As lead singer of the first all-female group, The Runaways, Cherie Currie was the ultimate blond 1970s teenage rock ‘n’ roll fantasy: Raw. Beautiful. Powerful.
Four decades later, she remains a vision, and based on all she has been through, that’s no small feat. Her long battle with drug addiction and sexual abuse was painstakingly outlined in her autobiography, “Neon Angel,” which was the basis for the 2010 biopic “The Runaways.”
Miss Currie returns to rock with an album of sonic brilliance called “Reverie,” now available on iTunes. She spoke about the album, the death of her longtime mentor, Kim Fowley, a possible Runaways reunion and chain saws. (Seriously, she talks chain saws.)
Question: How long has it been since your last album?
Answer: Thirty-five years. I always wanted to make another record, but life took me in different directions. I did some acting, became a counselor for drug-addicted teens, went into fitness and became a trainer. Then [I] married and became a mom. After my divorce, I picked up a chain saw and have been an artist ever since.
Q: Why was the album you recorded five years ago for [former bandmate Joan Jett’s label] Blackheart Records, produced by Matt Sorum and featuring Billy Corgan, never released?
A: We are still negotiating for the release. Blackheart owns the record.
Q: Was it hard starting from scratch after that?
A: If it hadn’t been five years of waiting, I would have said yes, but with all the time that has passed, I just got over that album ever coming out. I looked to the future and got to work.
Q: I’ve heard that at the end of his life, you made amends with and took care of your onetime mentor/tormentor Kim Fowley?
A: Yes, I did. He was here for nine days but took a turn and had to be hospitalized. I wouldn’t trade that time he was here for anything. It healed something in me which is hard to explain. I got to know him on a truly personal level.
Q: He was sort of the catalyst for “Reverie,” yes?
A: It was so exciting when Kim reached out to me and asked if I wanted to make a record. It had been a frustrating five years, but working with Kim, before he died, meant more to me than you could imagine. It was a labor of love.
Kim became so ill after just four days in the studio [that] he turned the album over to my son, Jake Hays, to finish. It took a year to complete. The sad part is that Kim never heard the full album before he died. But I know he’s around, and he’s proud of what we did.
Q: Is it all original tunes?
A: All but two [are] Runaways songs that Kim wrote, [and ex-bandmate] Lita Ford joins me as a duet.
Q: What was the recording process like?
A: It was like being in a time capsule — shot back to 1976. Kim was the same, only he kept the insults to a minimum. [laughs] After we recorded the four songs with Kim, we moved to Jake’s studio and completed the album.
Q: Who is playing on the record?
A: Jake plays most of the instruments. We have Nick Maybury and Grant Fitzpatrick, both whom have toured with me. Also Cliff Retallick, who wrote countless songs with Kim, and Mitch Perry plays slide guitar.
Q: Any touring plans?
A: Right now, I am carving. So many of my clients have waited over a year for their art. Hopefully, I’ll be back on the road soon.
Q: What is it like to sculpt art with a chain saw?
A: I’ve been a carver for 15 years now. I competed in 2005 and placed in major competitions. It’s been my full-time job.
Q: How did you start?
A: I happened to pass a couple of guys chain-saw-carving on the side of the road. I couldn’t get it out of my head. A couple of weeks later, I went back. As soon as I saw the art they made, I knew I had to do it.
Q: Do you worry about injuries?
A: I have a healthy fear of the saw. Sometimes your face is only inches from the blade. I’m careful.
Q: Were you happy with “The Runaways” movie that was based on your book?
A: I loved it. Loved the acting and, visually, it was spot on. Dakota Fanning is one of my favorite actresses. I am still pinching myself.
Q: Do you think there will ever be a Runaways reunion?
A: I used to believe so, but not anymore. Glad I’ve gotten over that too.