Cherie Currie and Brie Darling — two badasses who broke down all manner of boundaries when they were only teenagers, Darling with the early ‘70s rock band Fanny, and Currie with mid-to-late- ‘70s punks The Runaways.
Fast forward 40 years, and they’re working together. The duo have put out their debut album The Motivator (named after the T-Rex song which is covered and featured on the record), and when we interview them by phone it quickly becomes clear that they’re having the time of their lives together. So how did they hook up?
“I was doing a record with my old Fanny mates, June and Jean Millington, a record called Fanny Walked the Earth that came out last year,” says Darling. “I had invited some of the girls from the girl groups that Fanny influenced — The Bangles, The Go-Gos and of course the Runaways. Cherie came to the sessions, that’s how we met. Of course, I knew of her and had seen her perform way back in the day. I thought she was amazing. She has an energy and I was taken by her.”
For her part, Currie was massively impressed with the Fanny Walked the Earth comeback album, and Darling’s contributions in particular.
“Honest to goodness, when I first listened to the Fanny Walked the Earth album, and of course I was introduced to ‘When We Need Her,’ which is the song I was asked to sing on [also featuring The Bangles, Alice Bag and Patti Quatro], I was so taken back by Brie’s voice, because I did not understand why this woman wasn’t a major star. Her voice slays me. So when I walked in to meet her, I just had to tell her so. For me, it was just such an honor and privilege to work with someone like her, that I immediately looked up to. She’s a darling human being as well, so that helps a lot.”
Fanny and The Runaways have more in common than their gender. Both found fame in their teens, when they were barely ready for it. Both are beloved by the loyal fanbases, but are not necessarily considered mainstream “names” in 2019. Naturally, they influenced each other.
“For me they were a big influence because first of all, back then we did not have the internet, or MTV or any of that stuff,” Currie says. “So I was not aware that they were teenagers. I don’t remember it being mentioned in articles. That was my mistake, because I thought that the Runaways were the first all-girl teenage rock group and I was absolutely wrong. I didn’t know they were all girls either. I for some reason thought there might be some males playing.”
“I had the honor of seeing [The Runaways] when they first came out,” adds Darling. “By that time, we were in our 20s. Music had started changing, and they were some hard, punchy rock. We came from a different time of rock. We started from Motown and soul music, and we were also influenced by the British Invasion — the Yardbirds, Animals and Beatles of course. But the Runaways were fresh and hard. That was different for us. For Fanny’s last album, Rock and Roll Survivors, we were a little bit more on the glam trip by then. So we were following a little bit of what they were doing by joining the current times. They were the current thing that was going on, and I love that. I’m totally open to that. We’re still influenced by what goes on today, which I think is a wonderful thing.”
The Motivator was produced by Darling’s husband, Dave Darling, who has six Grammy nominations and is renowned for his work with the likes of Brian Setzer/The Stray Cats, and Janiva Magness.
“I trusted him and his genius,” says Currie. “Brie and I were picking songs and running them through Dave, he was also picking songs. We had to completely trust Dave because he was picking songs that we weren’t really sure about, like ‘The Motivator.’ The original is very different, and when I first heard that track I was blown away. You can’t not move. The three of us worked really well together, and this is a culmination of our choices of songs, and what we brought to this little party.”
“The Motivator” is an interesting choice of a T-Rex song to cover — it’s not one of their better-known tunes. But Currie and Darling make it their own, with the help of Dave Darling. The same can be said for “Get Together,” a Youngbloods cover.
“That was our record company president Kirk [Pasich, Blue Élan Records] — he loves that song and suggested it,” says Darling. But who doesn’t live that song? What a great song.”
“Boy, we sure need a song like that today,” adds Currie.
We feel we have to ask these two strong, groundbreaking female musicians about their opinions of the #metoo movement.
“I think it’s a world issue and a human issue,” Darling says. “It’s beyond political. We have this little sliver of time to be here, and what better thing to do than to care about your brother man. We’re all of us down here trying to enjoy what time we have. Why not feel good? Spread the love instead of the negativity. Out of that hopefully comes a better time while we’re here.”
With the album due to drop on August 2, Currie and Darling will perform a special show at the Grammy Museum, while discussing the making of the record on stage. After that, the plans are a little up in the air.
“We got in a little late in the game, with the record coming out August 2,” Currie says. “So a summer tour is not in the works, but we did sign with TKO [Booking Agency] and Brie and I are gonna start doing rehearsals, fine tuning things while Dave [Schulz, keyboards] is on the road with Berlin. We might have a tour in the fall.”
The Drop with Cherie Currie and Brie Darling takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 1, at The Grammy Museum.