Tagged: Bon Jovi

LITA FORD – The best things in life are worth waiting for

The year was 1983 and I was taking my first baby-steps in the new and exciting world of heavy metal.

Back in those days it was very much a man’s world (a lot more than it is today) and eventhough I worshipped Judas Priest (who got the ball rolling) and all those other classic bands, I didn’t have a female rolemodel.
So – I dressed like the guys. Denim and leather, 80’s style with patches, back patches, badges and all that stuff.

[Remember this? ;P]

One day I was flipping through Swedish music magazine OKEJ and saw photos of this “new” rock chick who just released her album “Out For Blood“. Lita Ford.

I thought Lita looked so cool. With that logic, I was also convinced that she SOUNDED good, so I went and bought the album. In two versions, as the cover had been censored in the UK for being “too vulgar”. THAT, of course, meant that I absolutely HAD to have it! :)

[This was the very first article I saw, that made me go buy Lita’s debut album. I’ve still got that scrapbook, these articles are in surprisingly good shape still, no soda-stains or anything :)]

Scrapbook 1984

Scrapbook 1983

 The CENSORED version from 1983 – now signed!

Long story short – Lita has been the source of inspiration ever since. Besides Judas Priest, she’s the reason I’m still here, in this crazy rock’n’roll circus. She paved the way, showed that women could be a part of the business, and not just as groupies (you always get that shit anyway from ignorant people).

She was talented, beautiful, successful, determined and had tons of attitude.
It’s been 30 years since I first got “Out of Blood“. Always wanted to meet her but the opportunity was never given. She just didn’t tour over here much – and the one time she DID, with Bon Jovi in 1988, I had a gig with my own band (major clash!)

I ALMOST met her a few years ago though. At Sweden Rock, I was with Jon Oliva’s Pain who had the caravan next to Lita’s and I could see straight in. But she had what you might call a bad day. Could happen to anyone. I wasn’t going to push anything. The chance was right under my nose but I respected her privacy and chose not to bug her.

Sweden Rock Festival 2009 - Lita Ford's dressing room.

Sweden Rock Festival 2009 – Lita Ford’s dressing room.

My friend Kevin from Jon Oliva’s Pain brought me up on stage during LIta’s gig. Just shot this very short clip from that – we were drinking wine, watching Lita from up close, couldn’t be better. :)

And now, it’s 2013, 30 years later, the teenage girl that was me, who thought the badass chick with the bleeding guitar was the coolest thing ever – finally got to meet her idol face to face for a long and openhearted talk. :)

That’s every fan’s dream. It doesn’t even matter that I’ve been meeting “rock stars” on a regular basis since I was 18 and therefore “should” be jaded. When you get to meet someone who’s actually meant something in your life, you go back to being a nervous, stoked KID!

Lita was great, she is totally down to earth – has a unique quality that makes you feel like you’re long time friends. So, here’s what happened…

MALMO, SWEDEN – JULY 25, 2013….

I woke up at Hotel Palace in Gothenburg early in the morning. I had just been to see her show at Sticky Fingers the night before. Took the bus back to Malmo and slept all the way home while the rain was pattering against the window.
At this point, I didn’t even know if the interview was going to happen. It’s always like that. You get the details in the very last minute, it just goes with the territory…

Around 3 in the afternoon I finally got a text back from the label-guy who informed me that my interview was taking place at 5.30 at the venue. That was when I realized that this was actually happening, finally. When that sunk in, I started getting nervous. Man! Lita Ford has not only been a rolemodel since I was a kid, she’s also the last name on my list of people I want to meet before I die. The circle was about to be completed!

I grabbed my interview-bag and drove down to the venue, KB – my second home. I just wanted to find a good place to do the interview where there wouldn’t be sound check-noise or people running in and out. Johan, alias “Dr AOR” was outside and he was one of the DJ’s of the evening so he let me in.

Bengan, who’s been working at KB since forever, suggested the main dressing room, which also serves as a hospitality room. It was empty and it was perfect.

Lita’s tour manager introduced himself, a nice man, and I stayed watching the sound check preparations while waiting for Henrik “the camera man” to show up.

Then…. Lita arrived. Her comment just made me laugh, because I know exactly where she was coming from with that question: “Do I know you from before, or are you doing the interview?”

I’m  exactly the same. I never freaking remember people, so as to avoid awkward situations, it’s better to ask first.

She came over a few times, asking me when and where we would do the interview, and when I mentioned that I was waiting for my camera-guy, she realized that it was going to be recorded, so she took her makeup bag and asked where the toilet was. :)

Henrik and Mari arrived just when the sound check was about to begin. I told the tour manager that they didn’t have to worry about us. KB is our second home, and we know our way around. We could handle the setup ourselves while Lita was sound checking (I stayed and watched one song before I went upstairs to prepare).

It was unbearably hot in the dressing room. No airconditioning or anything. When Lita walked in she felt it right away and just went “Oh my god! Isn’t there an airconditioner in here?” The idea of doing the interview dressed in her cool, black leather jacket was out of the question.

