|Return to Cherie Currie||
Q&A with Cherie Currie
By Marc Lee 3:19PM GMT
07 Feb 2011
At the heart of the band were teenagers Joan Jett, who played guitar, and Cherie Currie, who was the coquettish singer.
Three and a half decades on, Currie talks about her life in the band, what happened next and her relationship with Kim Fowley, the manipulative Svengali figure who brought the “jailbait” band together.
Actually, the book I wrote about it all [Neon Angel] is far deeper and far darker. The movie isn’t quite as graphic as the book, so I was comfortable with it. My sister Marie loves the movie.
My dad was so wonderful to us and such a terrific guy: there’s only so much you can do in a film that’s only an hour and a half long, and there are things that I wish could have been in there as well.
We met quite a few times, and I was on the set as much as I could be. And she and I spent quite a bit of time together in the studio: she did all of the recording [of the songs in the film] with me there.
I would sit in the vocal booth with her, and Joan would be out there with Kristen when she was doing her vocals. We were very hands-on.
I couldn’t put it behind me. I had to revisit all those feelings and try to look at what happened when I wrote the book [in 1988].
Then I became a mother in 1990 and raised my son. He’s very musically inclined: he actually plays in my band, and he’s a fantastic singer/songwriter. So I was teaching him early on about what my experiences had been.
It wasn’t just the Runaways: some of the other pretty horrific things that happened after the Runaways, all around my drug and alcohol abuse. So my son has got a really in-your-face education about this stuff.
To me it’s all been worth it. Would I do it again? I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Would I change things? Probably not.
Absolutely. I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t be the mother I am today had I not experienced those things.
I was so thrilled by the costumes, the sets. The visuals I thought were exceptional: they really took me back to the Seventirs, which were my favourite time.
I’m not going to say it was those exact words, but he did walk up to me and say he really liked my look and asked if I could sing or play an instrument, and I told him I could sing… a little. And he said we want you to audition for the Runaways.
I was floored by that because there had been a lot of buzz around town about the band, and I’d heard the name Joan Jett.
Joan and I have really been able to rekindle our friendship. We speak whenever she comes into town. It’s great to have her as a friend again; that’s the one thing that I missed from the Runaways.
I couldn’t listen to the music for 20 years because I really missed her; I missed our friendship. Sandy West [the band’s drummer, who died in 2006] and I remained close, close friends until the end. I saw Sandy all the time.
The last time was at the premiere of the movie. But he and I had buried the hatchet a couple of years ago. I saw him at a friend’s party, and I walked up to him, and he was very scared [of me].
But I realised that my anger towards him wasn’t hurting him at all; it was hurting me. And I had to be grateful to Kim for giving me this experience in the Runaways.
You gotta let that stuff go because it’ll eat you alive. I have actually enjoyed very long conversations on the phone with Kim over the past couple of years. I don’t trust him but I appreciate him!
I’ve never actually sat down and thought, 'Wow, I’ve had song written about me.’
It is: Joan and Kim did a great job writing that song. It’s a breakout tune. [The lyrics express] exactly the way I felt at the time – the same way all of us felt.
Yes. I have been a professional chainsaw carver for over 10 years. You can go to chainsawchick.com and look at some of my work. I take a log, and I pick up the chainsaw, and I carve mermaids and dolphins and bears and people – anything and everything.
Yes, it’s kept me in decent shape, that’s for sure. Once I got over the fear, it was very freeing for me: I love it because it’s just me, the chainsaw and the piece of wood, and nobody’s telling me do this or do that.
That the way I really like to live my life, to be free to do what comes naturally.