"The girls wanted to look like us, and sing like me, and of course the boys liked us for obvious reasons!"
--Ronnie Spector
Sept.14 Cover - Cherie Currie
Written by Jeff Clark   
ImageCherry Bombs, Handguns and Chainsaws:
Cherie Currie Is One Badass Mother!

Cherie Currie swears she never dates anymore, hasn’t in five years. So maybe I should just skip the formalities and ask her to marry me right off the bat.

Thirty-eight years after “Cherry Bomb,” the Kim Fowley/Joan Jett song inspired by Currie’s first name, catapulted the all-girl band The Runaways into a full-on worldwide whirlwind of sex/drugs/rock ‘n’ roll insanity that ultimately led to Cherie leaving the group a little over a year later, Currie is a welcoming, intelligent, well-rounded adult who still lives in Los Angeles, the city where in 1975 Fowley assembled that original group of five teenage girls. That she didn’t end up completely fucked up, pissed off at the world or clinging to perpetual victimhood is rather remarkable, given some of the situations that went down during those young adult years. (For a blunt, candid account from her own perspective, read Currie’s revised 2000 edition of her book, Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway – the 2010 biopic The Runways was based on it but didn’t delve into some of the darkest elements.)

Put a chainsaw in her hands, and she’ll carve a work of art. (Check out chainsawchick.com for examples of her abilities.) Put a microphone in her hands and a rockin’ band behind her, and she proves she can still handily belt out those Runaways anthems. And, following a frustrating and (to date) fruitless experience with onetime Runaways bandmate Jett’s boutique label Blackheart Records, she’s made a new album that she hopes to get released soon. Recorded with Fowley, former Runaway Lita Ford and Currie’s 23-year-old son Jake Hays (from her marriage to actor Robert Hays), it will be Cherie’s first album since her 1980 collaboration with her twin sister Marie, Messin’ With the Boys.

Currie comes to northeast Georgia on Sept. 5th to play the Meltasia festival in LaFayette, just as “Cherry Bomb” has rebounded into public earshot again thanks to the “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” of Marvel’s hit summer movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. “You have no idea how grateful I am when things like [Guardians] happen,” Currie, 54, stressed to me during our recent phone conversation. “I’m just so grateful.”

I’m around your same age, just a little younger, but I grew up basically during the same time, and I realize it was a different era, but I also know how my parents were, and they would’ve never allowed me to go off around the world with four other kids with no direct parental oversight. It’s always seemed weird to me that your family would let you, at age 15, go off and join The Runaways and do all that.

“Well, personally, I really get it, because when my son was 15, I looked at him and just said, ‘How did that ever happen?’ I never would’ve let him go and do that without me. But actually it was just kind of an odd circumstance. My parents had divorced, and my mother was remarrying at the time and moving to Indonesia with my stepfather, taking my brother and wanting to take [me and Marie]. But Kim Fowley, he offered something to all of us girls that we could only dream of. And he was very good at convincing the parents that this was going to be a groundbreaking band. And, you know, the parents also believed very, very much in our talent, and what do you do? Stop a child from doing something that they have only dreamed of? Plus [Fowley] promised that we would be very well taken care of. But, also, in the ‘70s, people were a little more open to things like this. Now I think it’s very different – we over-parent our children these days. So, back then it was just the right combination of the record company coming out and talking to the parents… I mean, how do you say no to that, honest to God? And yet, if it would’ve been my son… I would’ve let it happen, but it would’ve been different ground rules.”

Did your experiences with all of that cause you to be more protective of Jake?

“Oh yes. Absolutely. Yeah, I was kind of accused, when Jake was young, of not being a very good parent, because I would put the fear of God into him. You know, I just couldn’t imagine something happening to this really cute redheaded boy. So much had happened to me in my life, and I just knew that there’s a lot of evil out in that world. And some parents really disagreed with me being so honest with him about the dangers of even letting go of my hand, or wandering off, or any of that. But the thing that I would turn around and tell them was, ‘Look, I’m gonna have my son when he’s 16 – will you?’ Because, I mean, I’d been kidnapped, all this kind of stuff. And Jake has grown up to be not only an amazing talent, an amazing musician, and singer-songwriter-producer, and one of the nicest people on the planet, and he tells me that it’s because he was able to process a lot of deep life lessons so young, and so very little fazed him in his more adult life. So, you know, it turned out good.”


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