Andrew Daly of Guitar World spoke with Lita Ford, excerpts from the discussion appear below.

Guitar World: At some point in the ‘70s, you were playing in a club, and the story goes that Led Zeppelin asked you to play bass. Was that before or during The Runaways?

Lita Ford: The Runaways were playing at Gazzarri’s or The Starwood – 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.

Guitar World: It’s interesting they wanted you to play bass since you’re a guitar player.

Lita Ford: 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.

Guitar World: You were a pioneer when many women weren’t playing lead guitar. Was that something you were aware of then?

Lita Ford: I really tried not to think about it. I just did what I wanted to do. I wasn’t trying to carve out a path or the way for whatever was coming behind me. I just wanted to be a leader, and I just wanted to play guitar.

Guitar World: Was it difficult to transition from the punk rock nature of The Runaways to the ‘80s hair metal era?

Lita Ford: That’s a good question. It wasn’t easy. I had to figure that out. Because The Runaways obviously had a certain sound, vibe and look. After The Runaways broke up, I had to create what Lita was going to be. And I thought, ‘Well, what does she look like? What does she play? What does she sing? Who is in her band? How do I want to go about doing this?’

It was almost like there was me, myself, and I. One of the things was that Nikki Sixx cut my hair – and it’s never been the same since he chopped off all my long locks. He gave me that shag haircut, and that helped create the ‘80s look. And then there were the torn-up jeans, those torn-up jeans that I wore in the Kiss Me Deadly video…”

Read more at Guitar World.

4 Responses

  1. “those torn-up jeans that I wore in the Kiss Me Deadly video…”…going through puberty watching that video…what a great time that was!!!!

  2. Give me a break , I’m sure they were joking . JPJ plays many more instruments than bass, how could she even say that s–t . Bass guitar, guitar, recorder, koto, lap steel guitar, autoharp, ukulele, clavinet, sitar, keyboards, keytar, mandolin, cello, vocals and I believe some woodwind instruments as well . No way she could fill in for the great JPJ, LMAO . How annoying

  3. I have nothing against Lita but I’ve never really cared for her music except for the duet with Ozzy and Shot Of Poison. I’m glad she’s still able to get out there and perform though!

  4. Nice click bait, Guitar World. Even Lita doesn’t entirely say that Robert Plant was being serious…and somehow that got turned into a totally misleading headline?!?!?

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