Posted March 13, 2016 by Jeff in Tunes

Lita Ford Shares her ‘Time Capsule’

Lita Ford by Dustin Jack
Lita Ford by Dustin Jack

Formerly of the Runaways, singer-guitarist Lita Ford went back to the vaults for her new album, Time Capsule, a “throwback” record that features guests such as bassist Billy Sheehan, drummer Rodger Carter, guitarist Dave Navarro, singer Jeff Scott Soto, singers Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander and bassist Gene Simmons. The album’s first single, the hard-rocking “Rotten to the Core” features Simmons on bass and Carter on drums. As it’s put in a press release, the album is “Ford`s gift to fans who love the ´80s, when thrilling vocal performances, raunchy riffs, and loud, growling guitars were as essential as oxygen.” Ford, who has also just published the tell-all book Living Like a Runaway, phoned us from Los Angeles, where she had a “pile of interviews to do.”

Talk about the process of writing the book.
Oh boy. Nightmare. It was an absolute nightmare trying to find the right people to work with, which I never did. I ended up doing it myself. It’s a lot of work. You have to go back and try to remember things that are painful and things that are funny. You have to put everything into chronological order. I wasn’t sure about some of it. I didn’t know if I did that first or last. Thank God for the Internet.

You decided not to provide the name of your ex-husband. What prompted that decision?
It wasn’t a story HarperCollins wanted. They just didn’t want that story. To tell you the truth, that story in itself is a whole other book. It was 15 years, and it’s still going on. He’s still alienating my children from me and using them to hurt me. I’m sure a lot of parents have dealt with that kind of garbage. The legal system in America and in the entire world preys on these people going through alienation. They take your money and don’t do anything to help the child or parent. They give the child to the parent who has the most money and can pay the most. It doesn’t matter if that parent is of sound mind or health. They give the child to the parent with the most money. A mother or father who is a good parent would never take a child away from his mother or father. You just don’t do that. It’s horrible. It’s child abuse. It’s kidnapping only it’s called parental alienation. It’s pretty much the same damn thing. It’s what I’m going through. It started as soon as I filed for divorce. He knew I was going to file for divorce and he started brainwashing the kids and turning them against me. He was telling them horrible things. It’s devastating to a child. My older son is 18 now, and he’s really putting him through the ringer because he’s an adult. He’s had him speak out to the press. He should leave the kid alone. Let him be a kid. Let him have his mother. It’s terrible that the legal system allows it to happen. It’s disgusting that they would take a check over someone’s life. It’s life altering. These are scars that never go away. The legal system pours fuel on the fire and makes it worse. They don’t do a damn thing and they justify it as work. Really? You worked so hard to do what? You sat there eating chocolates while you watched my child go down the tubes.

Sharon Osbourne, who was once your manager, doesn’t come off particularly well in the book. Has she responded to the book?
Nah. I don’t think anything could upset Sharon. We called and let them know about the book. They didn’t respond. I told my story about what happened and that’s what happened in my eyes. Maybe she has a different story. I don’t know. You gotta read the book to hear that one because it’s too long to explain.

I’m happy to hear that you and Bret Michaels patched things up after that end of the tour incident.
Yeah. We’re good friends now.

You were really angry.
Oh, I was pissed and fuming. They went overboard with the end-of-the-tour pranks. I was livid. We toured together but I didn’t really know them. I never hung out with them. I didn’t sit up all night doing drugs with them. We were never that close for them to go overboard and pull such pranks on me. They tied up my road crew and hung them from the fricking rafters in chairs. I tried to play that off and laugh about it, but in reality I was pretty upset. Then, the bucket of whip cream that came down on me was the end. That was it. They ruined what was an amazing show in Dallas. I didn’t know what to do with myself at that point other than try to seek revenge. I knocked over their keyboards. I didn’t get to the guitars but I almost did.

