Continuing our interviews (which started with vocalist/actress Cherie Currie), we pick up with the most 'quiet' and almost 'shy' RUNAWAYS member in history: bassplayer Victory Tischler-Blue or better known as Vicki Blue. Vicki joined the band in 1978, replacing Jackie Fox on bass. She played bass on "Waitin' For The Night" and their final record "And Now.... The Runaways". Today, Vicki is working as a very successful television producer/director and she has a lot more upon her sleeve. This is Part two of the never ending RUNAWAYS story.........
Vicki, did you play in other (local) bands before you joined THE RUNAWAYS?
"I played in a couple of local garage bands that were blues based. I really wanted to be Keith Richard (THE STONES)."
How and when did you become a member of THE RUNAWAYS?
"I had heard that Jackie (Fox) left the band and immediately put in a call to Kim Fowley (former RUNAWAYS manager). Within a couple of days I met with Joan (Jett) and Kim Fowley. Then a day or two later, I rehearsed with the band and the rest is history. It happened so fast....."
Were you already a RUNAWAYS fan, when you joined the band?
"Absolutely! I think I was probably the biggest (and closest) RUNAWAYS fan in the world. I was so jealous that these girls, who were my age, had a record deal and were hanging out with Jimmy Page & Robert Plant (LED ZEPPELIN). It was more than I could stand."
What was it like to replace Jackie? Did the other girls accept you easily?
"Replacing Jackie wasn't really an issue. I joined shortly after they got back from their tour in Japan. The other girls were very receptive and supportive."
Did you have any musical experiences, when you joined THE RUNAWAYS?
"Ummmm.....Several....What exactly do you mean?"
Was there any technique you took over from Jackie or did you just play your own style?
"Technique??? Are you kidding??? HAHAHA.... "The Runaways" and "bass technique"... A contradiction in terms."
What was your fave RUNAWAYS song back in those days and why? Do you still like it?
"The song "Cherry Bomb" is, was and will always be my favorite."
Which song was most difficult to play bass on and why?
"Definately "Blackmail"! There is a bass line in the intro that I could never get (laughing). The rest of the band used to go crazy, because Jackie couldn't get it either. In fact, she still can't play it."
What was your nicest experience in your RUNAWAYS days?
"I met so many incredible people. Many, who are still my friends today. Being in that band has opened so many doors of opportunity for me in my life. And for that, I am truly grateful."
What was the real reason why you left the band? I was told there were medical reasons involved. Please explain.
"The medical reason was that I was sick of the band. I think we were all sick of the band and each other. We were all being influenced by many outside forces that were constantly pitting us against each other. In retrospect, it was really sad. It's only, since I've been doing this film about the band, that I learned what really happened in the end. In interviewing my band mates, I discovered that we all five (then four) had completely different stories to tell about what it was like to be in THE RUNAWAYS. It's wild and it's as if we were all in completely different bands."
What was it like for you leaving the band from one day to another? Didn't you fell into a big gap all the sudden?
"That is the understatement of a lifetime. The ride was over just as fast as it began. I totally fell into that child-star syndrome. I spent the first year after leaving the band riding horses and trying to catch up with myself."
What was your opinion about your 'replacement' Laurie McAllister (later to be found in THE ORCHIDS, another Kim Fowley outfit)? Or didn't you care at all?
"At that point that I left the band, I was so over it, that I honestly didn't care!"
Did you follow the careers of your ex-colleagues after your departure?
"Of course I did! And I couldn't be more proud of them!"
What's your opinion about this 'possible' RUNAWAYS reunion?
"Personally, I have very mixed emotions about it. But if the rest of the band actually does do the reunion, I totally support them and wish them the best of luck."
How come you won't be a part of it (and neither does Jackie or Laurie)? Who would be the ultimate bassplayer for this reunion thing in your opinion?
"It's a memory I savor, but not one I necessarily want to relive. I have a wonderful career now that I love, which has already been greatly enhanced by being in THE RUNAWAYS.... I don't need or want to do it again. Besides, I think the press would have a field day.. I can see it now: "Runaways (?)... They're throwaways..." or "How can you be a Runaway at 40???" All I can say is: thank God we are all aging gracefully, which is amazing - all things considered ...(laughing)"
Did you play in bands after THE RUNAWAYS or start up any project(s), which we don't know about? I heard you also played with Kelly Johnson of GIRLSCHOOL for awhile and lived in London (UK).
"Cherie (Currie) and I had a band together for about a year, but we had two different styles. She was more into AOR (melodic music like FOREIGNER and JOURNEY), while I wanted to produce heavy metal, that was still danceable. We have recorded a lot of stuff over the years together and she is still one of my favorite vocalists. Especially when she cuts loose and really rocks out! I took Kelly (Johnson) in the studio right after she left GIRLSCHOOL and produced maybe four or five of her songs. She is an incredible talent and it's a shame nobody has told her that. I still have the masters laying around here somewhere. Her music is so beautiful and melodic - very different from GIRLSCHOOL."
You've also done a solo record after THE RUNAWAYS. Please tell us about it and why it never got properly released.
"That's a long and very boring story. Trust me."
You did some acting in the movie Spinal Tap. What was it like to play with those 'funny' Spinal Tap guys? Maybe you have some nice stories to tell.....
