a film project right?

VTB: Yeah, after The Runaways I really started getting involved in film and TV directing and production.  I had written a conceptual piece called “El Guitarista” which started out as an animated motion picture and then morphed into other things.  I brought Dick in to work with me on the soundtrack and have had that ready to go before the print of the film is even ready.  It morphed from the animated concept into a real edgy road film but I still think we will end up releasing the soundtrack before the movie because the music turned out so incredible.  It basically stands on its own.

LRI:  Well, I love your film stuff and I will get to that and your kickass movie EDGEPLAY but first, there is the little matter of The Runaways.  How familiar were you with the band, the music and the personalities before you joined and became a Runaway?

VTB:  I was real familiar with their music.   I had their albums and I thought they were a really cool band and thought the whole concept of the band was amazing of course.  It was 16 or 17-year-old girls and I was one of those girls so it totally appealed to me, I loved it and I wanted to be a part of it.  The opportunity presented itself and I jumped on it and went for it full force.  I was very aware of the band, their history and where it all was going.  As far as their personalities, I didn’t really know them going in.  I had met Sandy (West, drummer, R.I.P.) once at a party and thought she was a really cool girl but I didn’t know her at that point.  The other girls I didn’t know at all.

Victory and Lita recent pic

Victory and Lita recent pic

LRI:  In all of my geeky fanboy moments of watching the films and the interviews and videos it always seemed to me that Sandy was so exuberant, so genuine and so rock and roll.  It’s really a tragedy that she’s no longer with us, she was sort of the heart and soul of the band to me.

VTB:  You know, I just can’t believe she’s gone.  I just….I can’t believe it.  I also think that everyone is quite too aware of all the animosity and drama between the members of the band and all this crap that just doesn’t matter but Sandy was never a part of ANY of that.  She was just not into all that infighting and choosing sides and I think Sandy’s the one thing that you could actually get us all to agree about.  We all loved her so much and she had a heart of gold and she was an incredibly talented musician.  I think that just like a lot us, she was a misguided angel.  I don’t know why her path went to  some of the places it went nor do I know why she was so self-abusive.  We all tried to help her but at a certain point there’s only so much you can do and at that point you really have to help yourself.

The fantastic Sandy West, Rest in Peace.

Sandy, Vicki and Joan

Sandy, Vicki and Joan

LRI:  I just think that as much as the Runaways meant to all of you it meant something just a little bit more to her and it broke her heart.  That’s only my outsider’s opinion but it seemed that she never really recovered from the loss of the band.

VTB:  Sandy was almost in an arrested development when the band broke up.  I don’t mean that as a put down or in a negative way and I say this from my heart.  She could never move past the band and happily evolve into other things in addition to The Runaways.  We are ALL very proud of the band, none of us are ashamed of it.  Do I still wanna be in The Runaways?  No,  I do other things now but having been in the band for that stretch of time has enhanced our lives beyond belief.  I think that’s true for all of us because it’s the very foundation of our professional lives but Sandy, for whatever reason just couldn’t move past that.  We all tried to help her with that as well just saying “Look, this is but one facet of our lives, yeah, we’re all bonded by it and shaped by it but let’s build on TOP of it” and Sandy, god bless her, could not do that.  I don’t know why but I miss her and I wish she were still here.

LRI:  The legend is that you joined the band after being approached at the mall by some fans who thought you were a Runaway.   Is that true?

VTB:  No, that’s true.  That’s exactly what happened.  I was shopping at the mall with my friend from high school Marcy who was a couple years older than me, had her own car, would go off to Hollywood to work with bands like Lydia Lunch and Souixxie and the Banshees and had the coolest jet black hair.  We were in some store and the girl who worked at the store was like “Oh my god, are you Lita Ford of The Runaways?!”  which was kind of odd because at that point, The Runaways were not that well-known.  They sure weren’t that well-known amongst the average person at the mall you know?  I knew of them because Marcy knew of them and turned me on to them.  Marcy said the weirdest thing to the girl, she said, “No, she’s not Lita and she’s not in the band but she might be next week” (laughs).  Then a couple of days after that I ended up in the band.  It’s a really weird, fateful story.

LRI:  Jackie left and you entered.  Was it kind of a blur of photo shoots and recording sessions for “Waiting For The Night” when you joined?

