The last thing Cherie Currie expected when she agreed to make a guest appearance on the 2017 Fanny reunion album Fanny Walked Off the Earth was to come out with a new band. But she has one now with Fanny singer-drummer Brie Darling, with an album, The Motivator — whose video for the title track, a T. Rex cover, is premiering exclusively below — coming Aug. 2.
“I was going out of the (music) business,” says Currie, the former Runaways singer who has alternated performing and chainsaw art during the intervening years. “I wanted nothing to do with this business anymore. I was just done with it. I was actually in escrow on some land and was gonna build a couple cabins and walk away. But working with Brie and her husband (six-time Grammy Award nominee Dave Darling) on the (Fanny) album just slayed me. She’s just brilliant and he’s just brilliant and I never had as much fun in the studio with anyone as I did with them. We just enjoy each other’s company and we seem to make each other better. So I couldn’t not do it.”
Darling felt the same connection with Currie. “We hit it off immediately in the studio,” she recalls. “The minute she walked in the door there was something about her. She’s just one of those people who has a ‘thing’; It was obviously from the start. We both cut our teeth on songs from the late ’60s and early ’70s that still stand the test of time, so we felt we could make a record that captured that.”
In addition to the T. Rex track, The Motivator features eight more covers, including the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” the Kinks’ “Do It Again,” Thunderclap Newman’s “Something In the Air,” Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and others, plus three newly written songs. Guests on the album include Currie’s ex-husband, actor Robert Hayes, and her sister Sondra Currie, Susan Olsen of The Brady Bunch, some of Darling’s siblings, actress/director Allison Scagliotti and Suzi Quatro’s sister Patti, a member of Fanny as well as the ’60s bands the Pleasure Seekers and Cradle.
“We had, like, 40 songs we were looking at,” Currie recalls, “and of course we were thinking about the political kind of aspect of ’cause the climate now is just so awful. We just decided we were going to choose songs that resonated with us and that we loved to listen to as young people.” “The Motivator,” meanwhile, was what Currie calls “a catalyst” for the duet approach she and Darling took on the album.
“I think Dave kind of thought I was going to sing a few (songs) and Brie would sing a few and we’d back each other up,” Currie says. “But I knew her voice and my voice just worked so well together. Dave had decided I was going to sing (‘The Motivator’) and I turned to him after I sang the first verse and said, ‘You’ve got to have Brie come in. We’ve got to do a duet on this song!’ And of course Brie loved the song so much and she was a little disappointed she wasn’t going to be singing it. But when she heard her vocal come in on that second verse, it was miraculous. That was what started it off that she and I were going to sing the songs, most of them, together, ’cause we’re better together. So we ended up sharing most of the songs as duets, which I’m just thrilled about.”
The duo will be appearing Aug. 1 at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles and is currently working on an extended tour to support the album — shows that will include Runaways and Fanny songs as well. “I’m firing up my chainsaw for the beginning of the show,” Currie promises. “As Brie plays drums, I’ll be carving our names into a light box. It’s going to be very cool and we’re just going to be kicking ass.” They also envision the project as a going concern, with plans to come up with more original material for the next outing.
“With this record I feel like we honored our past,” Darling explains, “and by writing a few songs we started the beginning of our new journey together. I think the goal is to see what that brings in the future. I want to be ready for anything and open to everything and see where we’re going. So, yes, I’m really looking forward to the next record.”