Lita Ford is the true definition of what 1980’s hair metal was all about! Her new album Time Capsule further proves she’s still able to kick ass and create timeless music that will forever melt the hearts of Rock ‘n’ Roll fans worldwide!
Interview By Chad Thomas Carsten
From May 2016 Vandala Magazine
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What one food dish best describes the 1980’s era of Rock ‘n’ Roll?
Lita: A food dish? Oh wow that’s a cool question! I like that! I would say a Jack Daniels Omelet. [Laughs]
Why would you pick that?
Lita: Well, Jack Daniels was a big part of the 80’s and I remember one morning waking up and making my friend (that I stayed the night with) breakfast and he said to me “You know I’m a little hung over,” and I thought “Well he needs the hair of a dog,” and I poured some Jack Daniels in his omelets. [Laughs]
Your current favorite model of guitar that you like to play on stage?
Lita: My current favorite model? Well you know I’m a BC Rich fan, but my favorite BC Rich’s were from the early 80’s. They just don’t make them like they use to, unfortunately. So BC Rich’s is you know they make warlocks, they make mocking bird, they make personal double necks pretty freaking awesome! I would have to say my white double neck, I call it the twins, but they’re not identical necks, one neck is the twelve string and the other neck is a six string. It has a built in pre-amp and the twelve string neck has a built in flanger fader type of thing and then when you click over the six string it has a power boost jerk, so it really makes a huge difference between the two necks and plus it’s a prototype there’s not another one like it in the world! It’s made smaller than the usual BC Rich, (Rich Bitch Double Necks) it’s the box shape, its smaller because it was too big for me when I originally got it, it was like wearing a dress, I didn’t have to wear any clothes because you couldn’t see my body anyway.
It was crazy! It would go from the top of my boobs and cover everything and I said to them “You know I don’t even need to wear any clothes with this.” And they said “Let us make you one that fits your body better,” so they made me a prototype on the back of the head stock it says “prototype” it has the date (which is 1982) and on the other neck it says “We love you Lita!” it’s so awesome, it’s my favorite guitar!
The tracks that became to be the heart and soul of your latest album “Time Capsule” were discovered inside of a closet of your home on analog tapes. It sounds like they may have been previously forgotten. What’s the true story behind finding them?
Lita: They were never really forgotten, I always knew those tapes were there and they kind of haunted me in a way because I wanted people to hear them, but I thought they needed to be released at the appropriate time and I think now was a good time to release them. A lot of people miss the 80’s, a lot of people never got to live through the 80’s because they were too young, you know and they’re hearing it through their parents and I think “Time Capsule” was something that was put together because first of all the songs are amazing and second of all so many great musicians on these songs just to crown into this little piece of rock n roll history, which is why I call it “Time Capsule”, it literally is.
Are you able to describe the thoughts and feelings that rushed through your mind when you finally discovered the songs were playable?
Lita: Well, I knew they would be. I just feared traveling would bake them and made sure the tapes wouldn’t flake and made sure everything held together. That was my main concern and because they had been to the Caribbean and the closet being in the Caribbean, the salty sea air kind of eats everything up. Sometimes when you leave things long enough, it will. So I was worried about that more than anything else. So we baked these tapes and transferred them to digital and there we remixed them. We didn’t touch any note, we didn’t brush up any vocals, all the noise click mistakes/anything that you’re going to hear, is as it was when it was recorded. This was pretty cool and it’s got a great vibe to it!
Can you give us in an approximate time frame of the year the songs were very first created?
Lita: Yeah! It was created around the late 80’s. Some of it was a little earlier. It wasn’t all done at the same time. It holds its place in time. It still kicks ass! It still applies to today. It’s just a brilliant piece of Rock ‘n’ Roll history!
Did you have other album titles in mind before finally choosing Time Capsule?
