“The lost daughter of Iggy Pop and Brigitte Bardot” – Bomp Magazine
It was a 15-year-old Cherie Currie and her iconic stage presence that helped catapult all-girl rockers The Runaways (formed in 1975) to fame. After releasing the highly successful Queens of Noise (1977), they played a string of sold-out shows in Japan, and sat only behind ABBA, KISS and Led Zeppelin in album sales.
Currie soon struck out on her own, releasing her first solo record in 1987 and other compilations with twin sister Marie. Since then her varied career has also included starring in Foxes (Jodie Foster), and creating chainsaw art.
The original Cherry Bomb sat down to chat about reconnecting with producer Kim Fowley before his death, playing alongside legend Suzi Quatro and remembering Runaways member Sandy West.
Living in a Reverie
Currie’s latest record was “really challenging… because Kim Fowley was supposed to produce the entire album but got so sick four songs in that he turned it over to my son Jake [Hays].”
“We tried desperately to finish the record before Kim passed away, but were two weeks late. But to work with my son and Kim was unbelievable. Here I was at 15 working with Kim, who started my career, and now Jake [working with me] at 24. It was fantastic for Jake to see what a brilliant songwriter he was and they wrote all the songs together.”
“[Kim] moved into my home, and lasted only 10 days before he had to be rushed to the hospital and then he passed away a month and a half after that. But he still did his radio show from my house in his bed… I would record vocals for him, and he would conduct me like he would an orchestra, he was wonderful. I’ll just never forget his face smiling, and he was very much at peace.”
“That’s the way I’m going to remember Kim from now on, and that’s a gift.”
Always a Runaway
“When Lita [lead guitarist for The Runaways] came in to sing on ‘Is It Day or Night’ and ‘American Nights’ [from latest album Reverie], she hardly remembered them because she never sang them. I’ve been doing the songs ever since I left The Runaways, and I never get tired of it… that’s why this [Australian] tour is going to be so fun.”
In the whirlwind of early success, Currie said that “we didn’t even really know who we were”. Fellow bandmate Joan Jett channelled Suzi Quatro while she took on David Bowie.
“We were so young and insecure, so we took on the persona of our heroes until we found out who we were. I’ll always be forever grateful and of course Suzi Quatro was a huge influence on me as well. They’re actually making a movie about her out of Australia.”
“They flew out and did an interview with me here at my home, and when Liam the director was leaving he goes ‘You should write a song for this movie’. I chuckled and then before he walked out the door I said ‘Wait a minute, I really could do this’. So I ended up writing one with Alex Michael and Suzi liked it so much that she jumped on stage and performed it with me in London.”
“When I looked over at her standing next to me, I really thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
Reconnecting with Lita
“We performed together maybe five to seven times.”
“She surprised me – I was getting an award down in Malibu – by being the presenter and then performing ‘Cherry Bomb’ with me. I think that was a truly miraculous night in my life because we just never got along in The Runaways. I reached out through Joan to Lita, because I really wanted her to know that I want to see her again, and little did I know that she was thrilled at the chance. We went and had dinner and became fast friends.”
“It’s a really good way of letting go of bad childhood memories.”
Remembering Sandy West
In 2006, The Runaways’ powerful drummer passed away at 47 after her lung cancer spread, however West’s memory lives on.
“Sandy and I never stopped being very good friends. After I left the band and The Runaways broke up, we remained as close as sisters until her death. I never did a show without her. She helped me paint the house I’ve lived in for 20 years… and spent a lot of time when I was married to Robert Hays in our home in the Hollywood Hills; also here in my present one,” Currie reminisced.
“I miss her deeply. She was an absolutely brilliant human being.”
Currie recorded an album with Velvet Revolver’s Matt Sorum (2010) for Jett’s Blackheart Records, and while it’s finally releasing this year, the project being shelved was “very hard to come to grips with”.
“Time is a great thing, it does heal. When you can let go of things and not let it eat you up, that’s the best gift we can give ourselves.”
The charismatic singer continued to reflect positively on the record.
“It was great to work with Brody Dalle and The Veronicas… that was a true highlight for me. I’m just really excited that the record’s coming out. Also my live one’s gonna be available in Australia when I’m there, it’s got Suzi Quatro on stage with me.”
“There’s a lot of cool stuff happening this year.”
Check out Currie’s first ever Australian and New Zealand shows below, or grab Reverie on iTunes here.