The KB guys brought 3 different fans, and a cooling-machine of some sort and plugged it in, so we could kind of survive….

She was chit-chatting while fixing her makeup. Again, she did what I always do – took the makeup bag and flipped it upside down so that everything in there just fell out on the table in one big pile of mixed random makeup-products.

“I bought all this new makeup, haven’t tried some of it yet so I don’t know what it does exactly”, she laughed and continued fixing her makeup over at the floor mirror. She was upset that one of her guitars had been smashed by United Airlines on her way over to Europe, and it was one of her favorite red guitars. The neck was broken, couldn’t be fixed.

Small little talk about coffee and staying awake when you need to (I gave her my energy-gums, the ones I use when I’m out on my own “tours” and she tried one right away. Then after a few seconds commented: “Wow! That is one serious gum!” It is – it’s strong and you feel it working right away. Don’t know what I’d do without those!

I was still a bit nervous, but Lita was just so easy to deal with that I felt like I was talking to someone I’d known for a long time. She just has this open attitude that makes people feel relaxed.
She noticed Henrik’s designer t-shirt, liked it and asked what designer it was.

The first few questions were just a bit of standard stuff, to get things going. And as some of this material was equested by another media, I won’t be able to publish any of that until it’s been used for what it’s intended to. But the second part of the interview will be up here soon, transcripted and edited within the next few weeks.

[A short random clip from the interview – we’re talking about tattoos here]

The thing is…. I’ve followed Lita since the early 80’s, and when you read so much about an artist and watch them on TV or Youtube or whatever, it feels like you already know them. I guess that’s why you like certain artists more than others – because there’s something about them that you can relate to and understand, and Lita has always been that person.

I smiled when she said that during the Runaways-days she wanted it to be dark in the studio where she recorded her vocals. She didn’t want people to look at her making her faces while she was singing.

I did the exact same thing – I turned out the lights in there and I’m sure the guys were thinking WTF, but it just made me relax. I didn’t know that Lita did the same. It’s just those small things…!

It got to a point where the conversation got pretty deep and I had to really use every bit of strength and concentration to stay professional in front of the cameras.

We were talking about death and she was telling me about her mother’s last three days in life. Lita never left her side. It was hard for her to talk about it. She also mentioned her father who had passed away a few years before her mom. Lita and her parents were very close, and the song “Lisa“, that she wrote for her mom, always made me cry. Still does.

It was difficult for her to talk about it still, eventhough it’s been 23 years since her mother passed away. I wanted to say something, just a short comment that I could relate because I just recently lost my father. But as I started the sentence I realized that I couldn’t continue – I just felt how hard it was to even go there. I couldn’t. This wasn’t about me anyway,

So I was holding back the tears – so was Lita. But you know… It helped me, as another piece in processing my own grief.

You never stop hurting and you never stop missing those you loved and lost, but you get on with your life, because you must. We had the same ideas about life after death, or “life on the other side”.

She wasn’t afraid to talk openly about pretty much everything and anything. In her opinion, there are 2 kinds of people in the world: Leaders and followers.

In order to change something, somebody had to be first and lead the way. She was okay with being one of those people.

“I’m not alone thinking or feeling the things I do. There are others out there who have similar experiences. But they are afraid to talk about it. When they see somebody else bring it up, they can say “that’s how I feel!” 

So, basically, Lita said a lot of things that I can relate to 100% and I definitely respect and admire her even more after finally meeting her.

Another important aspect of the interview dealt with the family tragedy she’s going through. I will post that part of the interview soon, it’s very sad. It doesn’t matter which parent made the most mistakes in a marriage or what the reasons are that people get divorced. But when kids are being used as weapons in those battles, it sickens me.

Lita started this Facebook-page which deals with the subject – check it out:

Lita Ford’s Parental-Alienation Awareness

I could have stayed there talking with her for hours. She wasn’t looking at the clock or going “one last question, I gotta run” – which is almost standard. EIther the artist or some manager interrupts an interview by letting you know that you need to finish. Lita was totally cool, no stress.

We continued talking after the cameras were turned off, and I could not have asked for a better first meeting. I’m thankful it turned out that way. Cause when you’ve admired someone for so long, it would have been somewhat disappointing and almost devastating to find out that that person was a prick and that you wasted 30 years of your life following his/her career.

That didn’t happen with Lita. I can still relate to her, maybe even more now than before. Go check out the photos from the interview and the shows at www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror 

I thanked her for her time and instead of shaking hands, like I usually do, I instinctively gave her a hug. I never do that. It’s happened maybe once or twice before that I’ve hugged a “stranger”, and especially not in interview-situations.

And ten minutes later, when I was leaving the venue to go home and leave some of my stuff before going back to the show, she hugged me. So, I think it was a good chemistry and after 30 years it feels like the best things in life are worth waiting for!

Does integrity exist in rock’n’roll?

AC/DC and Walmart…. A match made in heaven? I think not.

