Hard rock and metal share a list of infallible constants — things that will always ring true; things that are undeniable. These are mostly unwritten but universally understood in a world where the guitar is the hammer of the gods. For instance: volume? In the red. Drums? Thundering. And another constant, one that has always been there, is heavy rock guitar queen Lita Ford. Ford has always been, and always will be.
It all started once upon a time in 1975 when record impresario Kim Fowley asked a then-16-year-old Ford to join The Runaways — the rock group he was assembling that also included guitarist Joan Jett, singer Cherie Currie, bassist Jackie Fox, and drummer Sandy West. The Runaways was a precursor to bands that would come to blend pop, punk, and metal. Despite growing popularity and interest, its members were divided on the direction of the band: Ford and West wanted to stick with the metal and hard rock, while Jett and the others wanted to pursue the punk side of the band's sound. And with no one willing to compromise, The Runaways split in 1979.
Over the next few decades, Ford stayed heavy, went solo, and has released nine albums, starting with 1983's "Out for Blood" — the beginning to an impressive discography that was also paused for nearly 10 years while Ford raised two sons. Her biggest hit remains the duet she did with Ozzy Osbourne, "Close My Eyes Forever," and of course there's the fan favorite "Kiss Me Deadly."
Throughout industry changes and personal strife, Ford has endured. She always has ... always will. Ford took a break somewhere out on the road to answer some silly questions. Here's what was said. An edited transcript follows.
CITY: What's new and exciting in your world? What are you working on?
Lita Ford: We have been on a killer tour with Halestorm. Also working on a new album with Gary Hoey producing. I would also like to write and produce a major motion film based on a "Sleeping with the Enemy" type theme, using my own music.
After years and years of countless interviews with jaggoff music critics and their stupid questions, is there a question that you wish they'd asked but never did?
Not really. I'm pretty sure most all subjects have been covered.
What is something people don't get about Lita Ford?
I am a guitarist. People will take me as a singer before a guitarist, but it's the exact opposite. I am a guitarist first, then a singer. I had to learn how to sing out of necessity. Guitar playing for me was a gift from God.
Over the years, what about your guitar style has changed or evolved?
Your style never really changes. You can add or subtract effects or riffs; learning different riffs is a never ending pleasure about playing guitar. But your style always really remains your style, your vibrato and such, things you play that make your playing yours. It's similar to hand writing. Everyone's is different. Even if you try to duplicate it, you can never really duplicate it 100 percent.
Back in 2013, I spoke with Cherie Currie and she said the two of you had just done a Christmas record and had begun working together. Has anything else come of that?
No. We just drop each other a hello text every once in a while.
You show no signs of slowing down. When you started, did it ever occur to you that it would last this long?
There was no doubt that it would last this long. When I first returned, I didn't know who was in the music industry and didn't care ... I just wanted to be Lita. I am who I am and have developed a path no one else could have carved for others to follow. Although, I do still feel like I'm leading the band wagon, with many other females behind me climbing their way to the top.
How has "Living Like a Runaway" been received?
Both, the book and the album have been received very well. "Living Like a Runaway," the book is a tell-most. There are a lot of other books out there that cover the music industry at that time, but I felt my experience was different. I had some unique challenges and adventures that needed to be told. What I don't say in the book, I want to put into a major motion film. "Living Like a Runaway," the LP, is a tell-all of what was happening at that point of time.
Is The Runaways something you try to distance yourself from, or do you embrace its significance in rock 'n' roll history?
It's a little of both with The Runaways. I don't need them; it's not all that I am. I went on to have a good solo career as just Lita Ford. Yet I am proud to have been their lead guitarist, and I am proud to have been a huge part of the very first group of all-girl, teenaged jailbait trouble makers.
What are some of your favorite records?
Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon"; Metallica "Black LP"; U2 "Joshua Tree"; Deep Purple "Machine Head"; Alice Cooper "Welcome to my Nightmare."
What are some of your favorite Lita Ford Records?
"Living Like a Runaway," "Lita," "Stiletto," "Dangerous Curves."
What do you think of the current state of hard rock?
This is one question people ask me all the time. I love the fact that females are being recognized and succeeding more. The current state of hard rock is not as good as it was in the 80's — especially financially!
What do you do for fun?
I play music. Nothing beats it.