Carving Her Own Niche

BY Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

“Miraculous” is how Cherie Currie describes her new album, “Blvds of Splendor.”

In 2016, Currie was about to release “Blvds of Splendor” when she fell 12 feet while chainsaw carving on a hilltop scaffolding. The accident left Currie with partial facial paralysis and severe head trauma for more than 10 months.

“Something even more miraculous when you don’t believe it’s going to happen,” the effervescent Currie says.

“When I listened to the record for the first time after, maybe, nine or eight years, I could just see how good it really is. It’s a gift all over again. When you work so hard on something for so long, you lose sight of how great it is. I’m literally floored by how good the record is.”

The former singer of the 1970s Sunset Strip band the Runaways worked with a bevy of rock’s finest on the new album, including Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, Slash and Duff from Guns N’ Roses, as well as Juliette Lewis, Brody Dalle and the Veronicas. Drummer Matt Sorum, of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, produced the set.

“Cherie hadn’t made a record in a long time,” Sorum says. “We needed to make some kind of statement. When you make albums, you have to remain true to yourself and sound fresh. I brought in some younger guys to play on the record because it’s a good injection.

“My job was to get in the room and make sure the songs were good and the tones were great. As a producer, you put a good team together. We’d work long hours, but it was like I was just vibing with some friends. The album is the icing on the cake.”

The key was to allow Currie to have a good time.

“Traditionally, when you make a record, you vibe around the studio,” Sorum adds. “People can feel the energy in that. There were situations when I made records and there were tensions that made the record really difficult to make. Sometimes those don’t turn out as good—there’s a bad vibe and a bad energy. This record was different. It was really fun to make.”

Currie and Sorum began working on the album when Currie was promoting “The Runaways” movie with Dakota Fanning as the shy blonde and Kristen Stewart as the fiery Joan Jett.

“Working with Matt Sorum was just shock and awe,” Currie says. “He’s just such a top-notch musician and producer. Then for him to bring in all of his friends—Slash, Duff, Billy Corgan, Juliette Lewis, Brody Dalle and the Veronicas—it was shocking, inspiring and extremely humbling.”

Currie admits she was awestruck, especially at the sight of Corgan. However, her fellow musicians had quite a different take.

“Do you find me threatening?” she asks rhetorically. “Juliette threw me out of my own studio. She was too nervous to sing in front of me. Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning as well. I don’t know what it is, because I think I’m pretty fun to be around, personally.

“There isn’t any negativity in my being, but for some reason she didn’t feel comfortable singing in front of me. I wasn’t wearing a devil mask or anything. Maybe I should? I don’t know.”

Currie is modest when asked about the project, saying it is Sorum’s “brainchild.”

“This is his creation,” she adds. “What he did was bring me because I had never worked with a producer who didn’t try to change me. He didn’t try to tell me that I wasn’t really delivering the way they want it to be or change my particular way of singing.

“The thing is, at my age, I have whatever is different from everyone else because it’s who I am. He didn’t try to squelch that. He nurtured that, and he just made me a better artist.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Currie was planning on touring with her band, which includes her and actor Robert Hays’ son, musician Jake Hays. She’s looking forward to returning to the road, and there’s a benefit to that—fans will know the words to her songs.

Currie has since returned to chainsaw carving, with very little fear. After all, she doesn’t remember it.

“I was knocked out,” she says with a laugh. “I opened my eyes and I saw, over my face, this retired trauma surgeon from Cedars-Sinai. I was actually carving a piece at his property.

“I have no recollection of the fear I must have felt. I actually finished the carving and I did have to take time off. I stayed out of the public eye because I had some damage to my face and a lot of nerve damage. That took a lot of time to heal. But, yeah, I enjoy carving as much as I have the last 20 years.”