"Doing Spinal Tap was one of...Wait...Let me rephrase that.... Appearing in the film Spinal Tap, was one of the best working experiences of my life. The level of professionalism was outstanding. I'm not sure if you know this or not, but Cherie originally was called to audition for the part of Cindy. I went with her to the audition, because I wanted to meet Rob Reiner, Christ Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKean. Anyway, when we got there, they had a lot of RUNAWAYS pictures and tour programs, etc. laying around and we all started talking about the band. Suffice to say, Cherie got the part. Then about a week later, I got a phone call from Rob Reiner saying that they wrote in another, bigger and better part for Cherie (a female rock star who gives everyone in the band cold sores) and would I like to play the part of Cindy. Naturally, I said YES!! Then, they ended up editing out Cherie's scenes, which was a shame because there is never an explanation as to why all of the guys suddenly show up with cold sores. In a simple twist of fate, Rob Reiner and Spinal Tap have been gracious enough to appear in the film I am producing/directing about THE RUNAWAYS."
Did you play in other movies, besides Spinal Tap?
"Yes, I was in an HBO Special with Bruce Willis, called "The Return Of Bruno". I played (what else) a bassplayer in his back up band."
Tell us more about this TV documentary about THE RUNAWAYS, you're working on right now?
"I am producing/directing a documentary feature length film on THE RUNAWAYS, currently titled "Edgeplay", which will be released on video and DVD, towards the end of 2000. In fact, if anyone out there has any 8mm movies of us, please contact my production company via e-mail: SACREDDOGS1@aol.com. For years I have been collecting/licensing archival footage of the band. This project has definitely been a labor of love. The response I have received from people that I have asked to participate in this project, has been so completely overwhelming, that it has totally blown my mind: Rob Reiner, Spinal Tap, Tommy Lee & Nikki Sixx, Debbie Harry & BLONDIE."
You're working as a television producer/director right now. How did you get involved into this world? Isn't it very different than the life of a 'teenage rock'n'roll star'?
"I come from a family of television producers, so that transition wasn't difficult for me. To be honest with you, film has always been my first love. I am much more a visually based individual than musical. My life is a lot different than when I was in THE RUNAWAYS. For starters, I am going to turn 40 this year....GASP!! (Watch out Joan & Lita - Jackie, Sandy, Cherie & I are catching up to you!!!). I finally feel like I am in control of my life and career. In the band, everything was pretty much laid out for us to do, so all we had to do was show up and play."
To what kind of music are you listening today? Do you have any fave bands/singers?
"I listen to a lot of different music. I am really into rap at the moment. Must be that rhythm thing.... I like SHERYL CROW, Courtney Love & HOLE, Coolio and of course there's my all-time fave band THE ROLLING STONES." Do you see bands like L7, LUNACHICKS, VIXEN, PHANTOM BLUE, etc.etc. as a kind of continuation of THE RUNAWAYS or are they just some of the other all-female rock bands? In other words, do you think THE RUNAWAYS opened every imaginary door for today's women in rock?
"I think THE RUNAWAYS were very instrumental in opening the door for other girls, but only because of the timing. It was inevitable.... "Girls With Guitars" - that Mary-Chapin Carpenter song kinda says it all......"
What are your hobbies? I read you're very much into horses, dressage, etc. Tell us about it.
"You're right: I am a major horse junkie. My current fix is Warmblood horses...Hannovarians... I have just switched from Dressage to Jumping. The bottom line is that I need to work to support my horse habit. So don't be surprised, if one day you see me standing on an off-ramp of the Hollywood Freeway holding a sign and a tin cup, saying "Will work for alfalfa cubes and used tack". A few years ago, I took some time off and bought a ranch in the middle of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. All I did was ride my horse and work on a couple of screenplays. One of which is currently in development with producer Thom Mount. He also produced "Natural Born Killers", "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" and the Roman Polanski film "Death And The Maiden", among others."
Do you still have ambitions as a musician today? Or is it really over as far as you're concerned?
"I don't really have musical ambitions like that anymore, although I may end up co-writing a theme song for one of my film projects."
Do you still speak to the other girls occasionally?
"Jackie and I finally met for the first time, early last year, when I approached her about the "Edgeplay" project and since then we have become the best of friends. We are also producing partners on a two film projects and talk about fifty times a day on the phone to each other. A few months ago, I was at Jack's house and we were screening old videos of the band. When she was being interviewed (at sixteen years of age) I thought it was really funny and was laughing. I noticed that she got really quiet... Then when we got to the footage with me in it. She's the one who was laughing hysterically. It was a priceless moment! Cherie and I have always been in touch and even though we don't really spend a lot of time together, we keep threatening to. Sandy and I spent a lot of time together recently in a rehearsal studio. She was playing some local gigs and it was the first time we had played together in twenty years! We picked up right where we had left of. It was strange and oddly liberating. I went onstage with her and sang "Wild Thing". After the show, we slammed some RUNAWAYS CDs into the car CD player and drove around Hollywood like total assholes, blasting music and singing as loud as we could. Very "Wayne's World" like. Some things NEVER change..."
What are your future plans?
"Win an Oscar!"
Do you have any messages for the readers of METAL MAIDENS?
"I just want to thank everyone for all the support, love and encouragement that I'd been given. It has made for a wonderful life experience and for that I really am so grateful! THANK YOU!!!"
Contact VICKI BLUE at: Sacred Dogs Entertainment, 11684 Ventura Blvd #840, Studio City, CA 91604, USA.