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Rock legends team up: The Runaways' Cherie Currie and Fanny's Brie Darling come to Ottawa
Updated: November 15, 2019
Cherie Currie and Brie Darling
8 p.m., Nov. 19, The Brass Monkey, 250A Greenbank Rd.
with Red Light Saints & Treble Junkies. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $25 advance, plus surcharge, available in person at the venue and at www.ticketzone.com/cherie
After more than four decades in the music business, The Runaways’ Cherie Currie was done with it, ready to move north and pursue her passion as a chainsaw artist.
“I was finished,” she recalls. “I was putting my house up for sale, buying some land up north. I was going to build a couple of cabins and be a chainsaw artist — which I’ve done for 19 years and I love it. I wanted to leave the stress and nuttiness of this business behind.”
Instead, she found herself in a studio with former Fanny singer-drummer Brie Darling and two of her bandmates — June and Jean Millington. Currie was one of the female rock legends they invited to guest on their 2018 reunion album, Fanny Walks The Earth.
Fanny, in case you don’t know, was one of the first all-female bands signed to a major-label record deal in 1969, predating Currie’s old band, The Runaways, by a few years. The Runaways, of course, was another all-female band that featured a youthful Currie, along with fellow teenagers Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Sandy West and Jackie Fox.
The Runaways’ signature tune was the punky hard-rock hit from 1976 entitled Cherry Bomb, a bad-girl anthem that has endured throughout the years, most recently because it was featured on a Guardians of the Galaxy mixtape.
It seems the sparks flew when these two rock legends — Currie and Darling — finally met in 2017. “Cherie came in and blew my mind,” says Darling, while Currie had already developed a major girl crush on Darling.
“I was lucky enough to get the single that they wanted me to participate on ahead of time,” Currie says. “And I was so taken by Brie’s voice. I just thought, ‘Wow, this chick is a great singer. Why isn’t she a big star?’ So when I walked into the studio, I just told her what a talent she is, and I guess that broke the ice a little bit.”
The two women are both on the line from Los Angeles talking about The Motivator, the new album they recorded together after the Fanny project. As it turned out, Fanny Walked The Earth never fulfilled the plan to tour because bassist Jean Millington suffered a stroke. By that time, Darling and Currie had become good friends and making music together was a natural progression, an idea encouraged by Brie’s Grammy-nominated producer/husband, Dave Darling.
“Both Brie and Dave have this phenomenal talent and work ethic,” says Currie. “I knew I had to up my game if I was even going to be able to contribute to this record, which sparked in me the true desire that I’d pushed away, buried, and it brought me back to life. It was really the best time I’ve ever had in a studio in my 40-some-odd years in music.”
That spirit is clearly reflected in the album’s tracks, which are a mix of classic-rock covers and originals. Sizzling versions of songs by The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Stevie Wonder and John Lennon, to name a few, share bandwidth with a trio of originals, including the album’s empowering centrepiece, This is Our Time.
The idea for that song came from a phone conversation between the two women when they first started talking about recording a rock ‘n’ roll album together, defying the stereotype that older women should stick to baking cookies and knitting.
“It’s not only about what’s going on with women, but it’s also what’s going on with Cherie and me,” said Darling. “Both of us were in these girl groups who never really got their day in the sun. I’m not bitter about it, but this song is very intentional on my part. I said, ‘Listen—this is about women. This is about you and me. This is our time, so let’s take it.’”
Thanks to a record deal for four albums, it’s a chapter that could last a decade. There’s also a tour, their first together, featuring 10 shows across the United States and a swing into Canada for stops in Ottawa (Nov. 19) and Toronto (Nov. 21).
“We’re not going away,” says Cherie. “We put on a great show, and I think that people are going to love the music that we’re doing. The thing is, this is our opportunity to be true to ourselves so we’re taking it very seriously. We aren’t just throwing ourselves out there unprepared. I’ve done a lot of touring, and I know that Brie deserves to have the world see her for the incredible performer that she is. This is a great adventure.”