Queen of Diamonds Returns, Lita Ford Speaks out.
There's been lots of female rockers out there in the past but only a few remain. We had tons in the 80's such as Girlschool (still going strong) Lee Aaron, Doro, Rock Goddess, and of course Lita Ford. Lita born in the UK moved to the U.S. and later on formed 'The Runaways' with Joan Jett in 75, a band who had lots of success before the band broke up when Joan wanted to head more towards The Ramones still, something Lita didn't want and Lita went into a solo career. Her first album 'Out For Blood' in 83 was just the beginning, a great album which only featured Neil Merryweather (bass) and drummer Dusty Watson. Signed to Vertigo she soon released her next album and for me 'Dancing On The Edge' is my all time favourite Lita album. Just every song is a classic and strong and I hope one day she returns to this style of music, and with the new album she looks set to do just that. The 2nd album featured ex Ozzy drummer Randy Castillo (R.I.P.) and bassist Hugh McDonold (bass) with Lita handling the vocals and guitars. There is no doubt about it that Lita is a fine and totally underrated guitarist who deserve more credit than she gets. Her biggest album came next 'Lita' released 88, which featured Ozzy on vocals for the song 'Close My Eyes Forever'. Lita was also managed by Sharon, Ozzy's wife at that time. Lita recorded 3 more album before concentrating more on family life only to return too the scene in 2009 with 'Wicked Wonderland', an album that Lita really had no control over. Now she is back and hitting back hard than ever with this new stunning album 'Living Like A Runaway', released through Steamhammer this is back to what Lita does best, hard rocking album in your face. I managed to have a chat with Lita on the phone recently and I tell you I was nervous as Lita is my all time favourite female idol, and it was a pleasure speaking to the Queen of Diamonds. Here is what Lita had to say, in the meantime check out this new album.
Ok Lita it is a pleasure finally speaking to my female idol, so thank you for taking your time out and doing this interview. I have waited such a long time to meet and interview, we met at Bang Your Head festival in 2009 in which I had waited 27yrs to meet you and now I'm speaking to you by phone. I would like to start the interview off by asking you just what came 1st with you in the beginning, the vocals or the guitar and who influenced you?
"Well it's a pleasure speaking to you Jason, I would have to say that the guitar came 1st and I wasn't really a vocalist at the beginning and in the Runaway stages I just stayed with the guitar and I sang background vocals but I really just wanted to be a guitar player. So when the Runaways broke up I wanted to put a solo project together and I couldn't find a lead singer so I ended u doing it myself, which was difficult because I just didn't want to play rhythm guitar I wanted to play lead guitar. It is hard to play lead guitar and also sing lead vocals at the same time which is a total different animal rather than just strumming a few chords which becomes a challenge. As far as it goes with musicians, I was influenced by Richie Blackmore he was my idol and Tony Iommi and Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, I like a lot of the lead singers/ guitarist out there. I love the 3 piece bands like Jimi Hendrix I love power trios."
As a musician, I think you are totally underrated as a guitarist. You deserve more credit were it's due. Why don't you get the credit you deserve considering you have your own unique style?
"Well thank you Jason I appreciate it and I think the reason why I am underrated as a guitar player is because firstly I am a female and they find it difficult to accept the fact that I can play guitar and they are watching me play the guitar and it still doesn't register in their brains that I am playing the guitar. There is a clip on You Tube of my jamming with Tony Iommi and it is a all guitar players show with different guitar players who come up and jam on stage. Somebody said that I wasn't playing the guitar I had somebody behind my amp doing the work for me. At that point I thought what the fuck is this person talking about? (laughing) you have to be kidding me, any excuse not to give me the credit I deserve and just because I don't have a cock and a pair of balls between my legs doesn't mean I can't play the guitar. It's like I really need a dick to play the guitar? (laughing)."
I have noticed that you have always played B.C. Rich guitars, have you always used them?
