Lita Ford’s return rto discography three years ago took place with a rather inappropriate way, which was the album “Wicked Wonderland” that was way too far from what she’d done in the past. Surely, this made a lot of people feel awkward, but at least her return in music was something more than just good news. In the midst of her previous release, and the recent “Living Like A Runaway” Lita went through hell, trying to get divorce from her abusive husband, Jim Gilette, fighting for the custody of her kids, while she was trying to get away from the desert island’s isolation. The whole story has inspired the new album, that is much closer to the Lita we know. Being in a good mood, despite the interview marathon ahead, and the persistent Spanish colleague who lost his slot and tried to “steal” ours, Lita talks about “Living Like A Runaway”, her past, Greece, Glenn Hughes, Nikki Sixx, and a lot more…
Interview by Yiannis Dolas
Rockpages.gr: I heard that you have a busy schedule! You’ve been doing interviews for three hours!
Lita Ford: Well, I started at 6 AM with Alice Cooper hahaha, so I’ve been… let’s see from six o’clock until two in the afternoon…
Rockpages.gr: Well, Alice Cooper is a great start! I don’t think anybody can beat that! But we can try!
Lita Ford: Absolutely!
Rockpages.gr: Three years ago, in 2009, you were in Greece. What do you remember from that show, and what do you remember from Greece?
Lita Ford: Oh my God! Greece is crazy and I love it! I wanna come back! I had a great time in Greece! The show was great and my favourite thing about Greece was the fans! They were really rocking and they loved the music, it was great! It was an honor to come to Greece and play!
Rockpages.gr: “Living Like A Runaway” is the title of the new album. How did you come up with this title?
Lita Ford: Ahh, well, what happened was that I was looking for an album title for the record, and I was going to call the record “Branded”, and at that time I was working with my lyricist, Michael Dan, and Michael came up with the title. He said, “Lita, what about “Living Like A Runaway?”. Because, I was really living like a runaway at the time I wrote the song, because I was going through this horrible divorce. And I was living in a little apartment trying to fight for custody of my kids, and my friend Michael, who is also my lyricist, he said to me “Lita, you are living like a runaway!” And I said “that’s a great song title for my music! Hahaha!” It was really true!
Rockpages.gr: What else do you get out of living like a runaway, personally or musically?
Lita Ford: It inspired my new album to be powerful and aggressive, and encouraging for other people to fight their demons, and fight their battles. I just emptied my aggression into this record. As I was going through this battle, I wrote everything down, and made music out of it, rather than getting drunk, or whatever somebody might do. I took it out on my guitar!
Rockpages.gr: Your new album is a clean turn to your older stuff from the late ‘80s and the ‘90s and it’s very much different from the last album you got out in 2009. Was it more natural for you to work on this album “Living Like A Runaway”, than the previous one “Wicked Wonderland”?
Lita Ford: For some reason this record flowed really naturally. I didn’t have to force myself to try and fight for words, or song titles, they were really laid out for me. My life was this album, I mean I was living this album, so it was laid out for me already in black and white…
Rockpages.gr: Like the cover?
Lita Ford: Yes, exactly! With the cover we followed through the music. We wanted te artwork to match the music, and we didn’t want to lose that. We didn’t want to put a beautiful, sexy, polished album cover because the music is raw and aggressive. We wanted to give it the appearance as if you were on a journey. As if you were going somewhere, running away! We wanted to give that with the railroad tracks, which is like going on a journey…
Rockpages.gr: …that you don’t know where is going to take you, because you can’t see the end of the tracks on the cover!
Lita Ford: It leaves a lot to your imagination!
Rockpages.gr: Can you tell me a few things about some songs on the album? “Branded” for example?
Lita Ford: “Branded” is tattooed. When you brand something, you make your mark on it, and you own it. Like an object. And “Branded” is tattooed, and it’s like you’re getting somebody’s name tattooed on you and you don’t really want it. Because, that person forces you to get his name tattooed on you, because they wanna own you like an object. That’s “Branded”!
Rockpages: Alright! I think you said it all with that!
Lita Ford: Yeah!
Rockpages.gr: What about “Asylum”? I think it’s my favourite on the album!
Lita Ford: Yeaahh! “Asylum” is awesome it’s my favourite too! You know I think it’s my favourite, but then I listen to the “Devil In My Head” and then I think no, this is my favourite, and then I listen to “Living Like A Runaway”, and I think no, that’s my favourite. But, the “Asylum” is a night house. It’s like living in a night house, like a jail! You know the Alcatrazz prison? Like on a deserted island… for me… I lived on a deserted island, like Alcatrazz prison in the ocean out of San Francisco off the coast of California. There’s that prison on a deserted island, it’s like an “Asylum”. That’s what the “Asylum” is… it’s some pretty heavy duty shit!
Rockpages.gr: It is! And I am surprised, and I am amazed from what you tell me so far! It really sounds like you had a horrible time. I don’t want to get into details about that, I don’t want to ask you anything about that, but it’s obvious from what you tell me.
Lita Ford: Yeah, it’s on the record!
Rockpages.gr: There’s also a song on the album “A Song to Slit Your Wrists By”, which is credited to Nikki Sixx’s project “58”. Why did you chose to include that song on the album?
