Having friends in the music industry matters. Friends help you network and can commiserate and perhaps join you in the studio.
Cherie Currie enjoyed the latter experience when crafting her latest solo project, “Blvds of Splendor,” which dropped Tuesday.
A who’s who of rock joined Currie in the studio. Guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Smashing Pumpkins singer-songwriter Billy Corgan, former Distiller Brody Dalle, the Veronicas, vocalist/actress Juliette Lewis and former Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum were all part of the project.
“All of the credit for those incredible musicians joining me goes to Matt Sorum,” Currie said. “He’s very good friends with all of them, and that says a lot about Matt, who is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.”
Sorum, 59, is a low-key, chill dude who doesn’t let anything bother him. No wonder he lasted so many years playing behind the enigmatic Axl Rose in Guns N’ Roses during the ’90s.
An all-star lineup of rockers was lined up easily by Sorum. “It was no problem putting this together since everyone said yes when I asked them about working with Cherie,” Sorum said. “She is a rock icon. Who would turn down a chance to work on an album with Cherie?”
“Mr. X” is an anthemic punk tune with a solid guitar line by Slash. The title track, which features Corgan, is catchy and powerful. Currie’s son, Jake Hays, tears it up throughout the bluesy “Roxy Roller.”
“Jake is such a great musician,” Currie said. “I’m so proud of him. I can’t think of any album that I had more fun making than this one. Matt had a lot to do with the experience. It was such a blast to sing with Brody, the Veronicas and Juliette.”
Sorum laughed when Lewis’ name was mentioned. “Juliette is bad ass,” Sorum said. “She’s like Johnny Depp. She’s an actor, but she would rather be in a band.”
Sorum isn’t exaggerating. During a chat a few years back with Lewis, she came off as an inveterate rocker. “I remember watching ‘Panama,” the Van Halen video,” Lewis recalled. “I remember watching David Lee Roth sing, and when he said, ‘I’m going to reach back between my legs and ease the seat back,’ I was like, ‘Wow, I want to be that guy.’ His showmanship and sexuality had such an impact on me.”
Currie, 60, has a similar story. David Bowie inspired her to form a band. “I was blown away by Bowie,” Currie said. “My first concert was his ‘Diamond Dogs’ tour. I knew what I wanted to do after I saw his show.”
Only a year after Bowie changed her life, Currie joined the Runaways in 1975. Currie, at 15, fronted a band that included Joan Jett, Lita Ford, the late Sandy West, Jackie Fox and Vicki Blue. The Runaways had a modicum of success in America but fared well overseas, particularly in Japan, which embraced the singles “Cherry Bomb,” “Hollywood” and “Queens of Noise.”
After three albums, the vocalist-guitarist left the band to go solo in 1978. Currie has recorded six albums post-Runaways. Currie also made waves as an actress. The Encino, California, native starred in the acclaimed film “Foxes” with Jodi Foster and had prominent roles in such movies as “Parasite” (1982), “Wavelength” and “The Rosebud Beach Hotel.”
Aside from acting, Currie has been a woodcarving artist since 2002. Her tool is a chainsaw.
While carving on scaffolding in 2016, Currie fell 12 feet to the ground. The left side of her face was temporarily paralyzed, which placed her musical career on hiatus.
“Those were some difficult and dark times,” Currie recalled. “The silver lining was that I don’t remember the fall. That’s a memory I can live without. I was knocked out cold. The other great thing is that I’m completely recovered.”
Currie has plenty of great memories, and she chronicled her early moments in her entertaining biography “Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway.” The 2010 film “The Runaways” was based on Currie’s book.
“Not everything was right with the movie, but it’s difficult to capture that period (two years) in 90 minutes. Dakota Fanning (who played Currie) was spectacular, and Kristen Stewart (who portrayed Jett) was great. I’m thrilled to have had a film made of something that I was part of.”
The former “American Bandstand” dancer has made her mark but still plans to create more music and wooden art.
“I don’t see why I should stop,” Currie said. “We really do get better as we get older. I had so much fun working with Matt.”
Sorum gushed when speaking about Currie.
“There’s just something about her,” Sorum said. “It’s exciting to work with Cherie. It was such a blast working with everyone on this project.”
Sorum had an old school approach recording tracks live. “I think you can tell the difference when you listen to the album,” Sorum said. “I was about getting the best sound, the best drum sound, and the approach was the one that all of the bands I was in had. We just ignored the outside world. We weren’t thinking about trends. We just wanted to make the best music possible.”
Currie can’t wait to showcase the new material live, and she believes venues will open within two months.
“I think that we will have concerts again in June,” Currie said. “We need to test antibodies. There are people who are immune to the coronavirus. We need to do tests immediately and open up the economy. I’m not taking the coronavirus lightly. … I’ll be out performing again. It’s just a matter of time.”
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