Originally released in the late 80’s Cherie Currie’s memoir Neon Angel has been repackaged and updated slightly to coincide with the biopic of her teenage band The Runaways. The movie may not have done as well as expected, but the book is still every bit as entertaining and shocking as when it was first released.
Though the bulk of Neon Angel deals with Currie’s time as front woman for the history making, if short-lived all female teenage band The Runaways, it’s her shocking retelling of personal tragedies, including two sexual assaults, that draw the most attention. The later occurred after she left the band, when a psycho held her captive in an abandoned house for more than a day, physically and emotionally torturing her.
Currie is just as frank in discussing her time in the band. It’s obvious she adored many of her fellow musicians, Joan Jett, in particular. The one exception being guitarist Lita Ford; to hear Currie tell it, the future queen of hair metal was a jealous bully, prone to starting fights, despite being a stellar guitar player. There is still plenty of vitriol left for the notorious loathsome Kim Fowley, the abusive producer who formed the band. He not only cheated the girls out of their earnings, constantly berated them, but acted as a virtual (and in one instance detailed in the book) and literal pimp, playing up the Lolita/jailbait image to the hilt.
Currie book is refreshingly honest for a rock star memoir; frank, heartbreaking at times, and completely addictive. Though The Runaways may have only had a few good years in them before imploding, they managed to serve as ambassadors to the world of rock for an entire generation of female musicians.
Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway by Cherie Currie with Tony O’Neill/It Books/368 pages.