Lita: Like somebody said to me “Girl, it’s like a time capsule!” I went “Yeah, that’s it! There you go! There’s the title.” I wasn’t so concerned with the title that much, because the contents of the album is what’s more important to me. It was more about the content of the album. And unlike “Living Like a Runaway” it was all about the entire package. The album, the title, the title track of the song, And now here we are doing a book “Living Like a Run Away” and hopefully one day I would like to do a major motion film.
You worked closely with a lot of rock legends (David Navarro, Cheap Trick, and even Gene Simmons) for Time Capsule. How did you go about recruiting who you wanted to be on the album and why?
Lita: Well, The Runaways grew up with Cheap Trick. They’re like our brothers! They were friends of mine and would hang out. We were writing songs just doing silly things in the studio. You know, goofing around and I said to them, “You guys want to sing on this one song that were doing? It’s called “Killing Time!” And they were so excited! They went in there and just tore it up on the backing vocals! It wasn’t something at the time that we thought would ever see the light of day, just at that moment while we were recording it. And also I had grabbed the engineer who did the singles “Close My Eyes Forever” and “Kiss Me Deadly”. He did that album. So that engineer was amazing and I had to use him on those tracks that I did with Rick, Robin and Jeff Scott Soto. Those were all done by George Tutko (the engineer). So he produced me and I produced the band and the musicians. So I knew he had my back when I went in with him. It was really great! I knew I was in good hands, but George has the best sound and it’s still very worthy today!
Are there any more behind the scenes details you like to share when recording Time Capsule?
Lita: Not really. It was just a period of time where I had free. I wasn’t doing anything. A lot of the people that were on the record were just at that place at that time. We would grab David Navarro and threw him in the room and said, “Here play it”. “What you want me to do?” replied Dave. “Play Madeline!” It was pretty cool. David is so talented! There really isn’t anything he can’t play. David’s also funny. Billy Sheehan was changing lyrics on the songs and that was pretty funny you know, cause we would just make jokes out of them. Of course Gene Simmons is Gene Simmons, kinda an asshole Laughs It was interesting trying to write with Gene, as he was just so serious about what he was doing, but very cool!
Can we discuss the back-story behind the intro of the album? What exactly is going on inside this skit?
Lita: It’s Chris Holmes looking for the keys to his ford. Its funny! Some people have asked if he’s mad at me. No, it’s supposed to be funny. He opens the garage door and he finds me in the garage with his ford truck revving the engine and I take off. You hear the diesel engine taking off and then I pick it up with my guitar live and make the truck engine sounds with my guitar, which starts the show! It was cool!
The first real track to kick off the album is sort of a power ballad, instead of a harder edged song. Can we dive into the details behind the track “Where I Will Find My Heart Tonight” with Jeff Scott Soto?
Lita: “Where Will I Find My Heart Tonight”, is a power ballad?! I never heard it called that before. I mean it’s definitely not a rocker, but it still has a lot of energy and power with the way Jeff sings and the huge chorus you know, it’s got that arena rock chorus! It’s a good song and the huge chorus was fun to make!
Is there a deeper meaning behind the line “She’s too much too old, to be so young” inside the track “War of Angels”?
Lita: *Sings the bridge of the song* It’s about her bringing a gun to school. She seems too old to do something so silly, like bringing a gun to school to protect herself. It’s good against evil; a fight against gangs and being surrounded by violence in the 1980’s with all the different gangs and the good people being surrounded by the bad people.
Was the track “Killing Kind” created for the fans as a way to help their hearts heal, after a bad break up?
Lita: Yeah, the title is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a love story gone bad. I mean, how many people have had rotten relationships? It’s like in school, you grow up with someone and then you have a boyfriend and you know, all of a sudden the next thing you know, they’ve got another girlfriend. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to that.
It’s a pretty powerful song!
Lita: Thank You! Rick and Robin (of Cheap Trick) rocked it!
Does the King of the Wild Winds represent bikers? And whom exactly is the king searching for?
