Until recently, heavy metal's leading female rocker has been laying a bit low. In addition to being the guitarist for the Runaways in the '70s, Lita Ford was responsible for two solo pop metal hits in the '80s: "Kiss Me Deadly," and a duet with Ozzy Osbourne, "Close My Eyes Forever." But with a new album on the horizon, Wicked Wonderland (out September 15th via Ford's own label, JLRG Entertainment), Ford is back. "What happened was I got married to Jim Gillette [ex-singer of Ã¼ber hair metallists, Nitro], and he and I started 'island hopping,' " she says. "We found these fantastic islands out in the Caribbean. At that same time, I was pregnant with our second child. We wanted a good, safe place to raise our kids. We ended up moving to the Caribbean — right after 9/11 — where we built this massive house, and we've lived there since then."
A few months ago, Ford hooked up with producer Greg Hampton, and work began on Wicked Wonderland (co-produced by Ford, Gillette, and Hampton), her first studio release since 1995. "The new album is extremely heavy, extremely sexual. I would say it's my best album yet. As soon as you hear the vocals and lead guitar, you know it's Lita. But at the same time, it's completely different, because it's so heavy." While Ford describes the entire album as "slamming" — as proven by such cuts as "Scream" and "Betrayal" — it's the album's lone ballad that stands out for her. " 'Sacred' is probably my favorite track, because it was written for me from my husband. It's a beautiful song."
Recently, Ford has also hit the road for select shows, and is planning more gigs for the fall. In addition to reviving her music career, Ford recently lent her voice to the upcoming video game, Brütal Legend, which also features the voices of Jack Black, Lemmy Kilmister, and Rob Halford, as well as the aforementioned Lita song, "Betrayal." "I'm 'Queen Rima' in the game — the queen of my troops," she says. "We go out to kick some ass. I get axed, electrocuted, and thrown off a second story building — and I manage to survive the whole thing!"
Ford also offered her thoughts on the upcoming Runaways movie, Cherry Bomb, which features Twilight star Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett. "I just want people to know that I have nothing to do with that film," Ford clarifies. "Joan's manager offered to buy the rights to my life story for a thousand bucks. I thought that was pretty disgusting — we never even replied."
That said, is Lita still in touch with Joan? And could they ever work together again? "Well, I just gave you an answer about what I thought of their film. Their manager has managed to cause a war between us — this has been going on since 1985. So far, I've kept my mouth shut, and I don't know how somebody like him can spend so much time trying to destroy somebody else's career. Joan and I have done nothing to hurt each other. I've always loved Joan. I don't know what the problem is with him — he really goes out of his way to fuck me up. I despise him for it. But there's a place in my heart for Joan that will always be there."