Cherie Currie ‘The Voice Of The Runaways’
The Original Cherry Bomb’s First Ever Australian & New Zealand shows
“The lost daughter of Iggy Pop and Brigitte Bardot” Bomp Magazine
What do you get when you put 5 teenage girls together with a crazy pop Svengali? … MAYHEM!
The Runaways burst onto the scene in 1975 with a 15 year old Cherie Currie out front screaming the instant classic “Cherry Bomb”!
“The crowd continued to jump and dance… It was seriously hard to find stable ground because the floor was bouncing so hard. Currie’s voice resonated all over the building and out into the streets. The party didn’t stop all night.” Rockonphilly.com
The Runaways created a sensation wherever they appeared and quickly catapulted from playing small clubs to selling out major stadiums—headlining shows with opening acts like the Ramones, Van Halen, Cheap Trick and Blondie.
The band’s 2nd album featured the call to arms hit “Queens Of Noise” and Cherie’s bandmate Joan Jett’s “I Love Playin’ With Fire”.
“… she is kick-ass ready to ROCK again and proved it!” reallifehusband.com
The Runaways were riding a wave of out-of-control international touring, hit singles (including “Heartbeat” and Lou Reed’s “Rock and Roll”), and platinum albums. But the rollercoaster started moving too wildly about on the rails for Cherie who departed the band and released her first solo album at the age of 18.
Cherie recorded a number of albums with her twin sister Marie and later embarked upon a film career including roles in Foxes (alongside Jodie Foster), Parasite (which featured a young Demi Moore in a supporting role), and Steven Speilberg’s Twilight Zone, The Movie.
“When Currie hit the stage it was like she never missed a beat. She was on fire with the spirit of rock and roll and I was in heaven. You can’t fake this stuff – you either got it or you don’t – and Currie’s got it in spades.” Real Rock Report
In 2010 Dakota Fanning portrayed Currie in The Runaways, a biographical drama film executive-produced by Joan Jett and based on Cherie’s own memoir, Neon Angel, which recounted life in the band and Cherie’s traumatic experiences with drug addiction, sex abuse, and her broken family. Cherie also appeared in the documentary Edgeplay, a documentary on her former band, produced by former Runaways bass guitarist Vicki Blue.
As well as performing on stage, Cherie is also a wood-carving artist, using a chainsaw to create her works. She opened her own gallery in California in 2005.
“How often do you get the chance to watch a bona fide legend down your local boozer? Cherie takes to the stage walloping straight into “American Nights” from Runaways’ debut, album. That incredible voice is still as strong as ever and she looks a million dollars at 56 years of age.” Gigslutz
Cherie’s released a new solo album, Reverie, in 2015 which features appearances from ex-Runaway’s bandmate, Lita Ford and the final production work by former manager Kim Fowley. Recent live setlists include “American Nights”, “Is It Day Or Night”, “Heartbeat”, Queens Of Noise”, “California Paradise”, “Midnight Music” (all The Runaways), Lou Reed’s “Rock and Roll”, “Do You Love Me” by Kiss and David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel”.
Cherie and her new band recently popped their proverbial “Cherry” with an exclusive 8 show tour of the U.K. that ended up selling out in many of the major markets including London. The Runaways never made it downunder, so don’t miss seeing the original “Cherry Bomb” for Cherie Currie’s first ever Australia and New Zealand tour.
“Currie came across like a panther let out of a cage… Currie amazingly looked every bit the vixen at 50 that she was at 15. She still has the vocal chops – Currie truly owned the stage.” Newwaveego blogspot
Hi Cherie, how are you?
I am doing fine thank you. Jen, how are you?
Great! It is not long till you head to Australia, this is your first tour down here according to the press release, I find that hard to believe!
Well you know what, the thing is, that I can’t believe it either because we had our first album went gold in Australia and we never ever made it there. So I had thought that we were going to go to Australia for 40 years. (both laughing) Anyway it did not happen but now I get to come! The reason that I am so excited, is that I am such a huge fan. I have been addicted to Australia for as long as I can remember.
You mean our animals and landscapes?
Yes, I have watched every television show, I have just been in love with Australia and wishing I could live there. I don’t know maybe I was born in Australia in another life. I cannot wait to get down there, is truly a gift to me, Jen, it really is.
You will love our crowds down here, we have a pretty good reputation.
Well I have some friends from Australia and they have just the most terrific people as well. I want to come home with your accent. I really do.
Like calling everyone mate?
Oh yeah all that good stuff. Two of my players in the US band are from Australia so it is such a long time coming from me. Unfortunately they won’t be coming with me on this tour. I just can’t wait to get down there and play some great songs.
When you were 15 and starting out did it ever occur to you that you would be rocking it out still at the age now with great reviews?
Honey, I did not think that I would live to this age! (both laughing) No, I was so blessed, never in my wildest dreams did I think that this could happen and have a son that’s just produced my latest album. I have a live album coming out when I get to Australia and also they have the Black Heart record that Matt Shore produced for me back in 2010. This is going to be released in September. I am just feeling really thrilled and blessed that’s for sure.