Is there any hope for a Runaways reunion?
I don’t know. [Joan Jett’s] manager has done nothing but try to steer the ship between me and her. It’s been that way since the minute the Runaways broke up. He had his eye on her and was going to try to stop any success that I had. Of course, he can’t stop all of it. He tried to stop some of it and is still doing it today. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Joan and I were friends. We never had a cross word with each other in the Runaways. We were the only two who never argued and never fought. We got along just fine when we were with each other. I don’t know why all of a sudden there’s a war. Why doesn’t she stick up for me? She’s a big girl. She got inducted into the Hall of Fame and Kenny [Laguna] gets up and does the speech. Joan is standing in the background in the shadows. It’s just ridiculous. Whatever. To each their own.

Talk about your new album, Time Capsule. What was the songwriting process like?
These are songs that I had from the ’80s. They’re basically jam sessions and songwriting sessions. Some of them go back to the early ’80s. Some of them are mid-‘80s and some of them are later ’80s. There are three different sessions there. I have these great musicians on this album. They’re people that were at the same place at the same time. They were walking by or recording in the room next door. I would put them on the songs. Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander had come to my house to write songs. We recorded “Killing Kind.” It’s so good. These are songs that no one has heard. I thought, “How cool it would be for the fans from the ‘80s who miss them and the fans who wish they lived through the ’80s to have a piece of a new album that is a new album but really an old album?” These musicians were at their prime. It’s a gift. You still have to buy it but it’s something I didn’t need to do.

And what about the recording process?
We didn’t touch one note. The only thing we did was because they were from the ‘80s, they were recorded on analog 24-track tape. We had to take the tapes and bake them at a certain heat that holds them together so when you put them on the reel to transfer them they don’t fall apart. We were afraid they were going to fall apart. They had been sitting in the Caribbean air, which is salty. We transferred them to digital and remixed them just to freshen up the sound. We released them as they were. We didn’t change nothing. We just remixed them. That’s all we did.

How’d you end up teaming up with Gene Simmons on the single?
That was written ages ago. We go together at his place. He has a writing area at his house. I went over and we wrote this track. It was something he had started already and we just went over there and finished it. He’s a good guy. He went through a phase there when everyone was bashing him and saying things about him but he’s mellowed out. He’s gotten married. He’s got a good heart. He really does.

From reading your book, the music industry is in shambles. What brought you back to the recording studio and the road?
I think a lot of industries are pretty messed up. They have their evil ways. There are a lot of weasels and snakes in the music industry. It’s easy to get ripped off if you don’t watch everything you do. You have to trust your team. If you put together a bad team of people, the ball won’t be in your court. You have to be careful. I try to be careful. There are so many people who work for me now and I know them all really well. They come to my shows and cheer me on and work with me first on with things.  You have to be hands-on in the music industry and with your own music.

You can’t just release an album and then get high. It’s not going to work because your money will disappear.

You seem more personally connected.
I am. I’ve become a better songwriter. There are great songs on Time Capsule and great guitar playing. These musicians are in their prime.  Billy Sheehan plays his ass off, he does now of course. It’s great to have them on the record. It’s got a nice package. There’s some amazing artwork from the ‘80s. I had gone to Gene Kirkland’s house. He was one of my favorite photographers from the ‘80s. He had so many great pictures of me. We went through his collection and made this booklet for Time Capsule, which has really cool pictures.

Upcoming 2016 Shows

















Cleveland, OH @ The Odeon Concert Club

Toledo, OH @ Savage Arena

Reading, PA @ Reading Eagle Theatre in the Santander Arena

Hampton Beach, NH @ Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom

Huntington, WV @ Big Sandy Superstore Arena

Lexington, KY @ Singletary Center

Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz

Biloxi, MS @ Hard Rock Live

Springfield, MO @ Gillioz Theatre

Tulsa, OK @ Brady Theater

Wichita, KS @ Cotillion Ballroom

Fargo, ND @ Fargo Civic Center

Sioux City, IA @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Huntsville, AL @ Mark C. Smith Concert Hall

Spartanburg, SC @ Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium

Johnson City, TN @ Freedom Hall Civic Center


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].