At this stage of her career, no one can accuse her of using her sex appeal to promote herself with an audience as "macho" as the hard rock crowd. Now in her 50s, Lita Ford can finally be sure she is valued for what she has always been before anything else: a guitarist. Jim Morrison drove the girls crazy; she has that right, too. And she was also just a young kid 16 years old when she was breaking hearts and ears with The Runaways, the female legends of heavy metal in the late '70s.
Today, Lita Rossana Ford is a "time capsule" of a magical moment for our favourite instrument, of the take-off point of her own musical personality. And that just happens to be the title of the album she just released to mark the 40th anniversary of her career.
Too young, too soon, for that young Englishwoman (London, 18th September 1958) who learned to play a guitar at 11 years old and, just five years later and already emigrated to the U.S., was recruited for an all teenage girls hard rock band. The Runaways stormed a male-dominated world that they left behind them in many respects. They sang, played and wrote songs better than many of their male counterparts and the female touch enabled them to stunningly and rapidly climb into the limousine of superstars.
When Lita was in her 20s, she believed it, learned to sing, bought herself a breath-taking wardrobe, hired a hairdresser -things from the glam era and the 'hair metal' that were big at the time- and launched her career as a solo artist. Her first album, Out for Blood (1983), was a disaster but for a woman accustomed to standing at the front of the stage before thousands of people defended only by her Gibson SG, it was just another incentive to keep moving forward.
Joan Jett chose the easy road and Lita, the bitch of rock, took the toughest. She had her moment of glory in 1988 with Kiss Me Deadly and in 1995 would leave the recording studios for a hiatus that lasted until 2009. She returned without any fear of wrinkles and a great desire to play the beautiful B.C. Rich Warlock that bears her name.
Time Capsule is as its title suggests. Lita retrieved the archive of the times when she first learned to play. Pure '70s rock, with a tribute to Hendrix included, updated by 40 years of experience and the assistance of her (first) ex-husband Chris Holmes, responsible for the strong Kiss flavour that characterizes the album. As if there was any doubt, you can hear Gene Simmons' bass, too.
The list of 'friends' is Lita's secret: Jeff Scott Soto, Bruce Kulick, Dave Navarro -on mandolin- Rick Nielsen… are just some of them. The best thing is searching the credits song by song with the ears attentive enough to discover a handful of excellent jams where the guitars and basses intertwine and double up until they are stripped down almost to the status of demos.
Time Capsule achieves a measure of freshness that way on this journey to the past -in fact, her memories- of a guitarist who learned to love her guitar dreaming of Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi. Until she managed to make them dream of Lita Ford.