When I started there weren’t any female guitar players around.”
Lita Ford: Alô!
Wikimetal (Nando Machado): Hello, this is Nando, from Brazil, how are you, Lita?
LF: Fine. It’s my pleasure.
W (NM): So, Lita, back in the day when you started your career, there weren’t many girls playing guitar at that time. So how was that for you? And who inspired you to become a guitar player?
LF: My inspirations were Ritchie Blackmore, from Deep Purple, Johnny Winter… I liked Jimmy Hendrix, Black Sabbath, you know, a lot of the heavy metal guitar players.
W (NM): And no girls inspired you?
LF: No, well, there weren’t any girls, there weren’t any. I liked Janis Joplin, as a singer… I liked Mick Jagger as a singer, but there weren’t any female guitar players.
W (NM): So when you played on The Runways, you did mostly background vocals and guitar. So how was the process to learn how to sing as the main vocalist, and also to play the guitar at the same time? Was there anybody that kind of helped you at the time?
LF: No, nobody helped me, I did it myself. I went into a big warehouse, where I rented a guitar… Sorry, a PA system, not a guitar, I had my own guitars. I rented a PA system and I just taught myself how to sing and play at the same time, because I wanted to put together a band, and I thought about finding a lead singer to be the lead singer in my band, but I couldn’t find anybody. I had trouble finding girl lead singers, so you know “I can’t find anybody to do it, so I’ll do it myself.” And I rented a warehouse and taught myself how to sing and play at the same time. And it wasn’t easy, it was difficult.
W (NM): I can imagine, and we’re glad that you made that decision.
LF: Thank you. You know, that’s why Jimmy Hendrix was an inspiration, and that’s why Johnny Winter was an inspiration, because they were singers and they were guitar players at the same time. I always looked at them and thought “Wow, how do they do that?” You know, it’s kind of like, I don’t know, doing two multitasks at once.
W (NM): We have a classic question on our show, changing the subject now, Lita, one that we ask every single person that we interview: just imagine yourself maybe driving your car with a rock radio station on, or listening to your ipod on shuffle mode, and a song comes up that you just lose control totally. Which song would that be so we can listen to it on our show now?
LF: Oh… Oh, God…
W (NM): Everybody has the same reaction when we ask that one.
LF: Oh… “Balls to the Wall”, by Accept. Do you have that one?
W (NM): Yeah, of course, by the German legendary band Accept, “Balls to the Wall”!
LF: Yeah! “You’ll get your balls to the wall, man!”
W (NM): This is just a curiosity, on “Out For Blood” video, we can see you had a bruise on your left arm. How did you get that?
LF: Yeah, I noticed that on the video and I couldn’t believe they didn’t cover it up, what were they thinking? I used to play racket ball… Do you know what racket ball is? Do you have racket ball on Brazil?
W (NM): Yes, we do.
LF: I used to play racket ball, and we would play very hard, and that looks like, to me, it looks like I got hit with the ball, because it’s a big round shape on my arm.
W (NM): That’s funny.
LF: The only thing I could think of… I used to get hit all the time, you know, I would have these great round bruises on me.
Touring or reuniting with The Runaways again ? I would do it in a heartbeat, but I don’t know what Joan’s doing, you know. It’s really up to Joan”
W (NM): So, you have so many great songs on your career and also amazing partnerships. Can you share some memories about what you remember of creating awesome songs such as “Close My Eyes Forever”, “Can’t Catch Me” and “Falling In And Out of Love”?
LF: Oh, God, yeah… Well… “Close My Eyes Forever” was a song that I wrote with Ozzy, and it was funny when we wrote it, because it wasn’t really a writing session, it wasn’t something that we had planned on doing, they had – Ozzy and Sharon came to the studio while I was recording, and I’d just bought a new home, and they bought me a life-size, a life-size duplicate of a gorilla – Coco, the gorilla, from the San Diego, California Zoo.
W (NM): Really?
