Last summer, when I heard that Lita Ford was coming out with a new live album (The Bitch Is Back…Live), I immediately started pestering my friend over at her promotions company for an interview ASAP. And after he calmed me down, he told me it would get handled come October. Well, he didn’t lie (thank you so much, Jon!), and the next thing I know, I’m on the phone at noon on a Wednesday with none other than LITA FORD!! I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember, and she is really one of the greats. She was so much fun to speak with, and we touched on a lot of different things, as is evidenced below. She even turned the tables on me at one point and asked ME a question or two! Take a look:
Lita: It is. And tell me; what is Amps and Green Screens?
Amps: Oh, we chronicle mostly hard rock and heavy metal, but since I’m a TV/movie junkie too, we do some reviews of those as well. I promise not to keep you too long, and to make this quick and painless.
Amps: It’s been quite a year for Lita Ford, eh? An album that EVERYBODY raved about (Living Like A Runaway), some great shows, and now a Live album, huh? How are you feeling right now?
Lita: I’ve really got my hands full and I thank God every minute of the day. It’s been good. Right now we’re working on the Harper-Collins book, and that’s coming along really well. It’s magic so far, and I’m really excited about it. The live album was something we just stumbled on. It wasn’t something that was planned and we did it really for the fans like, “Hey guys! Here’s a show!” We really wanted them to be a part of it; they sent in photographs that we picked from, I think it’s like 60 fans’ worth of pictures in this really cool collage. And then when you lift off the CD it says, “Dedicated to the fans.” It’s just this really, really cool gift we wanted to share with the fans.
Amps: And nobody is a bigger fan of live albums than me, so I’m dying to hear this!
Lita: Really? Why would you be such a fan of live albums? I’m just interested to know that. What is it about them that you love?
Amps: The energy, the rawness-look, if I wanted to hear a band’s studio albums I wouldn’t go to the concert, and there are very few bands out there that when they put out a live record you can feel the power and energy comin’ off it, almost like you’re right there.
Lita: That’s cool. That’s good to hear because that’s exactly what this record does. It’s not musically perfect, but the vibe is there and you feel like you’re there watchin’ the show. Everything’s pumped up and it totally comes across on The Bitch Is Back.
Amps: A lot of my friends back in NY checked out your club show on Long Island, and they all came away like, “Yep. Lita is back, big time!”
Lita: (laughs) Awesome! That’s what I wanna hear!
Amps: “Luv 2 Hate You” is such a great, great song! You and Gary (Hoey) are great on that. Any more duets planned with him?
Lita: I don’t know about duets, we haven’t gotten that far into the next record, but I did start writing a couple of songs and they’re really good. I keep trying to get over to Gary’s studio in New Hampshire. I’ve had him on the phone three or four different times saying, “I’m comin’, I’m comin!” and then something would come up and I couldn’t get there, or he would be on the road and it’s been really difficult trying to connect. But I know that once we do amazing things come out. We just really need the time to be able to drop everything else and focus on that music. I know it’ll come together.
Amps: Are you gonna use the guys from the live band on the record? Because there’s a great energy with you guys.
Lita: We got a great band. I wouldn’t change a thing. For an album I would absolutely use the rhythm section. I think we’d have special places for Mitch (Perry, guitar) to play. He may not play on the whole record because of me being a guitar player, and Gary, too. But with Mitch being in the band, being family, he’s gotta get in there somewhere, we’ll work him in, whereas, Bobby Rock (drums) and Marty O’Brien (bass) would play on the entire record. Gary’s a great bass player, too. Jesus, he’s got such a feel.
Amps: Does having a monster like Bobby Rock back there drive you to kick it up a notch live?
Lita: Yeah, I mean how can it not? Holy shit! Fuckin’ hell, when he kicks into the-there’s this thing he does right before “Can’t Catch Me”- in the middle of it he kicks into a drum solo, and right before the solo he goes right into this double floor tom rhythmic thing that sounds like a freight train right on my ass! I mean, the whole stage just rattles. If you do get out to see us, when you hear him kick in, you know he’s ready to go into his solo and you can’t miss it!
Amps: I think you mean when, there’s no IF about it!
Lita: (laughing) When, when!
Amps: Hey, I’m a fan first, writer second, so forgive me if I get all fanboy!
Lita: Ohhh, you’re forgiven.
Amps: What guitars are you playing these days?
