In the mid-'70s, Cherie Currie joined Joan Jett, Sandy West, Lita Ford and Jackie Fox in the pioneering rock band The Runaways, paving the way for young women to be taken seriously as rock 'n' roll musicians. After disbanding, most members of The Runaways continued to pursue careers in the music industry, with Currie releasing her debut solo album, and eventually partnering with her sister Marie for a project. After that, Currie essentially stepped away from the music, not releasing an album of new music for 35 years (2015's Reverie).
Now, in 2020, Currie is back and releasing her newest album, Blvds of Splendor, digitally for the first time. Featuring members of Guns 'N' Roses, actress Juliette Lewis (who sings for her band The Licks), The Smashing Pumpkins vocalist Billy Corgan — as well as other incredible guests — Blvds of Splendor is an excitingly eclectic mix of classic and modern rock that's glamourized with punk attitude. Originally released only on vinyl in 2019, Blvds of Splendor was produced by former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum, whom Currie credits as being the driving force behind the album. "This is Matt's brainchild of a record," Currie told PopCulture.com exclusively, adding, "It's pretty darn good record, in my opinion. It's really a fun record to listen to."
The pair first connected years ago when Sorum reached out to Currie about working on a project he was producing, but the timing was not ideal as Currie was busy with the 2011 Runaways biopic starring Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart. They later reconnected when Currie was set to play with one of her former Runaways bandmates. "I told him that I had to open for Joan Jett at the Pacific Amphitheater in a month, and I didn't have a band," she said. "And I said, 'Matt, do you know anyone?' He goes, 'I'll drum for you."
Currie was sure that Sorum wasn't serious, but he absolutely was, and he helped her put a band together. "He got Nick Maybury, who has worked with me continuously since this record, touring with me when I toured on this record, believe it or not, before it even came out and doing some Runaways stuff," she added.
Soon it came time to record Blvds of Splendor, which Sorum told PopCulture.com they knew going in they wanted it to be "a punky, guitar-driven, drum rhythm-driven rock record." He added, "I didn't want to try and turn Cherie into a pop star or anything, and that's how it jumped off." Sorum went on to reveal, "I think the first track we recorded was 'Roxy Roller' [originally written and recorded in 1975 by Sweeney Todd]. We stayed pretty true to the original, but just updated the sound. I think we nailed that track."
One standout track on Blvds of Splendor is "Force to be Reckoned With," a raucous grunge-esque tune that feels like the soundtrack to a bar fight. Currie explained that the song was written by her son Jake, and Holly Knight, who wrote classics such as "Love is a Battlefield" and "The Best," for Tina Turner. "I was at Holly's house with Jake, and Holly kind of turned around. She and I were arguing a little bit about something, and she goes, 'You're a force to be reckoned with... Wait a minute, I think I'm going to write a song. Hey, Jake, let's go write a song!' True story, I swear to God. Very funny."
While putting the album together, Sorum got his old bandmates from Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver — Slash and Duff McKagan — to come in and lay down the track "Mr. X," the album's hard-hitting opening jam. The album gets its title from another guest-starring tune, the song "Blvds of Splendor," which features Currie in a duet with Corgan. "He walked into the studio and they basically wrote the song on the spot," Sorum says.
"Billy went in and sang the vocal first, and then Cherie came in, and we worked on the lyrics. I finished the track. I ended up programming a drum machine for it, because I wanted it to be more like 1979, the Pumpkins tune," Sorum admitted. "That was just a great process. Because that was to be the collaborative effort. And being in a room with each other. And everyone coming in with the same intention, we're going to come out with a song today."0comments
Another big moment in the new edition of Blvds of Splendor is a cover of the old Runaways song "Queens of Noise," which features Lewis, Distillers vocalist Brody Dalle, and Australian pop duo The Veronicas. Currie fondly recalls the day they laid down the track, sharing that Dalle was pregnant at the time. "She is a phenomenal human being," Currie said. "I just cannot speak higher about Brody, The Veronicas, Billy Corrigan. I mean, just astonishing people, really, really down to earth, good human beings. So working with them and having that much fun is something I'll never forget."
Blvds of Splendor is now available on most streaming services, including Spotify, iTunes and Amazon. Keep it locked to PopCulture.com for more music and entertainment news, and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in pop news.