"I love the live-rock sound, with real guitars, real vocals, and no backing tracks,” says Roni Lee, whose career as a rock guitarist started in Hollywood with Venus and the Razorblades, a cheeky Kim Fowley co-creation akin to his all-girl headliners the Runaways. Sharing both stages and living quarters with various Runaways in the 1970s, Lee’s own star was on the rise after one of her songs, “I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are,” co-written with Fowley, became a Runaways concert staple that turned up on their Live in Japan album.
"I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are"
Roni Lee performs her gold-record song live at 4th&B
Her role in the ’70s Sunset Strip scene was further cemented when Van Halen recorded another Venus and the Razorblades song, “Young and Wild.” Having lived in San Diego since 1984 and playing with a number of local groups, she formed her own self-named hard-rock band, turning up frequently around town at places like Larry’s Beach Club, the Casbah, and Lestat’s (the setting of an upcoming live album). The lineup varies. “I’m kinda not really a band, I’m a solo rock artist, but I have musicians that I have formed a bond with and love dearly...it’s a different world than in the past, with one band touring constantly.”
- Sunday, October 18, 2015, 8 p.m.
6981 El Camino Real,
The long association with the Runaways continues. “I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are” was heard in the 2010 Runaways film bio, and Lee opened for one of singer Cherie Currie’s first concerts in 25 years at a May 2013 Brick by Brick show. This past summer, after more than 35 years, Lee received a gold record for “I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are.”
Currently heading her own label, Play Like a Girl Records, Lee is putting the finishing touches on a new album titled Heroes on Sunset. She appears Sunday, October 18, at Tuscany, before departing on a tour of Germany that runs through November 15.
WHAT WOULD YOUR GRADE-SCHOOL TEACHER SAY ABOUT YOU?
“Not really into following the rules, but loved to be the boss of everyone.”
“Tippy, a border collie. From six to ten years old, he listened to me and comforted me through a very tumultuous time in my life.”
OF ALL YOUR BANDS, WHICH HAD THE WORST NAME?
“My first, Shady Lady.”
BEATLES OR STONES?
“Stones, but that’s a secret.”
“Turning down the role as Leather Tuscadero in Happy Days. I didn’t think it was going anywhere.”
SONG THAT BEST DESCRIBES YOUR LIFE?
“Pat Benatar, ‘Hit Me with Your Best Shot.’”
FEARS OR PHOBIAS?
“I don’t like to fly, but I do it. That’s life.”
IF YOU COULD CHANGE YOUR NAME TO ANYTHING YOU WANT...
“Oh my God, never again. After a marriage and a stage name, I’m sticking with Lee. It’s easy to spell.”
EVER WANT TO KILL SOMEONE?
“Let’s just say anyone that hurts my kids takes their life in their hands.”
BEST THING YOU EVER HAD TO LET GO OF?
“My 1968 Gold Top Les Paul, sold to pay a road-crew bill.”
WORST TV COMMERCIAL?
“‘Go commando.’ Please, stop it, Cottonelle!”
WHO SHOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
“Young, Hailey Hayes; older, Ally Sheedy.”
EVER BEEN ROBBED?
“People broke in and stole guitar equipment at least twice from my car. Assholes!”
BIGGEST LIE YOU EVER TOLD?
“I lied about my age to play in bars from age 15 to 21.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
“Right now, I have cued up on my iTunes Led Zep, Pink, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, and Kaedyn Kashmir.”
MOST EMBARRASSING SONG IN YOUR CUE?
“Will Ferrell’s version of ‘Afternoon Delight.’”
“Rockers don’t die, they roll forever.”
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
- “I have three amazing kids I raised alone.”
- “I’m a certified public accountant.”
- “I’m super short.”