A Tour Diary, Blue Ruin and Cherie Currie
I’m not sure you can ever be truly prepared to perform alongside the legendary Cherie Currie. I know I can speak for my band mates when I say that The Runaways kicked out a pretty decent path for women coming up in Rock ‘n’ Roll, so to be supporting the woman herself just seemed… unreal.
Words by Jessie Booth | Concert photos by Bradley Garner
And I can tell you, after all the lead-up, the endless loop of The Runaways on my Itunes and following interviews, we certainly weren’t disappointed to learn that Cherie completely exceeded our expectations as not only a kick ass performer but also a genuinely exceptional human being.
When Blue Ruin first got the email I remember running from one end of my flat to the other to scream out the news. Only expecting to be on the bill for her Auckland show at the Kings Arms, we learnt that we would all need to be booking flights down to Wellington to complete the second leg of her first New Zealand Tour at Bodega.
The lead up to it was nothing but nerves, the kind of nerves that have you falling out of a Savemart dressing room in just your underwear because you’re shaking and completely flustered at the lack of clothing items you can agree on. In preparation, my shower was almost stained a new shade of Smurf-blue as the hair was re-dyed, eBay purchases were hastily made during my lunch breaks at work and a corset was picked up out of the costume section in a West-Auckland second-hand store to strap into for our first gig.
Though once flights were booked, rehearsals were completed, outfits were picked and the girls all rolled into the Kings Arms that afternoon at 4 pm the nerves were finally out the window as a month’s worth of prep was all falling into place.
We were greeted by Cherie’s band, Dan, Alex and Tommy, who were a totally open and friendly group that would often approach us for a chat. Being the nervous and socially odd muppets we tend to be, these conversations went from topics such as accidentally – and intentionally – eating cat food (funny how relatable this topic turned out to be in the group) to their other bands back home or how they liked to conduct their own musical projects.
There was a four-hour window between load in, sound check and stepping up to warm the stage for Cherie Currie. Lucky for us we had a pool table and the luxury of Hells pizza delivery to keep us occupied whilst we filled in the time until doors opened.
Performing in our hometown, Auckland, we were lucky to have tonne of support from our friends, family and colleagues, and being the second warm-up band after Cheshire Grimm the house was now full and buzzing with heat and excitement. The space we were working with was tiny, (you can see the foot room I had to work within the photo below), and it was the first time I have almost found myself fall off the stage. Hair flicks and heels don’t always seem to go well with violently vibrating cymbals and coils of leads. But it was a riot. The sweat was pouring and the crowd was loud, and the support we got once we got off was just so massively positive and uplifting. We were crazy lucky to get amazing crowds on both nights
But now, Cherie, we were in love. She was all parts lovely, funny and filled with a I-don’t- give-a-fuck kind of attitude.
She was open about her thoughts on the music industry and blessed our poor little cotton softs for “growing up in the social media world with fucking American Idol”. Her crowd interactions were like watching an interview with all the answers to the questions you would have wanted to ask. Tributes were given to Kiss and the late David Bowie. A crowd member interrupted between songs to tell Cherie she had seen The Runaways at one of their first Japan shows and my heart just swelled! How freaking precious is that?!
Of course, they finished on Cherry Bomb to which us girls in Blue Ruin just went absolutely mental. The green room was completely surrounded after the set and Cherie was more than happy to talk, sign tickets and take photos, and even when she had to cut the signing short to return to her hotel room she made sure that everyone who had stayed to meet her at least got a photo with her. She was just an amazing human being, and we were so glad to be touring with such a great vibe!
The next day was filled with flights and settling into our 6 manner backpacker’s dorm room where we ran into an awesome strip club waitress who was just starting her life in Wellington. Thank goodness she could deal with five loud band members with constantly horrible topics of conversation (such as how human meat was found in tuna cans in China). You were a great addition to the dorm babe, it was a pleasure to meet you!
The bunk bed set up felt like camp, though with a far worse mattress situation – I’m talking springs covered in a sheet, but we were determined to drink an amount post-show that would take this discomfort away. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough to take away the cockroach I found in my sheets the next morning, but on the positive side, I was only there for one night.
Our green room in Bodega was stocked full with beers in tin buckets when we arrived, as well as handy nostalgic VCR’s of the Titanic and Jurassic Park, minus a VCR player…
Though the crowd wasn’t as big as Kings Arms they were certainly just as responsive. Cherie had announced the previous evening that she was planning to retire after this tour so knowing that this may very well be the last time we see Cherie perform live the Blue Ruin girls came right up the front to rock the shit out of her set.
We were told that we could txt the tour manager when the night was over to organise a trip to her hotel room to finally meet her but I guess we couldn’t wait because as soon as the set was over we grabbed the photographers and headed down to the green room to meet our hero and take a few snaps – and besides a long day of interviews and the show, she was totally obliging.
After a well-awaited meet and greet with the goddess herself, we managed to take her bassist Alex and a few fans along to Bad Grannies to celebrate the end of our contribution to the tour. There was lots of hugs, spilt drinks, broken glasses, ‘I love you’s’ and bad karaoke but waking up to the sleeping girls with a mess of leather jackets, spikes and colourful hair extensions on the floor the next morning just seemed like the perfect way to wrap up our trip.