VTB:  When I joined the band had literally just got back from Japan that week.  I auditioned and got the gig and we instantly started writing for the new album which was “Waiting For The Night”.  In addition to that we started doing a lot of rehearsing, five days a week,  eight hours a day.  In addition to all of that, there were numerous photo sessions including a couple with Barry Levine.  At one of those photo sessions there was a big fight between Cherie and Lita and Cherie left the band right as we went into start recording the album.

Vicki Blue by Barry Levine

Vicki Blue by Barry Levine

LRI:  That had to be inspirational to your future career in visual  arts to be working with a guy like Barry Levine.  His shots of KISS, Angel and The Runaways are so iconic.

VTB:  Yes, it was.  I remember that even at the time I was really into his studio and all the gear he had.  I’ve always been a very visual person, even before getting into directing and I was just so enamored with his studio and his cameras and was asking like “What kind of Nikon is this and what is this power pack and how does this light go off?” and all these questions (laughs).  He’s a really great guy in addition to being a really great talent and I was really inspired by him.  I mean he not only shot the bands you mentioned but he also shot everyone back then, people from Cher to Leif Garrett to you name it.  He had a fantastic company called Mirage and he had a stable of photographers in the company who all worked on different projects.  I loved hanging out with those guys and they really were making a big impression on me at that time.

LRI:  So after you made the “Waiting For The Night” album and did the photo sessions it was back out on the road for the band?

VTB:  We went out on the road to support the album.  We went all over Europe including Scandinavia, England, Scotland, Ireland headlining and also playing these huge festivals they have in the summertime.  Then we came back home to the states to do a four-month tour with The Ramones where we would alternate headlining.  One night, they’d open for us and then the next we’d open for them.  We did four months of that and then a little later went back to Europe to do another run there.

The Runaways, Waiting For The Night cover, photo by Barry Levine

Runaways and Ramones double bill

Runaways and Ramones double bill

LRI:  A 17-year old kid co-headlining with the Ramones across the country.  That’s normal.

VTB:  (laughs).  Yeah, it was a trip for sure.  Pretty weird, huh?  It was fun though and they were great guys to us.  We went over pretty well.

LRI:  Cherie made a post on her blog some time ago that could have been aimed at Laurie or one of the other Runaways of the past but sort of made me immediately think of you.  It was something to do with The real Runaways only being the “famous five” and it came off a bit harsh, especially given the fact that she gave such great interviews for your movie.  Did you see that or have an opinion on that?

VTB:  You know what, I did see that.  I think a lot of the band saw that.  It was a really weird thing that Cherie put that out there.  That’s just Cherie being Cherie.  Every once in a while, she’ll throw something like that out there and all the rest of us are like “Woah, where did that come from”.  I don’t have any personal issue with Cherie so I don’t know what that was even spurred by.   I mean I really don’t know what to say except I was a full member of the band, 100% during that time for what it’s worth.  Yes, I left the band before “And Now, The Runaways” came out but then, at that point, she herself had been out of The Runaways for over a year as well.  Some of us leave the group and hold on tighter to it than others, some of us have other things going on and are less involved with that world and I really don’t know what else to say about her comments.  I will just say that she’s a very talented performer, a very creative and passionate soul and I have the utmost respect for her on all levels as a professional.  Personally?  I don’t know.  She makes me scratch my head a lot and say “Huh?, wait a minute…what?”  The things that really matter in terms of this band are that we all have this gift of having been in the band and we all cherish it I believe, I know that I do.  It meant a lot to me.  Like I said before, I don’t want to be a Runaway anymore, do an album and reunion tour or any of that, that’s work!  I don’t have to work so hard these days.  I’m really grateful and proud to have been a part of the band and I think it was a really special time in my life and I am sure Cherie feels the same way.

LRI:  When the band split from Kim Fowley’s management was that kind of intended to breathe some form of new life into the band at that time?

VTB:  Yeah, but it felt weird.  I really like Kim and I always did.  He’s so weird and so out there that I just find him really inspiring, personally.  We are two completely different people with completely different personalities but that man gave me these tools as a kid that taught me how to make something out of nothing.  I could go on and it could be a totally separate interview based solely on that.  The lesson learned from Kim Fowley have really, really served me well in my career.  They did from the moment I left the band and they do still today.   The guy has his own universe and it’s really, really fuckin out there but he’s so passionate that you can’t help but like him.  When we signed our contract, I remember it vividly because I was an emancipated minor.  My family was concerned that they might somehow be responsible for having to repay some of the band’s debts so I was legally on my own.  I had to do some legal maneuvering and that involved having a lawyer from my family’s legal team look at the contract and they then explained it to me.  They basically said that the contract said management may make us famous but they will take all the money.  It was very clear who got what.  I think that a lot of the  disenchantment with Kim at that point when we switched management came from the girls not really understanding the contract they signed.  In essence, Kim Fowley was signed to the record company, not The Runaways.  I think at that time, the girls really wanted to start making some money and started paying a little more attention to the contract because of that.  It was fun but it was a lot of lonely, hard work out on the road and we’re not making any money because in all honesty the band members themselves didn’t get the money.