I watched The Runaways last night to get into the zone of asking questions, as it was
based on your book Neon Angel and Joan Jett was the executive producer was this a true representation of the events when you were in your teens?
I think that it was loosely based for sure. The thing was we really wanted Lita and Jackie involved and the fact that that didn’t work out was very disappointing for Joan and I. I mean Lita did not read the contract, and Jackie wanted to produce the movie and that wasn’t going to happen, it was out of our hands at that point. I I still think that it was a great movie, I mean how you take two years of craziness and put it in to 90 mins of movie? You just can’t do it. I think that the actors were fantastic. Dakota Fanning was amazing, I could not ask for a better actor and Kristen was amazing as Joan. and Michael Shannon was fantastic as Kim Fowley. I just can’t say anything but great things about that film.
I was left wanting more at the end.
Well you should read my book, it was coming out about the same time and that made it a lot easier for me, I did think the film could have gone deeper but I didn’t have any control over that so having the film and the book being released at the same time it was fantastic. If people are interested in the more deeper story of The Runaways then all they have to do was read the book.
Prior to joining the band you were a Surfer Chick but did you know that you wanted to be a singer and front a band?
I did after I saw my very first David Bowie concert. I was almost 10 years old and I went to see him here in Los Angeles at the universal amphitheater and it was like a lightning bolt hit me as I was watching this man, that is what I’m supposed to do. My whole life changed from that moment on. I was ready when they came and asked me if I was interested in joining the band The Runaways, it just worked out perfectly and it was really good timing I guess.
Do you still have the same strong relationship with your twin sister Marie?
Yes of course!
Recording your new album Reverie in 2010 you changed to have it recorded with Fowley, who launched your career, was there a reason behind going back to him? Did it help heal the past?
Well that is the reason why I did it, Kim and I had been in contact for several years because I have just suffered greatly and I had these nightmares, when I was a kid, I mean it was so hard because I was just so angry with him. But then to fix that, was monumental for me and then when he reached out and asked about doing a record I jumped at the chance. I knew that that was my opportunity to take those bad memories and replace them with great ones and that’s what I did.
That is great. It made me sad that he was not able to make it until the end of your album but you looking after him prior to his death he must have been so grateful to have that time with you.
Well he also looked at my house, he actually moved in. He was supposed to live here until his death but he got so gravely sick after 10 days that he had to be rushed to the hospital and then he had to have another surgery and then that was it. But I got those 10 days with him and that was a wonderful time to spend with him. He really was so brilliant, he was an amazing songwriter way beyond anything I remember when I was a kid because when I was a kid I was just trying to survive myself but now I could appreciate what kind of an artist that he was.
Having your son Jake produce your record and sing a duet with you, what was it like working with family? Not sure I could do that with my son!
Well Jake had been on tour with me for four times. My first two tours, he was a front man with me playing rhythm guitar and lead guitar as well as singing, but the last two tours he wanted to be behind the drums. We shared a room together, because I just want to make sure that he was safe! (Both laughing) Then after that he got signed and went on tour with his own band and he’d be gone for a month and a half and I really felt for him as it was like so much of The Runaways. The great thing was we had worked together so much that for him doing this record from me was just so easy. He does play every instrument!
Yeah I read that, a super talented guy! That is amazing. You must be immensely proud of him.
I have to ask about the Wood carving, I am not artistic at all, and I found it amazing to watch you carve on youtube. How did you start this? Did you pick up a chain saw and found you liked it? We don’t have competitions like that over here.
You don’t? Well I have actually competed against some of your greatest chain saw artists!
I have never heard of it over here.
It was a fluke for me, I started out as a sketch artist and then I went into two dimensional carving, like table tops and wall hangings. I was going to the beach one day and I drove by couple of guys that were chainsaw carving by the side of the road. I did not stop but I could not get it out of my head. I kept hearing this voice, the voice that we always listen to. it kept telling me every night before I went to sleep, you’ve got to go back. I did finally a couple of weeks later and I walked into their gallery and saw these amazing pieces of art and that voice said that I could do this. I spoke to the gallery owner and he said that I could be mentored and that was it. That was the beginning of my chainsaw career as a chain saw artist. It has been great to me. Looking back over your life, both your career can you tell me a highlight and a story behind it?
Oh there are so many highlights in my life, meeting David Bowie, to doing movies with Jodie Foster and Demi Moore, I will say the highlight of my life was giving birth to be son, Jake Hayes. Also marrying Robert Haye, even though we are no longer married, he is my best friend. Also to see that movie, The Runaways in the theater. I sat there in awe, I have had some wonderful gifts in my life and to have it topped off by being able to come to Australia and that I wanted to go for forty years. That is number one for me.
Are you looking at going to Queensland and see Australia Zoo?
I hope so, I am being booked for TV shows and radio but I am like I have to go to the Zoo and have to hold a Koala.I am just am so looking forward to it, I really am. Who knows I might move there one day!
(We then had a chat about chainsaw artists in Australia and she sent a message to my dad who was a fan in the 70’s.)
Thanks so much, Cherie I am really looking forward to seeing you live down here!
Thanks Jen, thanks for your time I really appreciate it.