Kenny Laguna has been in the music industry as a musician, songwriter, and producer for nearly five decades. His resume is as diverse as his talents, including Bubblegum, Punk Rock, and Indie Rock, today He has produced Darlene Love, Bow Wow Wow including the bands biggest hit, I Want Candy, the soundtrack to the Andy Warhol movie Lonesome Cowboys, and wrote and produced for Beserkley Records with Jonathan Richman and Greg Kihn. He is Joan Jett’s longtime producer, songwriting partner and partner in their label, Blackheart Records. He has produced many of the artists on Blackheart Records including Girl in a Coma and The Vacancies.
Starting at the tender age of 12 years old, Kenny was playing keyboards for twenty dollars a day when he was recognized by an industry bigwig. This led to other doors that Kenny kicked open and eventually he found himself producing and playing in Bubblegum bands like Tommy James and the Shondells and the Ohio Express. By 1972, Kenny had played and sung on over 50 Billboard Top 40 hits. After the demise of Bubblegum, he was given the opportunity to produce for The Who’s label in London, which would prime him for the next phase, punk rock.
Kenny was asked to help write and produce 6 songs in 8 days with a young singer named Joan Jett. Her former band, The Runaways had broken up however were still contracted on a project that was yet unfinished. Kenny and Joan immediately found they were kindred spirits and have collaborated on every Joan Jett album and hit, ever since. Kenny wanted to help Joan get a record deal, so they submitted I Love Rock N’ Roll, Crimson and Clover, Do You Want To Touch Me (Oh Yeah), and Bad Reputation to 23 major and minor record labels at the time. They were turned down by every one. Despite this, Kenny and Joan pressed up Bad Reputation records and sold them from the trunk of Kenny’s Cadillac. This was the beginning of Blackheart Records. Thirty years later, Blackheart Records is still the home to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts as well as many other up and coming artists, such as all girl Texas trio, Girl in a Coma and LA’s The Dollyrots. This past year, Kenny helped bring the story of The Runaways to life on screen. After reading former lead singer of The Runaways, Cherie Currie’s book, Neon Angel, Kenny felt the book could be adapted to film. The film, The Runaways was released in 2010 to critical acclaim, starring Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie. Kenny served as Executive Producer on the film.
Kenny Laguna’s vast career cannot merely be summed by this small collection of words. His body of work is as diverse as his talents. His lengthy career is a testament to his tenacity, talent and passion for what he loves to do best; create music.