Lita Ford says she had to fight to be herself when she burst onto the scene as record exec’s attempted to mould her into their vision of a female musician.
And the ‘80’s rock queen, who helped pave the way for a generation of hard rocking women, says she wouldn’t have done anything differently.
Speaking to ‘The Five Count’ radio show in Mankato, Minnesota, the former lead guitarist for The Runaways recalled breaking into the business and how people perceived and viewed her in her early days.
She remembers: “Some people would give me a bad… You know, 'Girls don't play guitar.' They would give me some cocky attitude. But mostly, my fellow musicians were very supportive.
“Record companies were so-so. They would say, 'Lita, take some of that makeup off,' or, 'Put some pants on,' and I would just say, 'No. That's not who I am. I'm not this Little Goody Two-Shoes; I'm a rock and roll, guitar-slinging chick, and that's who I am. If it doesn't work for you, then maybe I'm on the wrong record label.'”
She continues: “So I had to fight to be who I am. I had to fight to get over those hurdles and learn how to stick up for myself and take no crap from people who were trying to create somebody that they saw in a different light. It was a journey.”
Following in Ford’s trailblazing leather bootsteps were a chain of rocking women – a fact which she says she ‘is very happy about.’
“I think The Runaways carved a path for these women,” she opined.
“Obviously… If you look at some of them, they almost look identical to us, which is great. I'm very happy about it, and glad that there's more women today in the rock scene. But I think The Runaways carved the path, and now the other girls get to walk it. And I'm sure they still have their ups and downs, because it's a man's world; it always will be, I think.
“And us women, we have to stick together. So it's a challenge. But I love a good challenge.”
The Runaways burst onto the rock n’ roll scene in the 1970’s like a five-pronged hurricane force blast of fresh air.
The band became a sensation both at home and particularly in Japan but they split after just three years – a decision Ford says she has no regrets over.
She says: “No, I never second-guessed anything. I knew exactly what I was doing and I knew exactly… I followed my vision of what I heard and what I saw in my future.
“Going through The Runaways was… it was almost like going to college to learn how to be whatever it is that you wanna be in life, and mine was heavy metal rock and roll. So, as a guitar player, and as a female, it was a challenge; it still is.”
Lita Ford will release a new solo album, ‘Time Capsule,’ on April 15.