LITA FORD On Her Approach To Lead Guitar Playing: 'Make Every Note Count'
November 29, 2023
In a new interview with Sweetwater's Nick Bowcott, Lita Ford, who got her start in THE RUNAWAYS at age 16 and stepped into her own as a solo artist in the 1980s, spoke about the evolution of her guitar playing. She said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I have a, a tendency to write riffs and solos that kind of are melodic, and you can come away from them and you can sing them. Like, for instance, the solo in 'Close My Eyes Forever'… It's just a melodic piece, and you become pretty good at it over a period of time; you can kind of throw those melodic riffs in anywhere."
She continued: "The whole structure of guitar playing has changed so much since the early days of my favorite guitar players, like Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi, and, of course, Michael Shenker, who was just badass. But a lot of their playing, you can almost hum it and you come away from it and you can sing it again. And each note means something. It's not just a bunch of notes rattled off."
Lita added: "Working with [producer] Mike [Chapman on 1988's 'Lita' album], he had said to me while we were recording, 'There's a beginning, a middle and an ending to the solos and to the songs. And so when you start a solo, make sure that you're starting the solo.' Like, it has to pick up from the lead vocals and almost carries on the melody of the song. And then there's the middle. And then the ending. And the ending has got to resolve, either on a nice sustaining note or something insane… Make every note count."
Ford recently completed work on a new studio album. The long-awaited follow-up to 2012's "Living Like A Runaway" was once again helmed by guitarist/producer Gary Hoey, who contributes some guitar playing to the disc, alongside the rest of Lita's longtime backing band, consisting of guitarist Patrick Kennison, drummer Bobby Rock and bassist Marty O'Brien.
In a recent interview with "THAT Rocks!", the weekly YouTube series hosted by Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson, Lita stated about her next LP: "The problem is we've had so many things happen over the last few years. Our manager died; George Marshall died a year ago, [in] '22. And then my songwriting partner died. And it's just been devastation. But we take all that pain and everything and we just put it right back into the album. And then we recorded the drum tracks in Minneapolis during Black Lives Matter and COVID. Everything was locked down and the place was boarded up and the guys had shotguns and Rottweilers. And then we went in and did drum tracks. And it was awesome. Just memories of just pure badassery And so the record is almost done. [There are] a couple things I have to fix and change. And it looks like we might be signing with Frontiers [Music Srl]. But they've gotta to do me right before I put pen to paper. And they're pretty cool over there. So, we're talking March release. 2024, March release."
Regarding what her plans are for live shows in support of her upcoming LP, Lita said: "Well, what I would like to do is put together a theatrical show, sort of like a rock guitar opera kind of thing. It's been done before and different bands have done it before, but I think in this case, it might be a little different and just to bring the whole show not to life just for audio, but for visual reasons also. So we're going to go into rehearsals mid-November and start putting that together for 2024, the Lita Ford rock guitar rock opera. I'd love to have Hoey with me too, if I can get Gary Hoey to [do] the tour."
In May 2022, bassist Marten Andersson (STEELHEART, LIZZY BORDEN, LYNCH MOB) officially joined Lita's touring band. Andersson replaced O'Brien who became the touring bassist for DAUGHTRY.
In January 2021, Lita told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that her new album contains "some of the best guitar playing" she has heard "in decades." She added: "And I'm not blowing smoke up my own ass, but Gary and I just nailed it with the guitar playing on this record.
"I'm a huge fan of people like Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter from Alice Cooper's 'Welcome To My Nightmare'. I mean, there's some really great duo guitar players — [JUDAS PRIEST's] Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing… Those guitar players don't exist anymore — they just don't exist. If you wanna hear them, you have to go back in time a little bit and dig them up into your favorite library, favorite music catalog. But I think Gary and I really nailed it on this next record. It's, like, oh my God. I'm crying — I'm just, like, crying listening to this stuff. It's so badass."
Ford's last release was 2016's "Time Capsule", a collection of songs that were recorded by Lita in the past, but never before made available.
Seven years ago, Lita released an autobiography, "Living Like A Runaway: A Memoir", via Dey Street Books (formerly It Books),an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
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