ex-RUNAWAYS axewoman Lita Ford:
"Playing guitar is in my blood..."

Here we set the spotlight on one of the most successful and famous guitarladies in Metal & Hardrock, namely LITA FORD. The axewoman has been rockin' for close to twenty-five years now. Starting out as a teenager with THE RUNAWAYS in '75 and then to pursue her career as a solo artist. Recently, LITA released her new CD "Greatest Hits Live" which contains all her best songs plus an exclusive studio track, called "Nobody's Child". MM took the chance to speak to LITA and she kindly answered all our questions. We'd also like to thank her manager Dena Weisman, who set things up for us. Thanks Dena & LITA - You rock!!!

How did you become a member of THE RUNAWAYS?
"Kim Fowley called me up."
Did you play in other bands before you joined them?
When did you start to play the guitar and why did you pick this instrument?
"I was eleven and I wanted to play it because it was in my blood. It was a feeling I couldn't deny."
Who was your first guitar hero?
"Richie Blackmore."
What's your fave RUNAWAYS song?
"Black Leather"
Do you agree that THE RUNAWAYS were essential for the break through of the women in rock music today?
How do you look back at your RUNAWAYS days in general? Did you learn anything (musically) from that period - something you later on used in your own solo career?
"THE RUNAWAYS period was like going to college to become the real deal!"
Is it true or just rumours, you also laid down a lot of the bass guitar parts on the studio albums of THE RUNAWAYS?
"I never did, that I can recall."
What can you tell us about this possible RUNAWAYS reunion or are they just rumours? And what is your part in this thing?
"It is still possible, but highly unlikely. I've been trying to get us together off and on now for the last seven years."
Did you know Vicki Blue (she's a television producer/director nowadays) is working on a feature film about the life and times of THE RUNAWAYS, called "Edgeplay"? How do you feel about this?
"Yes, Vicki has our full support. We just spent a day filming for the movie. It was great!"
Do you still have contact with the other ex-RUNAWAYS members, like Joan, Cherie, Jackie or Sandy?
"Yes, with everybody except Jackie, and I keep up with her through Vicki."
Do you know what happened to Laurie McAllister after THE RUNAWAYS? She played some time in THE ORCHIDS, but they broke up, too.
"Sorry, I can't help you there."
What did you do after THE RUNAWAYS split up in 1979 and before you decided to start your own solo career? Did you have a regular job or anything?
"I rented a big warehouse, set my guitars up & taught myself to sing. I worked at the cosmetic counter at a fine department store. That job didn't last long because I scared everybody with my Runaways image & attitude."
Please tell us about the EP you recorded with THE STEPMOTHERS. I've heard about it, but actually never seen a copy of it.
"Ahh? I think I played guitar on it, didn't I?"
You did a duet with OZZY OSBOURNE: "Close My Eyes Forever", which became a huge hit. What was it like wokring with him and would you ever do something similar with him again or perhaps do a duet with another rock artist?
"Ozzy is a great friend & terrific to work with. I don't think I'd do another duet with him because it's already been done. But duets are a lot of fun, I'd love to do another one. Maybe on my next record. Hey! If any of the fans out there have any ideas on who they'd like to see me do one with e-mail me at: strosity@litaford.com."
You did a little acting in one of the episodes of the US TV series Herman's Head and a few other small 'guest'appearances in one or two movies. Was this a one time only thing or do you intend to do some more acting in the near future? If yes, tell us about it.
"I loved Herman's Head. And it was a great experience. I'd love to do more acting someday."
Do you still have an endorsement deal woth B.C. Rich Guitars?
"Bernie Rico passed away (the owner) recently, so now I'm with Gibson."
What do you think of the Lita Ford Rock-It comic book that was published a few years ago?
"I loved it! I got to kick everybody's butt! My dog Chili too!"
Once you stated that you're a perfectionist (Guitar World, January '85), is that true? And in which way?
"Well, I am a Virgo & Virgos are perfectionists in everything they do-that doesn't mean I'm perfect. But I give everything I do 100%!
I remember seeing you at the heavy Sound festival in Belgium (82/'82) with TWISTED SISTER, MOTORHEAD, MERCYFUL FATE and others. Don't you ever long back to those glory days? And what memories do you still have about it?
"Yes, I do long for the good old days, sleeping in luggage racks and then having to play at 10am! I remember looking out at what looked to me to be a sea of Denim & Leather and what a thrill it was! Oh, and the Belguim waffles we're pretty good too!(ha-ha)"
How did you get in touch with Joe Walsh and recorded the theme song for the Robocop 3 soundtrack album, called "A Future To This Life"?
"Joe Walsh had origionally done it with Stevie Nicks, but she became unavailable for the video. Joe & I had just done The American Music Awards together and had had a great time! So he thought of me and called me to do it. I went in and rerecorded Stevie's vocal tracks. Joe Walsh is a great guy and and an unbelievable talent, I'd like to work with him again someday."
In a recent interview we did with Mara Fox and Leslie Knauer (former PRECIOUS METAL members), we found out that there was talk you would record one of their tunes, but unfortunately this never happened. How come?
"This is the first I ever heard of it."
