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Rock icon Lita Ford talks new album, touring again, being without her kids
The Killers. Image provided.
|Out Of The Blue
Publications Association, LLC
The rock 'n' roll queen trademarked during the
mid-70s as lead guitarist for the all-female rock
band The Runaways is back and bolder than ever.
Following the breakup of The Runaways, Lita Ford
went solo in 1979 making success with her Ozzy
Osbourne duet track "Close My Eyes Forever."
After a 15-year hiatus from music, Ford returned in
2009 to release Wicked Wonderland with album
work from her now ex-husband Jim Gilette of glam
band Nitro. Since divorcing, Ford said she isn't
allowed to be in contact with her two sons. With a
divorce behind her and plaguing thoughts of her
children, Ford released an honest, anger-driven rock
album this summer titled Living Like A Runaway.
In this revealing interview with Out Of The Blue,
Ford discusses her eighth studio album produced
by guitarist Gary Hoey, industry changes, her hiatus,
missing her sons and touring with her chihuahuas.
The new album has a back to basics, rock ‘n’ roll
classic Lita sound with a punk attitude. Can you
explain the concept of the album and how
personal it is compared to your previous
releases and how everything came together
with Gary Hoey as producer?
The new album is amazing. Living Like A Runaway
is a killer album. I think everybody at every age
should listen to it. It’s an empowering, rocking,
heartfelt, driving, angry, attitudinal CD. It’s dripping
with attitude. I highly suggest you take a listen and
not just to the title track, but the whole album in its
entirety. It’s phenomenal. It’s the best album I’ve
ever recorded and I’m really proud of it. Gary Hoey
as a producer, this is his baby, he’s very proud of
this album. And it’s on vinyl. It is a very personal
album. I think that makes for the best music. It’s
good to write about what’s going on in your life at the
time, which I think a lot of people do. I managed to
write this album at one of the darkest times of my
life. It’s got a lot of depression, a lot of anger. It’s a
survival record. It’s encouraging for other people and
it tells a lot of stories. There’s a lot of stories on this
record if you listen to the lyrics. Also, working with
Gary Hoey as a record producer, he brought it to life.
He really wasn’t heard of as a record producer, he’s
more known as a guitar player. At the time I was
looking for a record producer and at the time he was
looking to produce a project. So we ran into each
other and he offered me his studio and I took him up
on it. We started working together and the outcome
was really outstanding, so we just kept going. By the
fourth song we had a record deal and they signed us
to SPV/Steamhammer Records. We just kept going,
it took us about a year to write the album. We never
let up, we never lost focus on it.
You mentioned that the album is more personal,
from a dark period in your life. What is that in
It’s in reference to having my children brainwashed
and taken away from me. I will never be better until I
get my kids back.
How is everything going with that?
It’s horrible. The father’s keeping the children from
me. The divorce is over and done with. I’m legally
divorced, but I could give a shit less about the
divorce. It’s the fact that he has my kids and he’s
living on a deserted island in the Caribbean. The
kids can’t get off the island and they have no
communication with me. I’d have to go in there with
a freakin’ SWAT Team to get ‘em.
How are you coping?
I haven’t talked to them. There’s no texts, e-mails, phone calls. Nothing. Not a peep. Disgusting. I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I went the legal
route and they failed me. I’ve tried to tell them this guy’s crazy. It’s a horrible thing. The only way for me to see my kids is for them to be removed
from the father. They wouldn’t remove the kids from the father. He kept saying, “she’s nuts, she’s into sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Honestly, I
haven’t gotten laid since the day I filed for divorce, which was in 2010. I can’t stand it. I’d rather just play music and stick with my guitar. My guitar is
a lot safer.
Thinking back to when you were a kid, how do those circumstances compare?
My childhood was awesome. I had the best childhood. My parents were my biggest fans. They let me do whatever I wanted to do and they never
asked questions, they never held me down. They were always supportive of everything I did, especially my music. They were friends with Black
Sabbath, they were friends with Alice Cooper. My mom was friends with David Bowie. They were great. Of course they passed away in 1990. My
dad passed away in 1989. They were my biggest fans, they were the best.
