Kim Thore of Über Röck recently conducted an interview with ’80s hard rock queen Lita Ford. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Über Röck: It’s been reported that prior to this new album [“Living Like A Runaway”], a lot of your fans said they wanted a “real” Lita album. What do you think they meant by that? In my opinion, I believe the new CD is the best you have put out. The guitars and vocals are really tight… from beginning to end it is a powerhouse.
Lita: Thank you! Well, this was an album I wrote during one of the darkest times of my life. I was going through this divorce and I needed somewhere to channel my feelings. My hurt, my pain, my aggression, my sadness, my happiness…all of these feelings are in this record. When you listen to the tracks, they are believable because they are real. Songs like “Mother”, for example… when we wrote it, I thought it’s either going to come across really cheesy or really amazing. I remember thinking that if we can capture the true meaning of this song, it will work and we were able to. It just came together; it was like a gift from God, this album. It took a year to write, it was a slow process, seeming like two years, and it came to me a piece at a time. Gary Hoey, who produced the album, offered me the use of his studio and I took him up on the offer. I was looking for a record producer anyway and Gary and I ended up locking ourselves up in his studio for a year and recording this wonderful album. Along with his help and my wonderful songwriting partner, Michael Dan Ehmig — who’s from Florida, by the way. He is a lyricist, and he is brilliant. The three of us wrote this record…and we kept it amongst ourselves — we really didn’t reach out to many people for help. Gary ended up playing the bass, I played the guitars, Gary played some of the guitars, me and Gary plus a couple of his nieces did the backup vocals…. We kept it real close. Sometimes, as they say, too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the stew and I think it’s true. So for this record, by keeping it in our hands we were able to keep it focused.
Über Röck: Obviously you’ve had a tough couple of years personally. A lot of songwriters claim that when life is kicking them in the teeth, so to speak, that’s when some of their best songwriting comes to light. Did you find that to be the case with “Living Like a Runaway”? Or was it just right time, right place?
Lita: Well, it’s definitely the turmoil… Also, I have had a lot of rock and roll built up in me as I haven’t made a record in a while. I had a lot of built up riffs in my head and songtitles. Just going through the drama I went through with the divorce was like throwing fuel on the fire. It really ignited when I started writing — it was like one song after another… boom …boom …boom. We kept the original vocals on the songs — we didn’t redo it, redo it again, then redo it another time… It’s like the first time you make love to someone, it’s like the most amazing sex you’ve ever had…you know what I mean? [laughs] So, we went with it.
Über Röck: I thought Gary Hoey was an interesting choice as a producer. Can you tell our readers what it was like to work with him?
Lita: Well, first of all, Gary and his family, his wife and kids, are just wonderful people and so easy to be around…..hospitable and welcoming… so they really made me feel good while I was there. Gary takes your songs and brings the best out of you and that is what a good producer does. He takes the artist and the music and brings out the best in both — we were all able to really connect on a lot of levels. I would take an idea and give it to Gary and he would take it to the next level. And then he would throw it back to me and I would take it to the next level. Sometimes we would get stuck… We had a third songwriting partner, Michael, and we would get him on the phone. We would say, “Michael, we’re stuck,” and he’d reply, “What have you got so far?” We’d only a title! He’d go away for eight hours and come back with five pages of lyrics. So at the end of three or four days, we had a complete song — it was just amazing and a great way to work. As a result, we were able to live with the songs for a while to make sure we were in love with them.
Read the entire interview from Über Röck.