Cherie Currie rose to fame at a very young age as lead singer for the American all girl group The Runaways back in the mid 70’s. Their massive hit “cherry bomb” gained worldwide attention and was recently given new life featuring on Marvels’ Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. Cherie is a musician, author, actress and even a chainsaw wood-carving artist. We were lucky enough to chat to Cherie as she shares her excitement for her recently announced first ever Australian tour.

SCENEzine
Firstly how’s 2016 going for you?

Cherie Currie
So far so good (laughs) very excited actually because I get to come to New Zealand and Australia. Two places I’ve always wanted to go.

SCENEzine
Congrats on your latest album Reverie. Are you happy with how it turned out?

Cherie Currie
I am but it was kind of a rush to get it done before Kim passed away. My son because Kim got so sick had to take over producing but he had a record deal of his own so was doing two at the same time. I think that put a bit of stress on it and we didn’t finish it before Kim passed away but we did the best we could. I do have another record coming out in September though which I made with Matt Sorum through black heart in 2010 so that’s exciting. I think what I’m more excited about is the live album that we just did in London where the legendary Suzie Quatro is on stage with me. It’s a great record.

SCENEzine
For the Australian tour will you be able to bring much merch?

Cherie Currie
Actually yes there’s going to be a bit of merch. In Australia they actually make it for you using your designs. So thank goodness we don’t have to fly it over there. We will have merch including Reverie and the new live album. The great thing is I get to meet everybody. There’s just so many wonderful fans that have hung in there for us for 41 years. That is what I am most looking forward to and of course to do all the Runaways songs that everyone loves.

SCENEzine
Reverie has Lita Ford featuring on the album. Was it easy to get her on board?

Cherie Currie
She had actually reached out to me a year earlier to do a duet with her on a Christmas single she wrote called “rock this Christmas down”. It is a great song so I had just come off tour and went into the studio and worked with her for the first time in 40 years. We became fast friends after that. I did a lot of shows with her and guested with her on multiple shows of hers.

Then she was with me from the first day of writing with Kim Fowley so it was really easy to have her come and sing on a couple of Runaways songs as well.

SCENEzine
There’s around a 30 year gap between solo albums for you. Did it just feel like the right time for Reverie?

Cherie Currie
I think after making the record with my sister Marie which was something that I really don’t think was the right thing to do at the time and I was right. The record companies were telling me that as well but I was young and trying to put family first and it didn’t work out. I think after that was the end of my music career to be honest. When she left that was kind of it.

But I always continued writing and I always did shows here and there with Sandy West even Jackie Fuchs. I had other things in life I wanted to do like acting which I did and I became a drug and alcohol counsellor for a number of years. Then I became an author in 89 and also got married and had wonderful son for whom otherwise I wouldn’t have this record.

I think the movie definitely opened doors that would not of been opened for me to want to get on a stage again. Once I got up on there and opened for Joan in 2010 the reviews were just so stunningly good and I had so much support and a immediate record deal offer. I though well why not. So that’s how it kind of went from there.

SCENEzine
One thing I couldn’t help notice is your voice is sounding amazing and your also looking great. Is there a secret or do you own the fountain of youth?

Cherie Currie
Probably the fact that I’ve been a professional chainsaw artist for 15 years has helped (laughs). As far as singing in the Runaways I was only 15 so my voice was changing it was very low. Very low and unique I think now. I had never sang professionally in any way until I stood on stage with those girls. I was nervous and my voice was changing because I was going from a pre pubescent girl into a woman at the time. So I finally ended up finding my voice probably in my 20’s.

Cherie Curie

SCENEzine
Looking back was it odd to be considered a sex symbol in The Runaways yet you were quite young?

Cherie Currie
Very young 16 years old yes. That time in the 70’s was all about shows and if you look at Bowie and all the costume changes and Alice Cooper, Elton John, Queen. You look at all these bands that put on a visual show as well. So for me with the corset I just happened to see it in a little store window across the street from a club we were playing in Hollywood. I was just drawn to it and knew that wearing that corset for “cherry bomb” would bring attention to the song cause that was our single and it did. As far as being 16 and a sex symbol magazines had 16 year old guy sex symbols. Even though your still a teenager you still have sex symbols. But we were very young yes.

SCENEzine
Do you still own any of the clothing from The Runaways days?

Cherie Currie
I do yes I have a couple of the jumpsuits. Unfortunately the corset did disappear when I took it to a gal to have her make me another one because they weren’t making them anymore.
She vanished with the corset so maybe one day that will resurface I don’t know if it will or not. I actually have one of the jumpsuits in the rock n rall hall of fame museum. I’ve got a couple of the other outfits yes.

SCENEzine
The Runaways movie turned out really well. It must be surreal to see your life on screen played out?

Cherie Currie
It is and to be honest with you it still hasn’t sunken in 6 years later. Dakota Fanning was my favourite actor I was enamoured with her since she was a kid. The fact that she was playing me is still something I can’t wrap my head around. She and I became good friends she’s so talented. Kristen Stewart was wonderful as Joan and Michael Shannon was fantastic.

I think Floria Sigismondi as a director really brought out what the 70’s was like at the time she was superb at that. I kind of wish it could of been a mini series so that we could have gotten into a lot of the other stories. How do you tell 2 years of craziness in 90 minutes it just can not be done.

