‘Blvds of Splendor’: Cherie Currie and Matt Sorum Discuss Infectious New Album
Legendary Runaways vocalist Cherie Currie describes her new album, Blvds of Splendor, as the record she wish she’d made when she was signed to Capitol Records in the early 1980’s, and for good reason. The album, nearly ten years in the making and produced by veteran drummer/author/ entrepreneur Matt Sorum (The Cult, Velvet Revolver, ex-Guns N’ Roses), is a pure cornucopia of musical goodness spotlighting Currie’s monstrous vocal prowess.
From the album’s high-energy opening track, “Mr. X,” a track originally slated for Velvet Revolver and featuring Slash and Duff McKagan, to the more haunting sounds of “Blvds of Splendor,” a song with a subtle vibe written as a duet and performed with Billy Corgan [Smashing Pumpkins]. Other tracks from the album, like the groove-ridden “Black Magic,” the bluesey “Roxy Roller,” and the apropos “Force To Be Reckoned With,” also demand repeated listenings.
One of the biggest highlights of Blvds of Splendor has got to be the modern remake of The Runaways hit, “Queens of Noise,” where Currie is joined on vocals by Brody Dalle, The Veronicas and Juliette Lewis. Drummer Matt Sorum also pays homage to the band’s late member, Sandy West, by contributing a masterful performance in West’s signature style.
Runaways fans have waited a long time to hear this rock icon do what she does best and will certainly find a lot to like with Blvds Of Splendor. But more importantly, the new album proves that forty-five years after she became the lead singer of the all-female teenage rock band, Currie is still at the top of her game.
I recently spoke with Cherie Currie and Matt Sorum about the new album and much more in this exclusive new interview.
This album has been many years in the making. Can you tell me a little bit about the journey of Blvds of Splendor?
Cherie Currie: About ten years ago Matt reached out about having me do some backgrounds on a project he was working on. I was busy at the time with the movie [“The Runaways”] but later reached out to him about putting together a band when I was opening for Joan [Jett] at the Pacific Amphitheatre. Matt told me he would do it and it was so well received that we wound up getting offered a contract by Joan’s record company. Over the years we thought about recording and releasing the album but something always came up. Now is the perfect time. This is the record I’ve always wanted to make.
Matt Sorum: I felt magic that night and after the show and wanted to make a record for Cherie that had a retro element. Taking the original vibe of The Runaways and taking it up a notch to bring it into a modern element. Something that was mature, punky and little bit street.
Let’s discuss a few tracks from the new album, beginning with “Mr. X” which features Slash and Duff from Guns N’ Roses.
MS: That was a track we had originally recorded for Velvet Revolver when we were trying out singers. I wanted to add some cool elements to the album, so I called Slash and Duff.
CC: It never got on a Velvet Revolver record and I was thrilled when they presented it to me. It’s a brilliantly written song that was fun to sing.
“Blvds of Splendor.”
CC: Matt reached out to Billy, who I’m a huge fan of. Billy offered to write a song specifically for he and I to do a duet on. He’s an iconic writer and one of the nicest people ever. For him to share his brilliance with me on that kind of level is something I’ll never forget.
MS: It was great just watching them go. Billy sang the vocal and Cherie sang on top of it. We recorded the whole song in just a few hours.
What made you decide to revisit The Runaways song, “Queens of Noise?”
CC: Because it’s one of those songs that just kicks ass! I originally told Matt that it would be great to do a song and dedicate it Sandy West [The Runaways drummer who passed away in 2006]. Matt brought in Brody Dalle, Juliette Lewis and The Veronica twins and then paid homage to Sandy by playing the exact same way she played it. It was a true tribute to my dear friend that we lost way too soon.
Cherie, was it true that your audition for The Runaways was performing the song, “Cherry Bomb?”
CC: Originally, they had asked me to learn a Suzi Quatro song but the girls were not happy with that. They really wanted a rock song. So Kim [Fowley] grabbed Joan and the two of them went into the house where I was auditioning at and came out twenty minutes later with “Cherry Bomb.” I got the part of being the lead singer that day.
Matt, what can fans expect from your upcoming autobiography, “Double Talkin’ Jive?”
MS: The bulk of the book will be about my time in The Cult, Velvet Revolver and Guns N’ Roses. But there’s also a whole story before that about me coming to Hollywood in the late seventies. Some of the things I’m not very proud of but the stories themselves are interesting.
What excites you both about the new album and this next phase of your career?
CC: I hope people love this record as much as I do and welcome me with open arms when I tour. This is an album that needs to be born on stage.
MS: I’m excited about the record and am happy it’s finally out in the world. We’ve put a lot of work and passion into this project. There’s no hate in this record. It’s pure love and we did it all for the right reasons.