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Cherie Currie

+ {Cherie & Marie Currie} + {Cherie Currie & Brie Darling}

The second youngest of the mid-70s, all-girl, hard-rock/punk band The RUNAWAYS, singer/actress/artist CHERIE CURRIE (born November 30, 1959, Encino, California) followed her dream of fronting a band by usurping her twin-sister Marie at the band’s auditions; the group’s earliest teen-rock classic `Cherry Bomb’ was penned for her on the spot by KIM FOWLEY and JOAN JETT. Joining the quintet aged only 15, although her birthday was just around the corner, impresario FOWLEY (and/or Bomp! Records/mag) branded her jailbait and the lost daughter of IGGY POP and BRIGITTE BARDOT. It was hardly an easy time for the platinum blonde as predominantly male punk audiences leered at her choice of sexy lingerie stage gear.
Leaving behind her lasting memories (or even memoirs) and three Mercury label LPs, `The Runaways’ (1976), `Queens Of Noise’ (1977) and `Live In Japan’ (1977), CURRIE was still under contract by the label to deliver one further set. Enlisting the help of her aforementioned twin-sister on harmony and guitarist/songsmith Steven T as back up (FOWLEY was co-producer alongside David Carr), her solo debut BEAUTY’S ONLY SKIN DEEP (1978) {*5} received short-shrift from her bosses who decided in their wisdom to release the record only in parts of Europe. A rather tepid sunny-day-California record that misled punters with a sexy (boots-and-kimono) cover-shot of Cherie, her former band buddies were probably sniggering at the lack of oomph behind the catchy `I Surrender’ and `Love At First Sight’ (both authored by The QUICK’s Billy Bizeau) or the failed UK flop `Call Me At Midnight’.
Late the following year, the double-take of CHERIE and MARIE CURRIE completed a dual album, MESSIN’ WITH THE BOYS (1980) {*5} and, although it also included the alumni of TOTO and a RUSS BALLARD-penned minor hit, `Since You’ve Been Gone’ (a monster in the UK at the hands of Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW), the LP subsequently bombed. Shaping up like some HEART tribute act, it was barely passable for RUNAWAYS fans to adhere to, and with karaoke covers of FREE’s `Wishing Well’, The RASPBERRIES’ `Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)’ and BATDORF & RODNEY’s soft-rocker `All I Want’, Capitol Records were able to let them go without much fuss.
Cutting her loses, Cherie decided to try her hand at acting, although her celluloid career was somewhat brief; appearances alongside Jodie Foster in the 1980 film Foxes, with Demi Moore in 1981’s horror-flick Parasite and a starring role (alongside Robert Carradine) in 1983’s psi-fi drama Wavelength, gave her a start, but things fizzled out for a time after Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and as “Cherie” with sister Marie in The Rosebud Beach Hotel (1984). Considered for other roles but dropped on to the cutting-room floor a la her cameo in This Is Spinal Tap, 1991’s Rich Girl flick credited her as a cocaine-using singer; ironically, she’d beaten-off drug addiction as depicted in her coming-of-age book, Neon Angel: A Memoir Of A Runaway; under “The Runaways” title, the movie premiered in 2010; her part was gloriously played by Dakota Fanning.
Back in ‘89, when Cherie was about to marry actor Robert Hays (he of Airplane: The Movie fame), she supplied special guest vocals on Tater Totz’s (aka REDD KROSS) `Instant Karma (We All Shine On)’ single; a decade on she provided vox for The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs on their version of `Cherry Bomb’. She divorced Hays in 1997 and they have one son, Jake. Working as wood-carver and chain-saw artist (she owns a gallery in Chatsworth, California), Cherie resigned herself to several session appearances, with only one further solo mp3/album, REVERIE {*5}, arriving in March 2015; her former RUNAWAYS cohort LITA FORD featured on duets for `Is It Day Or Night’ and `American Nights’, while Jake, her aforementioned son, backed her on `Shades Of Me’.
On the back of a couple of low-key albums: MIDNIGHT MUSIC IN LONDON (2016) {*5} – featuring an appearance from SUZI QUATRO – and BLVDS OF SPLENDOR (2019) {*5}, CHERIE CURRIE teamed up alongside former FANNY drummer and actress Brie Darling to unleash the rather retrospective set, THE MOTIVATOR (2019) {*5}. Shepherded by MARC BOLAN’s glam title track, and several staples from the 60s and 70s (from The ROLLING STONES and LENNON, to BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD and STEVIE WONDER), the record was basically a karaoke fun time-lapse in the studio, albeit riveting and entertaining.
© MC Strong/MCS Jun2015-Aug2019

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