Lita Ford has looked back at her early days with the Runaways, noting that the all-female band had to push past sexist prejudices to make a name for themselves.
“We were before our time, for sure,” Ford explained during an appearance on The Kenny Aronoff Sessions podcast. “There were no women in the audience at all. There were most definitely no kids in the audience. When we played the festivals, it was pretty much a big sea of denim and leather. And we were young, and people looked at us like tits and ass. But then when they heard us play, it just did something to them and they got excited. We were just before our time.”
The Runaways’ classic lineup featured Ford alongside Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Jackie Fox and Sandie West. Being an all-female group in a male-dominated industry put a chip on Ford’s shoulder, one she admitted she later had to let go of.
“I felt like I had to compete with every male musician in the music industry. Not just the ones that were on the Top 10 Billboard 100 or whatever. I felt like, ‘I have to play as good as him. Or as good as my favorite record,’” Ford explained. “And then as time went on, I started being onstage with these guys and in studios with these guys and jamming backstage with these guys. And I’m thinking ‘I can’t let them scare me just because they’re a guy. They’re just guitar players.’ And so, I kind of put that whole thing out of my head. ‘You’re a girl, he’s a guy.’ No, no, that doesn’t apply anymore. I’m not afraid of you.”
You can watch the interview below.
One other area of rock stardom was “completely different” for the Runaways in comparison to their male counterparts: groupies.
“I think a lot of the guys were afraid of me,” Ford noted. “And they wanted to talk to me and they wanted to put their hands on me, but didn’t. You know, this is me. A lot of the other girls [in the Runaways] were not into men, so they had women groupies. And it was different for them. But that left more guys for me. So what would happen is I would end up going with one of the musicians. Like the Sex Pistols came around a few times. And just different musicians that would come around, the Ramones. And you would just end up having fun for the night and moving on. But they were the ones that could relate, and the groupies were just scared.”
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