Cherie Currie Makes Another Run At Rock

Former Runaways frontwoman reunites with group's drummer at live gig.

LOS ANGELES -- Cherie Currie wasn't saying "yes" and she wasn't

saying "no comment." Instead, when the one-time frontwoman of the legendary

'70s grrrl group the Runaways was asked if the group were planning a

reunion, she responded simply with a suspicious smirk.

"Let's just say there are going to be lots of exciting things happening

this year," she said slyly. "People can use their imaginations."

They didn't have to Friday at Golden Apple Comic Book Megastore on

Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, when Currie was joined by Runaways

drummer

Sandy West for a brief set of the group's music.

Currie was appearing at the free show to celebrate the re-release of her

1980 album, Messin' With the Boys. But the highlight of the event

-- which also attracted Donita Sparks from the grrrl group L7 (who once

covered the Runaways' hit "Cherry Bomb") and Jeffrey McDonald from punk

band Redd Kross -- was the finale with West.

With Currie's current group, Blue Canyon, providing backup, the former

Runaways stormed through several of their group's signature songs,

including "American Nights" and "California Paradise." When Currie and West

got to the band's infamous "jailbait" anthem,

"Cherry Bomb," they were joined by Rodney Bingenheimer, the renowned DJ of

KROQ-FM who was an early supporter of the group.

"When we play those songs together, it just brings back so many great

memories," said West, who now plays in the local hard-rock outfit the Sandy

West Band. "It's second nature to me. The Runaways mean everything

to me, so it's the best feeling in the world to play those songs again."

The original Runaways, who recorded three albums (The Runaways, Queens of Noise and Waitin' for the Night), included singer/guitarist Joan Jett, guitarist Lita Ford and bassist Jackie Fox, in addition to Currie and West. Jett went on to have a successful solo career with hits such as "I Love Rock 'N' Roll," while Ford had less success recording solo metal albums.

Almost lost amid the hoopla of the partial Runaways reunion was the

ostensible subject of the event, the reissue of Messin' With the

Boys. The album, which Currie recorded with her twin sister, Marie,

was her first post-Runaways effort. At this show, Currie was joined by

Marie, and the two traded vocals and harmonies on four of the album's

songs, including the rocking title track and the ballad "Secrets."

Currie opened the show with new material from Blue Canyon. A

sharp turn from her hard-rock beginnings, the new songs, such as the

soulful rocker

"Don't Believe in Heaven" and the elegant ballad "Believe," are roots-rock

numbers teetering on country terrain. "I'm older now, and the songs I'm

writing are more middle-of-the-road," Currie said afterward of her new

material, which she is currently shopping to labels. "I have a 7-year-old

daughter, and the songs I write are more inspirational songs -- songs that

make

me feel good."

But what clearly made the fans feel good was the brief -- albeit partial --

brush with the Runaways. West and Currie stayed after the show to sign

autographs to the delight of Runaways fans, old and young.

"I really loved it," said Steve Pake, 43, who first saw the Runaways play at

the Whisky a Go Go in 1976. "It was a tad better than it was '76, and they

were

always just dynamite back then. I'm excited to see Cherie back. I've been

waiting for years for her new album."

Other fans were crossing their fingers that West and Currie uniting may

lead to something more momentous. "If the Runaways reunite, I'll finally be

OK with the fact I was born about 10 years late," said Justine

Harrington, 22, clutching a copy of the Runaways' 1977

album Queen of Noise, which contained the still-wet ink of Currie's and

West's autographs. "This century will end right."