Talking About New Album, Musical Approach, and Gear
Los Angeles-based, female rock icons Cherie Currie and Brie Darling have joined together to record their debut album, The Motivator. The album was produced by the six-time Grammy nominated Dave Darling (Brian Setzer, Stray Cats, Tom Waits) and features nine classic covers by bands including T. Rex, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, and John Lennon, plus three powerful new originals, “Too Bruised,” “I’m Too Good, That’s Just Too Bad” and the topical “This Is Our Time.” The album will be released August 2, 2019 on Blue Élan Records.
The Runaways front-woman and solo artist, Currie, met the Fanny drummer and singer, Darling, in 2017 and immediately connected. Currie had come in to contribute vocals to Fanny Walked the Earth, a reunion album from the first all-female band signed to a major label (Reprise) in 1969. Though the two musicians were admirers of each other, they had not yet met until that session.
Brie joined the Sacramento Musicians Union as a drummer in 1964. That made her a professional musician at fourteen years old. Brie became one of the first female rock drummers to make a record at fifteen. Shortly after, she joined the Millington sisters in the Svelts, which eventually became Fanny, the first all-girl band signed to a major record label, Reprise Records.
Hi MD readers! Over my long career as a musician I’ve worn a few hats, but drums were my very first love, so it is an honor to be featured here “On The Beat.” I’ve recorded and toured as a drummer, percussionist, and singer, but rarely as just one of the three!
My first recording session was with my teenage band in 1965 on a tangerine sparkle Kent drumkit from Sears. That kit was hard work to play, but it taught me to play strong. A couple of years later I bought a pre-CBS Rogers kit, and I still have the Dyna-Sonic snare.
Some of my credits as a drummer and percussionist on tours, live shows, and records include Carole King, Robert Palmer, Jimmy Buffet, Roger Daltry, James Newton Howard, Spencer Davis, and Jack Wagner. Videos and TV include Robbie Nevil (“C’est La Vie”), Natalie Cole (“Wild Women Do”), Alexander O’Neal (“Criticize”), and Duran Duran.
My drum approach is mostly from the song and singer’s point of view. When I’m the singer/drummer, it’s a dialog I can have with myself about what’s needed. I know what I want dynamically from the drums, and how the parts I play affect what I’m singing as the storyteller. The goal is to enhance the song and singer’s vision, know when to get out of the way of the vocalist, and when to support. At times there is just the right drum fill, and other times, no fill is exactly what is required. Sometimes, absolute stillness, no counting, no telling…that tension… before dropping backing in, is perfect. Mostly, I’m happy just holding down a big fat solid pocket groove.
My ideal kit is on the small side, just enough to do the job. Two racks, preferably no smaller than 13″, tuned deep with at least a 16″ floor. I like 16″ and 18″ medium-thin crashes, and 14″ medium hi-hats. I go back and forth between 20″ and 22″ kicks. For the last three records, I used studio kits, and brought my go-to custom built snare—a 7″-deep vertical birch/mahogany core, walnut burl outer shell Trinity drum, hand built for me by Joseph England.
For the Fanny Walked The Earth sessions I met my first set of Craviotto drums. There was no question in my mind that this was the kit I wanted to use to record! On The Motivator, I used a nice studio Mapex kit. For Boxing Gandhis’ new record Culture War, we knocked off the dust and cobbled together an ancient set of Ludwigs (and I don’t know what else) that was lying around in the living room studio piled high with too much gear. We duct taped that kit together and it still kept moving around, but it held together for “King Of Nothin” to get recorded that day.
Thanks to Billy Amendola, Modern Drummer, and thank you for checking in!
For more on the Cherie and Brie project, go to www.briedarling.com.
Cherie Currie and Brie Darling “The Motivator”
Fanny “Lured Away” (Official Music Video) from the album Walked The Earth
Listen to Boxing Gandhis Culture War “King Of Nothin’”: