Pioneering guitarist and singer to play show and record new album in NHBy ROXANNE RUBELL
Special to the Union Leader September 13. 2017 12:54PM
If you go...WHO: Lita Ford
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Tupelo Music Hall, 10A St., Derry
TICKETS: $45, $55 and $65
INFO: tupelomusichall.com; 437-5100
Lita Ford was 16 years old when she first emerged into the public spotlight as lead guitarist for the punk-rock band the Runaways.
That was in the mid-1970s, and the rock goddess — whom Guitar Player Magazine’s has given its Certified Guitar Legend Award — has kept her amp turned on and turned up.
On the road
Ford and her band (Patrick Kennison on guitar, Bobby Rock on drums and Marty O’Brien on bass) will take the stage at The Tupelo Music Hall in Derry Friday night.
Ford has had a guitar by her side or strapped over her shoulder since she was 11, when she was inspired by Ritchie Blackmore’s work with Deep Purple.
As a member of the Runaways, Ford and band mates Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Sandy West and Jackie Fox turned heads and changed perceptions of how hard “girls” could rock — and in Ford’s case, just how masterfully it could and should be done.
After The Runaways disbanded in 1977, Ford went on to pursue a solo career and has released nine albums to date.
In 1988, she released the album “Lita,” which garnered her hit singles with “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Close My Eyes Forever,” a duet with Ozzy Osbourne, the husband of her manager at the time, Sharon Osbourne.
Still, she wound up taking a lengthy hiatus to raise the two sons she had with now ex-husband Jim Gillette. And not only did she get away from the craziness of the music business for 15 years, she took it a step further by doing so on a remote island located near Turks and Caicos.
“Your kids are your world, you know? We lived on a deserted island. I mean there was nothing on this island,” said Ford. “I had to make everything — bread, ice cream ... I even had to make the flour to make the bread. But it was the best damn bread you’ve ever had in your life. My kids would fish, and they’d bring up a bunch of grouper, and we’d cook fresh grouper, peel a potato and make some French fries. It was just awesome.”
The release of “Wicked Wonderland” in 2009 and the Gary Hoey-produced “Living Like a Runaway” in 2012 cemented Ford’s return to the business. In 2012, she also reunited with former Runaways bandmate Currie to record a Christmas single to benefit the charity Toys for Tots.
While her tour schedule for the rest of the year may be hectic, Ford is also working on a new album, one she plans to record in New Hampshire.
“I’ve been writing it, and it’s probably about almost half done,” she said. “(Hoey) just brought out the magic in me, and we worked so well together that I’m working with him again. He’s such an amazing human being and guitar player and singer.”
So, why the Granite State?
“It’s so quiet, it’s so peaceful,” she said. “I just love it.”
When Ford turns 59 on Sept. 19, she’ll no doubt celebrate by doing the Lita Ford workout — axe in hand, in her trademark leather pants, in front of a cheering crowd. She might even pull out her favorite guitar — a white, one-of-a-kind B.C. Rich “Rich Bich” model. The double-necked guitar weighs a hefty 15 pounds. “I’m not a big girl,” said Ford, who stands at about 5 feet 4 1/2 inches tall. “I’m quite small, but I’ve got strong shoulders, strong arms and a strong back, and I carry all this stuff. I rock. That’s how I keep in shape.”