Interview (Originally conducted on June 7th, 2016)
Q. Thank you for your time, Kalamazoo is excited and ready to see you at the Kalamazoo State Theatre with Halestorm and Dorothy on Oct. 25th, what can the fans of Lita Ford expect to see at the show?
The band is like Rolling Thunder with name band members. We melt faces and go through the Lita catalog and go all the way back to the Runaway days. It’s ferocious.
Q. Congratulations on your new album, “Time Capsule” that was released on April 15th, I love the Blue vinyl LP, what made to decide to put the record out?
It was a set of analog tapes in my closet that I felt fans needed to hear. They featured a lot of celebrities that performing on the songs and just the songs themselves. It just brought us back to the 80’s. A time that a lot of us miss. This is a little piece of history – hence Time Capsule.
Q. How did you get your special guests to record with you?
The album was record at a time in place when rock stars were everywhere. We were always in the same studio and around the street. And that was the case here. Plus, many of them are friends and we would just hang out.
Q. What is your approach to writing a song?
I don’t really have one single approach to writing because anything can trigger an idea. Something on TV, a text, a riff. There is no one idea. But when you come across one, you better write it down before you forget it.
Q. Do you write it on an acoustical guitar or do you prefer to write music with your electric guitar?
Sometimes you need to find an instrument that is inspiring. I recently picked up an Ovation acoustic tuned in C, not something I do on a daily basis. This was different and inspired me to want to write something new.
Q. I see where you collaborate with Gary Hoey when you write music, who is in my opinion and excellent and somewhat un-discovered musician, how did you and Gary get together?
I had met Gary years ago in the Caribbean, he told me he had a studio and invited me anytime I wanted to record. I took him up on his offer. Living Like A Runaway came from that first visit.
Q. in 2013 you were presented with Guitar Player magazine’s “Certified Guitar Legend Award.” What does that honor /award mean to you?
I’ve worked my entire life as a guitar player to be recognized as a musician and not just some girl. Starting out in The Runaways, I took my job seriously and strived to achieve some kind of recognition. I finally got it after 40 years. It was huge for me.
Q. Do you feel that with this award, that Lita Ford has “Made It”?
I’ve always felt like I’ve made it. It just a question of how far have you made it. I felt like the award just pushed me a little further and a little closer to being that guitar player that I’ve always dreamt of being. For those who haven’t read my book, I used to wish upon a star that I always used to wish and pray to. That star would follow me everywhere. Even when I was raising my boys. That star was always watching over me.
Q. In addition to Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple and Rainbow), who were your guitar hero’s growing up?
Loved Hendrix because he was of course, not like anybody else. He seemed to channel noise as well as music and lyrics. Where other players were trying to stop the feedback and hissing, he learned to control it where other people feared it. No people purposely seek these noises and put their guitars out of tune. He had a way of singing and playing. Johnny Winter was just incredible. The way he worked the stage. He never looked at his guitar neck. Johnny, Jimi, and Ritchie never hid behind anything.
Q. You have been recording music and out on the road for a long time, how do you keep it fresh for you, your fans and your band?
We play spur of the moment songs on stage. We don’t follow the set list. It becomes more of a jam than something that is planned and detailed out. Because every audience is different. Sometimes your set list does not mold to that audience. We change here and there and that will make it exciting for the band and the audience. Spur of the moment fun. It’s the beauty of not following backing tracks as well. It’s liberating.
Q. From your days with the Runaways till now, what is the most significant change in the music industry?
Besides analog to digital, there’s so many more women out there kicking ass. Way more female lead singers like Lzzy Hale. I mean come on, she is just wicked awesome. Music is not just for men anymore. We’ve had the Wilson sisters, Fanny – but now we’ve got the whole front row. Its great to see. Its just rock n roll.
Q. Where do you think it’s heading?
A lot of people are trying to preserve hard rock. Like the unveiling of Lemmy’s statue at the Rainbow.
Q. Tell me about your B.C. Rich Warlock guitar. What are the features on your guitar?
My original Warlock, I call him Maurice. He is named after Samantha’s father in the old television show, Bewitched. I named it after him because that guitar plays you. You don’t play it. It was actually stolen. The person that stole it brought it back because I think it scared him. That guitar consists of an ebony fretboard, if I remember correctly, it has a mahogany body – it’s very heavy, and a preamp. That tiny switch is like a power booster. The pickups are Dimarzio Super Distortions, the bridge is a Kahler – I got to have my Kahler. It’s an incredibly heavy sounding guitar.
The red is the same but a little brighter. That headstock has broken twice and still plays like a dream. It is amazing.
Q. What would be the most surprising thing about Lita Ford that we don’t know?
I’m very domesticated. I remember a friend coming by the house once and being impressed with all of the baskets with towels and soaps…when you are out on the road so much, it’s wonderful to come home and just cook, sleep, and wash sheets.
Q. In 100 years from now, what would you want your musical legacy to say about Lita Ford?
I can go to my grave and say I was one of the first female guitar players to walk the planet. There were women before me but The Runaways were teenage girls, not women. I think we stand apart because of that.
Thank you again for your time and consideration! I hope to have the opportunity to meet you in Kalamazoo!