Lita Ford was 16 when she joined The Runaways, but she didn't become a runaway for real until she was 50-something.
“I had to run away from home recently, to run away from a crazed relationship,” she said of her 17-year marriage to former Nitro vocalist Jim Gillette. “And my friend who is my songwriting partner, Michael Dan Ehmig, he's the lyricist on this album, he says to me, ‘Lita, you really are living like a runaway.' And I thought, oh my God, that's a great song title. Let's go with it.”
So now Ford is back on the rock 'n' roll road she knows so well with a new album titled — you guessed it — “Living Like a Runaway,” and she'll be opening for Def Leppard and Poison at 7 p.m. Friday in the green evening shade of the Zoo Amphitheatre.
“Smokin', absolutely smokin',” Ford said of the tour in a phone interview on Monday. “Great bunch of guys, great musicians. Just a real joy to be on tour with them.”
The former Runaways guitarist is also happy to be touring behind her new album, which is the first solo studio work she acknowledges as her own since 1995's “Black.”
“Absolutely,” she said. “It's real Lita Ford.”
There was an album bearing her name called “Wicked Wonderland” in 2009, but ex-husband Gillette controlled the material and the production, which relied on electronic instruments, industrial-strength heaviness and sadomasochistic lyrical imagery.
“It's not a Lita record,” Ford said. “It's a Jim Gillette record.”
Prior to “Wonderland,” the princess of pop-metal had taken time off from music to become a mother.
“I had two boys, two beautiful boys I love dearly, and they became my life,” she said. “I dropped music and didn't want to do anything else other than just be a mom.”
Modes of expression
They are now her estranged sons since the breakup of her marriage, but she doesn't dwell much on her pain in conversation, allowing the cathartic songs of her new album to express the hurt and anger for her. Hard-hitting tracks such as “Branded,” “Asylum” and “The Mask” speak plainly of the emotional scars left by failed romance and betrayal, while the acoustic-shaded “Mother” conveys a soul-wrenching sadness no parent should have to bear.
Def Leppard / Poison
With: Lita Ford.
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
Where: Zoo Amphitheatre, 2101 NE 50.
Tickets: (866) 977-6849; participating Buy For Less locations; zoo