(By Baxie) It was Saturday, July 7th 1990. I was just a young, ruggedly handsome buck, working my way into the thrilling annals of Rock & Roll radio. At the time I was working for a radio station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was a mere 24 years old. Lita Ford, who was still riding the wave of her 1988 classics “Kiss Me Deadly” and “When I Close My Eyes Forever”, was just 32. Yes. She was a slightly older woman. Yes. I was an innocent boy who was still impressionable and prone to ignoring the consequences of my words. These would be the very same words that would cause Lita Ford to call me an “asshole” during a live radio broadcast.
In order to understand the situation properly, I need to provide you with some important background. In 1990, Lita had just released the album “Stiletto”–the follow up to her far more successful effort entitled, “Lita”. Why I remember this, I do not know. Never the less, Lita was in town to play at a gigantic summer festival called “Summerfest”. She was on tour to promote the new album. To do this she arrived in town a day early with her husband at the time, Chris Holmes of the 80’s metal band W.A.S.P.. (You may recall that Chris Holmes was featured in the film “The Decline of Western Civilization II” in which he guzzled a bottle of vodka while floating around in a swimming pool. This is the same scene in which he claimed to drink up to five pints of vodka per day….enough vodka to wipe out an entire Russian village) Anyhoo…
In keeping with his reputation, Chris may (or may not) have gotten drunk with Lita and several of my fellow radio station employees the night before the show. Really drunk. Like…there’s a chance that police may (or may not) have placed Chris Holmes into protective custody for his own safety. I should point out, that in order to be placed under protective custody by Milwaukee Police you have to be VERY, VERY drunk. As a result, Lita, allegedly asked these radio station employees to help bail her husband out of jail and take them back to their hotel. The radio station employees (allegedly) obliged.
That brings us to the following afternoon. Lita arrived at the festival grounds hours before her show was about to begin. Chris Holmes was unable to join her. When she arrived, she immediately went to my morning show partner, Dan Hansen, and thanked him for his help the night before. Dan asked if she would be willing to go live on the air. She agreed, just as long as nothing was said about the events of the previous night. We all agreed. Minutes later we began the interview. That’s when things fell apart.
During the interview, Dan asked a number of question about the new album. We asked her about singing with Ozzy Osbourne. We asked her all kinds of pointless questions. And she provided all kinds of pointless answers. To lighten the mood, I asked Lita to join me in a round of bowling. I offered to pay for the first few frames and for the shoe rental. She said no. I then followed that rejection by offering to pay for the first round of drinks. Lita looked at me like I was asking her to donate a kidney. I simply wanted to take Lita Ford out for some bowling. The city was crawling with bowling alleys. Imagine the fun we might have had!
I then offered to pay for extra frames. I also offered to pay for her husband’s bowling shoes whenever he woke up from his nap. It was here where Lita turned to Dan and asked, “Who is this asshole”.
This went live on the air. There was no 6 second delay. It was LIVE! I was a young man who was willing to take money out of my own pocket to pay for a night of fun with a famous filthy-mouthed rock star. Meanwhile, you’ve got a husband sleeping in his own vomit. And yet I’M SOME SORT OF ASSHOLE?!?
So when Lita Ford played the Waterfront in Holyoke last week, I declined to attend that show. I declined to offer her another round of bowling. And I have not spoken to her in 28 years. Granted she wasn’t exactly having a great weekend. But a little graciousness might have gone a long way. Instead, I am left with nothing but pain and resentment towards the events of that day.
(Note: The above picture was taken just moments after Lita Ford called me an asshole. Pictured left to right: The Asshole, Lita, and Dan Hansen, WQFM, Milwaukee, WI 1990)