One of the first albums I ever bought, was the debut release by The Runaways in 1976.
I was excited to take this album home and pop it on the turntable. After all, I had pretty much been convinced, based upon the rave reviews in Circus, Cree, and Crawdaddy magazines (oh, I am really showing my age now), that this all-female band from Southern California were the greatest thing since the Gibson Les Paul.
Besides that, I had pretty much worn out all my Foghat, Pat Travers and UFO albums. I was desperately in need of some ass-kicking new music. But, sadly, I was barely thru Side One of the Runaways debut album before I realized how disappointed I was. It seemed to me that the band generated a wave of hype based upon their female gender more so than anything else.
The songs were merely so/so, forgettable, and boring. In no way did these girls sway me away from my KISS, Black Sabbath, or Ted Nugent albums. Soon therafter, my older brother took me to see The Runaways perform at The Golden Bear, a club in Huntington Beach. Though I was not impressed by their debut album, I wasn’t one to turn down an opportunity to catch a live show. Though the band fared better in a live environment than they did on vinyl only two of the members truly stood out to me: guitarists Joan Jett and Lita Ford. Not surprisingly, those were the two members that eventually made names for themselves in the rock world while the others faded into rock and roll obscurity.
After The Runaways demise, Lita went on to do pretty good for herself. Releasing 7 studio albums and scoring hits like Kiss Me Deadly and Close My Eyes Forever (a duet with Ozzy Osbourne) she definitely nudged, fought, and clawed herself to the top in the male dominated rock world.
Lita had decent guitar skills. She was no Jimi Hendrix or Jeff Beck but then again, how many guitarists were regardless of their gender? It would be easy to say that perhaps Lita Ford, like The Runaways, garnished attention because she was female. But, her hard work, tenacity, and infectious songwriting solidified her as a damned good respectable artist either way.
Lita told egotistical males, “Hey, women can rock.” Like it or not, rock and roll, especially metal, is a male dominated genre. Although Lita inspired many females to grab a guitar and make an attempt at breaking into the rock industry, it is a sad fact that most could not keep pace with her. For example, England’s Rock Goddess and Girlschool were just downright dismal and mediocre. Lacuna Coil, Kittie, and Otep all have loyal followings but none have reached the same level of success as Ford, however. So, in all reality, Lita Ford does not have much competition for the crown of Queen of Metal. Therefore, she is in an elite class of her own.
She took a long hiatus from music after the release of Black, her 6th studio album, in 1995. It wasn’t until 2008 when the rock world finally saw her return. She made a triumphant live return appearing at the Rocklahoma Festival in 2008.
What kept her away for so long? Who knows. Lita got married, had children and perhaps she felt her music was no longer relevant in the changing-tides of the music world. It was more than likely the fact that hard rock took a major nose-dive when Nirvana decided to come along and spoil it for everyone. So, what brought her back? I would have to guess/assume the same reason, so many of the 80’s bands are back. The same reason a wave of bands that were not signed, “back in the day” are coming back onto the club scene. They all have a mission that remains to be fulfilled. That is, to bring back the spirit of 80’s metal and hopefully recruit some new followers who have been brainwashed by what the music industry is currently tossing their way. Rock and roll has somewhat fallen apart and spawned an assembly-line of boring, bland, uninspired bands that offer nothing of substance. Perhaps the time is right for these bands of YesterYear to return and remind everyone what all the fuss was about.
Regardless, I am highly anticipating this show. After all, who wouldn’t want to see a 52-year-old Rocker Chick play circles around teenybop crap like Haley whats-her-name and Paramore?
Also appearing on the bill are The Haunted, a goth-metal-Sabbath inspired band from SoCal that has been around for quite some time and has fine-tuned their unique sound. Union of Saints is a band that is heavily influenced by classic 70s metal. Think Journey-meets-Zeppelin. Both are entertaining and definitely worth catching.
Lita Ford – “Close My Eyes”
Saturday, May 21, 2011
The Haunting / Union of Saints
$25.00 buy tickets
Doors at 6:00pm Show Starts at 8:00pm