THE Runaways: Cherie Currie (16), lead vocals; Lita Ford (17) and Joan Jett (16), guitars; Jackie Fox (16), bass; and Sandy West (16), drums. There are two myths that existin rock: that neither teenagers nor females can rock. Bull!! Who do you think Chuck Berry, Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney have been singing to all these years? Male collegians? Rock and rock exists because teenagers exist.

BUT until earlier this year, teenagers recording rock and roll hadn't occured in a long time other than the occasional singing group with anonymous musical backing. Now The Runaways, five girls from the Los Angeles area, have, with their debut LP, "The Runaways", firmly laid to rest those two myths.

THE individual members of The Runaways got together through mutual friends. They shared one common outlook: they all wanted to play rock and roll.

CHERIE gained her "experience" in high school performing for her classmates. She began singing at age two. "I've always wanted to be on stage. Being in front of an audience is exciting and fulfilling.

FOR Lita the group is only her second, although she's been playing guitar for seven years. She was born in London, but moved to America with her parents in 1962. Lita has lived in California since age nine.

JOAN began playing guitar at age 13 but The Runaways marks her professional debut. "I started out playing guitar to all my rock records because nobody thought girls could play rock," Joan says. "I've loved loud music since the first time I heard it."

JACKIE, whose initial interest was acting, eventually gained a reputation as one of the best female surfers on the West Coast. She went on to pick up the guitar, switching to bass when she joined The Runaways.

SANDY began playing drums seven years ago at age nine. She learned music theory in grade school. "My family was classically oriented, my music teacher was jazz crazy, but I always retained my rock and roll vision," Sandy says.

THE first noteworthy public appearance for The Runaways was opening for The Tubes at The Golden West Ballroom in Southern California. At a subsequent performance at the Starwood in L.A. such lumimaries as Led Zeppelin, ELO, The Ohio Players and many others saw the group for the first time. All walked away realizing they had seen and heard something special.

LONG before The Starwood gig, The Runaways had met Kim Fowley, one of the key figures in the L.A. rock scene for many years. he has worked for several months with the group and produced their debut album for Mercury.

THE album is marked by high powered rock aimed straight at teenagers. The Runaways lyrics look at life from a teenagers point of view. Almost from the beginning of rock, lyrics were written about teenagers, not by them.

AS can be guessed by their ages, The Runaways are still in high school and attend two days a week through special arrangements with the school system.

TO say The Runaways are unique is to state the obvious. Some people might not like the idea of five girls daring to tackle rock and roll on a gut level. The Runaways' music is not for weak bodies and hearts, just for young bodies and the young at heart.

AS Joan Jett said from the stage of The Starwood, "We understand that there are some famous rock and rollers in the audience. Well, we just wanna let you know we're hot on your heels."

copyright by: SOUTHERN MUSIC