Maine Music News did not have the opportunity to interview Lita Ford before her show at Bangor’s Waterfront Pavilion in 2012, but it is never too late to talk about a great show and a new live album. So when the chance came up to have a conversation with Lita, we jumped at it. Here is what we learned about putting out a live album as well as just what she thinks about our Queen City’s concert venue.
Hey Lita, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. This interview is for Maine Music News, an online music news outlet in Bangor, Maine.
My wife, Ann, and I had the opportunity to catch your show last year when you came to Bangor with Def Leppard and Poison on the “Rock of Ages Tour.” What an incredible night that was! First, I want to say Thank You for being so generous in allowing me to photograph your entire set that day. It was greatly appreciated, and I captured some amazing images which I shared with Jon Freeman and Mitch Perry, as he used one of them for autographs at NAMM last year.
Lita – Thank you! That is awesome, that was a very special show.
MMN – Your new album, The Bitch is Back…LIVE!, is due to be released on November 5th, 2013. It was recorded at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California in early October 2012. Can you talk a little bit about this new album?
Lita – It was recorded all in one show. We did not take pieces from our favorite shows. Had there been one, I think it would have been the Bangor, Maine, show. I really felt the Bangor show was very magical. However, the new album is a very intimate. It was recorded in a small club so you really get the sense of intimacy. You feel like you are in the audience when you listen to the album. You feel like you are actually there, which is what we really wanted to capture on this record. It is not about being perfectly correct, it is about being at a rock concert and watching your favorite artist. That is the impression you should get when you listen to it.
MMN – You’ve done live albums before. What sort of details and planning go into making a great live album, in your opinion?
Lita – Your setlist. You want to make sure you have a great setlist. You want to make sure that your songs are in an order that captures people’s attention so you don’t put three ballads in a row or something stupid where people can get bored. Also, micing the room, the drums, and the amps to make sure that you have the right sound, and that they bleed through. Getting a good vocal sound. It is a lot of preparation, really. Then it is about trying to package something that is not a studio product – it’s live, it’s raw, so your artwork is something that you have to focus on a lot. It is a lot of work to put out a live album although it sounds like it’s easy – oh it’s live, just record it. Ya, sure, you try it, buddy.
MMN – Do you have any fun behind the scenes stories that you can share?
Lita – From Bangor? It was just an all around magical place and night for us, for everyone on the tour actually. The temperature was gorgeous, the day was gorgeous, and we went to some gorgeous restaurants. The place was out on the water, it was great.
MMN – I have to share with you, it was a magical night for me as well. First, I got to meet and chat with you in person and second, during Poison’s set, Bret looked over at me and pointed and said “Hey you, photographer, I need you up here!” Imagine my surprise! I thought he wanted my camera, so I started to unhook it. He then motioned and said, “No, get up here!” So, up I went and started taking photos of him out on the truss getting all 8,000 plus fans arms up in the air. After that, C.C., Bobby and Rikki were posing for shots, it was a once and a lifetime night for me.
Lita – That is brilliant, I am going to do that next show.
MMN – In follow up to the new album setlist, an old friend from high school, Scott, wanted me to ask you a question. The song “Dressed to Kill” seems to be missing from your set considering it was a very popular MTV song back in the day? Any chance that may be added to your setlist in the future?
Lita – Ya, absolutely! It has been bothering me, too. It really needs to go back into the set. I agree with him.
MMN – Last year you released your first studio album in over 18 years, Living Like a Runaway. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like to throw your hat back in the ring?
Lita – It is not like riding a bike. It takes work to get back on and get moving again. Writing a new album was a lot of work, and so was finding a whole new life again because I moved from Florida to Los Angeles. That was a big move. It was a lot.
MMN – Considering how much the music industry has changed over the past 18 years, was the recording process much different than for your previous albums?
Lita – Oh, ya. I mean as it happens, when you grow up with it, you don’t notice it as much. Then if you don’t see it for a long time and someone says that it doesn’t work like that anymore, you have to say, “Ok, whatever you say.”
