Lita Ford: Still Living Like A Runaway
In the '80s, Lita Ford was one of the most prominent female voices in hard rock. With hits such as "Kiss Me Deadly" (which was named the 76th "Greatest Hard Rock Song Of All-Time" by VH1), "Back To The Cave," and "Close My Eyes Forever," she was on a winning tear.
Plus she still had (and has) oodles of street-cred for being a part of what many call one of the first modern punk bands, the Runaways.
After a decade-long hiatus and 2009's Wicked Wonderland, Ford is back with her latest record, Living Like A Runaway. Rocks Off caught up with Ford via phone and talked to her about that new disc, the upcoming Monsters of Rock Cruise, and touring with Poison and Def Leppard. She will be appearing on the Rock Of Ages tour with Def Leppard and Poison this Saturday at 7 pm at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
Rocks Off: So I went on your Facebook fan page and noticed the picture of your guitar in Portland. Is that model a custom model?
Lita Ford: Yes it is. The BC Rich Warlock just came out a month ago. It is a custom model. They took the original, my Black Widow Warlock and duplicated it and it is for sale, which is pretty damn cool because that guitar has been around for a long time. Its just cool to have your own signature model. The dimensions are exact - the frets, pickups, the electronics -- everything is exact as to what mine is.
RO: Your new album is called Living Like A Runaway, which the song itself seems to be a bit autobiographical when it talks about your life in Los Angeles.
LF: It's about the decades in my life from being in the Runaways and up until 2012. I remember when I was seventeen and riding in the back of a black limousine. They're all true stories. The whole album is actually all true stories.
RO: One of the standout tracks from your new album is called "Hate." Needless to say, it has some rather powerful lyrics.
LF: I started writing that song years ago. I think it was left over from Dangerous Curves. We started writing the verse, but didn't have a chorus. I loved it so much. I love the lyric and I love the direction that its going in. But it got to the point that we didn't need it because the album was done, so we shelved it. When we started writing Runaway, I dug it back out and I thought "Now is the time to finish this song."
There's just so many things that have happened over the last few years with 9/11, the Columbine shootings, the Colorado massacre, all these horrible things. I wrote the song before the Colorado shooting. It was just ironic that that happened again with the Empire State Building -- all these bad things going on. What kind of mind or person does something like that? It just made me wonder.
When I originally started to write the lyrics to "Hate," I had Natural Born Killers in mind. I took it to [our record producer] Gary Hoey. We were able to finish the song with Michael Dan Emigh, our lyricist. The three of us got together and we were able to finish the song and give it the music quality it deserves. It's such a powerful lyric that it needed a powerful soundtrack to go along with it. We couldn't find one. We threw around all kinds of ideas. It was a real challenge.
Finally, at the very end, we came up with this very real nasty, industrial-type riff. It's a very monotone vocal. You can almost see your chin in the palm of your hands, just holding your face up with your elbows on your knees, just sitting there singing this monotone lyric.
It's all attitude, which was really, really hard to do. It doesn't sound like it, but sometimes the simplest things are the hardest things and that was one of them. That's such a heavy duty statement.