Isn’t that when you got your first guitar?
Yeah, I started at 11. I wouldn’t be playing guitar today if it wasn’t for that. My parents bought me my first guitar and my cousin took me to my first
rock concert at age 13.
It was Black Sabbath. That really changed my life.
Do you think image outweighs talent in the music business and how has that changed since The Runaways?
It does sometimes, but you can’t always judge a book by its cover and people forget that. They don’t realize. I mean you see some little kid and
someone will come up to you and say, “that little kid can sing the shit out of The Star Spangled Banner.” And you think, “yeah, really, right, sure.”
And then they do it and they blow your mind.
Have you ever struggled with that in the music industry?
Not really now, but mainly in The Runaways’ days. The Runaways because they were so before their time, a bunch of girls dressed in their
underwear. Yeah, that was difficult. It’s really overlooked now. The fact that we were dressed in our underwear is overlooked now. The Runaways
are bigger now than they’ve ever been.
What’s your relationship with The Runaways today?
Good. I talk to Vicki [Blue], I talk to Cherie [Currie]. I was talking to Joan [Jett] for awhile. She kind of disappeared, so I don’t know. But as far as I
know, it’s good.
Any talks of a reunion?
No, that’s the world talking. I asked Joan if she wanted to do a reunion and I couldn’t get an answer out of her.
Looking back in your music career is there anything you would change? Something where you say, “what the hell was I thinking?”
I probably wouldn’t have got married. If I had to change it, I would have stayed single. That’s the only thing. But then I wouldn’t have my two beautiful
boys, which I don’t have anyway. They wouldn’t be in this world, that’s the only thing.
How old are they now?
Rocco is 11 and James is 15. Hopefully they’ll come to their senses and realize I’m not the monster that their father has made me out to be.
You had a long break in your career. What was it that made you decide to take a break?
The music scene changed and grunge kicked in. At that time I was burnt out on the music industry. I had been doing it since I was 17 and at that
point, what was it, 1994. So I had been doing it since 1975, almost 20 years. I did get burned out on it and I ended up getting married and having two
boys, so I really focused on raising my children. That’s all I wanted to do was be a good mom.
And then you returned to music.
Well, the time came around where the music industry changed again. Grunge started to disappear, rap was starting to disappear a little bit. And it
just felt like I wanted to make a record and get off that stinking island we lived on. And I wanted to tour again, I wanted to make music.
You toured in 2009 and you’re touring now, what’s it like touring for you now after that break?
I love it! I’m in great shape. It’s just what I do. Somebody’s gotta be Lita Ford.
What’s something you're interested in outside of music that people might not be aware of?
I love animals. I love all different kinds of animals. The only animals I don’t really care for are snakes; although, I love lizards. I love frogs and little
reptiles, but I don’t like snakes for some reason. I can’t read them. I have a hard time reading a snake. I can read a lizard, I can read frogs, but I can’t
read a snake. I’ve got two Chihuahuas on tour with me. They’re awesome. They stay in the dressing room, they wait for me to get off stage. They’re
the tour mascots, they got their own bunk on the bus. It’s really cute. One of them is named Rascal, ‘cause she is a little rascal, she gets into all
kinds of trouble. Churro, she’s the alpha female and she is short haired like a sandy cinnamon color and I named her Churro because she’s sweet
and delicious like the Mexican pastry.
Anything you’d like to add?
Check out the CD, it is so worth it. It’s a beautiful package. It’s something that you can listen to for a year in its entirety and not get bored. Put it in
your car and leave it in there. It’s had huge reviews in Europe, so we might make our way over there. It might be summer of 2013 at the latest, but
we’ll be there.
Lita Ford will soon release the recently filmed music video for “Mother” from Living Like A Runaway. In response to not seeing her children, Ford
started a Facebook page to raise awareness. Visit the page here.