Joan Jett Wants To Know Who Killed Mia Zapata

ATN San Francisco correspondent Jenny Ruggles reports: The darkened crossroad

where violence and rock 'n' roll meet is usually on

the stage or in a crowded club, not the

street. So when the voice of Gits singer Mia Zapata was

choked silent by a stranger in Seattle two years ago this month, the death

shocked the Seattle rock community. How

could a powerful lead singer in such a tight knit music community be

murdered on the street by an anonymous killer? It was unfathomable

Joan Jett, who was recording and producing in Seattle at the time of the

murder, remembers how it felt when she first heard the news: "It was really


the pain that was going on for various people, you could plainly see it," she

told ATN. "It's hard to explain, but at the time, I saw other people dealing


their pain and there wasn't much I could do about it, so I'm doing what I

can about it now."

In many ways, Jett is helping to tie up some loose ends for the Gits. Jett

just finished recording a Gits song called "Whirlwind" in the old Gits

studio; Zapata had started work on a recording of the song but it was never


The tune, which will include Zapata's voice on it, will appear on the


Stig (backwards for "Gits Live") album, a benefit project due for release

on August 22.

"The whole Evil Stig project, the gigs, the studio, every bit of it was

very intense, especially the days in the studio where the Gits had recorded

their first album (Frenching the Bully)," says Jett. "Some of the

songs I

was singing had been sung by Mia in that very studio."

" 'Whirlwind' was really emotionally intense for me," says former Gits

guitarist Matt Dresdner. "It was one of the songs that Mia hadn't finished

to the point where we were comfortable releasing it. But in the last couple

of days of recording the Evil Stig album, we worked it out and I think


song became really powerful. Mia wrote the song, and Joan sang it."

"I felt really good about singing her songs," says Jett. "But I wouldn't

want anybody to get the wrong idea. All of the intent is to make money to

find the killer. That's the whole point. We want to make sure that

everybody knows the proceeds go for the investigation.

"To sing the songs, at first I was very nervous in front of the rest of the

band," she continued. "But once I got through that, it was a real spiritual

kind of thing.

It might sound silly, but it's just the way it was with me. I took it very

seriously, but not in an un-fun way. After we listened to the

recordings of the live shows, it was pretty obvious that we had material we

could use to raise more money."

It's also pretty obvious nowadays that the goal of finding Zapata's killer

is in high relief for everyone on the project. TV crime show, "America's

Most Wanted," brought the case to nationwide attention earlier this month.

"Leigh Hearon, the private investigator on the case, has come up with a

number of very serious leads with some suspects," says Dresdner. "I feel

confident that this case will be solved, but I really don't know if it's

going take another week or ten years."

Anyone who has information leading to the arrest and conviction of the

person who killed Mia Zapata on Wednesday July 7, 1993 should contact Leigh

Hearon at (206) 324-0335. Cash paid for all new information.