Neon Angel, by Cherie Currie, with Tony O'Neill

Neon Angel - Cherie Currie,  Tony O'Neill

I had no idea Cherie Currie had been through quite this much shit. She's most famous as the singer for '70s all-girl rock band The Runaways (also featuring Joan Jett and Lita Ford). I knew a smidge about her story from seeing the film made from this memoir (titled, simply, The Runaways, and starring Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart, and Michael Shannon). Obviously the movie only covered a bit before she joined the group and a bit after. As "seedy" as life on the road as a teen girl is portrayed in the film, as drug-filled and rife with mental abuse from Kim Fowley, there's a lot more where that came from in the book.


Yet this is, for the most part, not a depressing book. It maintains a personable tone and depicts events and feelings as if the author were just now experiencing them rather than looking back on them as an a wiser adult. I found this a little troublesome when it came to descriptions of her drug use as a teen, especially given that Currie later became a drug counselor for young people (or worked with them in some capacity). But ultimately this offhandedness fits with how the book is structured, particularly when we see just how harrowing things get when in her adult life she starts freebasing and her life crumbles. She just manages to save herself, but it's not an easy, movie-of-the-week road.


There are some great moments where Currie discusses her persona and how it was formed and evolved (or personae), her relationship with music, David Bowie in particular. Writing about the band, Joan Jett in particular, is fascinating, scary, and sometimes sweet. The same can be said for her family life and relationship with her twin, Marie.


I'm glad she made it through to tell the tale. How many all-girl rock bands have there been? How many women can show us that perspective?