Recorded during a period when Lita Ford should have been able to do whatever the hell she wanted—before and after her 1988 platinum smash, Lita—the tracks that make up Time Capsule [SPV/Sledgehammer] were nonetheless abandoned and then forgotten. Fifteen 24-track analog tapes were squirreled away in Ford’s home, imprisoning some wonderful songs, as well as collaborations with Gene Simmons, Bruce Kulick, Dave Navarro, and Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen. Decades later, Ford remembered the tapes, and got to work resuscitating her “little piece of rock and roll history.”
What happened to this project?
What happened was those tracks were considered demos.
Really? They sound like masters.
I know! It’s crazy. I wanted to release them. We gave them to the record label, and they didn’t like them. They wanted The Robb Brothers [owners of Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles] to produce the album. So I ended up sticking the tracks in my closet, and they just sat there all these years.
You’d think that with your burgeoning success back then—especially after Lita delivered two Top Ten hits with “Close My Eyes Forever” and “Kiss Me Deadly”—that the label would be anxious to release anything.
I think it was because I was a female, and, back then, it wasn’t always appropriate for an artist to produce their own stuff. If I was a guy and I went in with these songs, I think they would have accepted them. But for some reason they had it in their heads that I just could not do this, and that I needed somebody who was a known producer to redo the songs. And, in reality, they took my demos and made a mess of them. “Where Will I Find My Heart Tonight” and “Killing Kind” were rerecorded and released, and the rest of the songs disappeared.
Given today’s technology, did you fix any of the old tracks after hearing them again?
Nothing has been changed on that record. It’s pure and real with all the mistakes. We didn’t change a thing. We just remixed the songs to freshen them up.
Do you remember what gear you used to record these tracks?
For the big, crunchy choruses, I would have pulled out one of my BC Rich guitars. For different sounds, I think I played my beautiful black Tele—that’s my perfect “studio only” axe—a ’59 Reissue Stratocaster, and a ’58 Les Paul Junior for slide parts. I vividly remember the engineer freaking out because I had four, 100-watt Marshall JCM 800 half-stacks cranked up in the drum room. The volume coming off those cabinets was scary. He said, “I’m going out to adjust the mic. Don’t hit a note. Don’t hit anything.” I would have blown his head off [laughs]. I also used a 50-watt Soldano and a Fender Vibro-King.
How did you approach your solos for the Time Capsule tracks?
I never worked stuff out. I was very spontaneous back then. I’m still spontaneous.
Also check out Ford’s recent autobiography, Living Like a Runaway. She gives a nice shout out to GP about getting the magazine’s Certified Legend Award.