- - Thursday, March 24, 2016

She started as lead guitarist for The Runaways, a band of kick-ass chicks that changed the face of rock ‘n’ roll, then became an icon of 1980s metal. She scored worldwide hits with “Kiss Me Deadly” and the power balled duet with Ozzy Osbourne, “Close My Eyes Forever.”

She is Lita Ford, the undisputed “queen of heavy metal,” who has enjoyed a four decade-plus career as a rocker. But the road hasn’t been easy, paved with broken relationships, domestic abuse (at the hands of another legendary rocker) and a struggle to be taken seriously.

Miss Ford’s just-released autobiography, “Living Like a Runaway,” is a no-holds-barred — and often painful — look back at her life in music. It names names and kicks asses. Miss Ford discussed the good, the bad and the rockin’ details of how she lived to tell the tale, and her upcoming new album “Time Capsule.”

Question: Why did you decide to write the book?

Answer: Oh, God, it was something I had to do. Being a female hard rocker and guitar player, I felt the need to put out a memoir. Almost like a rock ‘n’ roll women manual for women. [laughs] I had the summer of last year to put it together. I wasn’t getting anywhere with co-authors. They weren’t capturing my voice. They just weren’t getting it. So I took the bull by the horns and did it myself.

Q: One of the themes of your book was trying to get people to take you seriously as a guitarist. Have you finally gotten that respect?

A: I finally feel like I have it. Guitar Player magazine gave me the “Legend Award.” I was the fourth person to get the award [just] after Les Paul and Joe Perry. That really made me feel like my life was complete as far as guitar-playing goes. That award was a huge statement.

Q: Did you worry about revealing all your rock lovers might shake your credibility as a musician?

A: The New York Post really jumped on that. They picked out all the sex parts and posted that. I thought, “how typical.” They didn’t read the book, didn’t see what was around those sexual encounters.

People that work in a business are likely to date somebody that is in the same business. If you are a doctor, you might go out with one of the nurses. Or if you’re a bank teller, you may go out with one of the bankers. I was the only chick around these rock ‘n’ rollers, [the] only female rocker.

At that time in my life nobody was married. Richie Blackmore, Nikki [Sixx], [Black Sabbath’s Tony] Iommi and Eddie Van Halen were not married at the time. So why not?

Q: You talk about the domestic abuse at the hands of Tony Iommi. That had to be one of the hardest thing to remember and write about.

A: It was. That was one thing I wasn’t sure if I should put out there. But it’s real and it’s true. I will always love Tony Iommi for the great guitar playing god that he is, I just don’t wanna be around him. [laughs]

I think a lot of the problems came from the fact that at the time he was doing a mass quantity of drugs. He would just pick up the phone and get a jar of downers delivered, handfuls of cocaine. There were just too many drugs around.

His family had a history of domestic violence. I met his mother. She was a lovely lady. I never met the father, but I heard that maybe that is where Tony got it from. This kind of stuff runs in people’s families, and they can either choose to use it or choose to lose it.

Q: Ultimately, when you look back on [Runaways manager] Kim Fowley, was he a genius or a monster?

A: He was a little bit of both. [laughs] Now I can look back years later and see he was not a monster — to me. I don’t know how he really treated the other girls. All this stuff is coming out now that I didn’t know about, like [bassist] Jackie [Fuchs]’s alleged rape.

Q: Where do you weigh in on Fox’s allegations that Fowley raped her?

A: I didn’t know anything about that. Kim never treated me that way. As a matter of fact, before he died he said to me, “Did you know, Lita, that I was always afraid of you?” I thought, “What, are you kidding me? I was a teenager girl.” But I really stood up for myself. I didn’t let him walk all over me. Even though I was in an all-teenage girl band, I still took it seriously.

Q: Why didn’t The Runaways reunion happen?

A: Honestly, it’s Joan [Jett]’s management. They are very controlling of her. They see me as a threat or a challenge to Joan. Joan has to have it all. Lita can’t be a part of it. That’s their mentality.

Q: In the book you talk about Joan being “out of it.” Are you referring to drugs?

A: I don’t know because I haven’t hung out with her [in some time]. I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories through the grapevine. The phone call I talk about in the book, she was out of it very badly on the phone, knocking things over. You could hear it. Cursing and bitching and moaning and complaining that she had to get on the phone. I thought, “Wow, I haven’t spoken to her in years. You would think she would pick up the phone and just say hello.”

Q: What else are you working on?

A: We’ve got a tour that starts in April with Halestorm. Then again in October. We’re touring all the U.S. through 2016 [and] releasing a new album, “Time Capsule,” which is a tribute to all these great bands that came from the ‘80s. The record has all these great musicians on it: Jeff Scott Soto, Gene Simmons, Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander. The songs are amazing.

I wanted to release it for the fans of the music of the ‘80s who didn’t get to live through the ‘80s. It’s a piece of rock ‘n’ roll history.

The book “Living Like a Runaway” is available now. The CD “Time Capsule” will be out April 15.

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