THE RUNAWAYS were one of the most notorious and underrated all female bands that ever existed. They were far ahead of their time and certainly a big inspiration to a lot of female musicians out in the field. I have to admit, they were my inspiration as well to get into the music scene. I'm still very proud and thankful, they had the courage and strength to play (heavy) rock and I truly respect them for that. I strongly believe, if it weren't for THE RUNAWAYS, then the female rockers of today would have stand a chance. Originally formed in 1975 as a trio (Joan 'Larkin' Jett on guitar, Sandy 'Pesavento' West on drums and Sue Thomas [a.k.a. Micki Steele of THE BANGLES] on bass), they soon became a five piece band (1976) with Cherie Ann Currie (on vocals), Lita Rosanne Ford (on lead guitar) and Jackie 'Fuchs' Fox (on bass), who replaced Micki Steele. In 1977 (after their huge Japan tour), Jackie Fox and Cherie Currie decided to leave the band. Jackie got replaced by Vicki 'Tischler' Blue (followed up by Laurie McAllister in '79, who later joined THE ORCHIDS) and Cherie was not being replaced. Unfortunately, THE RUNAWAYS eventually disbanded in 1980 due to 'musical differences' between the band members. The band had too much grown apart.
This is the first part of a series of interviews as appeared in METAL MAIDENS magazine [www.geocities.com/metalmaidens] about the individual members of THE RUNAWAYS, their lives during and after the band broke up. It also tells you how they'd feel about a 'possible' reunion. Let's start with singer CHERIE CURRIE, who's still singing and playing music like never before....
Cherie, what's the true status about this RUNAWAYS reunion? Is it really going to happen and are you into it a full 100%? What do you expect from it?
Cherie: "We're working at it 100% and we don't know what to expect, until we do it! It's been twenty years, but there was always a magic when we were together and we fully expect to recapture that magic."
When did you get aware of the reunion thing and what were your first thoughts about it?
Cherie: "We started discussing it a year ago. My first reaction was disbelief, but now it really seems as though it will happen!"
If this reunion would actually take place, will you be doing new material for a CD and what will it sound like? Will you follow the sound of the nineties or will you continue, where you left off with THE RUNAWAYS in '79?
Cherie: "We'll be doing new material, of course, and also some of the old songs that we love. I don't know what it will sound like yet. We plan on getting together to jam and we'll see what comes out of it!"
I have heard Polygram will release a digitally remastered box set of CDs of The RUNAWAYS at the end of this year. Is there going to be any new stuff on it and who's going to pick out the songs for this box set?
Cherie: "Yes, I think that we are supposed to add material to the boxed set, but it's ultimately up to Polygram to make those decisions."
I also heard something about a photo book of 96 pages set for the same release and that your former bassplayer Vicki Blue is currently producing a feature film on THE RUNAWAYS, titled "Edgeplay". True or just rumours?
Cherie: "The photobook is news to me. Yes, Vicki is a director now and she and I have discussed this and she is compiling footage for a feature RUNAWAYS documentary."
Would you ever consider to play 'live' with the RUNAWAYS again? Why or why not?
Cherie: "Of course I would! Why wouldn't I?!"
How do you feel about being in the same band again with Lita Ford? Did you already approach her about this reunion thing? Did you know she has become mother in '97?
Cherie: "Lita approached me with the idea. Lita was also the one, who brought us all together again. And yes, I'm aware she has a beautiful baby boy."
You were very popular in Japan back in the early RUNAWAYS days. Do you still receive mail and/or have contact with any of your fans over there?
Cherie: "Oh, yes! We are blessed to have such a loyal and wonderful fans."
You were always a big fan of DAVID BOWIE. Have you ever thought of doing a duet song with him?
Cherie: "Man, I wish! I would love that!"
Are there any other songs, you'd like to cover sometime? You already did some BEATLES tunes in the old days ("Strawberry Fields Forever' and "Here comes the Sun").
Cherie: "How about a BOWIE tune?"
Do you still play the piano? Or any other instruments?
Cherie: "Yes, I play guitar and piano."
(Note: Cherie just did a gig where she played guitar throughout the whole set and she was friggin' incredible! She's a great guitar player! She also played keyboards extensively on her recent set of demos and on an AIDS benefit CD)
Did you follow the solo careers of the other RUNAWAYS throughout the years? Or been in touch with them (besides Sandy).
Cherie: "Yes, Jackie and I have stayed close and Vicki has remained a friend. We've all stayed in contact on and off over the years, and I am very proud of all of them!"
After the RUNAWAYS, you started a solo career (album "Beauty's only skin deep") and recorded an album with your twin sister Marie, "Messin' with the boys", (which was reissued this year by Renaissance records). What was it like to play with nearly the complete line-up of TOTO back in those days? They were (and still are) one of the big names in the music scene.
Cherie: "Back then they were just our friends! I always thought that they were, (and still are), the finest of musicians, but they were just a struggling band at that time."
What exactly has Marie been up to after your duet CD?
Cherie: "She's an artist and sculptor and is engaged to a fabulous guy!"
You wrote a book in the eighties, called "Neon Angel -the Cherie Currie Story" and at one time there even were plans to make a movie from it (with director Bernard Schwartz). Whatever happened with the movie? And do you have other writing ambitions?