"Well I actually started playing B.C. Rich in the early 80's and my 1st guitar was a Gibson SG and from there I started playing Hamers the Explorer model and back then they were awesome!! From there I went to B.C. Rich and I have been with them ever since. When the owner of the company died Bernardo Chavez Rico passed away I think they took a nose dive and recently the company has been bought out by Bill Exsaver and Bill has recreated the original B.C. Riches and he bought in Kerry King (Slayer), and myself and other who were really true to the B.C. Rich guitars and he copies their old original guitars to a teat. They have been measured and the wood has been picked out and the pick ups and everything has been duplicated. So now the old guitars have started to make there way back. I now have a signature model which will be released on August the 1st 2012."
So let's move on now and talk about your debut album 'Out For Blood', how do you see this album now looking back on it was it a success as you were expecting?
"Well it was actually a huge success, it was my 1st album as a 3 piece band and it was my statement saying 'I can play the guitar', that was my big statement on that record because if you look at that record Neil Merryweather on bass and Dusty Watson on drums and myself playing the guitar and doing the vocals. So it made people really look forwards me and except me as a guitar player weather they wanted to or not there was nowhere else to look. If we shot a video or somebody took a photograph there were nobody else to photograph after the guitar solo had finished, everybody had to look at Lita. Once I had established that then I was ready to ad another guitar player into the band so I could front the band more and put the guitar down on occasions and be more of a showman, front man. You are very limited when you have a guitar strapped around your chest you can only do so much."
Moving onto the next album 'Dancing On The Edge', which is my all time favourite Lita album of all time. So which songs on that album stand out for you and why?
"I love that album it was the very last album before keyboards and it is a true Rock & Roll album and I think that 'Dancing On The Edge' is one of my favourite tracks on the album and we still play it live, it's a song that hits home and brings back fond memories and great times in my life. (Ed: I remember one video were you are dressed up as a house wife but soon changes into a hard rocking female in a rubber catsuit were you pin a guy to the wall with your guitar, that was a cool and funny video). (Laughing) Yeah you are right Jason, it was one of the very 1st videos to be played on MTV but it's a great track and video."
I would love to see you on the next album make a part 2 of 'Dancing On The Edge' album, a full on metal album, would you consider that? Especially for me? haha!!
"You never know Jason, maybe (laughing) I will keep that in mind."
The next album to come along was 'Lita', which featured Ozzy on vocals doing a duet with you for the song 'Close My Eyes Forever', how did that come about and what was it like working with Sharon? That album was a huge success for you wasn't it?
"Yes it was the biggest peak in my career but I don't think my highest peak has come yet, I think it has yet to come and I think it's in the future even though the music industry has changed with the downloading factor I really don't give a shit!! I still think my highest peak is yet to come and music is not going to go anyway and somebody has to keep the fire burning. As big as the 'Lita' album was I still have a long way to go but that was a great time in my life and Sharon did an amazing job for me and I loved her dearly and rock stars were everywhere like Nikki Sixx, Lemmy, and all the musicians that played on that record it is just a great album. My favourite songs on that album are 'Kiss Me Deadly' & 'Close My Eyes', 'Falling In & Out Of Love'."
After the release of that album you released 'Stiletto', this wasn't as heavy has 'Lita' or the previous album, why was that?
"Well I was going through a really bad time, my father has just passed away and then my mother passed away and the record company had changed all of their staff and I wasn't familiar with anybody there and I felt lost loosing my parents and now the staff I once knew and it was a really weird time in my life & I think I was distracted by it. I was feeling pain and songs like 'Only Women Bleed' is on that record and that record became more personal I think & I remember Ozzy & Sharon having a top 10 single and the song 'Close My Eyes Forever' wasn't so heavy it was a ballad and it reached the top 10 in the charts because it wasn't as heavy and it was wild because people thought how come Black Sabbath never had a top 10 hit but Ozzy did with Lita? \It's all head space!"
Next came the album 'Dangerous Curves', how did you see that album compared to 'Stiletto'? Was it a comeback album for you after that had happened to you personally on the last album?
"Well 'Stiletto' was was co written by Holly Knight, she wrote songs like 'Missing You' by John Waite, 'Simply The Best' for Tina Turner, she is not so heavy or guitar Oren tainted more forward the keyboards so she tends to write around the keyboards instead of the guitar but I do the opposite. It's all head space and were your life is at that time which does effect your writing and your sound and what your trying to say at that time. The new album 'Living Like A Runway' was written at one of the darkest points in my life were I was miserable and that is why it is such an aggressive album because there is a lot of angry in that record & emotions. (Ed: I can hear just how heavy the album is with the de-tuned guitars in some of the songs, your life has certainly reflected in this album.)"
