BRAD: Hi Cherie, it’s an honor to have you spend a moment of your summer on Mystery Island. Let’s jump right in and talk about your latest album. Do you feel like running your favorite chainsaw over the project?
CHERIE: No, Bradley. It's a great album with extraordinary people on it. It will see the light of day, someday. You don't give up. For now, I'm going to get out there and give the fans what they want.
BMH: Well, if the rest of the album is half as good as your version of "Air That I Breathe" it'll be well worth the wait.
BMH: While the album’s hanging out at Blackheart Records, is there a new single in the mix?
CHERIE: I am currently writing and searching for the perfect song. One that reflects the vibe of what the fans want. I already have the b-side in the bag. We have a lot of shows coming up and a surprise in the near future so it's an exciting time!
BMH: I was wondering if you did any songwriting for the album. Two of my favorite Runaways songs are the ones you carry writing credits on from the first album: “Secrets” and “Dead End Justice.” Also, “Heartbeat” from Queens of Noise is great. So you definitely have that talent in your bag of tricks.
Photo by Frank Rodrick 2013. All rights reserved.
CHERIE: I did write a couple of songs on this album. One called "You Wreck Me," which we perform live and one I wrote with my son Jake Hays. I dabbled on a couple more, co-writing, as well.
BMH: While we’re talking about writing, the two versions of Neon Angel, really showed a growth and sophistication in writing style. Granted, one was a young adult book, the other way more intense, and I know you had some assistance, but you really made it your own as your voice came through.
CHERIE: I was about 30 when the first book was written. Neil Shusterman did an amazing job on that young adult book. This new one, I was 50, and I wanted to tell the stories, details I couldn't tell in the young adult version. Tony O'Neil was terrific to work with but in the end, it had to be me, my voice, so I worked hard on it, knowing my lack of professional writing skills could be a hindrance. But my experience has taught me that I can handle failure if I am the one responsible. I can't live with it if I can blame someone else, giving others too much responsibility. I am glad it was well received but could have lived with it if it hadn't, because it was real. Me, not trying to be or speak like someone I'm not.
BMH: Oddly, you still have some detractors out there in terms of Neon Angel’s truth. We see them on the social networks, and usually in defense of Kim Fowley. Why anyone would think you’d make any of that stuff up is bizarre. I know Kim was around the set of The Runaways film, did you have an opportunity to discuss any issues or did you mostly play nice?
CHERIE: Kim and I buried the hatchet years ago, but I have written proof, statements by those that were there to back up what I wrote about. I made sure to cover those bases.
BMH: I thought it was an amazing story and a damn good read. From one parent to another, with everything you yourself have gone through, what advice would you give rebellious sixteen year old girls today?
CHERIE: Slow down and take a second to think it through. Don't be impulsive. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don't spend it regretting that you should have paid more attention to details.
BMH: Is your son, Jake, still a tattoo artist? Our sixteen year old is already crying to be marked for life.
CHERIE: Yes! Jake is a great tattoo artist. Send your child over!! Haha! Jake has a great bedside manner. I should know. I was the first person he laid his needle too.
BMH: Now there's going to be no stopping her!
What about politics? No one’s asking you to be a guru, but you’re a very outspoken person. What do you think about American politics today? Are we losing the country we love?
CHERIE: I've pulled away from posting my feelings on politics. So many don't really know what's going on but judge from tidbits they see in passing. It's major what is happening, but hey, we are all in this together.
BMH: Well, that's for sure. Back to the music ... You did a kick-ass cover of Deborah Harry’s “For Your Eyes Only” which crazily did not appear in the James Bond movie of the same name, even though it’s so much better than whatever they did go with. Tell us about recording that song.
CHERIE: My dear friends Lanny Cardola and Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot) asked me to sing this song on a tribute album. I was thrilled with the way it turned out. In fact, Lanny wrote a song on my new album called "Rock and Roll Oblivion" based on my life and times. I love that song and especially performing it live.
BMH: You also cut a sexy version of The Ramones’ “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.” Did The Runaways have much interaction with The Ramones?
CHERIE: The girls did a lot of shows with The Ramones after I left the band.
BMH: Aside from “Cherry Bomb,” which Runaways song did you enjoy performing the most and why?
CHERIE: "American Nights" is my fav as well as "California Paradise." They just bring back such powerful memories.
BMH: Have you ever considered recording “Fever,” since that was the song you auditioned when it all began? Would be kinda cool, right?
CHERIE: I haven't but I will now!! *smile*
BMH: I saw a beautiful tiki you carved recently. We’re going to have to commission one for Mystery Island to go with our Sacramento palm trees in the backyard. What kind of chainsaw do you use and why?
CHERIE: I use Echo chainsaws and am sponsored by them. They are great and have a unique omission system that cuts way back on the exhaust. They are a real clean machine with tons of power. Air quality, that's important. Breathing is a good thing!
BMH: Definitely, you should do a commercial! You sold me. Tell us what Cherie likes to do when you’re not in the middle of the music or whirling saw blades?
CHERIE: I love to camp with my two dogs. Get out in the wilderness, the quiet. Away from FB and the internet. It's my favorite thing to do.
BMH: Tell us something about Cherie you’ve never said in an interview before?
CHERIE: I'm a loner, still a dreamer and a strong believer in people. I also believe that 48 hours in the wilderness will heal a year in the city.
BMH: Before we get out of here, we have to ask if you’ve heard the new Bowie record? We downloaded the first single, “Where Are You Now?” – kind of depressingly beautifully, sort of a swansong maybe ...
CHERIE: I LOVE David Bowie! There he goes again proving age doesn't matter. Styling myself after him was the right choice. He's brilliant.
BMH: Oh yeah! Stan Lee of The Dickies wants to know your favorite ice cream flavor!
CHERIE: Some days it's Orange and others it's cookie dough ... and how can anyone say no to double dark chocolate. Not this girl!!
BMH: The secret at last ... double dark chocolate. Thanks, Cherie!
You can learn more about the amazing Cherie Currie @ the following links:
CHAINSAWCHICK.COM :: CHERIECURRIE.COM
"Cherie Currie Interview" by Bradley Mason Hamlin.
Edited by Lucy Hell. © 2013 by Mystery Island Publications. Published: 07.19.13. All rights reserved.
Photos of Cherie Currie (other than promotional material) from the collection of Cherie Currie.