Cherie: "I didn't know about the movie. We'll see."
What was it like to work together in "Foxes" with a famous actress like Jody Foster?
Cherie: "She wasn't famous back then. I went to see "Bugsy Malone" after I got the part and "Taxi Driver" after we were done filming, but we were just friends right off the bat. She was fabulous!"
Whatever happened to the music (soundtrack) from the movie "Rich Girl"? You sang some cool songs in this film. Is it true that the male vocals were originally sung by Jeff Scott Soto?
Cherie: "Yes, Jeff did the male vocals. He's marvellous, isn't he? I never heard of any soundtrack being released from that film."
How did you feel about the fact, that Juliette Lewis took over your part of Mallory in "Natural Born Killers"??!??
Cherie: "The script was changed pretty drastically from the original. Quentin had originally planned to do the film in black & white, but couldn't get backing to make the movie. Oliver Stone did a fabulous job and I loved Juliette in the role. She was incredible."
Would you like to play in a movie again? Which role would you like to play most? Why?
Cherie: "To play a rock star, a pregnant one!"
You were on the PRECIOUS METAL album in '92 and have been in touch with them forever. (Mara Fox was in your band THE MIX). Any other plans to team up with any of the ladies in the near future?
Cherie: "Mara's my manager and we're the best of friends."
Can you tell us about your band CHERIE CURRIE & THE MIX? Is it still existing and who was in the band?
Cherie: "No, we were only together for about a year, we all had different projects we wanted to pursue, but it was great while it lasted. The band consisted of myself and Craig Doucet, Mara Fox and Berton Averre & Bruce Gary from THE KNACK."
How come you joined RED KROSS for a short period?
Cherie: "I never joined RED KROSS, I only joined them on stage a couple of times."
Tell us about EXTRA FANCY.
Cherie: "Same deal with EXTRA FANCY. Brian Grillo is a wonderful friend and he has invited me up a few times."
You provided backing vocals to a few songs for a project CD, called "Standard Deviation". How did you get in touch with them and did you actually meet up with the other guest musicians, like Jennifer Batten (the famous guitarist of Michael Jackson)?
Cherie: "I actually have no idea what you're talking about. I know Jennifer Batten. She was a guitar teacher of mine at one time. Other than that I have no knowledge of this project."
You sang "Cherry Bomb" on the seven inch of the STREETWALKING CHEETAH's in '97. How did you meet up with them and come up with the idea of recording "Cherry Bomb"???
Cherie: "The guys have been coming to my shows for years and we became friends. They just asked me, if I'd be into doing it and I said sure!"
On the '98 reissue CD of "Messin' with the boys", you recorded a couple of bonus tracks: "Kamakazee lover", "I surrender" (another Russ Ballard song, next to "Since you've been gone", that we already knew), "Prisoner" (also recorded by PAT BENATAR), "You're a baby", "Tough Break", "Always the last to know" and a brand new version of 'Cherry Bomb". Please comment to these songs.
Cherie: "There were extra tracks, rough versions with scratch vocals and no guitars, from those sessions all those years ago. They were going to release the unfinished versions on the reissued CD. We didn't want that to happen, so they gave us two days to finish them. We did two twenty hour days to throw on all the vocals and guitars in our home studio."
Any plans of doing any duet stuff with Marie again in the near future?
Cherie: "Marie and I already perform live together often."
You're featured in the TIMES SQUARE project, singing vocals on a song called "Jane Doe" (written by Mara Fox). Are you going to do any follow up to this?
Cherie: "Mara knows I will never say 'no' to her. If she asks me to sing on more of her songs, I'm sure I will!"
Tell us about your new band BLUE CANYON. We already heard one of your new songs "Moonshine Lullaby" at the Golden Apple gig in May. Are there already any plans for a full length CD?
Cherie: "BLUE CANYON is no more. We came together to do a benefit CD for aids and that's completed. Now it will just be me."
How did you meet up with band mates Mickey Miller and Craig Doucet?
Cherie: "Craig I've been playing with for seven years now. Mickey sang backgrounds for The MIX and we got together as a trio for the aids album."
We saw Tina Lukather (the daugther of Marie (& Steve)) perform at your Golden Apple gig. She sang some backing vocals. Does she also have any singing ambitions?
Cherie: "Yes, she's a great little singer!"
You just completed a pilot for a new musical variety TV show, called "The Street Singers", which you will co-host. Tell us about it.
Cherie: "Well, you pretty much said it all right there. We just finished filming it last week and it's currently in the editing stages. All I can say is, keep your fingers crossed!"
What's the reason for your comeback? Did you miss being on stage and singing?
Cherie: "Singing is something that I always do and always will do. It's part of me."
Are there still any goals you'd like to achieve?
Cherie: "Yeah, I'd like to achieve hit status for a song I've written."
Do you have anything to say to the readers of METAL MAIDENS?
Cherie: "Thank you Rita for the interview. I just want to send my love to the fans and I hope to see you soon!"
Contact CHERIE CURRIE at: Times Square Productions, 520 Washington Blvd#199, Marina Del Rey, CA 90294, USA.