LITA FORD Makes Triumphant Return To The Stage

'80s hard rock queen Lita Ford knows that the best way to deliver a message is in person, and that's exactly what she's been doing on a recently-launched tour that's put her face-to-face with her fans for the first time in nearly 15 years.

The message? Lita is back — and she's louder and prouder than ever!

"I'm totally comfortable onstage with the new band and with Jim singing background vocals, so the whole thing has been great," says Lita, referring to husband and musical collaborator Jim Gillette. "We've put a lot of work into the show and it's turning out to be totally cool — the crowds have been really into it. The response has been overwhelming."

That's not surprising, given the kind of firepower generated by the electrifying guitar tandem of Lita and GUNS N' ROSES axeman Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, who's joined forces with the hard rock queen on this trek. Together, they've been delivering a one-two punch to audiences eager to revisit classics like "Kiss Me Deadly" as well as a selection of tunes from Lita's eagerly awaited comeback disc, "Wicked Wonderland".

"We knew Bumblefoot was an amazing player," says Lita. "But until you start working with somebody, you're never sure if the chemistry is going to be there too. It didn't take long at all to find out that we totally clicked. That was true in the rehearsal studio and it's even more true onstage."

The chemistry extends to the entire touring ensemble — which also includes bassist PJ Farley (best known for his work with TRIXTER) and drummer Dennis Leeflang — but nowhere is it more evident than when she interacts with Gillette, who's breaking his own lengthy stage hiatus on the trek.

"Lita is putting me on a pedestal that has a ramp on it so she can come up and sexually harass me," Gillette says with a laugh. "Maybe I'll be forced to perform a little bondage on her."

That'd be fitting, given the hot and bothered subject matter that permeates the super-charged grooves of songs like the bump and grind blues rocker "Crave" — one of the new tunes Lita and company are spotlighting on the current trek. She plans to work more of the fresh material into the band's live set when they kick things into another gear after the September release of "Wicked Wonderland" — with a ramped-up stage show to match.

"It'll be great to be out on the road for a long run with the whole family," says Lita, noting that sons Rocco and James will be doing their part on the jaunt as well. "My 12-year-old is turning into a really good roadie — and we're going to have the boys open the show with 'The Pledge of Allegiance'. Add in a few lasers and we're totally going to kick ass."

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