- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Joan Jett loves rock and roll, but not on a tribute album she says an ex-employee put together without her permission.

The “I Love Rock N’ Roll” singer-guitarist and 1970s bandmate Cherie Currie sued Thursday to try to stop the June 28 release of “Take It or Leave It: A Tribute to the Queens of Noise,” an intended homage to the Runaways, the punk bank that launched their careers and helped light a path for other brash, hard-edged female rock groups.

The two-disc album features Runaways songs covered by artists ranging from the all-woman Japanese pop-punk band Shonen Knife to David Johansen, of the 1970s glam-rock pacesetters the New York Dolls, according to the website of the label releasing it, Main Man Records. The group was best known for such tracks as “Cherry Bomb” and “Queens of Noise.”

But the lawsuit says the independent Main Man Records label used their names to promote the album without their say-so and that a Main Man staffer who once worked at Jett’s record label used that connection to imply the project had her blessing.

Eatontown, N.J.-based Main Man didn’t immediately respond to email and Twitter messages. No working telephone number could be found for Main Man or Jett’s former employee.

While the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, Jett and Currie ultimately just “want them to stop,” said their lawyer, Oren J. Warshavsky. “This isn’t about money. This is strictly about preserving reputation and quality that both Joan and Cherie are known for.”

Formed in 1975, the Runaways made a splash with brash, raw songs, a rebellious attitude and a sound that blended punk and heavy metal. The group disbanded in 1979, but the 2010 movie “The Runaways,” starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, reignited interest. Jett and Currie, who was the group’s lead singer for a time, have done some reunion performances in recent years.

Jett went on to form another band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and score hits including “I Love Rock N’ Roll,” “Bad Reputation” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You.” She also has appeared onstage in “The Rocky Horror Show” and in various movies, including 1987’s “Light of Day,” co-starring Michael J. Fox and Gena Rowlands.

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