Runaways rock star turned artist, author offers inspiring advice to audience at Ferndale film premiere
By Jessica Carreras
Cherie Currie has done it all. At age 15, she became the lead singer of all-girl trailblazer band The Runaways. After a short stint that fizzled out due to a crazy life on the road and rampant drug use, the rocker-at-heart has been an actress, a counselor, a chainsaw artist and now, an author on the bestsellers list with “Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway.”
The key to all her varied successes? Following her heart, she said at a screening of biopic “The Runaways,” held at Ferndale’s The Magic Bag on April 7.
“My advice to people is to be true to yourself,” Currie told the audience at the Q&A session following the screening. “Only you know what it is that you’re on this planet to do and don’t ever, ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.
“I have proven it to myself over and over and over again that if you go with your heart, there is no way you’re gonna fail.”
And failure isn’t the way Currie saw her departure from The Runaways, either.
The film follows the band, with Dakota Fanning as Currie and Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, from formation to success to flop – a period that lasted only about three years in the 1970s. The girls, all in their teens, go from being children to adults instantly as they score gigs, record deals and drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.
The last of the three gains of their stardom drove them to their demise as Currie became less a singer and more an addict.
Her downfall is pitifully portrayed in the film, but Currie says looking back, she has no regrets. “Not a damn thing,” she told an audience member who asked what she would do over in her life if given the chance. “I think what we do makes us who we are today, and I’ve done some pretty bad things, I’ve done some pretty good things. All I know is that I’m 50 years old and I’m pretty happy.”
Her biggest pride as of late is the memoir, which was a rewrite of a 1989 version with the same title. This time, Currie said, she took the reigns and was able to look at her time with The Runaways with no bitterness or regret – a fact that made it easier to write.
“I thought this was going to be a literary flop – but I can handle it because I did it myself,” she shared. “You can always take a defeat if it’s something you did, but if somebody else did it, then you can’t live with that.”
“I’m just extremely blessed with this book that I took control and I’m proud of it.”
Currie also shared her pride in being a feminist – a fact she showcases with her tough look, do-what-I-want attitude and endless confidence. “I really think women get a tough break,” she told the audience. “We birthed all of mankind and men still don’t think we’re as good as them. I have to tell you boys, you are so wrong. And I really hope one day we can all come together and stop playing these games. Women kick ass.”
And so, it would seem, does Cherie Currie.