Lita Ford, the former lead guitarist for the groundbreaking Runaways made her Detroit tour stop at the historic Harpo’s Concert Theater tonight. When the 80’s reigning metal queen and current band members Patrick Kennison (guitar), Bobby Rock (drums) and Marty O’Brien (Bass) took the stage at 10:30 the crowd was ready to rock! Lita and her band covered the highlights of her three-decade-plus catalog of guitar shredding rock classics and power ballads with ease and precision. The band was powerful and tight during the 2-hour set culminating with crowd favorites “Close My Eyes Forever” and “Kiss Me Deadly”.
Ford was born on September 19, 1958, in London, emigrating to the U.S. as a young child.
She began playing the guitar at age 11; just five years later, she joined the Kim Fowley-produced The Runaways, an all-female project designed to mix the aggression of simple, punky hard rock with teenage bad-girl sex appeal. Ford was their lead guitarist from 1976-1979.
When the band dissolved, Ford took voice lessons and embarked on a solo career and went on to become the first female guitarist/singer front-woman on the Rock/Metal scene. Ford is inarguably capable of rocking out aggressively and assertively. She released her debut album, “Out for Blood”, in 1983; it was followed the next year by “Dancin’ on the Edge”. Four years later she worked on, but abandoned and never released “The Bride Wore Black”.
By the time Ford returned, the lighter pop-metal she had long favored had broken through to mainstream audiences, which set the stage for her most successful album, 1988’s “Lita”. “Lita” featured Ford’s first hit, track 12 “Kiss Me Deadly“; its follow-up, a duet with Ozzy Osbourne entitled “Close My Eyes Forever“, provided both artists with their first Top Ten single.
Follow-up efforts like 1990’s “Stiletto” and 1991’s “Dangerous Curves” failed to thrive. Ford found herself without a label after alternative’s explosion in the early ’90s. She re-emerged on the scene in 2009 with uncharacteristically heavy “Wicked Wonderland”. Lita resurfaced in 2012 with eighth solo album “Living Like a Runaway”, an emotional album with lyrics about divorce, betrayal and estrangement throughout.
In February 2016, Ford published a tell-all autobiography “Living Like a Runaway”. She released the album “Time Capsule” in April 2016. According to her Facebook page – she is currently working on a 2017 album.
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Tonya Feig (Joan Jett), Dan Feig (backing vocals, Guitar), Kyle Mikolajczyk (backing vocals + Bass), Michael Stoker (Drums)
Splice Senior Photojournalist: John Swider