Microfono Blvd. (Spain)
Original English interview, May 2010:
Before anything, thanks for your kindness!
Gracias, thank *you*!!
How do you feel of touring again all over the world?
It feels better than ever. Everything feels right.
Is it different this tour with the Chinese Democracy album out than the tour of 2006?
It's so much better now, it feels like it should. I have my own definite guitar parts from the album to play, and all other definite parts, I have the gear, the double-neck guitar, we had time to coordinate our guitar parts, vocal harmonies, it feels like home now.
How was it to play for Lita Ford in 2009?
It was a lot of laughing and good times, spontaneous jamming and trading solos with Lita and her amazing keyboardist (Michael T. Ross). It was organic, it had been a long time since touring like that. With GNR, I have custom-molded in-ear monitors and custom song mixes and our own monitor engineer for the band, wireless for each guitar, a personal tech who assists greatly and is a strong right hand. And if I try to move gear I get yelled at for it, haha. With Lita, we'd fly out to somewhere in Europe or the mid-West US, I'd bring my guitar with a boost, delay and wah pedal in the case, we'd soundcheck in the morning at the venue, there'd be a guitar cable and a rented amp, a rented back-up guitar, we'd get right on stage and do what we do. We didn't bring our own monitor engineer, so it said in the 'tour rider' that we had to have an engineer that spoke English and didn't leave the soundboard. That didn't always work out too well.... we were playing a metal festival in Europe and I had nothing in my monitors, the sound on stage was like an airplane engine, just loud rumble, couldn't make out anything, not even drums. We were all having a tough time. I was trying to get the engineer's attention, no luck. The drummer was trying to get in touch too and at one point threw a stick at the guy, it went flying past his head and he didn't even notice, he wasn't even watching us. That's when I got my foot under one of the monitors and hurled it right off the front of the stage. Was at least a 10 foot drop, probably more. This was our first overseas gig, Jim (Lita's husband) said to our security guy "Did he just kick that monitor off the stage...?" "Yep." "Haha, cool!!" That got the engineer's attention. He quickly replaced the monitor, the new one seemed to be better. They paid attention after that. On stage it's real easy to go from 1 straight to 10 - there should be a term for it, like 'road rage'. "STAGE RAGE" - there ya go, I hereby define the term... "Stage Rage". Hey, let's use it in a sentence. [Begin rant] Sorry about the STAGE RAGE but c'mon man, read the fucking 'tour rider' and try to pretend you give a fuck - we're depending on you to not fuck us, so that we don't fuck the audience with a lesser performance. Fuck me and I'll fuck you harder. [/End rant] Not the first time I had Stage Rage. Axl started calling me "Shank" in 2006 due to my fucking Stage Rage, haha. The cover of my "Abnormal" CD, the guy who's head is a bomb about to go off, with his fingers in his ears...... Stage Rage.
You're very kind with the fans, always signing autographs, taking pictures, etc. How do you feel about that?
That's how I want to be. What is the main reason you perform, entertain? To make people happy, inspire them, to elevate them, to connect each other, to share the same sense of being, the same spirit. So if someone wants to take a photo together, if it's that easy to make some happy, I'm happy to do it. And I appreciate it. Sometimes it's not the best time, when I haven't slept in 30 hours and need to get up to my hotel room or to catch a plane. Sometimes family will visit on tour and my main concern is their comfort, giving them my attention. Sometimes I want to eat or sleep without someone 20 feet away filming me, haha. Sometimes I'm just feeling overwhelmed with life and worn down. But when we're on tour, I never forget that the tour exists because the fans care, their support is what makes it happen. So I make the time for them, whenever I can. It's the least I can do to let them know personally how grateful I am for all they've done.
Changing subject what type of guitar do you prefer, a custom one made by yourself or a Gibson Les Paul?
Les Paul's will always be a classic, but I gotta go with the custom guitars. I've been with Vigier Guitars since 1997, they make all my guitars, the fretless, double-neck, the old 'Flying Foot' guitar, and they all feel great on the hands. There's no truss rod in their necks - instead there's a strip of graphite rock that keeps the necks straight. They never need adjusting, no matter what the temperature and humidity is, the necks are always perfect.
You han been doing many records over the years, but in 2008 you released Barefoot that is an acoustic one, how was it to make that change?
I'm always playing acoustic guitar, I just never did an album of it. I had released "Abnormal", "Chinese Democracy" was about to come out, it felt like a good time to do it. I took songs from my previous albums, and came up with acoustic arrangements of the songs - some stayed close to the original vibe, others were like re-writing the song. There was more room for dynamics vocally, it was the easiest time I ever had making an album. I recorded 4 songs, and took requests from my forum for the last song to record, and started the album with the song they chose.
Is difficult to play in a stage with other 7 musicians?
No, that's easy. Trying to play *Twister* with them is really tough.
What is the difference of working with a band than your guests appearances in other artists records?
