Intervju med Lita Ford!
Jag minns att jag hade en gigantisk dörrposter på Lita Ford i min tidiga tonår. Den kom från Kerrang om jag inte är helt fel ute.
Lita är tillbaka med en ny platta och efter lite strul med en tjeckiska på linjen, som började ställa frågor samtidigt som jag men som fick ringa upp senare, kunde jag då äntligen få snacka med den blonda Runawaysgitarristen om bl a nya plattan "Living like a runaway, en eventuell återförening av bandet, den numera obligatoriska boken, Elton John och Grammyutdelning till Jethro Tull.
Lita Ford: (laughs) Niclas, sorry. What the fuck was that?
I don´t know what it was, but it´s ok. You ready to go?
LF: Yeah, yeah!
I was kinda wondering, had you started working on the album before you watched the Pink Floyd documentary? Were you already writing songs? (Lita watched a documentary about "Dark side of the moon" and that helped her when working on her songs. Editor´s note)
LF: Yeah, I was. I was already writing songs. I had just begun and the Pink Floyd documentary really made sense to me, because they kept it amongst themselves. They didn´t go around looking for people to write with, whereas a lot of people do these days and I didn´t wanna do that. I wanted to keep it amongst me and Gary, our producer, and it´s such a heartfelt record. It´s such a Pink Floyd record and it´s so real. It takes you on a journey. Not that my record sounds anything like the Pink Floyd record, because it doesn´t, it´s just the way it came together and it´s the way they put it together, that I wanted to capture and I was really admiring them for that.
Right. Do you think the album had sounded the way it does, if it hadn´t been for the things you´ve gone through the last couple of years?
LF: No, I don´t think it would have. A lot of the things that I´ve gone through in the last few years have been brutal. I mean, not your typical every day break up. I´m dealing with somebody who´s mentally not there and shows no remorse and there´s no caring for the kids or sympathy for the children and that´s what really made me sick. In my divorce I didn´t care about money, or houses or materialistic things. The only thing I wanted out of this divorce was my guitars, my amplifiers and I wanted to be a good mother. That was it. The one thing I cared about was the one thing he had to take away from me because I care and the only way to hurt me was through what I care about. I would never go there in my head. I would never have gone there and I never would have put 2 and 2 together like that. I didn´t know people do that and he just took it to the fullest extreme and to the point where I turned to my music and I just started writing everything down and the songs were coming out like crazy. I couldn´t come up with enough material, it was just overflowing, so musically it worked in our favor. My manager said to me “Lita, can´t you write something happy?”, so I went away for a week and came back and I said “I wrote something happy!” and he was like “Oh yeah? Let me hear it!”, so I wrote “Love to hate you”. (laughs)
Good one. There´s a lot of bonus tracks. Was that the plan from the beginning?
LF: No, it wasn´t. I wanted to do a Lita album. I wanted to make my own album and I didn´t want anybody telling me how to make it, you know. I wanted to be left alone. I know what I´m doing, I´ve been doing this since I was a kid and I don´t need anybody telling me how to make a fucking record. I just needed to be left alone and create what was in my heart. After so many years of not performing and being held back and being held away from the music industry, I had a lot of built up riffs in my head. It was pretty cool actually when I started playing. It was flowing out of my head and I would get my song writing partner, Michael Emig, I would get him on the phone. We never hooked up. We would do everything over the phone and I would get him on speaker phone and I would say (sings) “Michael, run baby run!” and Michael would go “Across New York City!” and then I´d say “Run baby run!” and Michael would go “Through the streets of LA”. I would go “Yeah Michael, that´s it!” and then Michael would say “You can´t slow down and you can never stay when you´re living like a runaway!”. I would go “Yeah Michael, it´s brilliant!” and he´d go “Yeah, it´s badass!”, things came together really well. “Bad neighborhood”, which is one of the bonus tracks… you gotta hear it! We did the same thing and “Bad neighborhood” was written from the saying bad neighborhood from an old friend of mine who used to run Narcotics Anonymous and he used to say “Get out of your head, it´s a bad neighborhood!”. It goes both ways, because my ex used to get inside of your head, like “You´re inside my head, get out of my head!” and he would get inside his own head and Michael Emig came up with that saying “Get out of your head, it´s a bad neighborhood!” and I said “Where did you get that saying from? And he said “I got it from Tom over at Narcotics Anonymous and I said, “He used to say that?”, so we wrote (sings) “Better get out, better get out of your head. Ain´t doing you no good. Better get out, better get out of your head, because it´s a bad neighborhood!”. It came out freaking great.
The Nikki Sixx song, “A song to slit your writs by”, what about that one?
LF: Honest to God, it appeared on my desktop. It just popped up on my desktop and I thought “What is this? A Nikki Sixx song on my desktop? I don´t have any Nikki Sixx songs saved on my desktop.”, so I listened to it and I thought “Wow, this is pretty cool! I need to do this.”. After hearing it, it had such heavy lyrical content, I thought “I gotta call Nikki and ask him what it is.” Because it wasn´t a Mötley Crüe song. It was from the 58 version. Are you familiar with that?
I wasn´t at the time and I didn´t know what it was, so I sent Nikki an e-mail “What is this and can I have the song? Can I do a remake of it?” and he said “Yeah, it´s a song I wrote for my ex-wife 15 years ago.” and he thought “Wow, cool! My ex-girlfriend is doing a song I wrote for my ex-wife 15 years ago.”. (laughs) So it worked.
Definitely. The photo for the album cover then? Did you go through a lot of ideas for the photo or did this one with the train tracks come right away?
