Note: The day after I conducted the interview around which this article is written, my three-month old hard drive crashed, vaporizing not only my entire music collection but also the MP3 of my interview with Lita Ford. Each quotation in the article below was remembered verbatim, and frankly, you just don’t forget the subject matter you cover when you talk to someone so influential. The following is a faithful account, rather than a direct transcript, of our conversation.
Last Monday, I sat down to interview the legendary Lita Ford. Over the week or so before Interview Day, I spent nearly all my spare time reading her previous interviews, poring over her discography, testing my Skype conversation-recording freeware (as well as my Skype), and writing, erasing, and rewriting my questions. The opportunity to interview Lita Ford had come to me randomly during a Facebook conversation, and I was determined to make the most of it. Since interviewing is so new to me, I had every intention to bounce questions off more experienced colleagues, but life got in the way and I found myself alone, at 3:57pm, anxiously waiting and tweaking my questions up until the maddening hold music ceased.
“Lita Ford!” a powerful voice boomed. Pretty straightforward introduction by a no-nonsense lady — I liked it. I stammered out an intro of my own, and the conversation begun.
If nothing else, Lita is larger than life, even over the phone. Her energy was contagious and she was so easy to talk to, I couldn’t help but relax. She told a hilarious story of one of her previous interviewers having only listened to her album over the sound of a hair dryer, and I was completely charmed.
Even though I’d heard through the grapevine that Lita was enthusiastic about the premise of the website, I was still thrown for a loop when she asked about us before I had the chance to get a question out. I explained the site’s history and the aim to bring female metalheads together, and she seemed to think it was pretty cool, which I thought was INCREDIBLY cool.
As energetic as her demeanor has been right off the bat, her energy went up tenfold the second I asked her about her upcoming album, Living Like A Runaway, which hits North American stores on June 19. She described it as “a Lita album,” a phrase I’d seen before but wanted to inquire further about. She explained to me the story behind her 2009 release Wicked Wonderland, which was co-produced and mixed by her now-ex-husband Jim Gillette, with additional input from artists and producers that he hand-picked. (As curious as I was I avoided prying further into the details of her 2011 divorce.) Living Like A Runaway, on the other hand, was a project by her, with help from people on her creative wavelength and a record label (SPV/Steamhammer) that understood her message.
On the surface, Living Like A Runaway is about carving your own path, but Lita also let me know that the album is also a bit of a “fuck you” to people and factors that try to hold you back and control you. From the little bit of the album I’d heard, I could have guessed that working on it was highly cathartic. Angry at times, sad and almost wistful at others, the album is an emotional rollercoaster. Lita, always effervescent, was kind enough (or maybe just that excited to be discussing her album with me…a woman can dream, right?) to sing a few bars from some of the songs I hadn’t heard, and I couldn’t wait to hear the rest. I’d been emailed the album sometime during our interview, and I was too afraid of causing some kind of software catastrophe to download it on the spot.
As our conversation wound down, we told about our respective rebellions, in the vein of the “fuck you” theme that runs through Living Like A Runaway. Mine was about getting a cat the second I moved away from my animal-hating mom, hers was about letting her dog sleep on the bed. Wanting to do your own thing and tell an authority figure, a boss, a parent, or even society, to fuck off is so utterly relatable to people from all walks of life, Living Like A Runaway should appeal to just about everyone.
“Is there anything you’d like to say to the fans, especially ladies?” I asked.
She thought for a moment, and replied, “We have got to stick together.” Wise words from a wise woman.
This June, Lita Ford embarks on a North American tour with Def Leppard and Poison as support — get your tickets while you can! See tour dates below:
LITA FORD on Tour With Def Leppard and Poison
6/20: Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheater
6/22: Irvine, CA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
6/23: Las Vegas, NV @ Red Rock Amphitheater
6/25: Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
6/27: Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
6/29: Atlanta, GA @ Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood
6/30: Tampa, FL @ Tampa Bay Time Forum
7/2: Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
7/3: Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
7/6: Cleveland, OH @ Quicken Loans Arena
7/7: Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theater
7/10: Baltimore, MD @ Merriweather Pavilion
7/11: Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center
7/13: Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach Pavilion
7/16: Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
7/17: Hamilton, ON @ Copps Coliseum
7/19: Chicago, IL @ Allstate Arena