In concert

Runaways rocker refuses to slow down

Handout / MCT

Lita Ford is one of the few rockers who can honestly say that she was an original. She first hit the rock scene in 1975 as a 16 year old guitarist who was recruited by Hollywood producer Kim Fowley to be the lead guitarist in an all female rock band, The Runaways.

Read more here: huge success both in the studio and on the road, The Runaways paved the ground for girls who wanted to play drums, bass, guitar -- basically those who wanted to flat out rock. And Ford was the driving lead guitarist of a band that broke the walls down.

Since then she has been out in front and never looked back, releasing a slew of hard rock albums as a solo artist, such as Out for Blood, Dancin’ on the Edge and the one that put her over the top, the classic Lita. The latter included the monster hits “Kiss Me Deadly” and the duet with Ozzy Osbourne, “If I Close my Eyes Forever,” both of which hit the MTV heavy rotation cycle.

After a few more albums, Stiletto, Dangerous Curves and Black, Lita took a hiatus from recording and performing to become a full time mom.

Now she has a new album out entitled Living Like a Runaway, and this is by far her best work to date. Her voice sounds extremely sharp and the songs, while telling her story of her life and subsequent divorce, have a soulful layer to them that many of her early albums didn’t necessarily have.

The title track tells the story of a 17 year old girl about to explode onto the world with he then hit band the Runaways, hence the title. The angst filled Mother is a painful song of loss and heartbreak, and that emotion comes through. This is not just a great rock album, but a great storybook as well.

We sat down with Lita to discuss life, her upcoming tour and the album. She plays Magic City Casino Saturday night.

How did the album come about?

Lita: That album came to me like a gift from God. It really shows when you listen to it. I am really glad you listened to it. I really wanted to hear it and what we did there.

What about your voice?

Lita: It’s handled with kids gloves. Gary Hoey who produced the album with me really focused on this record. We didn’t let anything fall through the cracks. Sometimes too many people involved mess it up. What Gary and I did was we took everybody out and we handled it just the two of us. And if we ever got stuck on lyrics we brought in Michael Dan Ehmig who is my lyricist and between the three of us we put together this amazing record. It is so heartfelt and real.

You put a lot of time into this album.

Lita: I did. You know, I went through a horrible divorce and I Moved out of what we had which was two huge, big beautiful houses and I took my guitars and I took my dogs, and I left. I couldn’t get my kids He had turned the kids against me and I couldn’t get them to come with me. So I was forced to leave them.

It’s not what I wanted to do. But I moved into this little apartment and just started writing. And I wrote the entire album with Gary, so there is a lot of emotion in that record. And it’s no all ... (pauses) good. There is a little bit of the dark side on that record.

I can hear that. The track “Mother”, there is a lot of angst in that one.

Lita: Yes. The video is powerful. The video has footage of my children when they were younger. You know we were going to do a reality show for TLC and what happened was we got a divorce before the show started.

During the live show how much of the new material do you perform?

Lita: We try to do as much as possible. Well we start with the Elton John cover ‘The Bitch is Back” (laughs). So it’s kind of a perfect intro and then we go into “Hungry’, so we go back a little bit .Then we throw in some new songs. we have a large variation of a lot of songs. We go back to Out for Blood.

We have fun when we play these songs, we don’t stick to any given order. We just get on stage and whatever happens. Someone comes yells out a song, we will play it.

Hart Baur

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