LITA FORD - Gotta Keep A' Runnin' Page 3
by Martin Popoff
All of this comes naturally to Lita. Although she's adamant that The Runaways fit best as punks, her hard rocking disposition was forged in metal.
"Well, the first concert I'd ever seen was Black Sabbath, Long Beach Arena, when I was 13 in 1971. I really think your first concert influences you so much musically. And when I saw Sabbath, I just flipped out. I thought wow, they are so heavy; they are so like gods. They seemed untouchable, unreachable. They didn't seem human, you know? Really, it's just a bunch of guys up there, but they just seemed so godlike, and their music, the way it was making people feel, like they were under some sort of spell. I wanted to be able to do that and I wanted to be able to sound like that. I wanted to be able to make people feel like they were making people feel."
And there was an immediate spark of kinship once Lita got going with her own groundbreaking band. "Sandy was a metalhead. I remember when I first walked in to see the girls in The Runaways. It was just Joan, Sandy and me - we were the first three - and Sandy and I had jammed on the solo to 'Highway Star,' and it was pretty cool. She knew the entire drum part and I knew the entire guitar part, and so we walked in and looked at each other and then started jamming, and this is playing 'Highway Star.' It was like that's it, she's rockin', she's slammin'; I couldn't believe she played it."
"A lot of the business side of things was kept in the dark," continues Lita, asked if the band's label (Mercury) and management (the notorious Kim Fowley) had given the girls a fair shake. "We weren't told a lot of things and we didn't ask questions. We were just happy to be out there playing and doing what we do. One of my problems, which probably didn't reflect much in the movie... it showed me being angry. And I didn't see the movie, right away, but I don't consider myself angry. Although I know I was angry as a teenager because I wanted to know what was going on. They weren't telling us. And I was one of the girls in the band that wanted to know. Where's my f**king paycheck? You know, how much did we get paid tonight? Show me the contract. Where's my money going? Run it by me; let me see what we pay the crew. I asked these questions, and everybody would look at me like I was crazy. And then the girls would say stuff like, 'Oh, Lita's just pissed off. She's just in a bad mood.' No, I'm not in a bad mood. I want to know where my money is! We're the ones making the money here, you know? It's being given to someone. We're not playing there for free. We didn't sell out four shows at The Whiskey for nothing. We wanna know. So I started asking questions and really never got any answers. But I know the record company was, as far as I know, they were good to us, because they never dropped us. They kept us for the five years, and until the band broke up. They could've dropped us at any time. But they kept picking up the option to renew."
LITA FORD - Gotta Keep A' Runnin' Page 4