How do you look back at the days, when you were together with the famous WASP animal Chris Holmes?
"I DON'T!!!!"
What was it like to play at the Randy Rhoads benefit in 1992 together with names like Lemmy of MOTORHEAD, Bob & Bruce Kulick and John Norum?
"Did I play there? I guess I did if you say so. I must of had fun! Lemmy is a long time friend and we always have a great time."
A while ago, we read something about a blues album being put together for a gift catalog of Camel cigarettes, that would feature yourself, Steve Vai, BB King and jeff Healey. Did this actually ever happen and if yes, which song(s) did you play?
"Yes, it did happen. And I don't know who else was on it. The song they used was "Tangerine Dream". I don't smoke, so they never sent me a copy. If anyone has it, I'd like to have a copy."
You played in the Rock 'n Jock softball team '92 in the catcher position. How was this experinece for you?
"It was fun, of course! Everybody had a great time."
Why did you never release a live album? A lot of fans (including myself) scream for one….
"Surprise, Surprise! I just released a live album. It came out on May 9 on Cleopatras' Deadline label. The title is "LITA FORD Greatest Hits Live". If you can't find it at a store near you write me at strosity@litaford.com and I'll let the label know to get it out there. There are several places on the net where you can order it, like cdnow, and amazon.com. I think it kicks ass! I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. Would you believe we had to bake the tape first. It's hard to explain, but the engineer who remixed it, Bobby Bradley listened to it first to see if the tape was "shedding". Which it was. So he took it to a company in Nashville and they baked it for a few days, which makes the sticky stuff sticky again so it will hold the magnetic tape surface. Then as soon as it cooled Bobby copied it to a digital tape, from which we could remix it. I think it sounds great, and I hope that people will stop buying bootleg stuff that sounds like crap! There's also a studio track, Nobody's Child. I hope everyone will like it as much as I do."
Your third album "The Bride Wore Black" was never released, but instead you changed record labels and the album "Lita" was released by RCA later on. Was this the same album under a dufferent name or a completely new release?
"LITA" was a completely new album."
What happened with the songs from "The Bride Wore Black"? Will you ever bring them out and am I right to say that the album title refered to your former releationship with BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi?
"Maybe someday they will emerge. And the title had nothing to do with Tony."
Who are some of your influences??!??
"Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, Black Sabbath and vocally Mick Jager."
How did you get on the LED ZEPPELIN tribute CD "Stairway To Heaven", on which you played "Rock & Roll" and "Whole Lotta Love" with people like Tim Pierce, James Kottak and Jeff Pilson?
"The producers agent contacted me."
You formed the band RUMBLE CULTURE with your husband Jim Gilette (ex-NITRO singer). After playing a few dates in the US, you recorded an album and there was talk of the project being released in Japan. What's the status on this? Does RUMBLE CULTURE still exist and what's the full band line up? Perhaps you can make some comparisions (musically) with other bands?
"This was just a projet while I was pregnant. Rumble Culture was Lita Ford, Jim Gillette, Rodger Carter & Angelo Barbero. WE ROCKED! The masters are locked up."
Things have been rather quiet around you, since you got a little baby boy in May '97. Does the fact that you're a mom now, change your vision on life and being a musician?
"Completely! I can't say fuck anymore!"
Do you still have the same recordcompany (ZYX) and management?
"Oh, was ZYX a record company? And I'm back with my old manager, Dena Weisman."
Are you doing the lead vocals on your new album, 'cos we've heard the rumour you've been working with a female singer."
"My new CD is live. But when I record my next studio album , of course I'll do the lead vocals."
It's been a long time since you toured Europe. Why didn't you play any European dates for the last couple of albums? Is there a chance you will play live here in the near future?
"I didn't tour Europe, because I didn't have any label support. Touring is not a priority for me right now because I don't yet want to take my son out of his home enviroment until he's ready. When I do tour Europe will be first on my list."
Are you aware of the fact, that there are still many LITA FORD fans in Europe waiting for a new album and to see you on stage?
"Yes. I am grateful for their support and patience."
A couple of weeks ago I heard your song "Cherry Red"in an episode of the Bold And Beautiful soap series. Did you know that?
"No! But I did know that one of the Chippendales dancers in Las Vegas uses it for this routine."
Is there anything more you want to learn as a guitarist and musician?
"You can never learn it all and I hope to continue my growth as a person and a musician."
Any messages to the readers of Metal Maidens?
"Yes. I love you all! Don't ever give up your dreams and keep rock alive!"

[ Interview by: Rita van Poorten/courtesy of Metal Maidens, issue 21/September 2000 ]

Website: http://www.litaford.net

OUT FOR BLOOD (Polygram Records '83)
DANCIN' ON THE EDGE (Polygram Records '84)
LITA (Dreamland Records '88)
BLACK (ZYX records '94)
GREATEST HITS LIVE (Dead Line Music '00)
KISS ME DEADLY (Camden '01)
IN CONCERT (Dead Line Music '04)

LITA (BMG '89)