Lita Ford On Her Killer New Live Album, Upcoming Book, Single, Days of The Dead Convention and More!
Lita Ford has a new live album coming November 5th called “The Bitch Is Back”, a career spanning, ballbusting, hard rock platter which showcases the former Runaway and her killer band in fine form. Lita and her band have had considerable bite since the release of her latest studio record, “Living Like A Runaway” so it’s absolutely the right time to document her resurgence back to her rightful spot as the queen of metal. I recently had the chance to talk to Lita about the new live album as well as a number of other projects she has going on this fall and winter and she had plenty to say, read on……
Legendary Rock Interviews: Hi Lita, it’s so awesome to be talking to you again. I have listened to your new live album “The Bitch Is Back” a couple times and it is really great, maybe the best live album I’ve heard in years just because it is super raw and actually live; almost like a perfect bootleg. It’s so refreshing, a possible front runner for my top ten of the year, it rocks.
Lita Ford: Well Thank you. This live album we did coming off the Def Leppard/Poison tour, we went straight into this little club the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California. We mic’d up the room, the drums, the guitars and the vocals and just captured it exactly as it was that night. I just wanted to give something back to the fans, this album is dedicated to the fans and it was recorded in an intimate environment and I think you can feel that. It’s very high energy and it’s in your face. It’s a true live album, there’s no fillers, no backing tracks, no overdubs, it’s a true live album. I’m really happy with how it turned out and the title “The Bitch Is Back” is appropriate I guess you could say….
LRI: A long time ago you recorded “Live in Japan” with The Runaways and this is the most energetic you’ve sounded since then which is pretty amazing considering you were just a teenager. Were you just super confident with your band coming off of the Def Leppard tour?
Lita: I was. The Def Leppard tour really whipped us into shape to be honest with you. Def Leppard are some of the greatest musicians out there I think and they’re still kickin ass live. Having to compete with bands like that and share the stage with bands like that really makes you sit up and try your hardest, you try and focus on your craft. It shows vocally on the record, there’s no overdubs on the record, those are all live vocals. I mean, I’m no Ian Gillan but for what I did and how I sing it’s real, it’s raw, unedited vocal tracks and the guitar playing, it’s all exactly what it is. There’s a couple of parts that my guitar player Mitch said “Oh, I would’ve fixed this or that” and I went “No!!, No Fixing, we’re not fixing anything (laughs) we want it to be what it is”. Is it perfect? No! That’s why it’s a live album! You feel like you are in the audience, at the club, when you’re listening to it. You just gotta close your eyes and you’re there, that’s the point of a live album.
LRI: How does that live approach differ from your guitar work in the studio? I just listened to “Lisa” the song you wrote for your mom on the Stiletto album which is one of my favorites. That solo is one of your all-time greatest solos and it’s just gut wrenching. How much of a perfectionist are you in the studio?
Lita: I’m a feel person and I go with feel. If something doesn’t feel right in the song you either try and fix the problem or come back to it at a different time and day with a different approach. These days you can always cut and paste stuff like if you get the first chorus right you can always cut and paste it to the second. That’s a big no-no in my book. I don’t do that, even on my latest album “Living Like A Runaway” and “Lisa”, the song you’re asking about, that was before Pro Tools. I just knew I had to deliver for my mom. You can’t, you just can’t fuck that up. If there was anything wrong with any part of that song I wouldn’t let it come out, there’s no way it would be released. You have to feel that song, it had to bring tears to your eyes. That guitar solo in “Lisa” is very emotional, almost crying in a way.
LRI: That song hit me years ago and it still does today, does that song still move you?
Lita: Oh yeah, I listened to it just the other day and I read the comments underneath the video for it and a lot of people commented on the solo on that song. I was very happy about that and happy that it meant something to people, because it should. That’s a song about one of the most important people in your life, your mother. I mean, some people don’t always get along with their mother but for those of you like me who had parents who were your best friend they really understand. When she was diagnosed with cancer I wanted to give her that song as a gift before she died, not after she died and I wanted to make every note on that song count and every lyric on that song count. I mean, if you think about it, how do you write a song for your mom who’s dying, that’s one of the hardest things to do. I’m really happy that I did it and really happy with that guitar solo, I think it just sucks you right in. “Lisa” has been on my mind a lot lately, I feel like it’s come full circle with my song “Mother” with me being the mother and singing songs to my kids. I just feel like it’s come full circle.
LRI: I mention that song also because it’s kind of indicative of your abilities to write emotionally raw material which is something you really got back to on “Living Like A Runaway”. One of the cool things about the live album is that it has all these different eras of your career and all of those different emotions that go with those eras. Was that important to you?
Lita: “The Bitch is Back” as a title is a statement to begin with and to start the show with the song “The Bitch is Back” is just perfect. The album takes you through the decades of my career, songs like “Hungry” from the “Stiletto” album, “Back To The Cave” from the Lita album all the way back to the title track from my first album “Out For Blood” before coming back to 2013 and the “Living Like A Runaway” material bringing you to the future. I wanted to try and put as many of the new songs as possible, I think we ended up getting four on there while still managing to get in one ballad which was hard because it was hard to pick. Was it “Lisa”, was it “Only Women Bleed”, was it “Mother”, was it “Close My Eyes Forever”? You can really only have one ballad because otherwise your set becomes boring if you start loading in too many ballads. You wanna keep that energy level up.
