As Dakota Fanning gears up for her big break through role in The Runaways this week, lets not forget where the real story came from. David Bowie fan Cherie Currie at at the age of 14 years-old was thrown into the first all female rock band and put on tour for nearly two years straight in the mid-70′s when the more blush and the more cocaine you had on you, the more successful you were. Not long after puberty, Cherie was dressed in lingerie singing about being a “blond bombshell ready to explode” and the results were just that. She burnt out before she was ever even given a chance.
Find out what it was like for the upbeat and wise Cherie to watch Fanning transform herself into a Runaway and what advice she has for upcoming teenagers looking to become rock stars…
What’s it like to see this movie? To see yourself when you were a kid? What was that like for you?
Cherie Currie: Every time I see the movie it’s just another major feeling of just being in awe. It’s really the greatest honor to have a movie about your life and things that you had done. The Runaways was really so unique and so worthy of this. It’s very gratifying and really incredible that I still can’t wrap my head around it.
And it’s so great to have Dakota Fanning, who is such a great young actress, it seems like that’s a tough role to take on. Did you get to speak with her at all? Did you give her any advice stepping into it?
CC: Oh yeah, we spent a lot of time together — she was really ready for this. Dakota has always been ahead of her time, just like we were in The Runaways. Dakota is just brilliant. She was more than ready to take this on. She was fearless; she is fearless. That is what she had to be, and she was my age for The Runaways. Pretty incredible.
It was an interesting experience to see Dakota Fanning show so much of her body at such a young age, but that was exactly what you went through. Now that you’re a grown, mature woman, does that kind of put it in perspective, how young you were when all of this was taking place?
CC: It really hit home for me because I’m a mother of a 19-year-old son. He was actually offered to go on tour when he was 15. I put a stop to that right away because just, no (laughs). It’s pretty surreal and unbelievable that we were actually able to do that. I just cant even imagine what [our parents] went through letting us go venture out into the world without any supervision. It had to have taken an enormous amount love for us to have let that happen. They wanted us to have our dreams, and they suffered, greatly, and worried about us all the time. I don’t know how they did it.
And these costumes, you look back on these photos and it seemed like they were, pretty much, dead on.
CC: They really captured the 70s. What I love about it is that they were fearless. It wasn’t like ‘The Brady Bunch’ or — not putting that show down because I love that show — but just saying it really captures, not only the darkness of the clubs and really what was going on there because everyone, almost everyone, was lying to their parents about where they were going at night. It was extremely well done and the costumes and the makeup was that way.
And was that all true story? Basically all that we saw, can you vouch for that?
CC: Well I won that talent show, so that was false. They did throw food at me, but that was before, when I first started dressing differently and wearing lightning bolts across my face and going to school that way, they didn’t take that very well, but slowly and surely even the kids that were picked on for wearing glasses, people would call a nerd, they did come to school with a lightning bolt on her cheek and David Bowie jacket, it was really neat to see this kids so depressed, come out of their shell and come out of their shell. I felt very good about that.
Did you ever have any regrets looking back of leaving the band, or are you very happy to have left and started your own life that was separate from all of that?
CC: Well I don’t have any regrets. I do wish we would have taken a break and that we could have regrouped, it just never stopped. We were never given a break in two years of heavy touring and we were so young, I was homesick, my dad was ill and it was just a whole lot. I wish we would have had better management or better people taking care of us. We didn’t have that. Made for a good story and what the truth is.
Do you think you guys would would have had a chance under proper management and not been under the tyrant Kim Fowley?
CC: I don’t know because we were so young and were just growing into being young women and there jealousies and turned against each other. We never knew what was true or what wasn’t. And me, being the lead singer, I took a lot of the tension away in the press which was not anything that was ever intended. We were tired, and when you got young girls who were exhausted and what do you say? I don’t know.
People who were talking about Michael Shannon who played your manager Kim, was that an accurate portrayal of him?
CC: Michael did a great job. Kim is so unique, and Michael, I thought, he captured the best parts of him. The darker sides of him. I don’t know if anyone could ever truly understand Kim, even Kim himself, but Michael did a great job.
Do you have any advice for young musicians, and young actors, and young everybody, who are starting at the ages that you started at? To not burn out, or to continue? Any advice for them starting out their careers?
CC: Be fearless and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do something. Usually, it’s when you listen to people that you get all screwed up. Just go for it.
Check out Dakota Fanning playing Cherie Currie in The Runaways this Friday March 19th!