In 1975, Cherie Currie was an average music-loving 15-year-old Valley Girl sneaking into clubs on L.A.’s Sunset Strip. Then fate (and Joan Jett) changed her life forever. Under the twisted guidance of producer Kim Fowley, Currie became lead singer of the all-female group the Runaways. The underage band—which also featured Jett, Lita Ford, Jackie Fox and Sandy West—went on to international stardom. Soon the pressure, abuse and drugs started to take their toll. After just three albums, Currie—raped, addicted and broke—left the Runaways.
Currie tried to launch a solo singing and acting career. Sadly, her efforts were sidelined by out-of-control drug usage. At an age when most people are hitting their stride, 24-year-old Cherie Currie hit rock bottom.
Years of self-reflection and sobriety helped bring the now-fiftysomething (and still-stunning) Currie back into the spotlight to enjoy a resurgence. Her best-selling book Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway was the basis for the hit biopic The Runaways, and she recently enlisted some of her famous friends to record a much-welcomed album.
Cherie Currie stopped by HUSTLER to talk with entertainment reporter Keith Valcourt about her Runaways past, the comeback record, carving art with a chainsaw and some advice for her 15- year-old self.
HUSTLER: How close was The Runaways movie to the truth?
CHERIE CURRIE: I’m going to quote Joan Jett on this. She said, “It’s not like I ran out in the street after seeing the movie and said, ‘My God, they got it so wrong!'” They had to take liberties to fit two and a half years of craziness into an hour and a half. [Director] Floria Sigismondi, who wrote the script, had her ideas and her dream of the movie. Of course, I would have done it a little different. I would have included the time we were in Europe and were arrested and some of the really serious and crazy stuff that went on. I was so happy with the performances in the film. I thought it was funny. Floria did a really good job.