Spoilers: there may be some spoilers in this review, but I did not give them all away.
My impressions after reading and listening to the “Neon Angel Book”. The book should have been called “Cherry Bomb”. When I look up the title “Neon Angel” I find things about Neon Genesis Evangelion the Anime Series. Although I am extremely interested in things from the time period (late 70s) in which the Runaways were active, I had not heard of them until the 90s. Cherry Bomb is an amazing song. Seeing Cherie Currie singing Cherry Bomb on You Tube convinced to buy the Kindle book and the Audible edition. I had seen Joan Jett when she opened for Robert Plant in the Bay Area in the early 80s. Yet, I had no idea that The Runaways even existed. I admire Joan Jett the most of all, because she worked tirelessly to make it and she strikes me as very honest and sincere. But I found Cherie Currie to have a vague relationship with the truth. I know that doing cocaine the 70s caused David Bowie to lose his memories of that time period. Maybe Cherie Currie did not remember the events correctly, and then made some of the details up and even convinced herself they were true?
The Marcie story was rewritten from the original edition of the book from 1989 which is now out of print. I don’t want to track down this book and read it, because I feel like that would too much work. No one is paying me to investigate Cherie Currie’s statements. I read that Jackie Fox was upset about the Marcie Story and wanted it removed. Instead Cherie Currie made the story bigger and more elaborate the new edition, but claimed the girl was not Jackie. Who was Marcie and why is she never mentioned in the book other than that one scene? If you want to read more about the Jackie Fox story I found a deleted article from boingboing.net which you can read here on Archive Today. The problem is when I try to look up any of the details about Cherie Currie, I find many sources for the Jackie Fox Story. Everything online about Cherie Currie was replaced with Jackie Fox, and now nothing else can be found or was it ever there to begin with? If the Marcie Story is real Manager Kim Fowley, should have been in jail. It’s one thing for Cherie Currie to say things were different back then, but I lived through it and I can say that is not true. Things were not that different! Marcie and the other girls were underage. Underage girl being raped constantly and men walking away free is not a realistic.
What pushed me over the edge and brought me to the conclusion that this book is mostly not true was the story of her own rape by a serial killer named James Lloyd White. He had killed six other women, yet he is not considered a serial killer online. If one Googles the name James Lloyd White one find nothing. Maybe his name was changed in the book? His name sounds a little like Frank Lloyd Wright. How can he not be listed in Murderapida? I read the follow up and Cherie Currie claims that he was allowed to plea bargain. How can someone kill six women and presumable rape many more in Southern California and get off with a plea deal? Cherie Currie claimed she stabbed the rapist (James Lloyd White) in the stomach with a knife, but it was not a serious wound and he drove her a friend’s house when she tricked him into believing she would move to Dallas with him. When is a stab wound in the stomach not considered to be serious? In the book he tortured her for six hours, in the follow up it was five hours. These are small inconsistencies, but they all add up. I’m sure I could find more inconsistencies, but what would be the point in trying?
Scott Anderson was reported to have slept with all of the Runaways expect for one of them. Why did he not end up in jail for that? The abortion Cherie Currie had with (what was presumed to be his baby and he refused to pay for) is called “The Procedure.” I really wanted her to keep the baby. I could not understand her reasons for not having the baby. She said wanted to keep it, but she was pressured by her family to abort it. Cherie Currie never knew if the baby was a boy or a girl. This was sad state of affairs. It’s easy to see how after that and all the other terrible things that all Cherie Currie had endured all she wanted to do was use drugs all the time to forget. It was at this time she moved in with her Coke Dealer named Bruce. Living with Bruce she to smoked crack. She became similar to her Idol David Bowie when he was in his Thin White Duke period. She kept the binds drawn closed and never left the house for weeks. She lost out on a movie part in 1985, but she cleaned up her life, eventually. One of the reasons she cited that lead to her doing drugs was the album that she did with her sister. Cherie Currie said the album was failure and they never toured to support it. However, she had toured with her sister successfully in Japan. But Messing with the Boys has gained popular and has been reissued in 1997. The music industry (back then) caused many artists to remain obscure if they could not make a deal for distribution or get radio play. This was certainly unfair and her best option would have been to remain with the Runaways. I think they could have continued as more mature artists in the future. Bruce was reportedly a nice guy who tired to help her, even paying for her rebab.