AC/DC and wallets, backpacks, t-shirts, mugs, baseball-caps, stickers and so on – better? Maybe not, but somehow more accepted because it’s still kept “within the family” so to speak.
I guess in the word integrity in rock’n’roll means “staying away from whatever is mainstream”.

Fans upset signature song used in Walmart commercial

We all know how pissed off fans get whenever their favorite metal band decides to experiement with something new

Van Halen doing “Jump” in 1984 caused a MAJOR protests. Oh-my-god. Blasphemy! KEYBOARDS in metal? What the f***. People back then could maybe stretch their tolerance to hammond-organs but no way in hell synthesizers had any business in metal.

When Judas Priest attempted it two years later with Turbo, they got the same reception. To this day, people feel like their heroes let them down.

Both bands were accused of being sellouts – because they were trying to cater to a wider audience. So they were treated like traitors. Being a metalhead means “keeping it in the family”.

I guess that’s why “real” rockers generally don’t like anything that has to do with stepping outside that frame.

Ozzy doing a reality-show, Judas Priest performing with James Durbin on American Idol, AC/DC selling their music to WALMART?!?! Where does it end, how much can metalheads accept?

We all know that it’s tough to be a musician these days. Nobody buys records anymore. Oh come on – honestly. When was the last time YOU actually BOUGHT a record? Possibly a collector’s item, but mostly, we all download or send mp3’s back and forth via e-mails or chats…. Artists can’t live on pure love and air only. :-) They need to survive.

I guess that’s why we’re seeing more of this now. KISS has always been a money machine. Funny enough, most of us have been perfectly okay with assisting them with that, by buying all kinds of “fun stuff” with the KISS-logo on it. But we did NOT like it when they did “I Was Made For Loving You“, because THAT was a HIT that NON-METALHEADS bought and liked. God forbid! Sellouts!

I guess that’s also why “real” rockers dislike bands like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard or Europe – because those bands actually appealed to everything and anything from kids to teenage girlies to actual music lovers. The reason why people think that Motörhead is a REAL metal band, is because generally, non-metalheads don’t like them.

You won’t see Lemmy in a reality show, he wouldn’t be caught dead doing anything like that. I guess out of most musicians today, he would be the ONLY musician I would say has true integrity that is solid as a rock. He is cool that way, I admire his attitude. It’s brave. I mean, alright, he let “Ace Of Spades” be used for a beer commercial, but that is somehow still rock’n’roll and very Lemmy. Its not WalMart!

Most bands nowadays are acting like whores. They would do anything for money.

One of the worst ways of moneymaking, is the “VIP packages” that are so big in America. Where they CHARGE fans to meet their idols. That is one of those things that I just have a hard time accepting.

What the fuck – I bought the records and the merch, I “liked” them on Facebook and added them on MySpace and Twitter, I’m wearing their freaking t-shirts and I’ve been crushed in the front row at their shows. And they can’t meet their fans for FREE? What’s wrong with that picture?

I realize that you can’t meet everybody, but usually, there are only a few people hanging around before and after the shows. Would it hurt inviting them in to listen to the sound check or have a beer on the bus? Providing they seem fairly normal of course…. I would never, EVER degrade myself to the point where I had to PAY a band to say hello to me, like some beggar. Fuck that.

I remember a girl from New Zealand who was a HUGE Billy Idol-fan that we met in Copenhagen years ago. She was traveling all around the world to see him. God knows how much she spent on tickets, hotels and all that. I should know – I did the same this year going everywhere to see guitar-hero Gus G play with Ozzy and Firewind. It’s not exactly cheap. But you do it for the love of rock’n’roll.

She had bought the most expensive “VIP-package” in several cities, Copenhagen being one of those cities,

I couldn’t believe it when she said how much she had paid, but I forget now the exact amount… Well – they let her in – ten minutes later she was out in the cold again! They “let” her take a photo with Billy and she wasn’t even allowed to use her OWN camera, she got an autograph and a poster and some other junk and after ten minutes it was BYE BYE BABY BYE BYE………..

I’ll never forget that. A die-hard fan like that should be invited in for FREE, get the red carpet for supporting Billy in every possible way. Not be treated like crap – because that was really shitty. I don’t blame Billy for that, he was super cool after the show.

“His people” told fans that Billy would not sign anything because he would risk getting a cold if he stayed outdoors. Billy didn’t give a fuck, he talked to everybody and signed anything people put in front of him.
The VIP-shit is some management’s idea – I would assume….. 

But fans generally don’t complain about the “VIP”-bullshit. Cause it’s still “in the family”…

So I guess it’s cool to make money as long as you make sure it’s for the right people. Making money is okay when you’re a rocker, you just need to make sure you do it the right way. Cause integrity for metal-fans is about staying true to yourself, keeping it METAL.

Many people have taken on the heavy metal lifestyle because it’s always been an alternative to whatever is normal and mainstream. It’s a form of escapism, a full-time escapism where you just refuse to be a part of whatever society tries to sell as normal

So I guess AC/DC stepped WAY out of line in that respect. But as integrity isn’t a big deal in today’s world in general. I guess they are laughing all the way to the bank (and Walmart…)….