Lita Ford was a heavy-metal wet dream for a generation of headbangers, scoring several hits in the ’80s, including “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Close Your Eyes Forever” with Ozzy Osbourne. But after years away from the spotlight to focus on raising a family in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the former Runaway is back in top form — and tight leather. We emailed with the 56-year-old metal goddess about her difficult divorce, her automobile choices, and her upcoming book.
New Times: After decades of being hard to find, Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years is finally available on DVD and streaming. What are your thoughts on the film? I know for a time you were married to Chris Holmes, who appears in probably the most famous scene in the film.
Lita Ford: Great question; which I talk about in my up-and-coming book, due out in the spring of 2016, called Living Like a Runaway.
How did you find the process of writing about your life? Do you read rock bios?
I don’t read rock bios, no! So much has happened since before I started in the Runaways in 1975. Just like a record producer that produces your album, you have to find the right one or the correct writer to help you write your book. Same theory applies. My publisher told me, the best books are always a challenge to write. I’m very pleased with my book. It’s everything I’d hoped for in a rock ’n’ roll book. Having carved the way with the Runaways, we had a lot of fun, ups and downs. Then becoming a solo artist in a male-dominated world was a task in itself. This is a tell-all book.
How do you put together a set list these days?
A set list has to have a flow of energy and not only great musical but visual entertainment that never lets up during the entire show. It has to capture the audience from the second you are onstage to the second you say “Good night!” A beginning, a middle, and the tail ending of the set, without finding a second of emptiness. You’ve got to capture the audience from the time you step foot onstage. And we do, with a kick-ass band including Bobby Rock on drums, Patrick Kennison on guitar, and our bass player, Marty O’Brien. Fronted by myself, we are a force to be reckoned with.
You took a 15-year break from being a full-time musician to focus on your family. Did you miss playing and performing during that time? Did you learn anything about yourself during the hiatus that you were able to bring to the table when you returned to the stage?
I didn’t miss the music scene. I was ready for a break after 30 years of travel and being on the road. I focused on nothing else except raising my boys and living on a deserted island. I learned a lot about myself, as a mother and wife, home-school teacher, doctor, cooking from scratch, and cleaning up. Besides, the grunge music scene kicked in and took over the hard rock world temporarily.
I imagine you took power in being a successful solo act in a genre rampant with
I’m a woman, and it’s a good feeling to be sexy, as rock ’n’ roll is a sexual form of music, especially for men! I’m earning my musical badges. I was just presented by Guitar Player magazine with a Guitar Legend award. Considering only three other guitarists have this medal of honor and I am number four, that rocked my world!
You had a contentious divorce that played out in the press. Has that process changed you or made you cynical?
I’d like to do a film on what really happened with my divorce.
Would you ever marry again?
It’s coming up on the 30th anniversary of L.A. nightclub the Cathouse. Founder Riki Rachtman tells a story about how you christened the ladies’ room toilets on their opening night by getting a little bit wasted. Do you remember that night?
I went to the Cathouse on opening night. That was the only time I went there, but it wasn’t me christening the toilets that night. Besides, what was Riki doing in the ladies’ room?
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Have you ever owned a Ford?
I only drive American vehicles. Ford? Yeah! They are built so big and beefy and strong and roomy. I feel safer in them too. My last Ford was a monster truck. It was an Excursion with a lift kit and a speed chip. It seated six people and hauled ass.
I see you’re still loving the leather as much as always. Do you get insanely hot performing in a leather bodysuit?
You get insanely hot no matter what you wear. Sweating and leather are a part of hard rock ’n’ roll. Do you think Elvis Presley didn’t sweat in his leathers? I love it.
Any chance you’ll hit the beach while in Miami, maybe in a leather bikini?
When I come to Florida, I’m coming to rock out. I also have one of my favorite songwriters there, so I will stay with him for a week and write for the next album. I’ll most likely wear jeans and a T-shirt for that. Ha!
Lita Ford, With Slaughter, Kix, and L.A. Guns. 6 p.m. Friday, August 28, at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre, 1806 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach. Tickets cost $35 to $85. Call 954-519-5500, or visit pompanobeacharts.org.