LF: It was as big as a real gorilla. It was just a big stuffed animal… And Ozzy and I started playing pool, we were drinking wine, we were having a party, you know, just me and Ozzy. And we started to write, we started to play and sing Black Sabbath music, and next thing I know, the sun’s coming up, and I had to drive home, and I was drunk, I couldn’t drive, and I had Coco, the gorilla… I had to drive home, so I had Coco, the gorilla strapped into the front seat of my car, and then Ozzy wanted me to drive him home, and I said, I told him “No, I can’t drive you home, because I’ve had too much wine”. And I ended up putting Ozzy in a taxi, and the taxi took Ozzy home. And then I hoped in my truck with Coco, the gorilla strapped in the front seat, hoping I didn’t get pulled over by the police on the way home… That was a fun memory.
W (NM): And nobody filmed that?
LF: No, everybody left, we were the only ones there.
W (NM): That would be a funny video.
LF: Yeah, everybody films everything these days.
W (NM): Yeah, I know, that’s why I’m asking. If it was today, it’s very hard to get away from it. Anyway, how was the process of being managed by Sharon Osbourne?
LF: It was OK. She’s a good manager. But at the time, she had a lot of family problems, and it was difficult for her to manage me, because she had so many family problems. So it started to affect me, as an artist, and I had to let her go. I love Sharon, but I had no choice.
W (NM): Talking about your new album, congratulations on “Living like a Runaway”. It sounds very different from “Wicked Wonderland”. Can you tell us a little bit about how the album is doing and how was the process of creating such a great album again?
LF: It’s doing great. It’s doing great, so far, so good. We’re getting a lot of airplay with “Living like a Runaway”, the actual song, “Living like a Runaway” is getting a lot of airplay. It’s everybody’s favorite so far. And then yesterday we did an autograph signing session at a record shop, a record store, and everybody was buying the record, there must’ve been 200 hundred records, 250, 200 records that people bought – CDs and the vinyl, now it’s out on vinyl too. People are starting to collect vinyl again, which is really wild.
W (NM): Yeah, I think it’s great. People want the real thing again.
LF: Yeah, they do. And it’s beautiful, it’s just a really beautiful record, it’s red, candy apple red.
W (NM): Still talking about your last album, how was it for you to work with Gary Hoey on your new album? He’s such a great musician, right?
LF: Gary is a godsend. We were looking for a record producer at the time, I had talked to various record producers… I couldn’t get the proper answer out of these guys, I couldn’t get them to commit to recording this album, they couldn’t rap their heads around it. And they all thought “No, it’s going to be dated, or it’s going to sound, I don’t know, too 80s…” They were just full of excuses to why they couldn’t record it, they didn’t want to record it. And when I met Gary, Gary didn’t act like that, Gary actually finished my sentences. Where I would start a sentence, Gary would finish a sentence. And it was almost like we were reading each other’s minds, it was really incredible, it was really meant to be. And when we got together in the studio, we were able to work together as musicians and we were feeling the same things, like, I would say, for instance “Gary, what if we put a rhythm guitar here on acoustic, and some tambourines there…” and Gary would go “Yeah, that’s a great idea!” We would give the record our original performance and we would keep it. Those vocals there on that record are the original performances, they’re not re-done over and over and over… Some record producers will make you re-do your vocals to the point where it’s sterile. It doesn’t have any feeling any more, it may be on key and completely, beautifully in pitch, but it loses its feel, and it’s almost like having sex for the very first time with somebody that you love, it’s that feeling that you can’t duplicate. And I think we were able to capture that on this record by keeping the original performance of the vocals and the guitar parts. We didn’t cut and paste on Pro Tools, sometimes on Pro Tools you can cut and paste… For us, I think, that’s just a lazy way of recording. So we didn’t cut and paste anything, everything is recorded originally over, the second verse is a different verse than the first verse, third verse is different from the second verse, so it keeps your interest up. You know, you’re not hearing the same thing over and over and over.
