November 8, 2017
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars during 2017, on the subject of our favorite squads.
“I’m fifteen years old” begins Chapter 2 of Neon Angel: The Cherie Curry Story. “There’s nothing you can tell me I don’t already know, and there’s nothing you can do that will shock me.” We all know hubris when we see it; a few pages later she meets future Runaways bandmate and mentor Joan Jett and veteran music impresario Kim Fowley — a bona fide sociopath by most accounts, including his own.
A friend sent me a signed copy of Neon Angel in 1990 when it came out. It’s inscribed, “Your dreams are just reality waiting to happen.” And then, ten years later, I moved to Los Angeles where it all took place. In the back pages of an LA Weekly, I saw a listing for the Sandy West Band “featuring special guest Cherie Curry.” They were playing at the Coconut Teaszer, a club on the Sunset Strip, where the last embers of hair metal were evanescing. West, the band’s drummer, had struggled after the band broke up in 1979. She’d worked construction, tended bar, been a vet tech, and done jail time for unspecified petty crimes. Now she’d gotten her own band back together and was making another go of it, and her old friend was there to support her.
The crowd was sparse. It felt a bit like I’d wandered into someone else’s class reunion. Curry introduced the bass player from Quiet Riot in the audience. She belted out a few Runaways songs, pausing between them to sing West’s praises. You could tell she was trying hard not to steal the spotlight. She alluded to a feud with Runaways guitarist Lita Ford, which everyone but me seemed to know about. It was the first time I heard the phrase “See You Next Tuesday.”
Much more old bitterness has been aired since then — especially after Kim Fowley died in 2015. Maybe the Runaways are an unlikely squad to celebrate. Let’s just say they were a squad, with all the loyalties and enmities that entails, and that I loved them. Their music was a dog-whistle for all us shockproof and worldly-wise girls. Now I am old enough to be their mother, and I have a hard time watching a ’luded-up Curry bump and grind her way through “Cherry Bomb.” It’s a propulsive orgasm of a song, but she looks frail and awkward, like an Easter chick in lingerie. I always preferred the triumphal innocence of “American Nights.”
Our magic is young
’cause we just begun.
We light up the sky,
always on the run.
#SQUADGOALS: Annie Nocenti on THE WILD BUNCH | Alice Boone on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS | Gordon Dahlquist on BOWIE’S BAND | Rob Wringham on THE HOME GUARD | Jennifer Krasinski on WATERSHIP DOWN RABBITS | Annalee Newitz on ROBIN HOOD’S MERRY PALS | Adrienne Crew on THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP | Mark Kingwell on THE HONG KONG CAVALIERS | Adam McGovern on KAMANDI’S FAMILY | John Overholt on THE CLUB | Greg Rowland on THE VULTURE SQUADRON | Sara Ryan on BETSY, TACY & TIB | Chelsey Johnson on VI ÄR BÄST! | Brian Berger on THE JOHN FORD STOCK COMPANY | Sherri Wasserman on THE WARRIORS | Jessamyn West on FAREYNIKTE PARTIZANER ORGANIZATSYE | Josh Glenn on DADA | Matthew De Abaitua on THE TIME | Mandy Keifetz on THE FOUNDING FATHERS | William Nericcio on ZOOT SUIT PACHUCOS | Deb Chachra on FIREFLY CREW | Matthew Battles on THE ANIMAL FAMILY | Ingrid Schorr on THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS | Joe Alterio on THE USUAL GANG OF IDIOTS | Dan Reines on THE BREAKFAST CLUB | Rob Walker on LES TROIS INSÉPARABLES | Devin McKinney on 1975 RED SOX | Steph Burt on DAMAGE CONTROL | Elina Shatkin on THE HOLOGRAMS | Chris Spurgeon on THE ALKALI METALS | Carl Wilson on NEW YORK SCHOOL POETS | Barbara Bogaev on THE MOD SQUAD | Franklin Bruno on THE AACM | Judith Zissman on THE FUTURIANS | Mimi Zeiger on ARCHIGRAM | Jacob Mikanowski on THE RATBASTARDS | Lynn Peril on THE DALY SISTERS | Anindita Basu Sempere on MEG MURRY’S FAMILY | Libi Rose on THE ENIAC TEAM | Gary Panter on THE TRIBE OF HIPPIES | Peter Doyle on CORNEL WILDE BOYS | Ken Layne on THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG | Molly Wright Steenson on BAUHAUS | Katie Hennessey on BEAT POETS | Mimi Lipson on THE RUNAWAYS | Jordan Ellenberg on BOURBAKI | Michael Campochiaro on THE SUICIDE SQUAD | Deborah Wassertzug on THE BLOODHOUND GANG | Colin Dickey on ACÉPHALE | Douglas Wolk on SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY | David Smay on THE MYSTIC KNIGHTS OF THE OINGO BOINGO | Karinne Keithley Syers on BLACKLIPS PERFORMANCE CULT.
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