Lita: Yes. Really good call! He is in search of his queen tonight. It’s just a song for bikers and a kick ass song too! The Runaways did some shows in Belfast, Ireland, overseas through Europe. There were some issues with security and I remember the Hells Angels stood on stage with us to protect us. They were cool! They were like “Don’t mess with these girls or you’re going to have to get through us first!” Bikers are a breed of their own, you know. We play Sturgis once a year and it’s like seven hundred and fifty thousand bikers!
Who does Mr. Corruption represent as a whole?
Lita: Well, Mr. Corruption was written a while back when we had issues with record company executives. Basically it says “Another weasel in a three piece suite/ a closet full of skeleton just roaming up for you/ watch his eyes/ his smiley face/ he wants you for his trophy case/ bend over if you please/ Mr. Corruption” It’s just a song about like, it could be the attorney that’s doing you wrong or it could a be a record company executive doing you wrong. That’s corruption!
You worked closely with Gene Simmons on “Rotten to the Core”. Is the song a tribute to the glory days of early Rock ‘n’ Roll, when parents thought musicians were the villains of society?
Lita: You could say that. Gene had already started on “Rotten to the Core”, that was something that he already had going on his plate. He thought he’d show it to me and see if I liked it and what I liked about it was the bass line! It shows Gene too! You can really hear that it’s Gene playing. And it’s Bruce and I playing rhythm guitar. It adds a lot of attitude to it!
It sounds like it’s straight out of Alice Cooper’s back catalogue in terms of the lyrical content.
Lita: Right! Alice is like one of my favorites!
Can we break down the track “Anything for the Thrill” and what exactly inspired it?
Lita: “Anything for the Thrill” is really about somebody who kind of has a death wish and doesn’t care. So they do dare devilish things like, they might jump off a bridge on a bungee cord; just dare devil kind of stuff. Anything for the thrill, six foot deep with time to kill. It’s just a dare devil type of song, like whatever gets you off /whatever excites you. Even though it could kill you. “What makes me happy, so I’m going to do it,” type of thing. It’s what you love. I mean look at Christopher Reeve’s; his thing was that he liked jumping horses. And it killed him in the long run. Some things in some sports are really dangerous. Racecar driving is another example.
How satisfied are you with the final outcome of Time Capsule?
Lita: Oh god, I think it’s amazing! It’s a really great piece of work! The vinyl is going to be cobalt blue. It’s going to be amazing! We did the artwork (Me, Gene and Kirk) with an 80’s photographer. We did everything! You know we really kept it true to the 80’s. We put in the photographs featured on the album cover. They were taken from those recording sessions for the album. The magazine covers that we threw on the table was all from the 80’s. It’s all a really nice package, even that awesome placement of the hair spray.
Your legacy is legendary! What would you say is your greatest accomplishment thus far in your career?
Lita: In my book know I talk about receiving Guitar Player’s Magazine Legends Award, because there are not a lot of people who have gotten that award and I thank Guitar Player Magazine. And I thank Cherie Curie who presented me with the award. To me that was a milestone in my life! It’s a huge jump to be recognized and to be in the same category as people like Joe Perry and Les Paul.
Any advice you like to share to young ladies who look up to you, who continue to chase their dreams of wanting to become a successful musician?
Lita: Follow your heart and if you have a vision of what you should be and who you should be and you see that vision, don’t let anybody get in your way and tell you that you can’t do that and you can’t be that person! Don’t listen to people who are discouraging!
Lita For is not slowing down at all as she is currently on tour all summer and hitting some great festivals such as RockFest, and much more. Be sure to check out and see if there is a date near you along with her latest album “Time Capsule”
Apr 27 Webster Hall w/ Halestorm, Dorothy, New York, NY
Apr 29 Taft Theatre w/ Halestorm, Dorothy, Cincinnati, OH
Apr 29 Taft Theatre Cincinnati, OH
Apr 30 Egyptian Room w/ Halestorm, Dorothy, Indianapolis, IN
Apr 30 Egyptian Room at Old National Centre Indianapolis, IN
May 22 Los Encinos State Historic Park Encino, CA
FULL ALBUM STREAM:
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