CHERIE CURRRIE + LITA FORD OF THE RUNAWAYS TALK 70s
Cherrie Currie and Lita Ford, of the 70s rock band The Runaways talked to us about those days that some of us wish we could of been a part of too. But they don’t completely romanticize it, they talk about the pressing social issues at those times which made it harder and they’re major success in Japan.
There’s a rumor that you guys allegedly got kicked out of Disneyland after threatening the staff with ‘homosexual acts’, is any of that true? Care to elaborate?
Yes, we were thrown out while we were doing a photo session that they thought was risqué and had an ‘aura’ of homosexuality. Remember, it was the 70’s and Disneyland! The Disney PC police were all over us like flies, and their disgust was shared openly. We’ve come a long way baby!
You guys had a huge following in Japan. What was the rock n’ roll scene like there at the time? Did you get into more or less trouble?
Japan is were we came to realize that we had made a difference. It was Beatlemania and we were treated like queens. A far cry from the USA and made the hell we had gone through those past two + years feel worth it. There was a ‘resistance’ per-say happening there at the time. Girls who had always been subservient were rebelling and The Runaways stood for all the pent up frustrations Japanese girls were feeling at the time. We were superheros to them.
Is there a moment when you looked around and realized you got what you wanted?
Japan was that moment, but it was short lived. We never fully understood if we had achieved what we had set out to do until decades later.
What was the hardest thing about leaving the group?
Missing my friends, bandmates, sisters… It was left so unfinished. We were too young to understand that all we really needed was to be open with one another and talk things through. We were so close but yet so far.
Dakota Fanning played you in the film “The Runaways,” what was that like?
I still have a hard time comprehending the magnitude of it all. Dakota was and is one of my favorite actresses of all time. It still feels like a dream.
The Runaways are legendary, that’s a fact, but do you ever think about how you’ve impacted the way we see music, especially music made by women?
I hope. That’s all. I hope for all the young people doing what we did… and I’m proud that I was one of the first. I have a great respect for young people today that believe in themselves. It’s just great to be recognized for the guts it took and to see others now that though what we did know it can be done… if they just believe.
Life on the road with an all girl rock n’ roll band in the 70’s must have gotten easy. Can you share any salacious stories now that those days are gone?
Life on the road with an all teenage rock band was first and foremost, being homesick. Then hormones were just entering our bodies. So there were a lot of emotions flying, tired, hungry, grumpy, homesick, typical teenage gripes, and fighting… although the shows were exciting. The Runaways kicked ass… and I loved watching The Ramones. It was on our first USA tour, I knew every word of their show, Joey Ramones raps. I was determined to be somebody one day, and I was a workaholic in The Runaways, I took my job very seriously. When the other girls slacked, it made me angry. Although when we were on stage, we were TOGETHER. Special, and untouchable. It was fun watching a sea of guys dressed in denim and leather losing their minds over a few teenaged girls. LOL. I loved it and felt in control.
Knowing how much went into your work, it couldn’t have been all parties and chaos or was it?
No, not every night… But Mostly – yes. We took nights off to sleep and recoup. As a teenager, we’d get the flu or something and have to go to bed. But the parties were awesome, we were teenagers. The parties were always full of rock stars.
You joined the band right after Vicki Steele departed, what was it like seeing her rise to fame with The Bangles?
I didn’t pay attention to The Bangles, or Micki Steele. I was never really close with her because, as you said, she left The Runaways when I joined.
In the documentary, Edgeplay all of the women in the band said they emulated other male rock stars. Why did you guys chose men and not other women?
There were no woman rock stars to emulate. Except Suzi Quatro, but that was Joan’s thing. I liked Ritchie Blackmore. A guitarist .
Do you see yourself in the women of music today? Who stands out the most?
I do see myself in the world of woman today… As a matter of fact. I don’t know there would be a woman of the world today if not for The Runaways, or a Lita! Who stands out the most? Quite a few. But not too many guitar players. I don’t know… Today’s music is so electronic and mechanical. It’s not about the instruments anymore. It’s about the pedal board or pro tools.
Is there anything you look back on and are still amazed by?
Amazed by the support my parents gave me as a teenager. The free rein and support I had from them gave me my confidence today. They amazed me.
Make Up Shyann Swisher