On January 15, punk music industry legend Kim Fowley died at the age of 75. In addition to leaving behind a legacy of managing a successful all-girl proto-punk rock band in the 1970s, Kim Fowley was also accused in recent years of acts that can be defined as sex abuse.
Since Kim Fowley died possibly of complications due to bladder cancer, there has been an outpouring of condolences from friends that knew him. In particular, Ultimate Classic Rock notes Joan Jett and Lita Ford, former members of the band The Runaways that Kim Fowley managed. What is most surprising is seeing Cherie Currie offering sincere regrets that Kim Fowley passed away considering the two had a sordid past.
Around the time that the movie The Runaways debuted in March, 2010, there were less than favorable interviews with comments about Kim Fowley by former band member Cherie Currie. Currie was the lead singer of The Runaways from 1975 to 1979 (ages 15 to 18), and she wrote a memoir called Neon Angel that says her time with Kim Fowley and the band involved “many dark moments, among them rape, abortion, and a nearly fatal addiction to freebased cocaine.”
When talking with Spin Magazine weeks before the debut of The Runaways movie, Currie expanded on her previous memoir, saying that what she changed about her new version was naming names to the stories she told. For instance, Currie says, “Runaways manager/producer Kim Fowley held a sex education class for us was a little more than the publishers [of the first edition of Neon Angel in 1989] could stomach at the time.”
The incident where Kim Fowley had sex with a woman in front of the band was when Currie was between age 15-18. Allegedly, Kim Fowley did this to teach the girls and women in the band how to have sex correctly. Cherie Currie also updated Neon Angel to take into account an incident where Kim Fowley pimped her to a powerful man in the music industry.
According to excerpts of Neon Angel transcribed by MyPeriodBlog.com author ATOZinco, When Cherie Currie was 15, Kim Fowley dropped her off at a man’s apartment (when she was reluctant to do so) and promised to pick her up after a couple of hours. Kim Fowley never returned to pick up Currie, and she was left to fight off the advances of the strange adult man for the rest of the night.
“What a betrayal!! I imagined Kim and this guy back at the Starwood laughing at the fact that I was on my period, right before Kim sold me off like some kind of low-rent Hollywood pimp. It was embarrassing, and more than anything in the world I wanted to just go home… I realized that this whole thing was a setup by Kim, and I cursed myself for being too meek to stop it…. I was sitting in the cab, fighting tears… I didn’t say another word for the entire cab ride back to my house. All I could think of was how lousy I felt. Last night I’d discovered what it felt like to be a rock star. This morning I knew what it felt like to be a whore.”
Despite this, Joan Jett still considered Kim Fowley to be a close friend. While the allegations against Kim Fowley were extreme, Cherie Currie also states that he did attempt to apologize. According to her Spin Magazine article, Currie explained her relationship with Fowley.
“It’s like battered-wife syndrome. Some women love the abusive men they’re with and that’s kind of the way I was with Kim. I really wanted his approval. And he apologized to me on the phone a year ago, saying if he had to do it over again he wouldn’t have treated us that way. He didn’t know how to handle 15-year-old girls. In his own crazy way, he loved us.”
In September, 2014, an article was published by Billboard Magazine that says Currie had a change of heart when Kim Fowley started battling cancer, and moved him into her Los Angeles home to care for him.
When Cherie Currie learned of Kim Fowley’s death, she posted a comment to her Facebook fan page on January 15.
“I am so blessed that I had the chance to know you again Kim.. really get to know you on a personal level and that we became friends. Mostly that you spent time here at my home. It’s a time I will never forget. The last record you made is in good hands and I am so glad that record is mine. It was a pleasure. Thank you for starting my career when I was a just a child. You were instrumental in so many getting started in this crazy world of music. You are a genius… you are loved. You will be so missed. Rest in Peace my friend.”
[All images are from the referenced links.]