Special report by Greg Prato
Throughout her long and winding career, LITA FORD has been a member of one of rock's most trailblazing bands - THE RUNAWAYS - as well as a successful solo artist (including co-penning the classic hair metal power ballad, 'Close My Eyes Forever', with OZZY OSBOURNE). After an extended break from the biz, the singer/guitarist returned in 2009 with the surprisingly techno-sounding Wicked Wonderland, before following it up with a more traditional-sounding Lita release earlier this year, Living Like A Runaway.
And 2013 appears to be a just-as-busy year for the former Runaway, as she has both an autobiography and live album on the horizon, as well as live dates. Recently, Lita gave BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato the lowdown on these projects, as well as the status of a possible Runaways reunion, and setting the record straight about a rumor concerning Lita and an invitation from one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal bands of all time.
Greg Prato: I hear that you're working on an autobiography.
Lita Ford: "I'm working with Joel Selvin - he's the co-author on the book. He wrote Sammy Hagar's autobiography (2012's Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock) and Ed Hardy's (next year's Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos). He's starting my book for Harper Collins. There will be a promotional tour when the book comes out - or just before the book comes out - probably late spring. It's an autobiography on my life - it's not a Runaways book, it's a Lita book. It's a book about my struggles as a female in the rock world and my success as a female in the rock world. I hope that it encourages other women and it gives other women a role model as a teenager. When I was a teenager, I didn't have any role models that were females. Now, the rock world has Lita Ford, and I just want that book to be encouraging and empowering for other musicians - not just females, but in both ways. And there's some pretty cool stories in there, too. (Laughs) Tons of stories. It's like, 'Oh my god, we did that?!' We're lucky we're still alive."
Greg Prato: What can fans look forward to reading in the book?
Lita Ford: "We talk about the Runaways, but like I said, it's not a whole book about the Runaways. But we do brush over the entire band and a few of my love affairs that I've had in my life, which is interesting. And some wonderful memories of jamming and touring, and people I've met while on the road. And ending with today, with picking up the pieces of a broken marriage and continuing on, and kicking some ass."
Greg Prato: Does the book have a title yet?
Lita Ford: "Living Like A Runaway."
Greg Prato: And there will be a live album coming in 2013, right?
Lita Ford: "Yes, we're doing a live album - we're actually mixing it right now. It was recorded in Los Angeles, at the Canyon Club. It was our hometown. It's got some new songs on it - some of the Living Like A Runaway songs. They caught us fresh off the DEF LEPPARD/POISON tour, so the band is really tight. It's a fun, live record - it's got a lot of energy. The audience was nuts that night."
Greg Prato: Does the live album have a title and projected released date?
Lita Ford: "Lita Ford Live - so far. You know what…we don't have a title! I never thought about that. We're due to deliver it to the label (SPV Records) by April, so I would say summer 2013."
Greg Prato: I remember you mentioned a few months back about the possibility of a Runaways reunion, with Cherie Curie and JOAN JETT. Any updates?
Lita Ford: "I can't get a yes or no out of Joan. So I've kind of thrown in the towel. It's now or never. I would love it, but for some reason, I don't know why, it's Joan's camp. The ball is in her camp. It's up to them."
Greg Prato: I also recall once hearing that you crossed paths with LED ZEPPELIN in the late '70s, and that Robert Plant had an intriguing offer for you.
Lita Ford: "They (Robert Plant and Jimmy Page) came to the Starwood. The Starwood's not there anymore, but they came upstairs and went back to the dressing room. They shook everyone's hands and a huge crowd gathered around us, and we took photographs. We gave them a Runaways t-shirt, and they put it on. And Robert Plant says to me, 'You're really good on guitar. Would you like to play bass for Led Zeppelin?' He was dead serious! I thought, 'Yeah, right.' I shook it off like it was a joke, but I don't think he was joking. I said, 'Yeah sure, right,' and left it at that. I didn't even try to pursue that one. I love John Paul Jones - he's one of my favorite bass players. I just couldn't imagine me replacing him. But the fact that they thought about a female in their band I thought was pretty cool."
Greg Prato: And lastly, any set touring plans for 2013?
Lita Ford: "We've got a lot going on for 2013. We've got the Monsters of Rock Cruise (Monstersofrockcruise.com) - that's going to be pretty awesome. That's March, and it's through the Bahamas. And then we're going to be playing in Scandinavia in the summer of 2013, and the US."