|Cherie Currie - Uber Rock Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Sunday, 21 June 2015 03:40|
Cherie Currie, former vocalist of The Runaways, has just announced her first solo tour of the UK, her first shows here since she was a member of the seminal all-girl band. Touring in support of her newly-released solo album, 'Reverie', Cherie's UK jaunt is set to be one of the must-attend musical events of 2015 for all cool kids and Uber Rockers.
We managed to grab Cherie for a few minutes to talk about the upcoming shows and that new record, also managing to squeeze in a few questions about her movie roles, her new career as a chainsaw artist, and that Matt Sorum-produced album that never saw release......
Hi Cherie, obviously we have to begin with your upcoming UK tour - how did it come together and how excited are you about it?
I credit Alexx Michael for all of it. It was his idea. He brought in Alex [Grossi], our agent, put the band together, promo, everything. He's a godsend and this wouldn't have happened without him.
You've collaborated with Alexx and his band, Shameless, previously, right?
Alexx reached out to me to sing on one of his albums and we just connected. I liked him so much right off the bat. Genuine, down to earth and a pleasure to work for.
It'll be your first tour of the UK as a solo artist and first for 35 years, since you were in The Runaways - what do you remember of your last time touring Britain?
It was like stepping into a the movie, Mad Max. Punk was alive and well there, REAL punk. Pins in the faces, mohawks, throwing knives, beer bottles, spitting at us... and all that was meant to say they liked us! It was out of control. I remember we ran over a kid trying to get away when the crowd after the show was attempting to turn our car over. It was shocking.
The tour is, of course, in support of 'Reverie', your new solo album which was released earlier this year - how happy are you with how it turned out, and the reception it has had?
I'm so happy that it's being received so well. It's the last studio album Kim Fowley participated in but, in the end, it was my son Jake Hays that had to take over and finish the album when Kim's health declined. I'm proud of it.
How big a part did Kim, and the songs he contributed, play in the actual genesis of the new album?
The writing of the four songs were done in the typical, brilliant style that only Kim Fowley is known for. He was in the studio with us for three out of the four days booked to record those songs but became too ill to continue. The remaining six songs fell on Jake and I to write and complete. Kim suggested Brant Biles to mix and master which we did and it was a good call. Kim did his best to give suggestions.
I guess it was very special for you that you could actually work again with him before he sadly passed away in January?
It was. To me it was monumental. I also cared for him in my home for eight days two months before he passed away. We were able to have a close relationship, a personal one during that time and I was able to put the past firmly behind me. I'm so glad I had that opportunity.
You re-recorded a pair of songs from the debut Runaways album ['Is It Day or Night?' & 'American Nights'] for 'Reverie', and had Lita Ford appear with you on the record - how did it feel to revisit these tracks, and to work with your old bandmate again?
Both these songs had been in my set for the four tours I had done in the States and Canada so they were easy for me. Lita hadn't visited these songs since the Runaways days but she did a great job. Lita had asked me to do a duet with her the year before on a Christmas song called 'Rock this Christmas Down' and we had become close friends so it was easy working with her.
Didn't you record another album several years ago that never saw release, produced by Matt Sorum and featuring Billy Corgan amongst others?
Yes. I am currently working with Blackheart's lawyer to see if we can get that album out.
Blackheart being Joan Jett's label. Do you think the album will ever see the light of day?
I hope so. We are closer now then ever before to coming to an understanding. There were hard feelings and confusion surrounding why I (and the album) where handled in this way but it has to be put behind us and we are moving forward.
Something that was released, and re-released, was your autobiography, 'Neon Angel' - how happy were you working with Tony O'Neill in getting your story out there for public consumption?
Tony was great to work with. We went hardcore with it because I knew this was my last chance to write an adult book and tell the stories I couldn't tell in my young adult book. Neal Shusterman - who wrote the original paperback - was also amazing. I was lucky.
The aforementioned re-release of the book was to tie in with The Runaways movie, itself inspired by 'Neon Angel' - five years later, do you think that the movie achieved its aim, focusing on the Cherie/Joan story rather than the band in general?
The original book was released in 1989. It would have been a different movie had Lita and Jackie been a part of it, but Lita didn't want anything to do with it and Jackie wanted control which nether Joan nor I had. That made it a different film. Regardless of how I felt about the script, it was an honor to have a movie made about you with such talented actors and [director] Floria Sigismondi really captured the essence of the '70s glam era beautifully.
Sticking with the movie theme, were you disappointed that your well-received performance in 'Foxes' didn't propel you towards a higher profile cinematic career?
Well, of course but that was my fault. I was dealing with a drug problem after The Runaways that permeated everything I did. I blew it, plain and simple.
I'm a full-on horror nerd, though, so movies like 'Parasite' and 'Twilight Zone: The Movie' will always be high profile to me! What are your memories of working on those movies, and with directors Charles Band and Joe Dante?
I loved working in films. Joe hired me for my eyes of course since nothing else was needed for that scene! He was a pleasure. It was the actors that I really enjoyed. It's a moment in time that you never forget.
You also filmed scenes for 'This Is Spinal Tap' that never made the final cut...
Yes. Rob Reiner had so many hours of film and they had to cut somewhere. My scenes are in the uncut version which is available now.
As if moving from rock 'n' roll to movies wasn't enough, you've carved out - literally! - a career as a wood-carving artist, using a chainsaw to create your artworks. You have to tell us how this came to be!
It was destiny for me. Being an artist opened doors for everything from my first book (I went to Price-Stern and Sloan as an artist for their children's books) and I continued from drawing, to painting, to relief carving to three demential chainsaw carving. I just happened to be passing two chainsaw carvers on the side of the road and I couldn't get it out of my head. I went back two weeks later and asked if I could work there. It's been my full time career ever since.
You have made numerous guest appearances over the years on some fine records from some great bands/artists; from Glenn Danzig to Texas Terri Bomb, the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs to Rick Derringer - it must be great to have a legacy so appreciated by so many across the rock 'n' roll subgenres?
I've done a lot of singing on other artists' albums and it's always an honor for me. I feel lucky and grateful for each one of them.
I have to ask about the version of Russ Ballard's 'Since You've Been Gone' that you recorded and released with sister Marie for 1980's 'Messin' with the Boys' album. Your version preceded the album in 1979, and was released around the same time as the more famous version of the song by Rainbow - how did you feel when their version became such a massive hit?
We released around the same time and Rainbow's version hit. It was a let down, but that's life.
Any chance of 'Since You've Been Gone' making an appearance on the UK tour setlist? What can we expect to be played on the tour?
That will have to be a surprise. Alexx and I are working together to give the fans what they want. Isn't that what it's really about? The fans? They will be happy with the set.
Thanks for this, Cherie - I look forward to seeing you on the tour.
Me too, and it's been great talking to you! See you in November, baby!
Get more info on Cherie Currie's UK tour at: https://www.facebook.com/CherieCurrieTour