LF: It did! We went through some ideas because the song “Living like a runaway” says “Run baby run across New York City and the streets of LA”, we thought about shooting it in the streets of LA or New York City or both. Maybe have LA on the front cover and New York on the back cover. We were in Redbank, New Jersey and right across from the studio was this old beat up railroad track and Mark and I looked at each other and we went “Oh, beat up railroad track!”, so we walked over across the street and by this time the sun was just going down and we pretty much finished the shoot and we walked over to this railroad track and it was gross. There was used condoms and syringes and everything on the track and I thought “Fuck, this is perfect!”. There was a billboard up at the back that said “Missing” and it was perfect and it ended up being the freaking cover. It was totally unexpected. It was like God threw us a sign and we caught it. (laughs)
I gotta ask. I´ve read that you´ve been in touch with Cherie Currie and I´m just wondering, are there any plans? Are you doing anything together or are you just talking?
LF: So far it´s just us getting back together and talking. Cherie´s all ready to do a Runaways reunion and I would love it and I think we should start writing songs and I think it would be great. I´m not sure what Joan is doing right now. I don´t know if she´s in the studio or if she´s touring, I´m not sure. I was in contact with her for a while and then all of a sudden she just disappeared. She´s probably on tour, but I don´t know and it really needs to come from Joan. I talk to Cherie all the time. I talk to Vicki all the time and I´m still good friends with Jackie, but we can´t do it without Joan, you know. She´s got to be a part of it and she gotta want to be a part of it, so hopefully by the end of the year she will have made up her mind and hopefully she says yes.
Excellent. I would love to see that.
LF: I think now is the time for it. It really is perfect timing.
I´m also wondering about another old thing. I was watching the video for “Gotta let go”, which is one of my favorite Lita Ford songs and what do you remember from the making of that video?
LF: (laughs) Yeah, that was the first video to be played on MTV or one of the first, which was cool. I was glad to be a part of it. Before that there was no MTV and I remember washing the dishes and beating people with my BC Rich Bitch Warlock, which I still have by the way and I´m gonna use it on the up and coming Def Leppard tour.
Sweet! The idea for the video, was that you or the director coming up with things?
LF: That was pretty much the director on that video. I didn´t have too much to do with that video. Directing videos at that time was very new and very different and something I wasn´t used to. I mean, if somebody was to come to me now and say “Lita, direct a video!”… “Living like a runaway”, the songs are very visual on it. You could listen to “The asylum” and you can almost see it or “Hate. You can almost see the song and it speaks for itself and I don´t think it would be a problem, but back then with “Gotta let go”, it was like “Hhmmm dude, you do it!” to the director. (laughs)
Everybody´s writing books these days. When is Lita Ford gonna write her book?
LF: We´re in the process of doing it now. We´re actually trying to find the right writer. We went through one writer already and we drew up a proposal and my manager wasn´t happy with the proposal, so we´re gonna can her and use somebody else. It´s gotta be the right person. It´s like trying to find a producer for your album. If you don´t find the right producer, you´re not gonna come up with the right album. We´re shopping.
Cool. I was looking at stuff on YouTube and I realized that you and Alice Cooper presented the infamous Grammy award when Metallica lost to Jethro Tull. What do you remember from that?
LF: I remember that. Oh my God! Everybody was like “Jethro Tull?”. I mean, everybody loves Jethro Tull and they´re very well respected, but at that time Metallica had completely taken over and they really did deserve that Grammy. It was a bit of a chock. I remember everybody talking about it backstage and saying “Jethro Tull? How the fuck did this name come up?”. Alice handed me that damn rubber snake. He reached into his pocket like he was grabbing the envelope and he pulls out a rubber snake. He hands it to me and I´m thinking “What the hell do I do with it?” and I threw it into the audience and they threw it back to me. (laughs)
Yeah, I saw that.
LF: It was great!
You´re gonna do the Def Leppard/Poison tour. 40 dates in the US and that will probably a total blast, but are there any plans for Europe and Scandinavia?
LF: So far all we have the US, very few parts of Canada and one show in Mexico City, which I´m not even sure if we´re gonna do that one. I know Poison and Def Leppard are doing it, but it´s a bit far for us and it´s only one show. That takes us into mid September, so we still have the fall. Maybe will come to Europe in the fall and if not the fall, the beginning of 2013 for sure. We´ll be out there for this record. This record is gonna have a lot of life because there´s so many good songs on it, plus you haven´t hears the bonus tracks. The bonus tracks are rocking. There´s not a bad song on this record, there is just not. You know, some records have one really great song and then the rest of the songs are just fillers. The problem with this album is that there are no fillers, which is a great problem to have.
The Elton John song, “The bitch is back”, were you in touch with Elton about doing it?
LF: I had already recorded it. As a matter of fact, we just got done mixing it and I´d heard that Elton John was playing right next to my house in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and I had to go see him. I said “Is there any way we can send him an MP3 of the track so he can hear it before I get there?”, so we sent him over an MP3 and his tour manager listened to it and wrote back right away and said “This is one rocking track!” and I went backstage and I told Elton John that we´d covered “The bitch is back” and he said “That´s my song, you know?” (laughs) and I said “Yes Elton, I know. Thank you for letting me do your song.” And he said “Thank you for doing my song.”. In other words we got the thumbs up from Elton John, which was great.
Cool. I´m gonna let you go now Lita. It´s been a total pleasure talking to you and I just hope I get to see you in Sweden soon and I´m really looking forward to your book and The Runaways reuinion, if it happens. That would be really awesome!
LF: Right on! Speak to you soon. Bye!