Last night I had the pleasure of not just watching The Runaways, not just supporting my local Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls, but seeing Cherie Currie, lead singer of the first all-female rock band, field questions after a screening of the movie.
Cherie starting off the Q&A session….Closed captioning coming…
Currie cleared up some inconsistencies in the movie—the costuming was spot on, “identical” to what the Runways wore, but did their manager Kim Fowley really have people throw trash and feces at them during practice, as one scene in the film depicted? “Not shit, no, we drew the line with the shit. That was [director/screenwriter] Floria Sigismondi’s tidbit….tidbit of shit. No we had to draw the line somewhere….” Adding, “And I won the talent show by the way,” another reference to the movie’s spin on reality.
One of the first questions was someone asking what really broke up the Runaways. Currie answered with a mix of humor and hindsight:
I think it was a number of things. We were tired, we didn’t have a break for over two years. And you’re kids…you’re sixteen, seventeen, you’re growing up. I was unfortunately on a lot of covers of a lot of magazines and there was nothing I could do about that. But it caused some fighting, and jealousies, and we were exhausted, and we weren’t communicating…And Lita Ford can kick some serious ass. And my last day in the band… I mean being tired and Lita Ford kicking a door in and threatening my life, was just about enough. I had to go home…to my mommy. And also Kim Fowley as well, you know. He would pit us against each other to keep that “edge.” And it killed the band as well.
One mother of a young “rock’n’roller” asked Currie if it was possible for kids who wanted to live the rock dream to do it without resorting to the sex and drugs part (as the film didn’t gloss over this part of Cherie’s rise and early fall from fame).
Absolutely. You know, not everyone is drug addict or an alcoholic. I happen to be. It’s a disease I was born with. But you know, you’ve got Dakota Fanning, you’ve got kids out there who have really supportive parents, which is really important cause the one thing I truly do believe is that we are all here with a purpose, and no parent can ever turn around and tell a child “You shouldn’t do this,” or “You can’t do that,” because that’s fear talking. And me being the parent of a nineteen year old musician…I would never and have never told him “I prefer you to do this.” Your child and my child have a calling, and only they know what that is. And you can’t let your fear stop them from accomplishing their dream.
Currie probably got the biggest reaction from the crowd when someone stumbled over asking if she and Joan Jett were really ever…an item. Currie paused as the audience member fumbled over her query and responded, “…Were you asking if we had SEX? ….is that the question?” After some cheers from the crowd she announced, “Absolutely! …And she was good too!”
For more Runaways fix, you can check out a new book out from
AMMO on Joan Jett in full-on glossy glory. It’s a hardcover book that sets Jett’s collected words against full page photos showcasing her ongoing career, plus it has an introduction from Kathleen Hanna that starts off “Joan Jett was Born to Rock. I know that sounds like some fucked-up bumper sticker but it is absolutely true.”
Also present at the Portland Runaways premier was Sandy West’s (the Runaways’ kick-ass drummer) sister, Lori Pesaventos, who spoke about the Sandy West Memorial Drummer fund, which has since its inception sent over thirty rockstars-to-be to the Girls’ Rock Camp. Learn more here.
I won’t say much about the movie itself, you’ll have to see it or read a review in the upcoming issue of Bitch, but I will say Kristen Stewart has finally earned my respect, and should quit taking roles as bland, lip-biting girlfriends and play more eighties rockstars. For those of you expecting The Runaways to be about the Runaways, shredder Lita Ford (played by Scout Taylor-Compton) and bassist Robin (played by Alia Shawkat aka Maeby from ArrDev) don’t get too much screen time, and it’s useful to remember it’s based off Currie’s memoir, Neon Angels.
While the amount of girls in their underwear was a bit too indulgent to garner that many feminist gold stars, it did showcase sexism in music industry, and for all the Dakota Fanning close-ups, it was super fun to watch a bunch of teenage girls rock the eff out and with that said…support your local Rock Camp for Girls!