The Original Runaways’ Bassist

Post-Runaways, she found fame in an even more successful all-female band

Runaways, Circa 1975

To serious Runaways fans, this is no startling revelation, but the all-female band, formed by manager/producer Kim Fowley, were originally a power trio comprised of (left to right in the above photo) Micki (Michael) Steele on bass, Sandy West on drums, and Joan Jett on guitar. Micki also handled a good share the lead vocals.

This song here is a rare bootleg recording of the original Runaways trio, with Micki/Michael on lead vocals, performing a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll” at LA’s famous Whiskey a Go Go, circa August 1975.

The Runaways – “Rock & Roll” (Live at the Whiskey, August 1975)

This configuration didn’t last long. After the addition of Lita Ford on lead guitar, Miki/Michael was let go and replaced by Peggy Foster (a good candidate for the “Whatever Happened to..?” file). However, Peggy’s tenure in the Runaways was very short-lived. Enter lead vocalist Cheri Currie, who recruited bassist Jackie Fox (who had previously auditioned as a guitarist when the band was first being formed) and there we had what most fans consider the be the classic (albeit not the original or final) Runaways lineup.

I doubt Micki/Michael has any regrets about parting company with the Runaways today, as she eventually went on to find fame and fortune in the Bangles after replacing their original bassist Annette Zilinskas, who, as of January 2018,  is now back with the Bangles after Micki/Michael’s departure in 2005 and the subsequent departures of Bangles’ bassists who have filled the void between 2005-2018, but that’s a whole ‘nother article.


About the author

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Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English, traveling, and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the monthly magazine, Effective.

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