joan jett - The I-94 Bar

Cherie of a tour

cherie currie

The voice of The Runaways, Cherie Curie, is heading to Australia and New Zealand in May and June for her first Antipodean tour.

The Runaways burst onto the LA scene in 1975 with a 15-year-old Currie out front screaming the instant classic “Cherry Bomb!”  The Runaways created a sensation wherever they appeared and quickly catapulted from playing small clubs to selling out major stadiums—headlining shows with opening acts like the Ramones, Van Halen, Cheap Trick and Blondie.

Neon Angel. A Memoir of a Runaway by Cherie Currie with Tony O’Neill (Harper Collins/Itbooks)

neon angel coverIf medals were given out to musicians who’d somehow survived to succeed in the face of horror, The Runaways would be instant recipients. Cherie Currie’s book is a damn fine read. It’s worth four out of three McGilvrays or whatever iconic ‘70s TV star The Barman uses to denote: cracking r’n’r book. Four out of three: you with me so far?

First, let it be known that we have too many books on ’60s rockers who turn out the same old wan sludge with a smirk and a wink. There are plenty of ’70s and ‘80s rockers who’ve done the same. Once you reach a certain level, you can wet-fart in your audience’s face with impunity and thousands will pay for the privilege.

Step forward and take the bouquets of flowers, Cherie Currie. Tony O’Neill has probably done the horrible typing, editing and transcribing, but Cherie’s story is told with verve, honesty and … yes, more than a tinge of bitterness. Although bitterness is not the prevailing theme; the themes are abuse, self-abuse, self-awareness and basic morality.

For all those who think The Runaways had it sweet, “Neon Angel” will disabuse you of that notion. Cherie’s story is unpleasant and horrific in many ways; and as members of the Blank Generation we can all make a few guesses. But the truth is vile (there were moments where I found myself pointlessly looking away from the page), and beneath all the glam rollercoaster of success was the greedy, ugly industry (personified by Kim Fowley, whose depiction will turn everyone’s stomach. Picture a moist tall slug in a dirty orange jumpsuit, that’s how I’ll always remember him).

Someday we'll all get outta here

apocalypse

... ruminations of a horrified social distancer on his evaporating way of life in the shadows of the green death plague.

"I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
For they always bring me tears
I can't forgive the way they robbed me
Of my childhood souvenirs.." - John Prine
 
"They tried to get me lots of times and now they're coming after you/ I got out and I'm here to say, 
Baby, you can get out, too"  - Johnny Winter 
 
"Love is land..."  -Duran Duran 
 
"Hidin' out and layin' low ain't nothin' new to me..."  - Guns N Roses 
 
Every morning brings bad news. I'm worried for Marrianne Faithful, John Prine has passed and a couple no-name rocknroll underground legends and personal friends you ain't never heard of. Alan Merrill of Vodka Collins and the Arrows' passing was a sad day, indeed. For years now, I've noticed how it's an annual tradition, almost a law, that some university bona fide but tragically lazy professional journalist writes an obligatory cover story at every entertainment weekly, each year, about the next big girl group, that suggests Joan Jett wrote the 70's glitter anthem, "I Love Rocknroll" by Alan Merrill and the Arrows, a really fabulous, bubblegum glitter stompin', unsung glam gang, and it kinda always makes me feel a bit conflicted about the perennial Jett-Lagg myth-protecting and gives even more credibility to those other Runaways gals who testify about Joan's management always deemphasizing their contributions to her worldwide brand.

These Tigers aren't for caging

five things smalltown tigersFive Things - Smalltown Tigers (Area Pirata Records)

There’s nothing new in rock and roll. The same goes for punk rock. So get over it. Reinvention has always been a constant and the trick to being good at the caper is adding as your own unique ingredient.

“Five Things” is eight songs from three Italian girls calling themselves Smalltown Tigers. They come from Romagna in the country's north-east, cut their teeth playing Ramones songs at squats and beach parties and went into a studio in 2019, under the production hand of Stiv Cantarelli.

They're only been around a couple of years but you wouldn't know it. With a single in the racks before this, "Five Things" swaggers with confidence and loads of energy. It would be politically incorrect to say the girls have good looks on their side as well, so we won't. Image counts for much in rock and roll.