LRI:  Was it also a case of being out on the road with other bands and talking shit about the business and contracts and being told point blank, “Dude, your contract fuckin sucks”?

VTB:  Yeah, absolutely.  It was also just the fact that we were out there, playing to packed houses and selling merchandise and we know and can see that we’re making all this money, but we have nothing to show for it.  You have to remember though, that that’s part of the ordeal of being in the circus.  You go out on the road and you have to pay for all these road expenses, the backline, the lights, the trucks, the crews, the hotel bills, cab fares  and on and on.  There is just all this stuff involved with keeping a band on the road that management has to pay for and in actuality Kim was just breaking even.  We were paying for ourselves for sure but we sure as hell weren’t getting ahead because noone was really making any money, not even Kim.  I think that when our new manager Toby Mamis came on it was clear that he had every indication of caring for our welfare in a more “normal” way.   He recognized the fact that while we didn’t think we were kids, we were and we had zero experience in life management outside of this band.  He wanted to look out for our welfare and take The Runaways franchise and turn it into something that made money and made sense.

Vicky in the cub scout uniform on the right, photo by Brad Elterman

LRI:  Ironically, right around the time it was supposed to make sense was right when it all fell apart, correct?

VTB:  Yeah.  Although, I think that had more to do with the girls individually and the drugs and alcohol and all these other factors setting in, including fatigue.  I left the band about two months before it imploded and the reason was that I just wasn’t happy anymore.  I just didn’t think it was a good environment for me at that point and we worked so much that we never really had any time off.  I think that when you’re a kid you kind of need some time away from things in order to recharge and I was just a kid.  I got bored and I really wanted to do it but I was discovering that it wasn’t my first love.  What I really, really wanted to be was a director and producer and I really wanted to make motion pictures.  That’s where my heart was so for me, I had just had enough and I left and I think that to the other girls it sort of became a grind as well.  It was already a grind when I left so I can imagine what they were feeling leading up to the breakup.

LRI:  You did dabble in some music though after you left.  You worked with Tommy Lee who was your boyfriend and Cherie on some music.  I understand that by knowing all this I am outing myself as a severe Runaways nerd.  Was that material you guys worked on a lot different from the material that was to be on your solo album?

VTB:  Yeah, it was a lot different.  The solo album stuff was really poppy, almost euro-pop stuff and I wrote all that with a totally different co-writer.  The stuff Cherie, Tommy and I worked on was different.  The stuff I wrote for that was much more rock and I was the main writer in that project.  I wouldn’t say it was heavy metal that stuff that was more “rock”.

LRI:  I realize you can’t speak for Tommy but that had to be a little interesting and fun for him because at that point he had already started to achieve a little bit of success in Motley Crue.

VTB:  Yeah, it was fun.  That’s exactly what it was and we were basically just hanging out.  We were rehearsing together and making music and actually having fun which was key.  I think that at that point Cherie and I had forgotten how to have fun during the end of our Runaways days, we had forgotten how much fun we had just playing music.  I will always have good memories of those days rehearsing at SIR and having a good time with Cherie and of course Tommy who, every time you looked back at him was always smiling and always having fun no matter what.  Tommy was so much fun and just constantly made us laugh the whole time.  I have to say that I LOVED working with Cherie.  We might not have always gotten along but professionally and musically I always loved working with her.  I think that what I will always remember about those days is just that overall feeling of having fun again and what a relief it was and of course I think of Tommy.  I love Tommy.  You can probably hear my voice pick up and hear me smiling, I just love him and his energy and his personality.  He is just a  lovely and excitable 14-year-old boy.  He will always be a 14-year-old boy and I mean that with such love, I’m crazy about him.  The other thing I remember about those days is being shocked and awed at how good a drummer he is.  He would go into these like extended jazz rhythms and I would just look at him mesmerized.  He was a long-haired, beautiful guy but beyond that he was just playing on this other level and could play just about anything well.