LRI: I am aware of your Parental Alienation Page on Facebook which is something people should be aware of. I’m a parent of three kids and I cannot imagine going through something like what you’re going through. Have you thought about writing a book because in so many respects you have lived a lifetime just in the past 5 years or so…..
Lita: Yeah I have (laughs). That’s for sure. I’m writing one right now for Harper Collins with a coauthor named Marissa Mateo. We’re taking the holiday season to finish the book, through Thanksgiving and Christmas and it should be out March of 2014. There’s a lot of blood and guts in it.
LRI: I helped Kelly Garni with his book about his best friend Randy Rhoads and I know that it can be a pretty raw and emotional process. Has it been therapeutic or have there been times where it’s been difficult to get through the process?
Lita: Both. Some days it’s been difficult and some days I come out of there going “God, I can’t believe I just said that!” Then again, other days you find yourself laughing your ass off (laughs) so it definitely has its ups and downs. It is definitely an emotional journey and it’s not something that just falls together on its own. You gotta do a lotta digging, sometimes just to try and remember especially if you don’t lead an average, normal, everyday life. I mean, I haven’t lived an average or normal life since I joined The Runaways when I was 16. So there’s a lot to remember and there’s a lot to dig through, a lot of parties, a lot of people, a lot of music…. so trying to reminisce and remember all of these details is leading me to think it’s going to be a pretty thick book (laughs). That’s in addition to the divorce, the living on an island and everything in recent years so yeah!
LRI: We just interviewed Cherie (Currie, Runaways singer) for the page and she was telling me a little bit about the Christmas single you guys worked on but I also wanted to ask you about it as well. How did you guys wind up connecting on that?
Lita: It was pretty weird how that happened. Last year, my old drummer Roger Carter called me and said to me “Let’s go into my studio, he has a great studio called The Doghouse. He was like, “Let’s go into The Doghouse and lets record a Christmas song”. It was Christmastime and he was like “Let’s do something fun” and I said “Yeah that sounds great, what do you wanna record, like which song? I thought to myself, “What are we gonna do? A cover of Jingle Bells or something like that??” and I said “I don’t wanna do a cover, let’s write something”. So Roger and I hung up the phone and I picked up my guitar and started writing a rock song, a Christmas rock song called “Let’s Rock This Christmas Down”. Christmas had come and gone by this point and we’d missed our deadline for Christmas last year so this June, 2013 I called Roger back and I said “Hey Roger, do you remember that Christmas song we almost recorded last year? Let’s do it this year (laughs). It’s only June and we have time to prep for it now “. So my guitar player Mitch Perry and I finished writing the song and we went in to record and I happened to have Cherie on the phone the day we were going in to record. She was flying back from a show in Chicago and I said to her “When you get off the plane, come straight over to the studio and throw a lead vocal down and we’ll make this song a duet”. So Cherie came straight over to the studio and we both sang the song together which is an uptempo, playful kind of Christmas song where if you put on your headphones you’re gonna have Cherie on the right side and Lita on the left side. So basically, you’re gonna have a Lita and Cherie sandwich for Christmas (laughs).
LRI: It was so nice hearing from Cherie and hearing how happy she was to be working with you again. I’m really looking forward to hearing it.
Lita: It was a blast to do, Cherie is in a really good headspace and I’m glad that we’re back in each other’s lives. She can always lean on me if she needs me for anything.
LRI: Thanks so much for talking with us again Lita, before I let you go I wanna ask you about the appearances you are making here in the Midwest this November for the Days of The Dead convention. I’m gonna see you and Ace Frehley both that weekend along with Leatherface and Jason and all these horror stars and it just sounds like a lot of fun. So many fans are getting the chance to meet you at an event like this and you’ve done them before. Are you a horror fan? Is it fun for you to hang out with all these crazy people???
Lita: It is. My fans are amazing people and they open up to me and speak to me about things like this Parental Alienation page. They’ve helped me through some of the hardest times in my life and they let me know that I’ve given back to them through my music which has helped a lot of them through some of the hardest times in their lives. These horror conventions are a BLAST for me, I get to meet people, they come all dressed up and it’s a pleasure let alone all the other celebrities that are involved in doing a convention. The last one I did I spent a couple of days hanging out with Linda Blair (Exorcist) who was very close friends with The Runaways back in the day so it was really good to see her. I hadn’t seen her since The Runaways days, as a matter of fact we didn’t even recognize each other (laughs). We were on the same plane, we were on the same little tram thing that takes you through the airport and I sat right next to her. The guy I was with, who is my tech who I brought with me goes “Hey did you see Linda Blair?” and I said “No where is she?” and he said “Lita, you were sitting right next to her!” and I said “Oh shit! You’re kidding me…Fuck!!”. I was so upset. I was at the airport at baggage claim and turned around and sure enough, going down the escalator, there’s Linda Blair and I shouted out “Linda, It’s Lita!!” and she went “Oh my god!!!” and it was like everything came crashing back to The Runaways days, all these fond memories. So I get a lot of pleasure doing these conventions not only from the fans but also because you never know who’s going to turn up!
November 7 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
November 8 Chandler, AZ Wild Horse Pass Casino (with Quiet Riot)
November 9 Hermosa Beach, CA Saint Rocke
For more info on Lita’s appearance at Days Of The Dead Nov 15-17 Chicago, IL visit the official Days of The Dead website http://www.daysofthedead.net/chicago/
Sites That Link to this Post
- Legendary Lita Ford Interview | Populism | October 21, 2013