Cherie Currie is best known as the brash, youthful front girl with teen punks the Runaways. She was 15 when Kim Fowley pulled her into that band, and the “Cherry Bomb” single remains a bona fide classic, as does the self-titled debut album. The Runaways split in ’79 and talks of a reunion have been ongoing. Meanwhile, Currie scored a cult movie hit in ’80 with Foxes, she recorded a solo album and a couple of records with her sister, then she went away to have children and become a chainsaw artist.
She’s back now though, having recorded a new solo record and currently embarking on a nationwide tour. We grabbed her prior to her show at the Magic Bag this week to get her thoughts on Detroit, as well as her own future
What are your memories of playing Detroit?
I’ll never forget going there in ’76 and staying at the Holiday Inn, and it was the only hotel I’d ever seen with bulletproof windows. I was fascinated by it. I always loved Detroit. The freeways felt like cool rollercoasters. We played a number of shows there and they were always great crowds.
Do you have a favorite Detroit artist?
I was a San Fernando Valley surfer chick before the Runaways, into Bowie. I didn’t know where those bands were from. I do remember playing Cobo Hall though, opening for Rush because we were on the same label. Either the band or their road crew were tossing pieces of paper onto the stage while we were playing, and I landed on one when I jumped off the drum riser. I slid and nearly fell to my death into the orchestra pit. I caught myself right on the edge, but I was literally nearly killed by Rush.
What can we expect from your Magic Bag set?
My son Jake is in the band, and he’s a great player. We’ll be playing a lot of Runaways songs, because that’s what the fans want. Lita [Ford, Runaways guitarist] and I have been talking about playing out as the Runaways again, but Joan [Jett, other Runaways guitarist and current Blackheart] doesn’t want to do it. We love out fans, and it’s frustrating when one person can stop everything. That shouldn’t happen, so we’re definitely talking about making something happen.
You took a long break from music. What pulled you back in?
I became a mother, and I’ve been a chainsaw artist for 13 years. Then the movie [2010’s The Runaways biopic, starring Dakota Fanning as Currie] came out, and I rewrote my book [Neon Angel]. It originally came out for young adults, but I’ve rewritten it for adults now. Out of the blue, as sort of a promotion for the movie, I opened for Joan. That show was an afterthought, and nobody expected it to come off like it did. Matt Sorum from the Cult/Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver played drums at that show, and then he produced a record for me. That was in 2010, and Blackheart Records [Jett’s label] still hasn’t put that record out yet. I’m not sure why.
How’s the chainsaw business?
I’m still carving, but I’m doing it between shows now. I take special orders, and I can carve anything. You can find me at chainsawchick.com. I saw two guys doing it by the side of the beach one day, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The rest is history.
One other thing – after my show, I’ll be sticking around for photos and to sign Runaways albums, and I won’t leave until everything is signed. I don’t charge for that, and I never will. That’s a thank you to the fans for keeping the music of the Runaways alive.
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