LRI:  You also were involved in the movie “Spinal Tap” which is pretty cool to have on your resume first of all.  How did that happen?

VTB:  It’s kind of an interesting story.  Cherie and I have been very good friends at various points in my life.  During The Runaways and after The Runaways we were very, very close and she was an actress and one day got a casting call to go and audition for Rob Reiner for this film project he was producing.  She asked me to go with her and we walked in and Rob was there with Harry, Chris and Mike ( a.k.a. Derek, Nigel and David).  So we walk in and they have all this Runaways stuff all over the table like tour programs from Japan and albums and all this stuff.  Cherie goes in and does her audition and I stay back and play guitar and talk with Michael, Harry and Chris.  Cherie ends up getting the role and I was really, really, really jealous.  I remember that.  I didn’t wanna be an actress, I never dreamed of that or anything but at the same time I could sense it was a really cool project and was like, “Look at these guys and this project, how much fun would this be”.  I didn’t really know everyone involved but I knew Rob from “All In The Family” of course and I knew Michael from “Laverne and Shirley”.  I will admit to being incredibly jealous of Cherie at that moment but,  I mean, I was happy for her and  I just thought that was that.  Two weeks later, I get a call from Rob Reiner who said, “I wanna give you the role that we had originally planned to give to Cherie because we’ve written a much bigger, better part for Cherie.”.  I was like “Really??!!,  all right, fantastic”  so I was in.  I couldn’t ever remember the name of the movie, the concept of the mockumentary and all of that for some reason, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.  I thought it was kind of silly but I really wanted to work with Rob, I thought that was like the end all-be all.  So the first day of shooting they gave us the script and there was no dialogue, it was all just setting and details.  It literally read like, “Ok, we’re in a Holiday Inn room and you two are laying in a bed and in comes this other guy and you’re just gonna stream with this other guy a lot”.  I was like, “I don’t know how to do improv, I’m not an actor and I don’t know how to do this” and Rob was like “Don’t worry about it, it’s no big deal, just go with it and don’t worry about it” and I was like “Ok.”.  It was so cool and it turned out so well because everybody just streamed.  It was unedited and unfiltered and filled with these amazing improv performances from these standout performers.  We shot everything and had fun the whole time like I thought we would.  I was there the one day when Chris said “These go to eleven” and it was really funny, people were just cracking up laughing.  We did our scenes and then nothing happened with the film.  I think they ran out of money and couldn’t make it out of post-production with the film or something because something happened that caused it to be shelved for a little while and then I think I just forgot about it.  Then when it came out, it was quite a while later, maybe a year or longer went by before it finally came out.  When I finally saw it I could not believe how good it was, I was just blown away and thought it was hysterical but they had edited out all this brilliant stuff they had filmed  for Cherie and she never forgave me for that even though I had nothing to do with it.    It ended up making it into the DVD version of the film and if you look at that version there are lots of clips where the guys all have cold sores on their lips because they had all slept with that character that Cherie portrayed.   The fact that her role in that movie was cut down caused a little bit of a breakdown in myself and Cherie’s relationship.  She really held that against me and she probably still does.

LRI:  You went on to work for television as well as  Playboy Video and directed a lot of those videotapes that I watched as a frustrated middle school aged kid who didn’t have Cinemax.  That had to be interesting.  You go from being in an all-girl band to being behind the bunny door  making sexy magic to finally getting into business for yourself and making and producing your own films.

VTB:  (laughs).  I was the first female director ever at Playboy.  It was kind of fun and everything but eventually I got bored.  It was a lot of money and I really appreciated the work but I was not being creative and I was just getting bored.

LRI:  Well, there’s only so many poses and positions you can put the Dahm Triplets in, you know?

