Living Like A Runaway – Lita Ford
Going into this book I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for. Lita Ford was the badass chick in The Runaways; the one that everyone was afraid of; the one that didn't take shit from anybody; the one that was hell bent on being a legendary guitar player in the world of real rock and roll.
I got infected with The Runaways when I was 8 years old, and have religiously followed each original member ever since. I've seen nearly every video clip and read nearly every interview. I think the word is "hardcore." So, I went into this autobiographical tome thinking I already knew it all. I was wrong.
Without spoiling too many of the surprises, I would like to share a few things with you. The most notable subjects associated with the book would have to be Ford's sexual escapades and her relationship with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi.
The list of lucky rock stars that have been in the spandex pants of our fair Queen Of Metal reads like a Monsters Of Rock festival bill. Without naming each legendary bed partner, I will tell you that there are great stories to go along with each name on the list. You'll hear about Edward Van Halen climbing through a bathroom window the size of a soup can, and you'll hear about oddly romantic, drug-filled meetings with Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton. But, perhaps the most entertaining sexual story includes Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Aldo Nova... in the same room. Okay, I've said too much.
One of the most disturbing sequences of the book comes when Ford walks us through her relationship with Tony Iommi. So many of us, including Ford herself, place Iommi on a pedestal. He is the riff master, the pioneer of metal guitar players. Whenever we hear Iommi speak he does it with a soft tone which makes him seem like a gentle man, but Ford reveals quite a contrary persona. She tells of physical abuse at the hands of the guitarist with eerily strange and violent tales. As a huge fan of Sabbath and Iommi, this was pretty devastating to read about.
As Ford tells her tales of abuse with Iommi and her submission to a controlling husband later in the book, we quickly realize that our hero has a vulnerable side. This is something we really never saw from Lita Ford before this book. She was always the aggressor, always the one kicking someone else's ass. While it was nice to see another side of her that was a little softer and more sensitive, it was also frightening to hear of some of the tragedy that has fallen upon her.
With all of this talk of physical and mental abuse you might think the book spends a lot of time in the dark, but that's simply not the case. It is actually a feel good book; a complete journey through a thoroughly entertaining and eventful life. The stories of her mother and father and the wonderful relationship she had with them are enlightening and fun. The stories of her houseboat on the Thames and the adventures with Sid and Nancy are eye-opening. The stories with a young, pre-Crue Nikki Sixx. The story about the call from Michael Jackson's camp. All of these stories are great fun.One of the most appealing aspects of the book is its native rock and roll tongue. It's Lita Ford talking in your ear and she's laying it all out. It reads like an adult bedtime story for the crazed hard rock fan. It's the story of a Runaway who finds her way from rock excess to your heart.