Next came the 'Wicked Wonderland', so why was you off the scene for so long? What made you want to come back on the scene? I missed your music Lita!!
"Well I started a family, have 2 lovely boys and got married. Yeah I missed myself too (laughing). That album was put out by my ex husband and it is pretty much his record with my name on it. I didn't have much control over the song writing or music and it is defiantly not a Lita Ford album. (Ed: You must of had some control over the record, did you?) He was an absolute control freak and it was terrible, you can't be yourself it is impossible. My ex is a fucking ass hole, that is why I divorced him and I had no control over that record and you can see why (laughing). (Ed: So what you are saying is if that your ex hadn't of controlled you this new album 'Living Like...' would of been the last album?) Yes it would of been for sure."
Do you think you may do a 'Dancing On The Edge' part 2 for the next album? I'd love to hear you do a balls out album and heavy as fuck!!
"It is hard to say to be honest, I just have to keep on going and I am so in love with the new album right now and so pleased with it and I want to keep that vibe. I'm back on track now and I want to stay there & keep it."
The album was produced by Gary Hoey and yourself how long did this album take to record?
"It took one year because Gary & myself started in the very 1st snowfall of 2011 in February/ March and as the planed landed it was the very 1st snowfall of the year and I remember thinking this was amazing and so beautiful as we were in such an empty serene place there was nobody there just beautiful mountains in New Hampshire almost near Canada. When we finished the album it was the very last snowfall 2012 so it took us one year to finish the record which took so long because I had to go through the court for a divorce and some of it was also to do with the fact that I didn't spend a lot of time on my divorce I left that to the lawyers & I wanted to visit my kids and that is one reason why I did comeback from Main I would fly to Fort Lauderdale to see my kids and even my ex husband refused me to let me see my kids now. (Ed: you should have the kids really been the mother). I agree with you Jason, but the courts in Florida I don't understand and why they allowed him to have my children because he had fucked them off so severally that they should not be allowed to even visit him and he has done so much damage to those kids and now it is complete parental alienation. He has alienated those kids from their mother & I can't even get a txt message from them and there living on a fucking island and there is nothing there, no school, no friends it terrible and there like 11 years old. So that is why I wrote that song 'Mother', and those boys will be back because they have my heart and that is what will steer them towards me.
Did you use the same musicians or think about using the same musicians as the last album?
"No actually 'Living Like A Runaway' is just Gary & myself with the drums been handled by Pete Peloquin. Gary & myself played the keyboards and we both played the guitars & Gary played the bass."
There is one song on the album which has a heavy sound to it called 'Devil In My Head', which has a detuned guitar sound, do you agree this is the heaviest song on the record? Also what song do you play live from the new album?
"Well yes I do but if you haven't heard the song 'Bad Neighborhood' is a extra track but yes 'Devil In My Head' is a heavy song and I love it!! We play that song live and I use my double headed neck guitar for that song. Well we start the set with 'The Bitch is Back', 'Bad Neighborhood', 'Hate', 'Living Like A Runaway', 'Devil In My Head'."
Is the album doing well in sales and with reviews from the press?
"Yes it is doing well, the fans love it and the reactions have been great from them and the press, so far it doing well and I am happy. We are now on tour with Def Leppard and Poison right now in the U.S. and the tour is going well."
So when will we see Lita Ford in the UK and Europe?
"Well I am not sure but I would love to come to the UK, it's been so long and I hope to have some dates booked at some point (Ed: I hope you do I would love to meet you again). Yeah that would be cool to meet you again Jason."
Well Lita thank you for taking your time out, good luck with the tour and the future. Do you have anything to say before we finish?
"Yes thank you for the interview Jason, pleasure speaking to you and I hope we meet again soon. To the fans thank you for your support over the years you have been so kind to me. Enjoy the new album and see you on the road xxx."
A Big thank you to Lita Ford, also Olly and George @ SPV your all stars!!