Every band or artist I do something with is different, they're all different from each other. Different energy, different situation, different desire for what they want their sound to be. I've been in bands as the writer, singer, guitarist, also as a co-writer of the songs, or just writing guitar parts, or sometimes not playing at all. Sometimes I'm the producer, it's like being a 'music manager' where I oversee every aspect of their music, or maybe just certain aspects, from the start of songwriting, to the final mastering. Usually it's 'hands-on' where I'm engineering, getting sounds, making creative decisions, orchestrating the harmonies and arrangement of parts, which instruments are used and how they should sound. Then there's the most important, capturing the right performance - it's about the passion, the imperfection, the human inconsistency, capturing a moment that may never happen the same way. Sometimes it's about going for perfection and stability. It depends. The song is the boss, we all work for the song. Other times, maybe I'm just playing a guest guitar solo on someone's record - then it's just 30 seconds, or whatever it is, where I listen to the song, get a feeling and just play, and see what develops.
To be a part of the Chinese Democracy era, finally get the record out how does it make you feel as a musician?
It's a unique historic album, I'm proud to be part of it, proud to be in the company of the great people on that album.
What are your favorite bands of all time?
The Beatles and Manowar. Also the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Frankie Valli, old KISS, Led Zep, AC/DC, Queen, Sex Pistols, Priest, Maiden, Ozzy, Yes, the Who, Floyd, Ramones, Faith No More, Soundgarden, Rage Against the Machine, Foo Fighters, I'm forgetting a bunch of bands... I think Muse "Absolution" is one of the best albums of the 2000's.
Which new bands have you listened recently?
I've actually listened to a lot of CDs from local bands while touring, bands that gave me their CDs, bands that opened for us, Danko Jones, Khallice, a lot of cool bands... last album I listened to from beginning to end was Fozzy's new album, great stuff!
What is the main difference of work with a international label than with you own (Bumblefoot Music LLC)?
My label is more of just a business name for whatever I do. Really, the label is "Bald Freak Music", started by another 'Ron', Ron Scalzo. He's a musician I've worked with since '96, he started Bald Freak 5 or 6 years ago and we've done this bartering system where he takes care of my distro and bizz, and I take care of the label's musical needs, mixing and mastering, co-writing and performing, things like that. Over the last few years, as we've both had our own various growth spurts it's been more like a see-saw, more of a challenge to keep balanced. But we always find a way. In the past my luck was not so good with labels, usually ended with a sour taste in everyone's mouths. Over the years it's improved. My first album, 'The Adventures Of Bumblefoot' - it was released in 1995 by Shrapnel Records (Roadrunner Records in Europe & Japan), it was an instrumental guitar-oriented album. It's been out-of-print since 1997, people were paying up to $150 for copies of it on eBay. This year Shrapnel is re-releasing the album. They agreed to have me sell autographed copies of the album at BaldFreak.com, and I'll donate $5 from each autographed album to Multiple Sclerosis research. I also made a transcription book of the album - all the TAB, notation, picking, fingers, for every track of every song. It's 200 pages, took 6 months to write. That will be available at Bald Freak also, right now we're checking out printers to manufacture the books, and hopefully everything will be ready by July. I'll be updating everyone on progress through Twitter, Orkut, Facebook and my Forum, and will let everyone know when it's finished, and when it'll be available.
Do you have any cool story that happened during the south american tour?
The whole South & Central American tour is a cool story... a lot of highs and lows, twists and turns, always the unexpected. I can't think of just one, just the acts of kindness throughout the trip. The banners, the gifts - clothes, jewelry, books, CDs, DVDs, maracas, home-made GNR Easter cookies! The big groups of people welcoming us everywhere, hangin' outside the hotels playing songs on the acoustic guitar while the fans all sang. And the greatest shows I've ever been part of. A lot of moments where I felt a bond with everyone, those moments were the best part of the tour for me.
Do you have any plans of release a new album in the near future?
Right now my focus is touring with GNR. I have a tough time writing songs while touring, there's a lot of touring right now, so I think an album will have to wait for a bit. Unless I can force something out, or never leave the hotel room between shows and just stay in and try to write & record ideas. I do have a little batch of songs I wrote and recorded last year, I'm just looking for the right singer for them.
Do you have like a top ten of favorite movies?
That's so tough to answer, I know I'm gonna forget a bunch of movies.... aaahhh!! Hmmm.... I'll think of movies that I've quoted in the last month or two, and movies I have to watch if I'm flipping the channels and they're on... Slingblade, Spinal Tap, Goodfellas, Full Metal Jacket, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, every Will Ferrell movie, Matrix, Austin Powers movies, Quentin Tarantino movies, Wicker Man (1973), The Funhouse (1981), the Omen trilogy, Trilogy Of Terror (1975), Clockwork Orange... I'm sure I'm missing plenty. TV... the Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, the Honeymooners (50's) and my absolute favorite, the original Twilight Zone (1959-1964)
May 6, 2010
Posted at: http://issuu.com/diabloblvd/docs/mb6