Interview: Cherie Currie And Brie Darling Discuss New Collaboration, ‘The Motivator’
While The Runaways front-woman/solo artist Cherie Currie and Fanny drummer/vocalist Brie Darling had always been members of a mutual admiration society, the pair had never crossed paths until 2017, when Darling invited Currie and several other female powerhouses to contribute to the Fanny reunion album, Fanny Walked The Earth. The duo enjoyed each other’s musical company so much that they’ve forged what’s become one of summer’s most anticipated collaborative releases, The Motivator.
The 12-song album, produced by Grammy-nominated Dave Darling (Brie’s husband), features nine classic covers that not only shed light on Currie and Darling’s vast repetoire of influences but also showcases the duo’s infectious musical prowess. One of the biggest being their emotive take on The Rolling Stones classic, “Gimme Shelter.” Currie and Darling’s take on other hits by Buffalo Springfield, Stevie Wonder, John Lennon and The Kinks hold up equally as well.
The powerful collection is rounded out with three original songs, including the poignant rocker, “Too Bruised” and the groove-ridden and apropos “This Is Our Time.”
The Motivator will be released on Friday, August 2. Pre-order available here.
I recently spoke with Cherie Currie and Brie Darling about The Motivator and more in this exclusive new interview.
How did the two of you come together for this project?
Brie Darling: I had done a record a few years ago called Fanny Walked The Earth. It was the first time that June [Millington], Jean [Millington] and I had recorded in forty-five years. During the recording we had the idea of having as many girl-band artists come out and join us as possible. So we had Patti Quatro, Cheri and a few of The Bangles and Go Gos. When Cheri walked through the door I noticed an immediate and undeniable energy. She was just awesome.
Cherie Currie: Even though I had been a fan for years I’d never met any of the gals from Fanny. So when I was asked to come in and do a backup, along with some of the other rocker chicks who’ve broken the ice over the past several decades, I was thrilled, and I was absolutely floored by Brie’s voice.
BD: What happened next was that Cherie had invited me out to do a benefit for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I played drums with her on a performance of “Cherry Bomb”. The idea of working together was always simmering, and it finally came to be.
How did you determine which covers to include on The Motivator?
CC: Brie and I grew up with 60s and 70s music and have a natural gravitation to it. It was great to pay homage to the music we grew up with.
BD: I think we started off with somewhere around forty songs. It was really had to narrow them down because they’re were so many great ones.
What made you decide to include a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter?”
BD: I’ve always wanted to do that song, and Merry Clayton’s soulful high part. We had to really play with that arrangement to make it happen in a whole different way. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I remember when Cherie came out to put on her vocal she was dealing with some kind of cold. We kept that first take because it was so raspy and cool.
CC: That song was a catalyst and testing ground for Dave, Brie and myself. When Brie and I heard our voices together, it was shockingly good.
There are also a few original songs on the new album. What’s your writing process?
BD: It wasn’t just one person writing everything. It was a combination of both of us putting our ideas together. Dave had given us a few tracks that he’d written to work with and another one that had been sitting around for a while. One of the ones Cherie and I wrote together actually came from a phone conversation where Cherie had mentioned about this being our time.
CC: The very first song I heard was “Too Bruised,” which sent me reeling. I was floored by Brie’s ability to write lyrics that were so passionate and deep. Another one we both really loved was “I’m Too Good, That’s Just Too Bad.” Brie and Dave wrote the music and lyrics and I stepped in and changed a few things for both of us.
BD: A lot of people in this business have had the experience where people don’t want you to be as good as you are. Cherie and I have both had people who tried to put us in our place. That song was our opportunity to say, “We’re too good and that’s just too bad. Move over” [laughs].
What was the recording process like?
BD: We started the basic tracks at my home studio, and when we got to the big studio we had our family and friends come down. I’d never had the opportunity to record with my brothers and sister, who are also musical. Cherie’s sister is on the album as well as her ex-husband, and good friend, Bob Hays. Her son did the artwork for the record, my husband produced and my nephew engineered. To create a little family heirloom means so much to me.
What excites you the most about the new album, The Motivator, and this next phase of your careers?
BD: I’m looking forward to the release of the new record and touring. Cheri and I both know what we can do and what we can bring. It’s not a completion. We both support each other and are going to do some things that no one else can do.
CC: There was so much push and pull and bullsh#t for us being in female rock bands in the past. It was taxing at times because you never really felt like you could be yourself because it might offend someone. I’m so grateful to now have this partnership with a woman who I absolutely think should’ve been a star a long time ago. Brie spent a majority of her musical career either behind the drums or supporting, but she’s a front woman extraordinaire. It will be neat for both of us to be on front of the stage for a majority of the show. This time we can be who we are.