SCENEzine
Did yourself and Joan get a say in choosing the actresses?

Cherie Currie
I was so shocked that Dakota was interested in doing this. I happened to go to a famous club called the Roxy to perform one song and she was there ill with her family. She had a fever but was not going to miss me doing “cherry bomb” at this club. She still looked the way she did when she did War of the Worlds. But a year later at the same age I was when I joined the Runaways she had flourished into this beautiful teenage girl in a year. I was so excited and floored she is such a professional. We didn’t have the final say. The one thing that Joan and I really hoped for was that Lita would of been involved. Lita didn’t want to be involved. Then of course Jackie wanted to be too involved where she demanded to be producer and with Joan and Art Linson you don’t tell them anything. She was asking for an exuberant amount of money and they just basically said we are going to write you out. She ended her participation in the film by not being a team player. So then me and Joan had to figure out how this was going to go from there. We really wanted it to be about The Runaways but unfortunately when you have 2 members that wouldn’t participate or demanded too much then we had to make a film that we are still very proud of.

SCENEzine
When you watch the scene in the movie where the song “Cherry bomb” develops was that really how it happened?

Cherie Currie
No I never turned around and said I’m not going to say that or do that. There were a lot of things in the movie that weren’t what really happened. Even as simple as when I did the talent show they had me doing “lady grinning soul” having food thrown at me. But I actually did “1984” and won the talent show. So little things like that they thought were important to build up to the band weren’t accurate but it did touch on what it was like to be in the band.

SCENEzine
In the movie we find out your love of David Bowie. He has since passed. How much of an impact did he have on your life?

Cherie Currie
I truly believe that if it wasn’t for David Bowie I would of never been in The Runaways. My very first concert when I was 14 was his Diamond Dogs concert watching that man on stage live.
We didn’t have the internet we didn’t even have the television programs where you could see people performing that came later. We just bought the records and had to use our imagination most of the time. So when I saw him on stage something just happened to me I just knew that it was something I was meant to do. That’s the voice in our heads that tell us what our path is.
I think our biggest mistake in life is that we doubt that voice because that voice is always right. When we start asking other people their opinions it always goes bad. If you just don’t ask peoples opinions and you just go with that inner voice you can’t fail.

SCENEzine
Along with Bowie the music industry also recently lost Lemmy from Motorhead. Do you have a favourite Lemmy memory you could share?

Cherie Currie
Well yeah they asked me to guest on a song of theirs at the Nokia theatre. Lemmy was such a great guy. Also he sat next to me at the New York premiere of The Runaways. He was to my left and Joan was to my right. He was just a wonderful fantastic human being. I miss him very much he was a wonderful guy.

SCENEzine
Besides playing shows in Australia is there anything else you would like to do? Maybe hug a koala?

Cherie Currie
Yes I want to hug a koala! How did you know? That is absolutely on my bucket list and see some kangaroos I just can’t wait. I’ve watched more programs from Australia over the last 20 years. I’ve just dreamed of going there I just can’t wait.

SCENEzine
Was there ever a time with The Runaways or in the past you might of tried to come to Australia?

Cherie Currie
Well one thing is that when we were going in to do our second album Kim walked in with a big announcement that our first album The Runaways had gone gold in Australia. We were so excited we were jumping up and down. We thought we were going to go and it never happened it didn’t even happen after I left the band which I thought was strange. The fact that I am coming at 56 instead of at 16 is to me a miracle.

SCENEzine
You other passion besides music is chainsaw carving which is something I’m not too familiar with. Can you tell us some of the pieces your really proud of?

Cherie Currie
Oh my goodness I’ve done hundreds of carvings. I’m always so proud of the carving I’m doing at the time. I did a mermaid for Sandy West in her likeness for a record store that was one that I really loved. I did it 10 years ago though and think how much better it could be if I did it now. I’ve done a lot of great pieces I can’t just pick one. I’ve done things for cooperation’s and things for private people. The one thing people love me to do more than anything is their pets believe it or not. Because I am so meticulous about getting the essence of than animal but that I am going to have to give up because it wears me out I am so much of a perfectionist.

SCENEzine
Have you ever been injured carving?

Cherie Currie
Not with the chainsaw. I did come close but I had some angels on my side. I have been injured with other tools grinders and things like that. But not the chainsaw thank goodness.

SCENEzine
You did a song with the mysterious Glenn Danzig what was he like to work with?

Cherie Currie
I just got out of the studio with Glenn for the second time to do another duet. He is so sweet he was actually talking about doing a record with me. I’m sure he has his façade but the man that I know the producer that I work with is just a wonderful human being. Soft spoken and a very nice friend.

SCENEzine
Can you leave us with a last message for your Australian fans and tell us what kind of setlist we might be in for?

Cherie Currie
Of course well I am firm believer in giving the fans what they want. I have been in the audience of many of my favourite bands and solo artists and I always want to hear the songs that bring back memories for me. So I’m going to give the fans what they want so that’s the Runaways songs I participated in and also some from Reverie and a couple of other surprises.

SCENEzine
Thanks so much for your time. We will see you in Sydney.

Cherie Currie
Christian make sure you keep a koala warm for me!

SCENEzine
Will do

Cherie Currie
You’re so sweet, thank you.

(interview by Christian Ross)

Cherie Currie Australian Tour

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