Talking Guitar With Lita Ford

By Martina Fasano

Lita Ford began her career in the seminal all-female punk band The Runaways, together with Joan Jett, Sandy West, Cherie Currie, and Jackie Fox. That would have been enough trailblazing for most people, but not Lita.

The first time I saw Lita Ford play her guitar I was about nine years old. It was a cold, winter night in Toronto, Canada, and I was waiting for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game to start. Every Saturday night, the lead-up program to the game was the CHUM Top 40 Countdown. My family would gather at my grandmother’s house – where most Italian families gather on at least one day of the week – and we would eat, watch the Top 40 Countdown and argue about the music videos, and then watch the Maple Leafs blow a three-goal lead in the third period. It was a ritual. I distinctly remember the evening in question because I fell in love with a BC Rich Warlock that night, and it left such an impression on me that I only worked up the courage to buy one – a Lita Ford signature model Black Widow Warlock, loaded with the SH-6 Distortion in the bridge and the SH-4 JB in the neck, no less – two years ago. More importantly, I watched the screen and I saw a woman playing that Warlock. And she wasn’t strumming a couple of open chords either – she was shredding like it was nobody’s business.

I felt vindicated because for the first time, I saw another female doing something that I wanted to do: play guitar. It was the 1980s and unlike 2016, girls like me were still being told that rock’n’roll wasn’t a place for them.  Lita didn’t listen. She simply continued blazing a trail for all of the other women that followed, and I had the distinct honor of sitting down and talking to her at this year’s NAMM show about all things guitar: pickups, picks, her favorite guitar, stage presence, the changes she’s seen in the music industry, her new Time Capsule album coming out in April, and her memoir that is being released on February 23.
One thing is for sure – Ms. Ford is going to have a busy 2016, and she wouldn’t want it any other way.

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