Greetings, brothers and sisters! This time on Metal Maidens, I am very psyched to be interviewing none other than the legendary Miss LITA FORD. Lita has a new CD out, called "Living Like A Runaway" and if you have not heard anything from this CD yet, what the hell are you waiting for? It really kills. With a storied career filled with many highs as well as some rather painful lows, Lita has always been a survivor and to quote the song "Relentless": ˇ°She's not invited, but she's coming anyway"! So look out world, because LITA FORD is back - stronger than ever!
Greetings to you, Lita. This is truly an honor for me. Welcome to Metal Maidens 'zine.
Lita: "My pleasure!"
You and I are around the same age and I remember like it was yesterday, when I first read an article in Circus magazine about THE RUNAWAYS and thought how cool you all were. The very next day I bought "Queens Of Noise" and have been a fan of yours ever since. That was a few decades ago for sure. Did you ever think back then, that you would be sitting here today as a pioneer of female metal and hard rock and a true legend to fans all over the globe?
Lita: "This is what I do. I was put on this earth to be a leader for people that need someone to look up to in the metal and music world. When I was a kid, there weren't any females to look up to, so I looked up to male role models. Now there are a lot of female role models."
So tell us Lita, how did you first get into music and at what age did you decide to pick up the guitar?
Lita: "I started playing guitar at age eleven. My parents bought me a cheap Spanish style, plastic stringed guitar.... I hated it. It wasn't loud enough!! I wanted a louder one, so I said "Mom, dad. this guitar doesn't sound the way I wish it sounded, so they bought me an acoustic with steel strings. It still wasn't loud enough!! At age thirteen, I went to a BLACK SABBATH concert with my cousin Paul. When I saw Tony Iommi on stage I knew what kind of sound I was looking for: electric !!! Powerful!!! So I got a job working at a medical center, lied about my age and told them I was sixteen, when I'd just turned fourteen, saved $375 and bought myself a chocolate Gibson S G .... I plugged it into my dad's Sony reel to reel tape player, slapped on the echo and I started riffing away ! It sounded huge (lol)!!!"
Ok, let's talk about the new CD "Livin Like A Runaway" for a moment. In my opinion your guitar playing and vocals have never been better. Are you doing anything different with your voice, because it really sounds great on this disc?
Lita: "I have a great record producer and we approached the CD with a different vibe. The vocals start at a lower register than I have ever done, so it leaves me a higher place to climb with my voice."
The new CD has several different versions for fans to choose from. One of which has a remake of Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back". Is this song one that you had wanted to do for a while?
Lita: "No, "The Bitch Is Back" came to me, while we were recording the CD. I think, we were doing three songs into the recording process when I heard it on the radio and thought: "Holly Shit, that's a LITA FORD song" !!! I don't think anyone else could have gotten away with doing a remake of that song except me!!!"
How did you and Gary get together?
Lita: "Gary called me on the phone and offered his studio. I accepted his offer and we started writing together. Each song was amazing! So we knew we were joined at the hip, once we started writing. Great things usually happen by chance or luck. The combination of Gary and LITA worked so great, that we didn't need to bring in anyone else. Except the drummer Matt Scurfield, who played with us for only three days. Like Alanis Morisette and Glen Ballard, when they recorded "Jagged Little Pill". Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the stew."
There are so many anthem type of songs on this CD, like for example "Relentless" and "Branded". Great tunes with catchy hooks and choruses, that remain heavy but melodic as well. Was this something you set out to do or did it just kind of happen that way?
Lita: "We don't set out to do anything in particular. Whatever God puts in our hands we take. It's weird, but that's how this CD worked. We would come up with a title or a riff or just an idea and all the blanks were filled in by either Gary, myself or our lyricist, Michael Dan Ehmig. Like for instance "The Devil In My Head" started off with "The Angel on my shoulder....."(lol)"
You put a slightly different twist on a Nikki Sixx tune "A Song To Slit Your Wrists By". Was that your idea or Nikki's?
Lita: "I asked Nikki, if he could re-do this song and how would he recommend I do a slightly different version that would be kick ass. Nikki said, give it a N.I.N. kind of vibe. So I took the song to Gary Hoey, who fucked around with it and came up with this awesome groove. Which is really Nikki's groove, only played with a different sound."
You and Nikki have a long history together and he has battled his own demons over the years. Did you draw inspiration from him and his personal battles?
Lita: "No, not really. I have enough of my own demons. We all do!"
Some of my favorite tunes on "Living Like A Runaway" are "Boiling Point", "Asylum", "Branded" and "Mother" (which is such a sad song to listen to, but I can't help loving it as well). Do you have any one song that is special to you?
Lita: "The entire CD is very special to me and when people ask me that question, it is next to impossible to answer it. The CD is one big emotional journey. "Mother" is especially a tear jerker."
Can we expect any videos coming soon and any hints which song you will do?
Lita: "Yes, we are doing "The Devil In My Head" and "Mother". We are also doing a video for "Living Like A Runaway" for the Grammy board of directors. We're going for the gold on this one.(lol)"
How about a live DVD? Anything in the works yet?
Lita: "Yes, the new DVD will be live with all kind of goodies on it. I don't want to do a half-assed DVD either, so it will definitely kick ass."
You are currently on tour with DEF LEPPARD and POISON. How did that all come about and how are things going on the road?
