Posted August 2, 2013 by Jeff in Tunes

Cherie Currie: Neon angel on road to redemption

Cherie Currie _ copyright Frank Rodrick
Cherie Currie _ copyright Frank Rodrick

]A couple of years ago, former Runaways singer Cherie Currie finished recording a still unreleased studio album with Velvet Revolver/Guns N Roses drummer Matt Sorum at the helm as producer. Currie is taking the show on the road for a quick August tour. She recently phoned us to talk about the Runaways legacy and why her “new” record still hasn’t come out.

You’ve been recording a new album. Talk about what that experience has been like.
Matt Sorum produced it. He just emailed me. He’s worked so hard on this record. That’s what he wrote me this morning. He hopes it sees the light of day. It’s a mystery, to be honest. We finished it in 2011 and for some reason, Kenny, my manager at the time said I couldn’t play and told Matt I couldn’t play. [Then] one year goes to two years goes to three years and the record isn’t even mastered. It’s something out of a nightmare. A release date would come and go. I had to get out. I got my record contract and that was it. I read that and I was done. On a positive note, I’ve always hated management but I learned quite a bit these last three months. I’m really enjoying it and meeting great people and getting out there and doing what I wanted to do years ago.

Have you found a label?
It was Blackheart’s record. They were searching for distributor. There was a distributor. We could have released it on our own. I don’t know the record business, but I do know I’m never going to do it this way again.

Talk about some of the guests on the album.
We’ve got Matt, who is a monster of a drummer. He wanted to give the fans that Runaways feel. Billy Corgan wrote a duet. We have Slash and Duff. Even Juliette Lewis came in. We had a blast doing it.

Were you a big Guns N’ Roses fan?
Oh, of course. I was a big Cult fan, too. Matt put that band together. When I was asked to open for Joan in August, I asked him to help me put a band together. I had to do this quickly. He put the band together and he wanted to play. When we hit that stage at Pacific Amphitheatre, which was sold out, I don’t think people expected it to be the successful show that it was. It was really neat. One critic gave me best live performance of the year. Matt is truly a terrific manager in his own right. He truly did a lot of positive things for me.

What was the experience of writing a book like?
The first edition came out in 1989. I was 28 at the time. I had been clean and sober for four years and had to dive deep into the painful experiences of The Runaways. It was healing, but it was rough. I took that young adult book and rewrote it with Tony O’Neill for HarperCollins. In early 2000, a friend of mine I was dating at the time had read it and he was a crap kind of guy. He turned to me and said, “Do you ever think of what people will think of you after they read this book?” He said it in a disheartening, almost disgusting way. That set me back on my heels. I cried for three days and then this voice in my head said, “This isn’t even the full story.” I started to write an adult book. I thought I had a lot more to offer. I wanted people to know that there is a way out of the drinking and the drugs. That’s what Neon Angel was all about.

I thought I had a lot more to offer. I wanted people to know that there is a way out of the drinking and the drugs. 

How did The Runaways respond?
Joan wrote the forward to the book. She loves the book. Lita [Ford] and I have rekindled a friendship and we talk a lot. She has not brought it up. We were kids. Her son is 16 years old and I said to her the other day, “Do you know your son is as old as we were out on the road?” Kids are kids, so what’s the use of talking about what we were going through? It was so unique. It was unheard of to be on the road with no adult supervision for three-plus months at a time.

How would you feel about a reunion?
I would love it. Lita would love it. Joan is the only one who doesn’t seem to want to do it. It’s heartbreaking for Lita and me because it would be so nice to stand on the stage. I have done shows with Joan but to have Lita there would make it all come full circle. We never got what we deserved. That just never happened. To stand on stage and see where we are now would be great. Joan feels we’re too old, but she’s also playing Runaways songs. So is Lita. Why can’t we do it together? It’s a shame that this band has this stigma of drama all the time. Lita and I are mothers and Joan has done great. It’s sad that it seems to the fans that none of us have grown up. It’s just not true. I think if the Eagles can do it, so can we.

What Runaways tunes are in your set list?
I’m doing ones that I enjoyed singing. I’m not singing any songs that Joan sang. We’re going to add a few more during the tour in August. Lita and I are finding cool songs we had forgotten about. We’re definitely listening to the material.

Upcoming 2013 Tour Dates

Aug. 7

Aug. 8

Aug. 10

Aug. 11

Aug. 15

Aug. 16

Aug. 17

Aug. 18

Aug. 29

Cleveland, OH – The Foundry

Ferndale, MI – Magic Bag

Chicago, IL – Northalsted Market Days Fair

Minneapolis, MN – The Belmore/New Skyway Lounge

Loomis/Sacramento, CA – Blue Goose Event Center

Fresno, CA – Strummers

San Francisco, CA – Red Devil Lounge

San Luis Obispo, CA – SLO Brew

West Palm Beach, FL – Harriet Himmel Theater in City Place


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].