Was LITA FORD Really Asked To Play Bass For LED ZEPPELIN? She Sets The Record Straight

April 17, 2024

In a new interview with Guitar World magazine, Lita Ford was asked about the time in the 1970s when she was supposedly approached by LED ZEPPELIN about possibly playing bass for the band. She said: "THE RUNAWAYS [Lita's then-band] were playing at Gazzarri's or The Starwood [in West Hollywood, California] — I'm having trouble with names because those places aren't there anymore. It was upstairs… yeah, it was the Starwood. It was early RUNAWAYS days — you can tell we were like 17 or something. But Jimmy Page and Robert Plant came to see the show, and THE RUNAWAYS were quite the novelty, being teenage girls that could rip it up, kick ass and rock the house. The places were always packed with fans, and our manager at the time, Kim Fowley, said, 'Okay, girls, gather around and get a picture with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page.' I was scooched in there, like, 'Oh yeah, great!' I grew up listening to them and I was still growing up. Robert Plant said, 'We're looking to replace our bass player, John Paul Jones,' and I thought, 'I'm not hearing this. I refuse to believe that this is really coming out of his mouth.' I thought, 'He's got to be joking,' because John Paul Jones is God on bass, as far as I'm concerned. But that's what he said. And I walked away, just thinking, 'Oh, that was nice. That was nice of him to look at me like that.' In those days a lot of people didn't look at us as musicians because we were female and we were young. They never took us seriously as musicians."

When interviewer Andrew Daly noted that "it's interesting they wanted you to play bass since you're a guitar player," Lita responded: "I got into THE RUNAWAYS because they heard I was a bass player. I had played bass for a few shows in a local band in Long Beach, California, covering for somebody who got sick. Then everyone thought I was a bass player. So, I don't know… but that's what came out of Robert Plant's mouth. And I was, like, 'Nah, he didn't really say that' — but he did."

Back in 2016, Lita offered a slightly different version of what Plant told her some 40 years earlier, telling "Rockin' Metal Revival" about online reports about how she was supposedly asked to play bass for LED ZEPPELIN: "Well, see, there's a misconception there, and the press just takes it out of context to what really happened. And if you read [my] book, the book says all [Plant] really did was ask me if I played bass. He [said], 'You don't play bass, do you?' It's not like he came up and said, 'We want you to play bass for LED ZEPPELIN.' That's not what happened. He'd watched THE RUNAWAYS play — him and Jimmy Page came to a show — and Robert Plant said, 'You don't play bass, do you?' And I said, 'For who?' Because John Paul Jones was one of my favorite bass players ever. And I didn't know what he was talking about. And I thought, 'For who?' It wasn't in my vision there."

That same year, she told Goldmine about her encounter with LED ZEPPELIN: "Well, I loved John Paul Jones and I knew all his bass lines because I can play bass as well as guitar. At that time I knew all of his bass lines. I didn't know they were having trouble in the band. I had no idea. So all Robert Plant said to me was, 'You don't play bass, do you?' That's all he said, and I went, 'For who?' And he kind of looked around the room and I looked around the room and I walked off. First of all, I didn't know they were having trouble and I'm a kid and I'm a chick. I've already got a band that I fit in and I don't think I would have fit in LED ZEPPELIN. People don't believe me and think I'm lying about it, but it did happen."

Ford recently completed work on her long-awaited new album for a tentative late 2024 release. The upcoming 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 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.

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.

Eight 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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