Living Like a Runaway, Dey Street Books, Lita Ford, 2016.
Lita Ford is a rock icon, an inspiration and one strong woman. Lita is different, she was a pioneer -both with The Runaways and for her guitar work- she played the instrument tremendously, and l don’t mean “for a girl”. One can imagine how difficult it is to be a female guitarist in a the predominantly male world that is rock.
Today women tend to be accepted and beloved in the rock/metal scene because of women like Ford who paved the way first. Not only has Ford left her stamp on the music scene, but she endures and remains a vibrant rocker to this day. It only makes sense that she would release a book capturing her journey in rock.
Living Like A Runaway is less an “autobiography” than it is a tell-all book. If you want dirt – whether of professional or personal nature – it is all here. I was shocked at some of the things she said of certain people (Toni lommi for instance), but she paints a believable portrait.
With all that in consideration, she still held back on issues, topics and incidents longtime fans would remember. As such, we don’t get to all the dirt and boo-boos, but most or it is here. I will say, it’s a real page-turner that kept me reading.
“I knew Lita was a strong woman, but I had no idea just to what extend.”
Ford is very emotional. Sometimes, she comes across as a nice girl who suffered through an extensive amount of abuse. And then there are those occasions where she comes off as a firecracker, ready to explode at any time. You get a different Lita every few pages.
A huge portion of her book touches on her relationships with various famous rockers she dated/married/got engaged to such as Toni Iommi, Nikki Sixx, Chris Holmes, Glen Tipton, Jim Gillette. Oftentimes it reads more like the tales of a rock’n’roll groupie -no disrespect intended towards Lita- than an autobiography. While some of it is fascinating, I don’t think all of it was completely necessary.
The stories from her younger years, pre-Runaways were thoroughly entertaining and in a sense helps put the puzzle pieces of her life together. Reading about that time of her life gives a great sense of perspective as to who she became. It’s fascinating to read about The Runaways, but she doesn’t reveal a huge amount of content that isn’t already known or that hasn’t been previously been touched on in then-bandmate Cherrie Currie’s Neon Angel.
Living Like A Runaway is very detailed, for the most part, except when it comes to Joan Jett. You get the feeling the two have a sour relationship and Lita herself, can’t quite put the finger on the “why”.
“If you want dirt – whether of professional or personal nature – it is all here.”
Ford’s solo career was a very interesting read as well. She worked hard, toured with -and continues to support- bands that hit it big in the 1980’s such as Def Leppard. Things only slow down slightly in the book when Ford retires in the mid-90s to focus on her children and family. It gets sad towards the end as she and Jim Gillette get divorced, admitting she is now essentially forbidden from seeing her children, and the great pain it causes her.
I knew Lita was a strong woman, but I had no idea just to what extend. She endured a lot in life from to abortion to abuse from men, losing the battle to be in children’s lives. As I moved from chapter to chapter, I felt for her. The book makes Lita a sympathetic figure, but it also left out some truths as well. She’s holding on certain truths and makes herself little embellished. It’s a quick, entertaining read that keeps you on your feet. It’s also leans heavily on gossip/dirt and I cant help but shake the feeling we don’t quite get the full story. 3.5 stars/5.