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
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.