It was the mid-70’s when Lita Ford, alongside her bandmates in The Runaways, exploded onto the scene. In the 80’s, Lita Ford went solo and rose to superstardom as one of the premiere rock acts of that decade. As the music industry began to change, Ford left the stage to take on her biggest challenge to yet raising a family. Today, three decades after setting out on her musical journey, Lita Ford stands ready to return to the limelight and once again take the industry by storm. Jason Price of Live-Metal.Net recently had the opportunity to ask Lita about her past, her upcoming album and what we can expect from her highly anticipated return to the realm of rock n’ roll.
How did music first come into your life?
My cousin took me to a concert when I was 13 years old and it changed my life. I wanted to become the person on the stage. I wanted to create the energy that I felt that night. It was a life changing experience.
What drove you to make music your career?
It was a gift from God. It came naturally.
What has kept you inspired through the years?
My kids. Watching them try to learn how to play the guitar or drums or perform on stage. It’s been a lot of fun.
You rose to superstardom and then decided to step out of the spotlight. Was there any particular reason you decided to take a break?
The music industry had changed so drastically that there really wasn’t a place for me at the time. I had just gotten married almost 15 years ago! Also, I was pretty tired of all the ASSHOLES in the industry. It was time for a break and time to start a family.
The obvious question fans would want to know is what have you been up to these past few years?
When we had our boys, all I wanted to do was be a great mother and raise them the best I could. Family is the most important thing to us everything else is secondary.
Was there any specific event that made decide now was the time for you to make your return to the scene?
Not really. A few nudging phone calls from an inspiring friend and an itch that wouldn’t go away.
Was there ever any doubt in your mind that you would one day return?
I always hoped I would, wasn’t too sure though because I wasn’t going to leave my family at home and the kids were too young to travel with us. Now they’re older and they like to ROCK!
You got a band together and played some shows earlier this year… What was it like to be back in the spotlight in front of the fans at Rocklahoma?
The welcome back was HUGE! It was overwhelming! Hats off to all the fans that stuck through the storms there. It was pretty fierce but they stayed and rocked out with us!
You recently announced that you will be working on a new album for a 2009 release, what can you tell us about the project?
Heavier than ever, nastier than ever, more sexual than ever. Very personal lyrics yeah me and Jim are freaks! There will be no denying that when everyone hears the new songs!
Would the new material be “Classic Lita” or more of a departure? Sonically, what can we expect?
Raunchy filth with a touch of class and a whole lotta ass!
Do you have a typically writing process that you use when you start working on new music?
Every song is different. Jim (Gillette) and I wrote the new songs with Greg Hampton. Greg just wrote and co produced the new Alice Cooper album. Lyrically, Jim and I would go back and forth comparing notes from the night before:
Lita – Did I really say that???
Jim – Uh yes you did Honey!
Lita – I told you to stick your *$&@^#* in my *#^%*#?
Jim – Uh yes you did!
Lita – Ok, go with it!
We’re having two versions of the album, a PG and a XXX.
How did you go about selecting the musicians you will be taking into the studio with you?
We had auditions in NY. This is my best band ever!
Stet Howland: Drums
Michael T Ross: Keys
I handle all the guitars.
Is there a tentative title or release date for the album at the moment?
Title, yes but it’s a secret! Release date? Sometime around the summer. Can’t wait!
Is it safe to say that we will see you hit the road in support of the album when it is released?
Yes – we plan on playing at least 75 shows in 2009!
What do you hope that people come away with after listening to your music or seeing your live performance?
Listening to my music, I guess high on the list would be that chicks can rock a guitar! Also with these songs I tried to show that you can be a mom, have a family, make dinner and still be a FREAK with your man when the kids go to sleep! Just because we’re getting older and have real lives doesn’t mean we have to get boring! Actually we’re getting freakier and freakier! When you hear the songs you’ll know what I’m talking about! The live show is all about forgetting everything and having fun. I want the audience to forget all their problems and responsibilities for an hour and just rock. Feel that intense energy that I did when I was 13. Hopefully I can cause the same kind of impact that my first concert had on me!
You recently worked with Dee Snider for a duet on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and shot a video for that song. What was that experience like for you?
Twisted Sister = Awesome! It was great working with them! Dee is a great talent and a great friend of our family. He’s also one of the people that helped pull me out of hiding. We’re very excited to see the Christmas video as they’re working on it right now. It was a lot of fun.
Is their something that jumps out at you in your mind as the defining moment of your career?
A tidal wave coming at me and it’s happening right now! Actually I do kind of have something. Sometimes when I’m walking through an airport or having a bite to eat at a restaurant someone will come up to me and tell me how they started playing guitar because of me. Or a girl will start crying and tell me that my music really helped her through some rough times. I’m so glad to know that I’ve touched so many people’s lives. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you’ve helped people. People that you don’t even know. I love that.
In regards to your career, is there anything you would do again differently if you had the chance?
I think I did pretty good. No, I wouldn’t change anything.
You recently performed at the ‘Rock For The Cure’ charity event for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. How did you first get involved with this great cause and what was that performance like for you?
My mother passed away in 1990 from breast cancer. I feel like I have an obligation to do something, anything I can to help find a cure. The show was magic. There were 2 little girls there that brought in over $2000!!! They were incredible, they had a lemonade stand and a garage sale! Incredible young ladies!
I think many fans definitely would like to know if the door is still open for a Runaways reunion. Is that something that we may see materialize at some point?
Sorry but uh, No!
You were asked to be a part of VH1’s Surreal Life in 2007. Any specific reason why you turned it down?
It was bad timing.
Ever had a “Spinal Tap Moment” on stage?
My old drummer Randy Castillo stood up during a drum solo and put his foot up on his floor tom to change the pitch and his parachute pants ripped completely open exposing all his manhood to the audience. He didn’t even care he just kept right on drummin’. I covered my eyes and laughed.
Seeing that you were hugely successful in an era where rock was a largely male dominated field, do feel that it is any easier for women in rock these days?
It’s still a male dominated field but some of us women know how to play some of the men! HA HA and I’m not talking sexual this time!
Do you think music today, and rock n’ roll in particular, has lost it’s flair from the past?
It’s changed it’s different but not lost.
What does a lifelong guitar player like yourself think of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video game craze we are currently having?
The Rockers from yesterday are leading the path for the next generation of Rockers! I love it!
What is the best piece of advice you could give to those who are just starting out and considering making a career in the music industry?
Cut one leg off and enter an ass kicking contest, it would be easier! Just kidding. Follow your dreams! I did and it’s been an incredible journey.
Is there anything else you want to add or let your fans know?
I wouldn’t be a legend if not for the support of my fans. Thanks for making my life. God bless all of you.
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.