Podcast: Lita Ford’s no longer "Living Like a Runaway"

Lita Ford

Guitarist Lita Ford performs Tuesday, July 10 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., in support of Def Leppard and Poison. I had the chance to talk to Lita Ford about life, music, her kids and her future. A full recording of my interview with Lita Ford can be heard here or you can click on the widget below. What follows is NOT a transcript, but more a review of her new CD, so you will have to click the link to hear the interview.

Now, when someone says, “Do you want to interview Lita Ford?” naturally, the answer is  “yes.” And when you hear the phrase The Queen of Metal, naturally, the only name that should come to mind is Lita Ford. Since the mid 1970s when she was recruited to play for the all-girl rock band The Runaways until this day, Ford has focused first and foremost on being one of the world’s best guitarists, determined to perfect her art.

Like any woman vying for respect in a male-dominated realm, Lita Ford has worked hard to establish herself as the talented and innovated guitarist and songwriter that she is, and I think for the most part, she has attained the level of credibility she deserves. It’s frustrating when true artistry is obscured by the blatant pandering to sexuality so common in the marketing of female musicians. Stevie Ray Vaughan was no GQ model, but no one cared because he could groove and shred.  Well, Lita Ford can shred and then some.
Living Like a Runaway, Ford’s most recent recording released June 19 on SVP/Steamhammer, is being heralded as THE Lita Ford comeback album. The collection certainly delivers hard driving rock and roll from start to finish and features the Lita-riffs that fans of this genre of heavy metal/hard rock have come to love.
Stripped to the essentials of guitar, bass and drums with few keyboards, Ford’s album underscores that you don’t need a rack of effects pedals or a degree in computer science to kick out the jams. The lyrical themes of Living Like a Runaway focus on heartbreak and hated, frustration and sorrow: the kind of emotional terrorism that many people experience through five decades of living. Ford is still clearly shaken about her recent divorce and obviously heartbroken about being separated from her children. The music paints a story of survival and as her pain has proved to be an inspiration. The songs possess a timeless quality, and the album should have staying power, providing many fist-pounding anthems for present day and future rock and roll fans.
Favorite tracks on the album include “Hate,” which describes the life and death of a Columbine-like killer, and “The Mask,” which demands that a Jekyll-Hyde character own-up to his true character. Ford says the album’s title track has become a crowd favorite during her current tour. Another one of my favorites, “Relentless,” with its chugging groove, seems to state Ford’s manifesto for her professional and personal life.

“I am relentless like a freight train coming to the driving rail
Relentless like a fighter in arena I don’t feel pain,
I am relentless, all you try to do is drive me insane
And you’re never gonna keep me down,
I am relentless.”
Among all the grinding riffs, the album pauses for the sweet ballad, “Mother,” in which Ford is clearly singing to her estranged children.  If you are not misty-eyed by the end of this track, you might be a robot.
In the final analysis, Living Like a Runaway is a superlative work of rock and roll. It is not a cheesy retrospective of 80’s hair metal, but tastefully crafted and thoughtfully produced. If you miss the best of what 80’s metal had to offer, you should definitely check out Lita Ford’s new album. The recording is available in CD as well as in a limited edition, stunningly beautiful cherry (bomb?) red vinyl double album.
Visit Lita Ford’s website here.

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