Lita Ford: I found that song! It just appeared on my desktop one day! And, I saw the song and I thought “Nikki Sixx wrote “A Song To Slit Your Wrists By”… I don’t know this song! I don’t have any Nikki Sixx songs on my desktop. So, I listened to it and I thought… “wow! I’ve got to do this! I’ve got to do a remake of that song”. And I e-mailed Nikki and I asked him if he was using it for anything, and what it was for, because I’ve never heard it before, and he told me that he’d written it for his ex-wife fifteen years ago, so I asked him if I could have it and he said yeah. So, I took it into the studio, and Gary Hoey, who produced the album, and I, we worked on the song and we came up with that really industrial kind of vibe for the song. Cause it’s a little bit different from the other songs. Did you find that? That it has a different flavor?
Rockpages.gr: Yes, it has…
Lita Ford: I wanted to give it that Nine Inch Nails vibe.
Rockpages.gr: Actually, in the past you have been connected with Nikki Sixx. Did this collaboration let’s say, when you called him to get that song, bring you back good memories of him?
Lita Ford: Ohh yeah! I loved Nikki! He is a great great person and he is a good friend! I trust him!
Rockpages.gr: Talking about old friends, I was recently reading Glen Hughes autobiography, where he mentions that he met you in 1976. Do you remember that, can you tell me a story about him?
Lita Ford: Ohh yeahh.. Oh My God! 1976? Glenn is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. He is such a wonderful human being, and he has gone through hell. He had such a wonderful career in Deep Purple, and I remember these days, because we’d get high together, you know, with the Runaways, and having Glenn and Glenn was so handsome… then, he went overboard with drugs and alcohol and he gained a lot of weight, and he really fought back, and bounced back with a lot of power. He lost weight, and he stopped doing drugs, and became a real beautiful soul. He is a real great man, and his wife is wonderful, she is a great lady and I absolutely love them dearly. And he still signs his ass off! He is just amazing, I am in awe of him!
Rockpages.gr: Maybe, it would be a good idea for the two of you to do a song together in te future, what do you think?
Lita Ford: Ohh… what a great idea! Oh my God!!!
Rockpages.gr: The album title actually takes us back a long time ago to your former band, The Runaways. Have you watched the movie “Runaways” that was out in the theatres a couple of years ago?
Lita Ford: I didn’t see it! I don’t wanna see it!
Rockpages.gr: OK, I am going to give you a quote from that film, and I am going to ask you what do you think about it… there is a scene where Kim Fowley is trying to get a gig for the band and he describes you as a combination between Sophia Lauren and Ritchie Blackmore. And the question is would you take this as a compliment?
Lita Ford: Absolutely! Sophia Lauren is awesome, and so is Ritchie Blackmore!
Rockpages.gr: Is there a chance to see the Runaways reunited?
Lita Ford: I’d love it, but I don’t know if it will ever happens. I did ask Joan, and I did ask Cherrie… and Cherrie she said yes, and Joan said maybe. So, that’s where it stands now. Which sucks!
Rockpages.gr: When you joined the band you weren’t even 18, so you were an underage girl in an all-female band and it was the mid-70s. How did that feel back then?
Lita Ford: It was an awesome way to be a teenager and be rebellious, and be a punk! We were in the punk era back in 1975, when we met Cheap Trick and Deep Purple. Heavy metal was starting with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin… also, through and after we started with the punk era with the Sex Pistols, and the Ramones, and Blondie, and the Runaways got caught up in that punk thing. It was awesome! I mean, what better way to spend your teenage years? I couldn’t think of any! It’s the ultimate teenage dream…
Rockpages.gr: After the Runaways you pursued your solo career. Did you feel insecure about putting your name out there, and going solo?
Lita Ford: No, I never felt insecure! The only time I felt insecure was when I was married… hahaha!
Rockpages.gr: What do you say that it’s the best thing about being Lita Ford?
Lita Ford: Oh God! There is a lot of great things about being Lita Ford! I think the best thing are my fans, they are amazing! I feel like I know them, I feel like I have bonds with them , I feel like they know me like they are my family, and words aren’t necessary!
Rockpages.gr: You came back into the music business after you’ve been away for too long, what did you find that it had remained the same, and what was new for you?
Lita Ford: Brand new? YouTube!!! Hahaha! It’s a pain in the ass! Everything you do is put on YouTube, but that’s OK because, when I was in The Runaways one of the very first things I learned was that people are always watching you. No matter what you do, or what you wear, they always going to be looking at you! If you are putting gas on a gas station, or buying groceries, on a grocery store, they will find you, and look at you and see you. And you have to always have… I feel constantly that I have to have my guard up. In case… from the minute you wake up in the morning…
Rockpages.gr: Talking about YouTube, are you planning to shoot any music videos for the new album?
Lita Ford: I have two weeks off right now, from the tour, we’re touring with Def Leppard and Poison. During those two weeks I am going to make two videos. One of the videos is going to be for “Mother”. Ahh, the other video… I don’t know… what do you think? Which song?
Rockpages.gr: Well, I’d say “Asylum” hands down, or maybe “Branded”…
Lita Ford: “Branded” it’s good, it’s uptempo! We’re going to pick something that’s heavy and driving, and then we’re going to do “Mother”. We’re going to keep “Mother” in our pocket for now. So, we’re making two videos this two weeks and I am very excited!
Rockpages.gr: Can you tell me what was the best advice that somebody gave you, and you follow it to this day?
Lita Ford: My mother would say to me “just kick ass those people” with that thick Italian accent. (speaking like Italian) “Lita just kick ass those people”! I can still hear her!