Cherie Currie of The Runaways Talks About Working With Lita Ford Again, Delay of Her Solo Album, Film Work and More!
If you’re a longtime fan of this page or of classic rock in general, Cherie Currie really needs no introduction. The living, breathing inspiration for the track “Cherry Bomb” has lived a life well documented in both print and celluloid, including her own tell-tale book “Neon Angel” and the Hollywood screen adaptation that followed, 2010’s “The Runaways”. Having waited for the chance to finally talk to Cherie, I was a little surprised to find myself not asking a lot of Runaways related questions, instead being more drawn in by the current situation regarding Ms. Currie’s latest album, shows and her friendship with Lita Ford. After speaking with her and hearing her determination and grace, I have faith that 2014 is shaping up to be a fine year for longtime Runaways fans, read on…
Legendary Rock Interviews: Hi Cherie, thanks for talking with me. I am a huge fan of The Runaways and having interviewed Lita, Jackie, Vicki, Kim Fowley and even your sister Marie, but this is pretty nice. How are you doing today?
Cherie Currie: I am doing great. Thank you John.
LRI: I want to start by saying I just caught “Foxes” on IFC and your performance was very convincing and a big part of why it still holds up. How did you get into acting after you left The Runaways?
Cherie: Wow, thanks so much. I had played the Golden Bear which was a club in Huntington Beach and Dennis Brody, an agent from William Morris was there. He asked me if I would be interested in acting. I said “Well, I consider myself an entertainer so why not?” He started to send me out on readings and “Foxes” was the second film I went out on. I worked really hard to get that part. I did three screen tests and also tested for the part of Deirdre but they finally decided that I was Annie. It was thrilling.
LRI: You were a young woman living the fast life and playing a role of a fast living young woman, did it feel as natural as it looks onscreen?
Cherie: Well, yeah, I was pretty much playing myself. It was a lot of fun but I was very scared in the beginning. In fact it wasn’t until the cameras rolled where I got comfortable. When we were in rehearsal for the very first scene, I didn’t do a very good job and Jodie’s mother Brandy really didn’t want me in the film. She felt it was a risk having someone in such a big picture who hadn’t acted before. Director Adrian Lyne believed that I could do it so the following day when the cameras actually rolled, the fear went out the window and it all went great. It was scary to be around such brilliant talent like Jodie (Foster) but we became very good friends. We sort of lost touch shortly after the Hinkley incident but she was a wonderful friend. A great person. Unfortunately my drug addiction eventually caused the demise of my acting career and shot any hopes of a musical career that I might of had.
LRI: Of course as a big Runaways and Angel fan the movie also has a big spot in my heart for those reasons. Do you remember the Angel “concert” shoot?
Cherie: Of course! I had a blast rocking out to them in that concert scene. It was the only time I got to see them live! Well, they weren’t really live. They were lip syncing but you know what I mean!
LRI: Everyone knows you have always been a Bowie fan and he is someone who has always had his own cinematic and theatrical elements. Did acting allow you to enjoy some of that aspect of your personality?
Cherie: Yes, of course! I’ve always been a HUGE David Bowie fan and if it wasn’t for him I would never have even gotten into music. It was also Elton John, Alice Cooper, their shows were theatrically brilliant with multiple costume changes and set designs. That era of music was very visual and magical. Suzi Quatro was also my hero. It was a great time for growing up and for music.
LRI: I will admit to enjoying some of The Runaways movie that came out in 2010, I just feel like the movie as a whole completely overlooked Jackie, Lita and Sandy for the most part and kind of became a Joan Jett project. However, there were definite highlights and one of my favorite scenes in it were the moments in your high school talent show performing to the David Bowie song, that’s one of the instances of that movie working.
Cherie: Well, they changed the song I did for talent show. It was “1984” and I also won that talent show so those were a couple little spins they did in the movie which weren’t true to life, but hey, I loved that scene in the movie regardless.
LRI: I really don’t want to dwell on The Runaways but there was always an undercurrent of control or battle of wills that still exists on some levels even today. That really bums me out as a fan. I know there isn’t too much you can say about the delay with your new album coming out on Blackheart Records but do you have an estimated time of release or do you think it will ever see the light of day?
Cherie: I have been told windows of dates of when it would be released but at this point I don’t know. I’ve been very disappointed as time has ticked by. It has been a really, really hard situation but I have to have faith that it will come out. It’s a good album.
LRI: You’ve been out there playing dates with your band which includes your son among some great players. You’ve managed to keep up a public profile while the wait for the album continues which is great to see. Are you going to give up on that or will the shows continue?
