|Lita Ford - Uber Rock Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Kim Thore|
|Sunday, 05 August 2012 05:00|
A British born rocker who grew up on the streets of L.A., Lita Ford is considered one of the most important female representatives of rock and metal. Whether you know her as a founding member of the Runaways, one of the first girl groups to unexpectedly break down barriers in the punk era as well as the male-dominated world of rock music, or as one of rock's most dazzling dames to simultaneously rock a microphone and a six string, Lita Ford has made her mark and it is a wide stroke created with indelible ink.
Now, with the release of 'Living Like a Runaway', Ford is at the top of her game giving old and new fans a bit of what they fancy and then some. This is Ford at her best; shredding her Warlock within an inch of its life and taking the listener through her own musical autobiography, not once holding back.
We had the chance to catch up with Lita and talk to her about her life, her legacy and her luscious new album. If this is what it is like to live like a runaway, we're ready to pack our bags and hit the road....
Alright..an LA Girl! I've been doing interviews from Nashville to Moscow so I've been trying to sift through all of the accents so it's nice to hear an American one!
Well, I'll try not to let my Southern roots make it difficult for you to understand me! So let's get started...Lita, with someone of your stature we really don't need to go down a history path - but I am curious when you wake up in the morning is your first thought, "Damn, I'm Lita Ford?" When you have been one of the founding members of one of the most influential and ground breaking bands like the Runaways that produced two of the most influential female rockers - yourself and Joan Jett - and have had such an extensive career culminating in an awesome new album - what do you think when you reflect on your career thus far?
You know, it makes me feel at peace with myself. It makes me feel like I can go to my grave and feel like I have made my mark in the world.
It's been reported that prior to this new album, a lot of your fans said they wanted a "real" Lita album; what do you think they meant by that? In my opinion I believe the new cd is the best you have put out. The guitars and vocals are really tight...from beginning to end it is a powerhouse.
Thank you! Well, this was an album I wrote during one of the darkest times of my life, I was going through this divorce and I needed somewhere to channel my feelings. My hurt, my pain, my aggression, my sadness, my happiness...all of these feelings are in this record. When you listen to the tracks, they are believable because they are real. Songs like 'Mother' for example...when we wrote it I thought it's either going to come across really cheesy or really amazing. I remember thinking that if we can capture the true meaning of this song it will work and we were able to: it just came together; it was like a gift from God, this album.
It took a year to write, it was a slow process, seeming like two years, and it came to me a piece at a time. Gary Hoey, who produced the album, offered me the use of his studio and I took him up on the offer. I was looking for a record producer anyway and Gary and I ended up locking ourselves up in his studio for a year and recording this wonderful album. Along with his help and my wonderful song writing partner, Michael Dan Ehmig - who's from Florida by the way. He is a lyricist, and he is brilliant - the three of us wrote this record...and we kept it amongst ourselves - we really didn't reach out to many people for help. Gary ended up playing the bass, I played the guitars, Gary played some of the guitars, me and Gary plus a couple of his nieces did the back up vocals....we kept it real close. Sometimes, as they say, too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the stew and I think it's true. So for this record by keeping it in our hands we were able to keep it focused.
Obviously you've had a tough couple of years personally: a lot of songwriters claim that when life is kicking them in the teeth so to speak, that's when some of their best song writing comes to light - did you find that to be the case with 'Living Like a Runaway'? Or was it just right time, right place?
Well it's definitely the turmoil... also, I have had a lot of rock and roll built up in me as I haven't made a record in a while. I had a lot of built up riffs in my head and song titles. Just going through the drama I went through with the divorce was like throwing fuel on the fire. It really ignited when I started writing - it was like one song after another ...boom ...boom ...boom. We kept the original vocals on the songs - we didn't redo it, redo it again, then redo it another time...it's like the first time you make love to someone, it's like the most amazing sex you've ever had...you know what I mean? [laughing] So, we went with it.
I thought Gary Hoey was an interesting choice as a producer: can you tell our readers what it was like to work with him?
Well first of all Gary and his family, his wife and kids are just wonderful people and so easy to be around.....hospitable and welcoming...so they really made me feel good while I was there. Gary takes your songs and brings the best out of you and that is what a good producer does. He takes the artist and the music and brings out the best in both - we were all able to really connect on a lot of levels. I would take an idea and give it to Gary and he would take it to the next level. And then he would throw it back to me and I would take it to the next level. Sometimes we would get stuck...we had a third songwriting partner, Michael and we would get him on the phone - we would say, "Michael we're stuck," and he'd reply, "what have you got so far?" We'd only a title! He'd go away for eight hours and come back with five pages of lyrics. So at the end of 3 or 4 days we had a complete song - it was just amazing and a great way to work. As a result, we were able to live with the songs for a while to make sure we were in love with them.
You have such an incredible legacy, Lita - is there a go-to moment in your head that stands out amongst the rest? With someone such as yourself, who has had such a diverse career, what do you consider your best place?
A lot of people have said things to me that keep me strong; honestly I think one of the biggest highlights of my life is seeing my 13 yr old son playing the guitar solo for 'Cherry Bomb' on stage. It's our next generation, you know? They are inspired by us, what we have done. We are creating our next generation, so that was one of my best highlights seeing him playing my solo - one that I played when I was 16. We had Dee Snider's daughter Cheyenne singing lead vocals...I got to sit back and play rhythm guitar with the two of them thinking to myself, "wow this is really cool, I'm on stage with the next generation."
On that note, you've obviously influenced a genre and a slew of performers, is there anyone who has influenced you in a positive direction...whether it's personally or professionally? You've said before that there really isn't a guitarist you have modeled yourself after so who has made the biggest impact on your life?
My parents. They were really positive and they really pushed me - My Mom always encouraged me and my Dad too. I've always got great people around me too; Ritchie Blackmore, Sammy Hagar, you always get a word of advice from these people...and you take it to heart. Billy Gibbons. He is the best.
Well, Lita thanks for sitting down with us and congrats again on a stellar album - we'll see you on the road!
Thanks so much!
For more information on Lita go to http://litafordonline.com/
You can catch Lita live on tour with Def Leppard and Poison in the US this summer.
To pick up some Lita Ford from Amazon.co.uk - CLICK HERE