Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch Cherry Bomb!

Have you ever heard a band or piece of music at an impressionable age and been totally blown away by it?  As in it sounded so shockingly fresh and new, bordering on a religious awakening?  For me that moment came when I first heard the Runaways song “Cherry Bomb” circa 1993 on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack.

I was absolutely stunned to find out that the Runaways were a band of girls, including future stars Joan Jett and Lita Ford.  Not only that, but I had just gotten my own drum kit and here were girls that were at the time 16 years old, around the same age as myself, totally rocking out.  Strangely, I have never been a fan of chick singers/bands, but they just clicked with me with their glam/metal/punk sound and lyrics that teenagers related to.  Sandy West became one of my drumming heroes and biggest influences.


Above: the “Famous Five” version of the Runaways with the equally infamous corset.  L – R: Sandy West, Jackie Fox, Cherrie Currie, Lita Ford, Joan Jett.

I was equally dumbfounded to learn that while the Runaways had been pioneers in the music industry for women, they had been belittled by the media (Creem magazine simply declaring “These bitches suck.”) and abused mentally, emotionally, and sexually by a management team that also robbed them blind of their money.  Check out the documentary “Edgeplay: a Film About the Runaways” and see what happened to a bunch of talented girls that had vile and greedy handlers running their careers.

While this was all going on and through various lineup changes, they still managed to make 5 albums before disbanding.  My personal favourites are the Runaways, Queens of Noise, and Live in Japan.  I personally think Cherrie Currie was a much better frontwoman than Joan Jett – I’ve always found Joan Jett’s vocals to be too shouty for my tastes.  But to each their own!

2010 will bring us a big-screen treatment of the Runaways story.  We can only hope it’s not going to be one of those “based on a real story but full of Hollywood tripe” deals.  I hope it’ll bring a whole new generation of listeners to the Runaways’ music.

Check out this not-so-great quality video of Cherry Bomb played live.  Beware of the Cherrie Currie crotch shot at approximately 1:40!


4 Responses to “Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch Cherry Bomb!”

  1. Jennifer Roland Says:

    i love the Runaways, and like you, I hope that the movie portrays the women and their management teams accurately. If nothing else, it will showcase their talents for a new group of young women.

    • queenofnoise Says:

      Thanks for the comment Jennifer! I really am hoping that even if longtime Runaways fans don’t like the movie, it’ll at least open up young girls’ eyes to real female musicians who made a difference and rocked out, unlike the Britney Spears/Miley Cyrus no-talent-or-musical-ability “role models” they’re currently stuck with! How sad! Hopefully it’ll inspire girls to pick up musical instruments too.

  2. dhmaiden Says:

    my biggest problem is with kirsten stewart and dakota fanning, they always play good little girls, cherie was a party machine and joan was a hard-ass, im worried the’ll make them two regular teens in a band, that would make sooo many rockers angry, me included

    • queenofnoise Says:

      I agree… it’s hard to imagine seeing Dakota Fanning popping pills, snorting coke, etc. when she’s basically been the “cute kid” in movies over the past decade. My feeling is the casting was definitely based on how many tweens the movie could pull into theatres and not what kind of musical integrity they could bring. I’m still holding out a tiny shard of hope that this movie will get kids interested in the Runaways’ music and be a decent watch for fans… though I have seen some set footage from the movie on Youtube where the band is “playing” at a roller rink and it’s just lip synching and miming playing their instruments. I also don’t like this “Robin” bass player character that never existed. How can this movie be billed as a “coming of age biopic” when Micki Steele and/or Jackie Fox are not even in it?

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