Cherie: I’m not giving up, in fact, I’m doing more shows starting in November. I wasn’t allowed to play since I opened for Joan Jett at Pacific Amphitheater in 2010. Management told me the time wasn’t right but after years of waiting, I just got angry and frustrated. Three years later they finally said it was time to do a few little club dates but the album is still not mastered. When my contract expired, I left. At least that way I could give the Runaways fans what they wanted and play their favorite Runaways tunes and some of my new songs. That way I was doing something.
LRI: I spoke with Lita and she sounded very proud and open about anything “Runaways” related.
Cherie: She feels the same as I do.
LRI: Back to your album. I saw you on That Metal Show talking about it and I know that Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins and others were involved in the making of some of these new songs. I am anxious to hear it. What can you tell me about the actual album?
Cherie: Yes, Billy Corgan wrote a duet. Slash, Duff, Brody Dale, the Veronica’s and even Juliette Lewis contributed to the album. Matt Sorum (producer) worked his ass off and he did a brilliant job. Of course, we were wanting to do it quickly so I could get out there on the wave of the movie and my new book while the interest was there. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.
LRI: I know you don’t have a crystal ball but where do you THINK the current is gonna take you, more touring maybe releasing your own singles or music on iTunes?
Cherie: I’m going to play shows and do some recording. That album took so much out of us, we worked so hard on it that it’s been difficult to just walk away from it. Also, without an album I can’t get on a major tour opening but the only other choice is to sit around and do nothing like the last two and a half years. Whether I have any success or not isn’t really the point. It wasn’t about creating a “hit” song, it was about feeding that need the fans had after the movie. This album we made was created with Runaways fans in mind. The Runaways was magical to so many people. It was simple; we were connected with our lyrics, we were connected with our instruments and the music connected with people. We were not unreachable for people. That’s why so many young people love The Runaways today.
LRI: Everyone is well aware that Joan has shot down The Runaways reunion many times but I know you mentioned that you are friendly with Lita. As a fan, it’s exciting to hear that you two are open to recording stuff together, would it ever be possible to see you both on tour together?
Cherie: The most extraordinary thing happened. Lita and I have been in touch the last couple of years. We’ve talked a lot about a reunion, then of the blue Lita asked me to record this rockin’ Christmas single she wrote called “Rock this Christmas Down”. I literally flew in from the midwest after some shows, stepped off the plane and went straight to the studio to record this duet with her. It was one of the best days of my life, working with her again. Then we saw an article where Joan shoots down the possibility of a reunion. Is it disappointing? Sure it is. The most nagging part will be what if she was wrong and it would have been a great time for us all. Since she won’t give it a chance, that’s the hard part.
LRI: The chemistry among the “Fabulous Five” was pretty legendary.
Cherie: It was. When Jackie (Fox, bassist) left and we finished with Tokyo Music Festival, I didn’t perform with the band again. After Jackie left and I left, The Runaways were never the same. That magic was gone. Unfortunately, Jackie doesn’t play anymore. She’s very publicly announced that she has fibromyalgia and Vicki Blue hasn’t played since she left the band so that’s not an option. Sadly, Sandy (West, former Runaways drummer) is no longer with us but I would love to work with Lita. When I opened for Joan it was an amazing night; just magical and I would love to do something like that with Lita. She’s great…I would be honored to open for Lita and then, who knows, we could do some Runaways songs together. Lita and I feel the same way, that you only live ONCE! Get out there, give the fans what they want. What is the big deal???!! (laughs).
LRI: Well, I will say the fans on your Facebook page and the internet in general have been VERY supportive of both you and Lita these past few years so it would be cool to see them be paid back with some Lita/Cherie tourdates!
Cherie: It would be and you’re right, the fans have been so kind and supportive. As far as my album? Everybody loses if this album doesn’t come out. I would love for you to hear the record. I think if anything the whole ordeal has taught me to enjoy what I have. It’s made me more determined play and not sweat the small stuff. So many great things have happened these past 3 months. I worked with Lita which was a dream come true. Glenn Danzig had me to open and perform with him at the Gibson Amp. where I saw my very first David Bowie concert. Lastly, I am receiving the ‘Prestigious Rock Legend Award’ at the Malibu Music Festival in Oct. Am I happy? John, I feel I am the luckiest girl on the plant.
11/7 Long Branch, NJ-Brighton Bar
11/8 Amityville, LI-Revolution
11/9 Stafford Springs, CT-Palace Theater
11/10 Rochester, NY-Club@Water Street
11/12 Toronto, ON-Lees Place
11/13 Hamilton, ON-This Aint Hollywood
11/14 Pittsburgh, PA-Hard Rock Cafe
11/15 New Florence, PA-The Backyard Events Center
11/16 Falls Church, VA-State Theater
11/30 Phoenix, AZ-MIM Music Theater-Cherie’s Birthday !
Sites That Link to this Post
- The Runaways: Joan Jett 'could be wrong' about reunion | Classic Rock | September 18, 2013