Just before Christmas 2009 KISS ARMY AUSTRALIA once again spoke to Ron Bumblefoot Thal of Guns 'n' Roses.
* It has been about 2 years since the KAA last spoke to you. What have you been up to in that time and what are your plans for the future both within the GNR camp and your solo activities?
2 years... that went quick! OK, in late '07 I started working on the 'Abnormal' CD, put that out mid- '08. 'Chinese Democracy' came out in Nov '08 and I did an acoustic album 'Barefoot' that came out in Dec '08. In early '09 I spent a few months in LA working with GNR, prepping for future touring. Took a break from that and toured the Summer with Lita Ford, then continued in the Fall with GNR, tweaking the live show, and we did some shows in Asia in Dec '09. I came home, caught a cold, took some NyQuil and started answering these questions... haha. Did some TV and radio appearances too, some gigs and jams, guest spots on albums, some mixing and mastering of bands... been a busy 2 years.
* As a teenager, did you ever think you would be seeing KISS live on their 35th anniversary tour and having their highest charting album ever at this stage of their career?
Ya can't expect that for any band, ya never can predict a band's lifespan. It's great that KISS could make that happen, very happy for them.
* Sonic Boom has been out now for almost 2 months. What are your impressions of the album? Did it live up the pre-release hype of being "like a 70's KISS album" to you?
It definitely had more of that vibe, it had more of what I loved about KISS's music growing up.
* Ace Frehley has also recently released Anomaly, his first solo album in 20 years. What are your thoughts on this album?
Loved it. Was like the Ace solo album continued, totally dug it. And the packaging with the fold-out pyramid, excellent!
* Ace has mentioned that on his upcoming 2010 Australian Tour he might play some Ace songs from the KISS catalogue that have never or rarely been play lived, like "Talk To Me", and "Dark Light." What obscure ACE songs from the KISS catalogue would you like to hear Ace do live?
I don't know, to me none of them are obscure, they're all stand-out songs... maybe Strange Ways? Getaway? But to KISS fans these songs aren't very obscure. How about Torpedo Girl, or Save Your Love...
* How much KISS merchandise and memorabilia do you have on display in your house?
Right now none, the cats would eat them. But I had all the posters and dolls and the KISS Army sticker on my door, tour books, the Phantom movie, haha...
* GNR are heading out on the road again soon, and Sebastian Bach is once again supporting GNR this time for the Canadian Tour. Sebastian is a HUGE KISS fan. Do you and Sebastian talk about KISS? Have you ever been to Sebastian's house and checked out his awesome KISS collection? If not, would you like to?
Sebastian and I have spoken about KISS - one time we were both on Eddie Trunk's radio show we called Ace from the show, on-air, just thanking and praising the dude up and down like two little kids, lol. But it's true man, KISS was the inspiration, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if it wasn't for KISS doing what they do so well. I live about a half-hour from Sebastian but have never been to his house.
* It has been just over 1 year since Chinese Democracy was released. How do you feel about the album now and what impressions of the album have you received from fans after this time?
It's a unique album unlike any other - you've got years of amazing contributions orchestrated together into this intense listen. I don't know if people were ready for it, but it seems that as time goes on the music is sinking in and people are 'getting it'. It was great to be on tour and have audiences cheer for the new songs and sing along.
* Can you add anything to the rumors and statements attributed to Axl regarding more GNR albums coming out in the not to distant future (Less than 15 years wait)?
For now I'm just thinkin' about the upcoming tours and supporting 'Chinese'...
* What is your favorite song to play live when on tour with GNR? Which song do you think gets the best fan reaction live?
Of the new stuff we played 13 out of 14 songs, and it's hard to say which got the biggest reaction - Chinese, Street Of Dreams, those two definitely... the classic hits like Sweet Child, Jungle, those get a reaction... my favorites to play? I can't pick. I just love to play. As long as I'm playin', I love what I'm playin' at that moment.
Above: Ron playing live with Guns N Rose on December 19th 2009 at the TOKYO DOME.
* While playing with GNR if you could do a KISS song live what song would you pick and why?
The band has jammed to some KISS songs at rehearsals, usually I'll bust 'em out - I remember doing Parasite, C'Mon & Love Me, Take Me, I Want You, Detroit, just pullin' anything out of the air. I would do the first five studio albums in their entirety. Why? Because they fucking kick ass.
* Countless musicians have mentioned in interviews that as they were growing up they often wondered what it would like to be in KISS. If you had the opportunity to be in the band with your own character what would you be?
That's a tough one...! I never pictured myself being in KISS, always enjoyed them for what they are, wouldn't have wanted to change anything. If they asked me to join and I had to have my own make-up...? The obnoxious part of me wants to just say "I'd paint my face like a chicken and be the COCK." But I'm not gonna say that. The easy way out would be the whole "Bumble"-foot thing and do bee-like stripes, but that's not KISS-worthy. I can't think of one thing - I don't want to be in KISS, I want KISS to be KISS and to enjoy what they do from the outside.
* Since joining KISS, Tommy Thayer has copped a lot of heat over wearing Ace Frehley's make-up and costume design. If you were asked to join the band on the condition you wear the existing make-up and costumes would you do it?
Props to Tommy for not letting the heat get the best of him. It's just rock n' roll, they're just making music, no need to find a crime in it. Just enjoy what they're doing. Would I do it? Only if I can wear Gene's make-up, his was my favorite, haha. But I wouldn't want Gene to leave - there would have to be two Gene's in the band, haha.
Happy Holidays, see ya in 2010!