There are a number of strange incidents such as the night with the unknown pop star ordered by Manager Kim Fowley, and an affair with another unnamed pop star. I tried to verify who their real names were and I could not find anything.
I don’t know if this book is mostly real or mostly fake, but most likely it’s a combination of real and fake events. The book moves from one horrible scenario to the next. The book reminds me of reading a Gor Novel. But Gor Novels are fiction. The female main character in a Gor Novel moves from one horrible sitatuion of being beaten and raped to the next. One can’t figure out why and there is no time in a Gor Novel which things are normal or average. Gor novels are always on the edge of your seat dramatic. When Cherie Currie was raped by Derek her sister’s boyfriend in her own home she only told her sister and never reported it. I have not even finished the book yet. If I have any other ideas I will update this blog post. The reason I am delaying finishing Neon Angel is similar to the way I feel about Gor Novels. The contents are best read very slowly over time so as to be overwhelmed with negative emotions.
Being in the Runaways sounded not a fun experience for Cherie Currie. She quit the Runaways too soon, and over a photoshoot. After she had endured so much suffering on the European Tour why would she quit the band? Cherie Currie loved Japan because they really appreciated her. Still she quit the band too soon.
It’s hard to believe I lived through the whole Runaways time without being aware of them. Their music was never played on my local radio stations. I was never into teen idols who were popular at the time such as Shaun Cassidy. I did not waste money on those Teen Magazines like Tiger Beat. I did not buy or read Rollingstone, so how was I to know about the Runaways? Cherie Currie said she was almost on the cover of Rollingstone. She said was a big mistake to turn the cover down. Even if she had been on the cover, I did not buy or read Rollingstone. Everyone knew Joan Jett after her MTV Music Video for the song “Do You Want To Touch.” If I did not even like boy teen idol bands why would I like a girl teen idol band? I never knew they existed. That is the most remarkable thing about the Runaways.
The Runaways Movies came out in 2010, and I watched some of it, but I did not like it. The movie reminded me of Daydream Believers: The Monkees’ Story Movie 2000 which I did not like either. It was not that the actors fault, but the dialogue was terrible. Great actors can only do so much with a poor script.
Updated: I have finished the book and the take away is that the book does not give one an idea of what is going on, but merely moves from one crisis to the next. One chapter opened with Cheri pretending to be the character she played in the Movie “Foxes”, but does not tell you that until she has died in the hospital after a car crash. I can not recall if I saw the movie “Foxes” so it did not make an impression on me. Often I am left guessing at what she is talking about as I listen and I have to check the Kindle book to clarify and to put events in the correct chronological sequence. In the final notes she mentions that her Mom and Dad are still alive, but clearly she means her step father because her Dad died in the book from drinking. I had to research her father to determine if he was dead or if it was a fantasy sequence. I was not able to find out if he was dead or alive. So why does she call her step father (whom she called Wolfgang earlier in the book) Dad? There is lots of confusion in the book, and it needs a good editor. Her father’s death is incredible sad and dramatic, and if people want drama this book will provide a lot of it. Over all I ended up giving the book three stars, because there are interesting parts in it that I enjoyed, and I decided to keep and not return the audio book.
Updated: After reading this Huffington Post Article I changed my mind about “Neon Angel” again. I was trying to find a reason to like the book, but now I really can’t like it. The Marcie Character is definitely Jackie Fox. The incident took place after a concert. In the book it was before a concert. I was thinking that was impossible because it would not have been possible for Jackie Fox to play a concert after being drugged and raped. But changing the name does not make this story acceptable. I have no idea why Cherie Currie fought to keep this scene in her book or even why she wrote it in the first place. There is something seriously warped about Cherie Currie. In this undated You Tube clip she begins to talk about the Marcie incident, but the clip ends suddenly without her going into details. I seems to me that she was talking about the “Marcie” event before she doubled down on it in the revised version of Neon Angel in 2010. I read some rumors that Joan Jett was horrified by the out of control talking that was going on and was calling people and telling them to stop talking about the rape. Clearly Joan is the only person who was thinking clearly. Cherie Currie is retraumatizing Jackie Fox by talking about it before Jackie had talked about it. She made it into some kind of joke as you can see her laughing about it. Cherie Currie is almost as creepy as Fowley in this clip. Even if this girl was not Jackie Fox and she “asked for it” she was still underage, and it’s still rape and it’s not funny.
