In April, Runaways Singer Cherie Currie released her new solo album, Blvds of Splendor, but producer — and former Guns N' Roses drummer — Matt Sorum, says it took some convincing to make the project happen. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Sorum explained that he's "been around so much greatness" in the music industry, and one thing he's learned is that even the best artists don't always "believe in themselves" the same way others do.
"With Cherie, when I gave her that idea to make the record, I had to instill it in her," Sorum said, adding that he told Currie, "The world cares, they want to hear you sing. That's the reality. And, on top of it, you're an icon. You don't age." The pair originally connected years back, around the time that Currie was working on the Runaways biopic, but unfortunately, the timing wasn't quite right yet for the pair to collaborate. Some time later, Currie reached out to Sorum, asking for his help with putting a band together. She was scheduled to do a show opening for her former Runaways bandmate Joan Jett. Much to Currie's surprise, Sorum jumped at the chance to play with her.
"I told Cherie I would be happy to be the musical director and put a band together. So I found some young musicians, and also her son Jake came to play guitar, and we put together this really killer set," Sorum recalled. "A few covers, 'Roxy Roller', and David Bowie, we did kind of a different version of 'Rebel Rebel,' and a bunch of Runaways deep cuts. We went out there, and Cherie came out, and she just came out blazing. She looked great. She looked amazing. She still had all the moves. It's like the moves are inherent, they don't go away. It's just something she was born with. And she was natural with the audience, even though she hadn't been up there that much. It was just still there, it was like riding a bike for her."
After that, the two of them started seriously discussing the prospect of making an album, which they were both extremely enthusiastic about. "I said, 'What kind of record do we want to make?' And then started getting songs together. That just started the process. I ended up working on the record probably for about six months." In the end, Blvds of Splendor emerged. A genuine, gut-punching rock 'n' roll record that has already racked up thousands of plays online.
The album features some phenomenal guests, such as Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, The Distillers vocalist Brody Dalle, and Sorum's old Guns N' Roses — and Velvet Revolver — bandmates: Slash and Duff McKagan. "We kind of sprinkled in a few guests, but we didn't want to make it too guest-heavy, just wanted to make it about Cherie," Sorum clarified. "We wanted to do a punky, guitar-driven, drum rhythm-driven rock record. I didn't want to try and turn Cherie into a pop star or anything."
The album's title — Blvds of Splendor — comes from a song of the same name, which Currie and Corgan wrote and sang together. "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. 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."
Currie herself gives Sorum the largest portion of credit for bringing the album together, telling PopCulture.com, "This is Matt's brainchild of a record. And it's pretty darn good record, in my opinion. It's really a fun record to listen to." 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.