Lita: "DEF LEPPARD and POISON had a small hand full of bands they could have taken out with them and I fit the mold. Cool !!! It's a very difficult slot to fill. We are the support, so we get the toughest job. Having to wake the dead !!! A lot of awesome fans have been at the shows early and I think it's a brilliant move on POISON and DEF LEPPARD's behalf. We get the audience up and sweaty, so they are ready for the rest of the night!!! Fun-fun-fun"
Kind of an eighties reunion tour of sorts. Don't you think so?
Lita: "I guess in the sense that we are all from the eighties, but I don't think of it that way. This tour is to kick off the new LITA FORD CD, so it's more of a return than a reunion, if you know what I mean?"
As the opener, how much time do you have to play and what tunes can the fans expect to hear?
Lita: "DEF LEPPARD has this huge stage set, that takes a long time to set up and then POISON sets up in front of them, so we are left with just the bare essentials. Just me and the band and some Marshall half stacks. It's a thirty minute set, but I gotta tell you: it's real, raw and righteous!!! We play with no backing tracks. We even left the keyboard player at home for this one. We've got dualing guitars instead, which is very cool. We start with ˇ°The Bitch Is Backˇ±, then do an old song, then two new songs , then two old songs. It's hard to cram a set into thirty minutes, so we go on early - haha. Just to get in a few extra minutes."
What are your plans after this tour. Are you going to be doing any headline dates?
Lita: "Yes, we will be doing the Monsters Of Rock cruise in March and later in 2013, we will be heading over to Europe to play some dates. Then eventually we will play some of the summer festivals as well. Also, I will be doing the Rock and Roll Fantasy camp, which is always a blast."
Yeah, I heard about the Rock and Roll Fantasy camp. Can you tell us a little about that?
Lita: "I did my first fantasy camp in 2009. They are extremely intense and trying. You come out of camp as a different person. More knowledgeable about music. The camps are fun, but shouldn't be taken lightly. They seriously rock!!!"
So Lita, how did it feel to be back on stage playing to packed venues every night and feeling all the great feedback from your fans in the audience? I'm sure it gave you a great feeling to know that after all these years and all the ups and downs in your life, your fans are still here and love you more than ever, right?
Lita: "My fans are the best on the planet. Some of the crew say they have never seen an arena fill out so quickly. It feels like you're high on life."
Are you still playing the B.C. Rich on stage as your main guitar?
Lita: "Yes. I play the Warlocks and the double neck Rich bitch."
Do you use different guitars in the studio and opposed to when playing live?
Lita: "Yes, we use whatever guitar is appropriate for that song. Like "Mother" is acoustic, because it's a ballad and an acoustic is fitting. On "Living Like A Runaway" I used a telecaster, which gives it a lighter vibe. I also used the black Warlock for solos."
Ok, I have to ask this, so please bear with me. I know over the years you and the other ladies from THE RUNAWAYS have had your share of drama, but do you still keep in touch with any of them and do you think you might ever work with them again?
Lita: "The drama from inside THE RUNAWAYS was caused by someone, who is not in THE RUNAWAYS and never was in the RUNAWAYS and if this person doesn't get out of the way and let the girls be THE RUNAWAYS, you can forget a reunion." I really liked THE RUNAWAYS movie with Kristen Stewart, even though (to put it mildly) there were quite a few Hollywood inaccuracies, but when are we going to see the LITA FORD movie. You got to admit, no way in hell would it be boring?
Lita: "I am working on a book and I hope that one day it might become a film. Or a film about a little girl with a big dream."
That's awesome, Lita! Will this be a 'pull no punches and tell all' autobiography?
Lita: "I am going to tell it like it is! The good, the bad and the ugly!"
Before I forget, I just heard that you are slated to appear on VH1's 'That Metal Show' within the next few weeks with Ann and Nancy Wilson from HEART. Did you get a chance to chat with them a bit and let me throw this out at youˇ The LITA FORD and HEART tour coming to a town near you (lol). What do you think?
Lita: "Who knows, man! Never say never. The HEART sisters looked great, were very rock and roll and they were very cool! Well, it was an honor to have been on the show with them. Good one, Eddie, Jim and Don!!!"
Well Lita, I would love to continue our little chat for several hours more, but I think I have bored you enough today (haha). Is there anything else you would like to add to your interview?
Lita: "Thank you, Nick!! XOXOXO God Bless You!"
Where can fans find out about the new CD and touring info?
Lita: "Fans can go to http://www.litafordonline.com, which tells all. I also have a new signature model, B.C. Rich Warlock in stores now, so check it out!"
Lita, you are such a gifted and amazing lady and I am proud to be a fan of yours, always have been. You have fought and clawed for everything in your career and had your share of good and bad times, but you're still here making great music, inspiring your fans and still "Living like a Runaway". You have risen like a phoenix to reclaim your title as the 'Queen of Metal' and no one can ever take that away from you, my friend! On behalf of myself and Metal Maidens we want to thank you very much for doing this interview. We wish you all the best in your personal life and with your career. Hope to see you on the road sometime soon. Horns up, Nick.
Lita: "Horns up to you and Metal Maidens!"
Dear Metal Maidens readers: As a side note I wanted you all to know that there were certain subjects that were of a very personal nature to LITA FORD and I completely stayed away from asking about them, as they really did not pertain to her music. Lita's personal life is just that and I felt no need to turn this interview into a supermarket tabloid, that exploits people's feelings for their own selfish agenda. People believe what they want to believe and that will always be the case, but myself or Metal Maidens will not be a part of any idle gossip or rumors. We have far too much respect for LITA FORD as a person to do that.
Visit LITA FORD's offical site at: www.litafordonline.com