Sandy West

Runaways drummer

Sandy West, whose ferocious drumming fueled the influential all-female ’70s rock band the Runaways, which she co-founded with Joan Jett, died of lung cancer in San Dimas, Calif. On Oct. 21. She was 47.

West was only 16 when she started the Runaways in 1975 with Jett, a singer and guitarist.

Along with band members Lita Ford and Cherie Currie, they had such hits as “Cherry Bomb” and “Born to Be Bad.”

“We shared the dream of girls playing rock and roll. Sandy was an exuberant and powerful drummer,” Jett said in a statement. “I am overcome from the loss of my friend. I always told her we changed the world.”

Born in 1959 and raised in Huntington Beach, California, West was a bona fide California girl, splitting her time between surfing and skiing, Currie said.

After West’s grandfather bought her a drum kit, she channeled her athleticism into music.

The Runaways headlined shows with such performers as Cheap Trick and Tom Petty as opening acts.

Following the band’s breakup in 1979, West continued to perform as a singer, guitarist and drummer with the Sandy West Band. She also released a solo CD.

“Sandy West loved her fans, her friends and family almost to a fault,” Currie said in a statement. “It will never be the same for me again to step on a stage, because Sandy West was the best and I will miss her forever.”

West completed her memoirs before she died, and her manager Mara Fox said she hoped to get the book published.

West is survived by her mother, stepfather Dick Williams and six sisters.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety

Loading