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In Words: Lita Ford

- Lita Ford & Jim Gillette - Oct. 2009 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Lita Ford
© Tyler Clinton

Lita Ford & Jim Gillette - October 30th 2009 (telephone interview)

Lita Ford was out of the music biz for about 14 years and now returns with a new album called Wicked Wonderland. The new album shows Lita Ford in a different way and so I was looking forward to talk to the blonde singer and guitarist. The interview started a bit later as scheduled and Lita explained: "We had a long ride last night and just woke up in Fort Wayne (IN). Sorry for the delay." For many it was a surprise that Lita is back with a new album after all these years.... "I started missing it. Rock'n'roll never goes away, if it went away then it wasn't meant to be. 15 years is a long time, but I didn't want to go on tour with 2 babies. We even moved out of the country. Living on a Caribbean island, home schooling our kids." That was Lita's life for many years and it seems that she was happy living this life.... I guess it was time to take a break for her back then, labels were pushing and not everybody can stand it. "People that die like Kurt, Janis and others, they all are super stars and people pushed them to that point. I was to a point where I needed to get away from everybody. I just wanted to be left alone, but they didn't. They needed to get away, to focus on themselves again... Like Britney did." It shows again that it's people who pushed musicians too much, sometimes over the edge. And that a family keeps you grounded, changes your priorities... And so Lita has her family with her now. "Yeah, I'm back on tour, but now with my family and even our 2 dogs are with us" she adds. On the road to promote Wicked Wonderland and even if I think that the songs sound like being done in a short period of time, I might be wrong... Lita tells me "It isn't something we accumulated over 15 years. We did it in one year! We don't have radio, TV or MTV on the island, so we wrote what was in our hearts. It's heavy, it's full of guitars and it's Lita!" Last summer Lita Ford returned to Europe for some festivals and I wanted to know, if there are plans for Europe and how it felt being back in Europe. "We hope to return in spring or summer... It was great to return, but it also was a shock! Coming from a Caribbean island we just got to the mainland for rehearsals and next we played Sweden Rock Festival! From nobody to 40,000 - overwhelming. But it only took one show to get back and then it felt natural again." Now as the album is out, she will change the set list for upcoming concerts. To focus on the new material is quite natural. "We'll play songs from all albums. Even if the new ones have some more depth, the rock songs have to have some more depth to offer. More guitars and more backings." To come back after all this years means there is no label pushing... "We have complete control! It's our own label and I don't wanna deal again with these label guys." Lita comments. When I asked Lita about the vinyl edition which has a different artwork, she only said: "It's very nice and beautiful, but Jim can tell you more about it." And she forwarded me to her husband Jim Gillette. "We wanted to make an old-school vinyl album. We grew up with it and when you got a new one it was all about getting the plastic wrap off and look through it. Read the lyrics, look at the photos. We also have a picture vinyl in the States which is limited on 1,000 pieces" tells Jim and continued "I was a little nervous that it will be the last album... The US is really a throw-away-society, an MP3-society. So, fuck the system, we love it! We want vinyl back!" But not only the vinyl is special, also the CD has a lot to offer! "The CD has a 30-page booklet, it's huge! Each song has a matching artwork." Jim told me. Nice idea to illustrate every song and to not just have the lyrics added. And Jim added "Lita wants me to give you latest news, in the US Top 10 Crave is on #9! We hope to have similar success in Europe..." Then Jim get back to the album and the lyrics... "We almost didn't do it that way... It's a bit personal and I asked Lita 'Lita, are you sure you want to tell the whole world about our life?' She wanted to do it that way, and so we did it." From what Lita and Jim told me it really sounds like it was a natural process and that it's pure Lita. Leaving the US gave Lita Ford the chance to re-focus, but I learnt that they almost have ended up elsewhere... "We almost moved to Europe. Lita is British, a London girl, but at the end it was the Caribbean island. Perhaps just because it was closer... But we look forward to return to Europe!" Jim added. And I hope to see them in 2010 in Europe and hopefully by then the album did grow on her fans... And if they come over it would be nice to meet Lita and Jim personally and talk a little more... A few questions been left unanswered, coz the phone line broke down and we couldn't re-connect. Anyway, thanks a lot for this nice conversation!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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