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Brit-born, American rock goddess Lita Ford was thrust into the rock n roll world without an instruction manual as a 16 year old lead guitarist in 70s all-female band The Runaways. However, Lita is a survivor and although she took a 15 year break from music, has carved an impressive solo career, releasing nine albums to date. Lita also appears on She Rocks Vol1, the female rock guitar compilation to be released on January 2. Australian Musician caught up with Lita prior to the album release.

You’ve contributed the Lemon Song to the She Rocks album. What did Led Zeppelin mean to you when you were learning guitar?
Led Zep are the God Fathers of Rock n Roll. They created a new sounds of music and were getting recognition no other heavy bands were getting because of their crossover success with Stairway to Heaven.  I knew every lick on guitar. At the time they were the ultimate guitar band. Them and Black Sabbath. But Sabbath were not getting radio airplay because of their dark sound.

How much contact have you had personally with that band over the years? What was your first meeting like?
The first time The Runaways met Led Zep was at a club in Los Angeles. We were kids and blown away that they would come see us play. Excited. It was a magic moment that I’ll never forget.

There are a lot more female lead guitar players now than decades ago. You’ve been an inspiration to many females in that regard. Why do you believe it was it such a male domain in the past and what attracted you to lead guitar in that male dominated atmosphere?
Rock n roll and guitar playing was in my blood.  It is a gift from God that just comes natural to me. I never thought about the fact that I was female, and females aren’t supposed to be doing this.

The She Rocks album is such a great documentation of some amazing female players that we have in the world today. There’s a school of thought that would suggest that we shouldn’t separate gender in music at all … that there shouldn’t be best female this or best male that … the notion being that we’re all equally musicians. Your thoughts on that?
Absolutely, like a female pilot flyng a plane. Music is music and it really shouldn’t matter who plays it or where it comes from, so long as it sounds good and rock n roll.  There is no reason why females shouldn’t be able to play guitar. It is a feel that comes from the heart, mind and a groove.Simple as that.

You have your own BC rich signature Warlock guitar. What did that honour mean to you?
It meant the world to me. I’ve been playing BC Rich for a very long time. Bernie Sr. had some amazing guitars built for me and it is an honor to play them today.

What were the main elements of that guitars which they had to get right for you to put your name to it?
The wood, electronics, and weight of the originals all had a very significant impact on how those guitars sound. Those were the main elements I wanted to keep in the signature models.

Are you a collector of guitars?
I do have some magnificent guitars, especially in the studio. No one sees them but they hear them! I have a reissue Tele and my 69 reissue Strat. My 69 Les Paul 60’s Les Paul Jr I use for slide parts. There are various acoustics that are amazing. These guitars do not travel with me on the road.  Studio instruments only.

lita2How much experimentation of combinations of guitars, amps and pedals did you go through before you found a tone you were truly happy with?
A lot. I spent a long time searching for the right delay pedal.   But when I was looking for a wah, I knew the Jerry Cantrell model was perfect the moment I plugged in.

At what point did you realise the importance of good accessories such as cables, picks, strings? How far into your career was it that the quality of those kind of things really mattered to you?
Instantly with my guitar picks. I just love Pick Boys home plate picks and won’t use anything else. Also, my Khaler tremolo bar can take a beating. It has such a beautiful vibrato.

What pedals are you currently enjoying?
Echoplex delay , Jerry Cantrell Wah Wah, and a volume pedal for ending and dynamics. Just the 3 pedals

What are your three favourite rock riffs?
Black Leather , The Sex Pistols, ……The great Gig in the sky , Pink Floyd , ….David Gilmore on Dark Side of the Moon.


What are you most proud of in your music career?
My cover of ONLY WOMAN BLEED.  It’s an Alice Cooper song with Wagner and Hunter performing on it, but our remake was fantastic. it was definitely a challenge.

Who are some other female guitarists that you really dig?
Jennifer Batten

What’s planned for 2017?
A new album

When will we see you back in Australia?
Very very soon , we love Aussie land…The fans especially.

She Rocks Vol1 is released January 20 via

She Rocks, Vol. 1 Track List:

1.              Orianthi – “Transmogrify”
2.              Yasi Hofer – “Cosmic Stars”
3.              Kat Dyson – “U Know What I Like”
4.              Sarah Longfield – “The Taxi Time Travel Task Force”
5.              Lita Ford w/Lez Zeppelin – “The Lemon Song”
6.              Jennifer Batten – “In the Aftermath”
7.              Nita Strauss – “Pandemonium”
8.              Steph Paynes – “The Sun at Her Eastern Gate”
9.              Nili Brosh – “A Matter of Perception”
10.           Gretchen Menn – “Scrap Metal”
11.           Yvette Young – “Hydra”

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