MMN – In follow-up, you had a story to tell with this album, covering some very personal issues. You pretty much opened up a large portion of your personal life for everyone to see. Can you talk a little bit about the thought process leading up to the decision to be so open?
Lita – I think everybody’s lives are personal. Everybody’s records are personal. You listen to Sixx AM and he is singing about being alive because he died. If a guy meets a girl and he falls in love with her and he is going to marry her, he is going to sing good happy love songs to her. It is about what you go through during your life. I went through a nasty divorce. I was married to a freaking psychopath. Unfortunately our marriage was a disaster, and I wrote about it. I have got a lot more in me – don’t even think I am done.
MMN – My first Lita Ford show was almost 25 years ago on December 12, 1988, at Wembley Arena in London. We had seats in the first ten rows and you put on a fantastic show. The highlight of that show was when you came out for the encore, along with Brian May from Queen, Ric Allen from Def Leppard, and Sir Elton John. What an amazing group of artists on stage that night. Can you talk a little bit about that experience and how everyone came together that night? Looking back on that night, do you have a special moment from that show that you can share with our readers?
Lita – Oh my god, you were there! Wow, I knew one day that I would meet somebody that was there. That is one of the highlights of my life! We were just talking about that night on one of my other interviews. We were on tour with Bon Jovi. He always asked people to come up and jam with him. If a celebrity showed up for the show they would always end up on stage jamming. He always had a few songs in his back pocket, usually a couple of Beatles songs, so that if anybody showed up, they would say, “Hey, we know this Beatles song, let’s jam on it.” So this night we had done three nights at Wembley. We were there filming a bunch of live videos. They were all backstage – Brian May, Elton John, and Ric Allen. Then Jon invited me, and we all ended up jamming. It was a wonderful night. When you are next to these people, you don’t even feel like your feet are touching the fucking ground. You feel like you are floating.
MMN – Fast forward 25 years later, Def Leppard is still touring, Elton John is a Sir, and you are putting out great new music and touring. Some people feel that the artists from the 1980s are enjoying resurgence in popularity and getting the respect they are due, your thoughts on this?
Lita – I think it is coming back. I hope people hang on to this style of music for a while and bring it back a little stronger. I am pushing for it.
MMN – I know you were on the Monsters of Rock Cruise this year, any chance you might be a late addition for 2014?
Lita – No, we are on the next year, 2015. They wanted us to skip a year.
MMN – Any chance we will see you back up in the Bangor area on tour in 2014?
Lita – I love it up there, but that is one of those far up in the fucking corner places that is hard to route to. I would love it, what a great audience and a magical night. What a beautiful place. I would live there.
MMN – I have to ask about the possibility of a Runaway’s reunion as it has been mentioned quite a bit lately. Everything I am reading is saying everyone involved wants to do it except for Joan Jett. She was quoted saying, “I don’t really get why we should do it. The down side is bigger than the up side. It would be fun for people to see, but you’ve got to remember we’re not who we were in 1976.” First, how do you feel about that reunion? Do you think she will come around?
Lita – Ya, but the problem is that she owns the goddamn name! She already owns the name so why would she give it to me and Cherie (Currie)? Sorry, didn’t mean to yell at you. She already owns the name. Which is greater 100% of nothing or 1/3of a lot?
MMN – Do you think it will ever happen?
Lita – No, her manager has brainwashed her. She is so under his spell. He spent his whole life chasing me and trying to fuck up my career and keep me away from Joan ever since day one of the end of the Runaways. I am not afraid to say it, and he is still doing it. I am sick of waiting. Cherie Currie and I just recorded a Christmas song together, and it came out really good. It is done, and we just have to do the artwork. We are shooting the photo session next week.
MMN – Thank you so much for your time. This was a lot of fun. You have been very generous in your responses. Good luck with the new album release, and I look forward to seeing you come back to Bangor, Maine.
Lita – Chris, you have connected on two of the most special moments of my life, one being Bangor, Maine, and the other Wembley. Those were two of the most amazing shows of my life, and they will never leave my heart. Thank you Chris, it was a pleasure talking to you.