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Cherie Currie

Cherie Currie

Interviewed by
Danielle Street
Thursday 19th May, 2016 5:15PM

Cherie Currie has had a pretty colourful life. She was launched into the music scene at 15 years old as the lead vocalist for groundbreaking rock group The Runaways where she experienced the adult world very early on, not to mention the sometimes seedy side of the music industry. Since those days the vivacious singer has tucked a number of experiences under her belt, including taking up a serious career as a chainsaw artist 15 years ago, and becoming a mother 25 years ago. 

However, in the scheme of things 2015 was a huge year for Cherie as she released her first solo album in roughly 35 years. Titled Reverie, the record was produced with the help of Kim Fowley, the Svengali-like manager of The Runaways who died shortly before the album's release, and was subsequently accused of rape by Runaways' bassist Jackie Fuchs. 

With Currie about to hit these shores for three shows this weekend, we talked to her about the new record, working with Fowley after such a long and tumultuous relationship, and then dealing with the aftermath of his death. And on top of that she also told us about a special duet with Glenn Danzig in the works...

Hi Cherie! Should we just get into it? I feel like you've probably got a busy day...

Yeah! That sounds great.

Cool. So tell me, last year must have been a bit of a whirlwind with Kim Fowley's death and everything that came out around that. How did you cope with all that?

Oh it was hard! Kim and I had become very very good friends, and he actually lived with me for nine days before he had to have some surgery. And I got to know him, I had to give him 24-hour care actually. So, him being in my home for those nine days I really got to know him so well, and he was just a brilliant, brilliant man. It was sad to see him go.

Do you feel you gained a new level of intimacy that you didn't have when you were younger, in terms of your friendship?

Well, literally because he was bedridden, haha. But, yes. Well, the thing is, I got to know him as the man that he was before he died. I had been working with Kim since I was 14, but he was a very different man 40 years ago. Very different. And we do change. We change, we learn, we grow and we all make mistakes in life. Kim and I became friends a few years back, and we had talked through everything, which I felt was so important because I didn't want to carry that anger anymore - and I realised that I understood him. I understood why he did some of the things that he did. You know, what do you do? We all make mistakes in life. That's for sure.

With all the fallout after his death, how did you cope with that? It sounds like you had resolved some things between you and him, and within yourself, so with all that fallout surrounding The Runaway's early days and the things that allegedly happened, was that quite conflicting for you?

Well, the thing is, I love Jackie, I love all the girls in the band. I wish things would have worked out differently, but it didn't. But I have my memories and my truths, and everybody else has theirs and that's just the way it is.

You worked with Kim on your new album Reverie, which is your first solo album in a very long time. What was it like working with him after all those years?

It was fantastic. And the fact my son Jake was working with him, it was really... it's almost hard to put into words. Jake was 23, and for him to be able to witness the kind of brilliance I had as a young girl - and I couldn't even appreciate back then - and to see them work together, and to sit in the studio with him again was thrilling. Even though he was wheelchair bound and everything else, it was thrilling. It was sad he could only make it three days and then turned the record over to my son, because he was just too ill. But it was thrilling.

And you actually do some duets on the album with your son too...

Yes I do!

is your first full-length studio album in about three decades, I think, what were you hoping to achieve with it?

Well, actually I did make an album with Matt Sorum from Guns 'n' Roses. He produced an album in 2010, right when The Runaways film came out, and I've finally got the contracts from Blackheart Records, so that album will be coming out this year as well as a live album from London. But ah, it was more of the fact I got to work with Kim again, and Lita - she came and guested on a couple of his songs. We just tried to get the record done before Kim died. But we couldn't because Jake was making a record of his own. He had his own record deal. So we were at the mercy of that situation. But it was just good to get back into the studio and make music.

I saw on your Facebook page - which I love by the way, the personal touch and the way you connect with your fans is awesome - but I saw there you had worked on a duet with Danzig recently. What's happening with that?

Yes I did! This is our second one. A couple of years ago he'd asked me to do a duet with him called 'Some Velvet Morning', but unfortunately he'd changed the lyrics that the family of the writer did not appreciate. So that did not make it on to the record. But he did ask me to open for him at the Gibson Amphitheatre which was the old Universal Amphitheatre, where I saw my first David Bowie concert - Diamond Dogs. And I've never stood on that stage. And Glenn gave that gift to me, to allow me to open for him and then he came. And then I did a New Year's Eve show in downtown Los Angeles which was kind of a last minute thing, and little did I know that Glenn was going to show up. And I couldn't believe it. He saw me on New Year's Eve and asked me to do another duet with him, and of course I jumped at the chance and I went and recorded with him a few weeks ago. I just love him, he gets such a bad rap and he is one of the nicest guys I've ever met in this business. He truly is.

So will that be popping up on one of his records?

Yes, that will be on one of his records. It's actually, believe it or not, a Patsy Cline song. His musical taste is just... everything. For someone who you would consider metal, he's got heart. He got heart like you wouldn't believe. And he's just a wonderful person to work with. I really really enjoyed doing this song with him. And he even mentioned he'd like to do a record for me, which I think would be really fun. So we'll talk about that down the line.

Well Cherie, it's been a delight talking to you! And we're looking forward to seeing your show!

Cherie is playing three New Zealand shows over the weekend, head over here for details and to buy tickets.


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