Updated: This book review has got out of control. I wanted to be responsible, so I began to look for video footage of Kim Fowley on You Tube and what I found was shocking. He looked like a very old man in very poor health. Snow Mercy said he would yell at her to upset her so she would give a better performance. Kim referred to himself as “a bad man who does good things” in the bizarre interview. Snow Mercy married Kim Fowley, so why would he spend his last hours with Cherie Currie by moving into her house and not with his wife? I think Cherie Currie made up the “I took care of him when he was dying” story. I won’t believe anything Cherie Currie says without proof. It seems like Cherie Currie is similar to Kim Fowley. She made up a series of lies about herself to create a myth about herself. Kim has a myth which involves him being a war veteran who killed people, but on the other hand he appears to be unable to walk due to Polio. I never have seen Kim not sitting. Cherie Currie’s myth involves how terribly she was treated by everyone. Each time Kim is on a show he brought up the same points about himself, until they became a myth. Researching Kim is a real drag.
Snow Mercy has no Wikipedia Entry and nether does a woman named Kari Krome who was part of the Runaways, but is never mentioned in the book “Neon Angel.” There is a lot more then meets the eye to this story and many unnamed people. Besides being known for abusing women and making some kind of “music”, Kim Fowley deserves to be know for his bizarre appearance. I am not convinced he had music talent, but he had charisma similar to Charles Manson. His greatest talent lay in brainwashing young women to do his bidding. The clip above shows him singing next to what looks like a motel swimming pool. The song is Manson like in quality and in fact has to do with Manson and mentions the Manson Murders. Extremely creepy to hear Kim Fowley bragging about killing people on You Tube. He also seems to be a chronic liar.
Just looking at the footage of Kim Fowley on You Tube and all the makeup he wore made me think of Gary Glitter. Upon looking up Gary Glitter I found he is in prison right now for child sex crimes. Gary Glitter is someone I used to hear mentioned along with Bowie when I researched Glam Rock, but he has been erased from music. I had never heard of Kim Fowley before I started researching The Runaways. In spite the clip I watched of him in a club asking people to say his name, most people in the USA have no idea who Kim Fowley and Gary Glitter are. The make up was, I think, to cover up the fact that Kim always looked unhealthy due to heavy drug use. The Runaways never saw much profit or any profit from their concerts. That is why Jackie Fox became an Entertainment Lawyer to help other artists from being exploited. I am terrible sorry for Jackie Fox, and I am glad she overcame it so gracefully. The whole time he was working with The Runaways Kim was buying drugs for himself, the band members and the road crew for these hotel lavish parties to create a scene. In his book “How Music Works” David Byrne explains that creating a scene is important. In some ways Kim’s staggery was effective, but since I never heard of the Runaways it did not work as well as it should have worked. I believe the Runaways were not played on my local Bay Area Radio Stations because they were considered teenybopper music. But there could have been other reasons such as disgust with Kim Fowley. Kim may have ruined more careers then he helped. Gary Glitter co-wrote the song Do You Wanna Touch that Joan Jett made famous. I saw the interview with Jackie Fox and she said she wanted to come out with her story before Kim Fowley died, but the lawyer who was with her (in the interview) gave her bad advice and told her to wait. Was he a personal friend of Kim Fowley? It was certainly better for Kim Fowley if Jackie Fox waited until after her died, but it was worse for Jackie Fox. She should have come forward sooner but on the other hand, maybe it would have been too traumatic to have done so before Kim died?