In a revealing new interview with music writer Joel Gausten, ’80s hard rock queen Lita Ford discusses a number of topics including her new album, “Time Capsule”, her feud with Kenny Laguna (who manages her fellow former RUNAWAYS member Joan Jett) and her response to comments posted online against her after she revealed the details of her allegedly abusive relationship with BLACK SABBATH‘s Tony Iommi in her recently released memoir, “Living Like A Runaway”. Excerpts from the extensive chat appear below.
On negative online comments about her revelations regarding her relationship with Tony Iommi:
Lita: “First of all, I don’t read that crap, because it is crap and they don’t know the true story unless they’ve read the book or have been there themselves… I had been beaten up severely; the guy almost killed me. A lot of it maybe could have been his drug problem. He was taking mass quantities of drugs like you wouldn’t fucking believe, on an Elvis Presley level. Jars and jars of downers… He would buy hundreds of dollars’ worth of cocaine on a daily basis. There are different kinds of abuse, and people need to realize that. There’s sexual abuse, there’s mental and emotional abuse — where people say really horrible things to you — and then there’s physical abuse, where someone just turns around and hits you. Tony was physically abusive. He was not verbally abusive [or] sexually abusive; he was just physically abusive. I’m not making it up; I couldn’t possibly make up a story like that. I’m not that good of a liar… He had choked me unconscious — true story, like it or not. I woke up, and he was in a rage. I bolted for the door. He was not dressed; he was in his underwear, so he wasn’t going to follow me out into the hallway. I’m sure that I’m not the first woman that he’s done this to. Maybe his wife who he was with before he was with me… I’m sure she’s been pushed around. But I was in love with Tony. He was my everything; he was my world, my idol, my lover. I was going to marry him; I was engaged. I didn’t know anything about an abusive relationship. I had never been in one before. I asked my mother; I actually lied to my mother and I said, ‘Mom, I’ve got a girlfriend whose boyfriend hit her.’ And she said [mimicking a thick Italian accent], ‘Lita, he do it once, he do it again.’ I just went, ‘Oh my God.’ He had done it more than once, and I knew that it was only a matter of time; I needed to get out of there. Thank God we weren’t married and we had no kids, so I packed up and left. I’m sorry for the people who love Tony, but nobody loved him as much as I did, and I’m the one who suffered from it. I went into like a post-traumatic stress [scenario] because of what he did. It affected me in a huge, huge way. I went out and got that tattoo on my shoulder with the dragon and the guitar. It was a rebellious thing; I didn’t even want a tattoo. He wouldn’t let me drink alcohol, but he can do all these drugs. That was okay, but he wouldn’t let me have a glass of wine. When we split up, I went on a drinking binge, just because Tony said I couldn’t. If you read his book [2011’s ‘Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell With Black Sabbath’], his chapter about me is only a page and a half. We were together two years, so I don’t know how two years turns into a page and a half — probably because he doesn’t remember half of it.”
On Joan Jett‘s apparent reluctance to reform THE RUNAWAYS:
Lita: “It’s her managers; it’s not her. They have an issue with me; they always have… Right from the moment THE RUNAWAYS broke up, they just put up a brick wall and said, ‘You are not coming anywhere near our Joan.’ I thought, ‘What?!’ We were sisters in THE RUNAWAYS; we got along great. We were the only two out of the band who never argued; we never fought and never had a cross word to each other, ever. And then there’s this guy all of a sudden who is telling me basically to go fuck myself — not only that, [but] trying to sabotage my career so Joan can have it all. I personally think the world is big enough for more than one female. We have Chrissie Hynde; we have Pat Benatar. There are so many other females out there, but for some reason, he saw me as a threat to Joan. And I wasn’t. We’re two totally different artists; our music isn’t even alike. We appeal to different audiences. He feels like it’s a competition between us, and he’s turned it into a war. I kept my mouth shut for 30 years while he continued to sabotage my career. He would call photographers, he would call video directors [and] he would call booking agents and say things like, ‘If you put Lita Ford on that tour, you will never work with Joan Jett again.’ Nine times out of 10, the people would tell him to go screw off and they would do it anyway. But there were a couple of times that really fucked me up. It’s like, ‘Dude, focus on your own artist and leave me alone!’ He’s still doing it today. It’s retarded. I love the girl; I want to work with her, and I think now’s a great time if we did work together. So it’s him, not Joan.”
The complete interview is available at JoelGausten.com.
Photo credit: Dustin Jack