VTB:  (laughs).  It’s true, or anyone for that matter (laughs).  I met a lot of nice people and made good money but I was bored.  I really wanted to do something edgy and with network  TV you couldn’t be edgy and with Playboy you still, believe it or not, couldn’t be edgy because it’s all very wholesome and all-american.  I really wanted to get edgy and push some boundaries because that’s where I like to go.  Over the years I had thought about making a film on The Runaways but I wasn’t sure if it would be a narrative film or a scripted, casted film or what, I just didn’t know.  Around that time I was working on that there were all kinds of amazing developments with computers and digital and suddenly you could make TV or video look like real film.  You could use effects in a certain way that it just made video look so much better and so much closer to the quality of film.  I became very interested in the idea of making a real “film” but shooting it on digital video and doing it all like that.  It seemed doable and it looked cinematic and nice and I thought it might be the right time to do a documentary on the band.  I contacted Canon and Sony and told them what I wanted to do and they were real supportive and thought I should go for it.  I contacted Rob Reiner and he said the same thing and then I called Cherie.  I said “I wanna do this, will you roll with me” and she was on board and I called everybody and they were all on board beautifully with the exception of Joan.  It’s not that she wouldn’t do it but that she just didn’t respond in any way, shape or form so I went forward and did my movie,  EDGEPLAY, which was the first full-length feature film shot exclusively on digital video.  I had a lot of corporate partners like Canon and Sony and a cast of other companies that really got behind it and made it possible to happen.

Edgeplay cover art

Edgeplay cover art

LRI:  I have seen a lot of good documentaries and a lot of good Rock documentaries but not that many that have stuck with me and embedded in my skull like EDGEPLAY.  Was it surreal to be behind the camera dealing with these personalities and subject matter that you are all too familiar with?  Did that present any challenges?

VTB:  It was surreal yet comfortable for me because that’s where I’m most comfortable is behind the camera instead of in front of it.  I’m so familiar with that end of things so that part of it, the directing of the scenes with them was very comfortable for me including reliving all of those moments with them.  No matter what anyone wants to say, the fact is that when we were working on EDGEPLAY and shooting those scenes we were all having a really good time and it felt really good to reconnect.    What they gave me meant a lot to me because they gave me their stories, their half-stories, their versions that meant a lot to them and despite my name being largely attached to it, it’s their movie, it’s the Runaways movie.  At the end of the day there was all this bullshit with Joan about the music and all that couldn’t take away from the heart and soul that everyone involved gave to me in putting that movie together.  There’s so many hours of footage and there could be so many different versions of that movie to see  but in the end my partner Jackie Fox and I had to craft that finished version out that you’ve seen.  Jackie’s an entertainment attorney and a screenwriter and a novelist and together we created a story that has plot points and story arcs and conflicts and all that which makes a good movie.  I’m glad you liked it but all I can say is that due to the situation with Joan there were legal issues that, had they not been there, could have created a very different movie.  I still think it’s great and I’m still so grateful to everyone who gave their heart and soul to make EDGEPLAY a reality.

LRI:  I thought you all looked phenomenal in the scenes.   I’ve talked to other bands that return to the spotlight after extended absences and even for guys it’s a concern, they’re always thought of in those young, glory days terms.  Was that ever a consideration while filming?

VTB: Yeah!   I think it’s kind of sad that it’s such an issue too.  Everybody gets older.  Everyone.  When you’re sixteen, seventeen years old and you make a name for yourself and gain fame in an all-girl teenage band it’s like….where do you go from there.  It’s like inevitable, you’re going to get older and things start to shift.  Plastic surgery is always an option, thank god, at all times but at the end of the day it is what it is and it’s all about feeling good about yourself and accepting your path in life.

LRI:  If you known how it was all going to work out with Joan being the only main player not involved would you have pushed for more screen time for yourself, since you were directing the movie and all?

VTB:  No (laughs). Not at all.  I really didn’t want to put myself into it at all to tell the truth because I was so disinterested in my own story, I was much more interested in their stories.  I guess you’re right (laughs).  It was my movie technically to make and I could have really focused more on me or made it much more about me but I really just cared about it being a good story.

Vicki in the denim jacket by Adrian Boot

Vicki in denim by Adrian Boot

LRI:  Did Jackie think it was important for you to be in it?

VTB:  (laughs) Jackie and I are really, really close.  We’re really, really good friends and I think we provided a really good balance to the movie because Jackie and I didn’t get high and we didn’t indulge in as much of the craziness that was going on so we remember everything!  She remembers everything from her version of the band and I remember everything from my version of the band so I think in the end that ended up being something that was really necessary and important because Joan doesn’t remember everything and Lita doesn’t remember everything and Cherie (laughs)…..Well, Cherie has her own version of the history of the band (laughs).  She is a never-ending steam of incredible creativity and that extends to her remembrances of the band. That’s what I wanted though, honestly.  I wanted everyone involved in the story to give their own version of how they saw things because there is more than one version.  There are at least 5 different people’s story of The Runaways and it takes as many people who are willing to contribute as possible in order for it to really be representative of the band overall.  During the interviews, I asked everybody the same questions and it was so interesting to see how many different responses I got.  As a director, I found that really intriguing and it really told a lot about us individually because some of us remembered certain things positively and other things negatively and some details mattered more to one person than another.  It was almost like therapy.