Lita: Well, I’ve been shuffling around different guitars. I’m in one of those phases where I feel like breaking out something totally off the wall like my old Strat. I’ve been playing B.C. Rich, of course. I ALWAYS resort back to my BC Rich’s. It goes with the territory, ya know? They’re making me some duplicate models, so when they’re finished I’ll be playing them instead of the vintage ones I have been playing. I think I’m gonna save those and use them in the studio. The black one is named Maurice, and I named him after Samantha’s father on Bewitched. He was a Warlock and his name was Maurice. So the duplicate they’re making me is Maurice Jr.! (Both of us laughing) And they’re making a duplicate of the red one, that one’s called Fuck the World, or FTW for short, so we’ll have FTW Jr. soon. So when he’s ready I’ll be jammin’ on him!
Amps: I love it! So…After all this time, what’s the secret to staying sane on tour, or is that not possible?
Lita: Ohhh…it’s staying sane when you’re NOT on the road that’s the hard part. Honestly for me I come home and I pace the floors. I’m a workaholic, I gotta stay on the move and I know that all of us in the band and in my team are like that. We’ve gotta go! When we’re together and we’re moving and doin’ stuff and touring we feel right, we feel complete and whole. Then when we get home there’s so many other fuckin’ issues you gotta deal with. Sometimes, like doing these interviews, for me they’re real fun. I like doing them.
But it’s the everyday shit, like parking. I was working with Marissa, co-author of the book, and we did our interview that lasted FOUR hours inside the Rainbow Bar & Grill. We were looking at all the photographs on the walls; you know they have all the original décor from the early 80’s. I sat at Tony Iommi’s booth, so that brought back a lot of really cool memories. Meantime, I get a parking ticket while I’m in there! It’s like, “Welcome home!”
Amps: How’s it feel seeing this great group of new female-fronted bands like In This Moment, Halestorm, Huntress, Kobra and the Lotus really doing well, and kicking so much ass, knowing you had a great influence on that?
Lita: Yeah, that feels great! I’m very happy for them and it’s good to be me. I feel comfortable in my shoes. Even though these women are out there, they’re successful because they’re doing their own thing. They’re not trying to be somebody they’re not. And that’s great to see.
Amps: Are there any new bands in particular that you’re into right now?
Not really. And here’s why. This is interesting. I just went through a course at UCLA on screenplay writing for television, and I realized when I took this class that I have never really watched television since the time I was a teenager. I never really paid attention to television because we went on tour, we left, we were on the road from the time I was 17 until I recently took a 15 year hiatus. And we lived on a deserted island where there was no television. So we just watched movies. So I thought it would be interesting to look at the television world and see how people think on that level instead of musically. Because the music scene today really doesn’t do anything for me.
Amps: I am right there with you. I ALWAYS go back to the classics, myself.
Lita: Yeah. That’s good to hear you say that. So I’m not just a piece of shit for thinking that everything is fucked up a little bit today (laughs)! I always find myself going back too.
Amps: Now, when we move into audio podcasting next year, would you be willing to come on and be a guest?
Lita: Of course! I would be honored, you’re awesome. You’re a good guy with a good personality, I have no trouble talking to you, so it would be my honor.
Amps: Thank you so much for saying that. Do you have anything that you’d like to say to the Lita Ford fans out there?
Lita: Fuck, I miss you guys! I miss everybody, come and see me please, come and say hi at our shows. By the way Damian, we have a new Christmas single coming out, that I cut with Cherie Currie. We wrote it especially for Christmas. Nobody really knows that but you.
Amps: Uhhh…should I not print this?
Lita: Ahhhh, you could let it slip out (I imagine a devilish grin on the other end of the phone).
Amps: Lita, thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with me. I can’t tell how much this means to me, I’m shaking over here!
Lita: Ohhh, that’s so great. I’m so glad I could be here for you. Great talking to you, Damian.
So there you have it. I got to sit and chat with a legend of fucking heavy metal, AND she gave me an exclusive about the Christmas song she recorded with none other than Cherie Currie (“Rock This Christmas Down”)!! Several weeks later I still smile and laugh over parts of our conversation, and I imagine I will for a very long time. Lita Ford is the real deal, and to be totally honest, she FUCKING ROCKS!!! Be sure to pick up her new live album, The Bitch Is Back…Live, out November 5, and up next, you’ll find my review of it.