Sex and Drugs With the Sex Pistols: Preview Lita Ford’s New Memoir
Former Runaways guitarist and heavy metal icon Lita Ford recounts her life story in her new memoir Living Like a Runaway. But beyond the sex, drugs and rock & roll lifestyle Ford recounts in her typical candid style, the singer-guitarist also details a hardscrabble life marked by domestic abuse, the death of her parents and the myriad struggles of being a female musician in a male-dominated genre and industry. It’s a fascinating read that’s alternately sordid and poignant, standing as both a time capsule of Seventies and Eighties rock hedonism and a trailblazing story of a female rock pioneer.
In this exclusive excerpt, Ford recalls her days in London with the Sex Pistols; a time marked by sex, murder and an unpredictable Sid Vicious.
When we were finished with the 1978 European tour, Sandy, Joan, and I went to live on a 90-foot navy-blue houseboat in London on the Thames River. We originally went to London thinking we were going to stay there and record our next album with a British producer named Phil Wainman, who had worked with the Sweet. But to be honest, again, no one really told us why we were there. Although I loved England and could have stayed there forever, I didn’t realize we weren’t confirmed to record with Wainman. Joan, Sandy, and I were not the right combo to pull in this guy to produce us. By that point, we were all doing too many drugs and hanging out with British punk rockers who were doing too many drugs. We scared him away before we even got started.
The houseboat was next to the Battersea Bridge, off King’s Road, which was full of shops, restaurants, pubs, and cool places. More important, we were right down the street from where the Sex Pistols lived. It was a prime spot for trouble.
We were deep into the punk era at the time when “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols came out. Sid Vicious, his girlfriend, Nancy, the drummer Paul Cook, and the guitarist Steve Jones would come to the houseboat all the time. Sometimes I loved having them there, but sometimes it made me uptight. It just depended on what drugs they were using, I guess. Sid was frightening and fucked up, although.
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