'80s hard rock queen Lita Ford has added another dimension to her upcoming tour by enlisting fellow guitar giant Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (GUNS N' ROSES) to duty by playing in her backing band.
"I'm really looking forward to getting out on the road with Bumblefoot," says Lita, who'll break a 15-year touring hiatus with the jaunt, which will be preceded by a slew of festival dates both in the states and in Europe. "It only took a couple of practices before we really connected — and that hardly ever happens. I've played with some terrific musicians, but this combination is really something special."
Lita should know something about the qualities that make a musician special. Throughout a career that stretches back to her mid-'70s work with groundbreaking all-female punk pioneers THE RUNAWAYS, she's been acknowledged as a masterful string-slinger by dedicated fans and peers alike, with nods from the folks at the Grammy Awards and seven Metal Edge Readers' Choice Awards, among other kudos.
She opted to put that part of her life on hold in the mid-'90s, however, when she married fellow rocker Jim Gillette (best known for his work in NITRO) and concentrated on raising sons James and Rocco. The family went about as far from the glammy Hollywood rock lifestyle as possible — moving to a quiet Caribbean island where tending gardens and fishing replaced headbanging and crafting guitar solos as pastimes.
"We're at a point where we can take the kids out with us, and let them be part of the action," says Lita, who proudly points out that her sons have never spent a night in the company of a nanny or a babysitter. "My oldest is a really tough, cool kid. He's 12 and he loves being a roadie — he'll run across stage with my Gibson and work the place like a total professional."
Bumblefoot, of course, brings his own unique brand of professionalism to the mix. After more than a decade of winning fans and influencing players as a solo artist and session musician, the New Yorker bulldozed his way into mainstream consciousness as one of the guitarists on GUNS 'N ROSES' "Chinese Democracy" — a gig that didn't get in the way of his own prodigious release schedule, documented at www.bumblefoot.com.
"I was so impressed by the different styles I heard from him," says Lita, by way of explaining her decision to team with Bumblefoot. "He can be really heavy one minute and totally subtle the next. It gives us an extra dimension."
Lita and her band — besides Bumblefoot, the crew includes TRIXTER bassist PJ Farley, drummer Dennis Leeflang and keyboardist Michael T. Ross — will treat fans to an incendiary blend of classics from her catalog and soon-to-be fan favorites from her loud 'n' lusty new album, "Wicked Wonderland", which is set for release this fall.
"Getting out on the road again is gonna be such a trip," says Lita. "It's not like getting back on a bicycle — it's more like going back to the gym and starting to really work out again after a long break. But I'm definitely in shape and back up to lifting the heavy weights again. It's gonna be a blast for everyone."
Lita Ford took part in a press conference on June 5 at the Sweden Rock festival in Sölvesborg, Sweden. Watch the question-and-answer session in two parts below.