Ken Sharp of Goldmine magazine recently conducted an interview with '80s hard rock queen Lita Ford. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Goldmine: You met Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, who came to see the band play at The Starwood in Hollywood. That night they asked you to play bass in LED ZEPPELIN?
Lita: Well, I loved John Paul Jones and I knew all his bass lines because I can play bass as well as guitar. At that time I knew all of his bass lines. I didn't know they were having trouble in the band. I had no idea. So all Robert Plant said to me was, "You don't play bass, do you?" That's all he said, and I went, "For who?" And he kind of looked around the room and I looked around the room and I walked off. First of all, I didn't know they were having trouble and I'm a kid and I'm a chick. I've already got a band that I fit in and I don't think I would have fit in LED ZEPPELIN. People don't believe me and think I'm lying about it, but it did happen.
Goldmine: After THE RUNAWAYS split, you forged a solo career. Was this transition easy or more difficult that you thought? I understand that Eddie Van Halen gave you the support you needed to venture into those waters?
Lita: Yeah, Eddie did. He was very supportive and he never looked at the fact that I was a female. That never entered his mind. He just said to me, "Lita, what are you doing?" You see, I was ready to give up at one point. I was so frustrated. I didn't have a lead singer and I wasn't a lead singer back then. I could play guitar like there was no tomorrow. Edward said to me, "Just do it! You're already doin' it! What are you waiting for, permission? C'mon!" So it was, like, shit, he's right. He's really right. I need to just get off my ass and make this come to life and make it happen whether I'm the lead singer or somebody else is the lead singer, it doesn't matter. You gotta get it goin'.
Goldmine: You toured with RAINBOW in the early '80s and got a chance to spend time with Ritchie Blackmore, one of your heroes. Did you ever jam with him?
Lita: He was a huge influence on me. Actually, Kim Fowley gave Ritchie my phone number because I was in love with Ritchie. I was like, "Oh my God, I love this guy!" I loved DEEP PURPLE, the whole band was just phenomenal. And, of course, with Ritchie being the lead guitarist, I was fixated on him. Kim Fowley knew this, so he gave Ritchie my phone number and Ritchie called me. I swear I just about crapped my pants. I get this phone call and he says, "Do you wanna come over?" [Laughs] I was, like, "What? Is this really happening?" So I went to his house and we played guitars and he showed me a few things, one of which was what he called the "Snake Charmer." That was a minor scale, slinky, sexy, evil-almost sounding. Very cool stuff. I still apply that today to some of my own stuff, but I do it in my own way. I don't want to rip him off. I try to play like Lita Ford, not Ritchie Blackmore. [Laughs] But he taught me a lot; he pulled out a cello and played for me.
Read the entire interview at Goldmine.