Vicki, Lita and Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads in 78

Vicki, Lita and Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads in 78

1978 by Chris Walter

LRI:  I LOVE Cherie’s book Neon Angel and was looking forward to the Hollywood adaptation of her story but was very disappointed in the movie, “The Runaways”.  There were some really great performances by the individual actors but the story was cut so short that it really didn’t show how great her book is.  Jackie was totally cut out and Lita was nonexistent for the most part so it just ended up feeling like the Joan Jett story which really, really pissed me off because Lita Ford was so important as a member of The Runaways lineup from beginning to end.  I would have been happy to watch a movie called The Joan Jett Story but don’t call it “The Runaways”.  The only way I could deal with all the people telling me how much they loved it was to tell them to go watch EDGEPLAY.

VTB:  Well, thank you.  I really am grateful that it came out because it did push Edgeplay through the roof and drew so much more attention to it.  Their publicity machine that they paid for managed to have the byproduct of helping my movie and I was so happy about all these new people finding out about it.  As far as the movie goes, they were originally calling it Neon Angels and Jackie and I got a look at the early screenplay and thought “Oh, that’s cool, whatever it’s a nice little art film” and forgot about it.  When they changed it to “The Runaways”, we all, Jackie, Lita and myself kind of felt a bit differently because that title just isn’t all that accurate in regards to the contents within the film.  My hat goes off to the director because she’s a really talented photographer but this was her first time directing and first time screenwriting.  I heard from the actresses that were involved who were in constant contact with me even though I wasn’t there and I wasn’t involved they gave the impression that Joan and her manager’s presence on set was unbelievable and uncomfortable and created a very unhappy work environment.  I’m sure that the director’s hands were tied by them as well and I am only guessing but based on her amazing work as a cinematographer she probably had lots of great ideas as far as story and plot points that were never even considered by Joan and her team.  Take the whole imaginary bass player thing for instance.  They could have very easily created a composite character based on Jackie or myself without actually calling the character by that name.  Instead they chose to basically write the character completely out which is just weird and awkward.  I know the confines of working with them all too well and I can imagine what she must have encountered and it’s unfortunate that any failure of that film rests on her shoulders since I know it wasn’t her fault.

outside the Whisky 1977, by Chris Walter

Vicki in a Runaways photo WITH Cherie, by Brad Elterman

Vicki in a Runaways photo WITH Cherie, by Brad Elterman

LRI:  Do you think that the forced editing and lack of involvement from Joan and Kenny Laguna made Edgeplay a different or more gritty movie?

VTB:  It’s a two folded answer to that question.  I told you before I’m more drawn to darker, edgier movies, well as a director I liked the fact that the changes made our movie a darker, grittier tale.  It made it a less “easygoing” film.  The original movie with The Runaways music in it and Joan in it was basically the story one would expect about the band.  Teenage girls who want to set the world on fire and make records and we featured a lot of the performance footage and the songs and told that sort of expected VH1 story arc of a rock band.  It was absolutely more in line with a typical rock documentary but the one thing I did do was I tried to pick songs that went with the story but also were songs that were written by other girls in the band that needed the help and would get publishing royalties when EDGEPLAY would be shown or broadcast.  Obviously, a lot of the iconic songs were written by Joan but the other girls all wrote as well.  I’m not saying that to sound like a martyr, that was just the decision we came to.

Vicki on the right, photo by  Brad Elterman

Vicki on the right, photo by Brad Elterman

LRI:  Well thank you for talking with me Victory.  What’s on the horizon in the near future for you?  I know you also made a Suzi Quatro documentary that I need to see.

VTB:  Lots of stuff.  The El Guitarista project with Dickie we talked about earlier, the Suzi Quatro movie is called Naked Under Leather and that’s coming out soon and also a book called Under Dark Skies which is a dark photography book about androgynous women.   All of these projects are dark, edgy stuff and if you liked the Runaways documentary you will probably wanna check these out as well.

Victory's new Suzi Quatro film

Victory’s new Suzi Quatro film, Naked Under Leather






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Category: Interviews

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