W (NM): Excellent, I think that reflects on the great album you released. So can you pick a song now from your career, that you feel really proud of having written, so we can listen to it on our show now?
LF: Oh, boy… Sure, a lot of people are playing “Living like a Runaway” out here now, in the US.
So I had Coco, the gorilla, a gift from Ozzy and Sharon, strapped into the front seat of my car and I drove home.”
W (NM): I know you’ve probably answered that many times before, but I feel I have to ask you anyway. Is there a chance for The Runaways to get back together again, for a tour, or a concert or anything like that?
LF: I really don’t know. I know Cherrie has said yes, and I know I would do it in a heartbeat, but I don’t know what Joan’s doing, you know, it’s really up to Joan, she’s the one that’s not committed. And we would have to put together a rhythm section… I don’t know, it’s up to Joan.
W (NM): The other question you’ve probably answered 2000 times, for sure, and I have to ask you again: what do you think of the movie?
LF: I haven’t seen it.
W (NM): Really?
LF: Yeah, I don’t want to see it. I’m not interested in seeing it, I don’t think that it’s a real, a real likeness of The Runaways were really truly like, from what I understand, from the fans that have seen it and told me about it. So I have no desire to see it. I saw the trailer, that’s enough for me.
W (NM): OK, OK. So, changing the subject again, you’re touring with Poison and Def Leppard. Is this a lineup that you will continue to perform together? And how is your relationship with those guys?
LF: Oh, they’re great, it’s like touring with a bunch of my big brothers. They’re very cordial, they do anything to help out, they’re just… It’s a real honor to be on this tour and tour with these wonderful musicians and great people. They’ve been really good to us.
W (NM): And do you think that the Brazilians can dream of seeing this lineup together here?
LF: I don’t know what the future holds, but hopefully it’ll take us to Brazil. I think it’s long overdue.
W (NM): We have one of our co-hosts, Daniel, he’s in New York now, he’s going to see you guys, so he’s very excited about that as well.
LF: Which show is he coming to?
W (NM): Near New York City.
LF: Yeah, cool.
W (NM): We know you were involved on helping raising funds to fight against breast cancer. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about your involvement on such a great cause?
LF: Yeah, my mother died from breast cancer. And since my mother passed away with breast cancer in 1990, I’ve been helping the Hard Rock. Every year I help the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino with donations to breast cancer and children with cancer. So we go to the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to play guitar, play acoustic guitar and talk to the children, and we just donate all the profits to the show towards breast cancer.
W (NM): So talking about Brazil, when will the Brazilians be able to finally see Lita Ford? Have you ever been to Brazil?
LF: No, I haven’t. But I did live in Miami for a long time, and there’s a lot of Brazilian people who live in Miami. But that’s not the same as coming to Brazil, I know. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed in hopes that we make it out there real soon. It is long overdue.
W (NM): Yeah, you’re right. So we’re almost finishing our interview. What would you say to a 15 year old girl that’s starting to play the guitar and sees you as a role model?
LF: I would just… I would tell her to follow her heart, and do what’s in your heart, don’t let anybody tell you anything different than what you feel. If you feel like you want to play something, then play it. Don’t let anybody change you.
W (NM): I think the girls will like to hear that. So, just before we finish, I’d really like to thank you for your time, Lita, and thank you for your last album, we really think it’s great, and we’ll be here, trying to find a way to bring you to Brazil. We’re in touch with many promoters here, and I’m sure that we’ll be meeting soon, and I hope you play a great show in New York. And just leave a last message to our listeners, please.
LF: All right, this is Lita Ford. May God bless you all, and I hope to see you soon.
W (NM): OK, Lita, thank you once again so, so much, and all the best, we really want you to have a great time.
LF: Thank you, I hope to see you soon, I really, really would love it.
W (NM): OK, thanks a lot. See you later.
LF: OK, bye.
W (NM): Bye bye.
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