Dubai: In a 2011 interview to Guitar World magazine, his
fellow Guns N’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba described Ron
‘Bumblefoot’ Thal as “just insane on guitar”. Listen to his
his 1995 debut studio album The
Adventures of Bumblefoot or
his fretless solo in Rhode
Island Shred on
guitar guru Guthrie Govan’s 2006 album Erotic
Cakes, and one gets a sense how “insane” he can get. He
has just wrapped up the 2014 Guitar Gods Tour of North
America sharing the bill with none other than guitar maestro
Yngwie Malmsteen, and this Friday he plays Dubai’s Music
Room with local outfit Point Of View.
Ron is no stranger to the UAE. He has performed at Yas
Island twice with GN’R – December 2010 and March 2013 – but
what has caught the attention of music fans and the industry
in the region is his endorsement of Dubai-based hard rock
band Point of View. Ron flew down to Dubai in October 2012
to play at POV’s debut album (Revolutionize
the Revolutionary) launch gig at Hard Rock Café.
Subsequently, Ron and POV toured India together. And this
weekend, Dubai fans have much to look forward to as they
come together again and with POV set to introduce new
material from their next album.
This time around, however, Ron has a packed schedule. Apart
from the gig with POV on August 1 he will be launching the
Middle East’s first outlet of Classic Rock Coffee in Dubai
on July 31. He will also be introducing his award-winning
Bumblefoot line of hot sauces exclusively at the outlet.
Then on August 2 he will conduct a guitar workshop, also at
the same venue. Ahead of all that action, XPRESS managed to
get Ron talking on topics ranging from what fans can expect
at the gig to what’s new with GN’R to his all-time dream
Excerpts from the interview:
What will fans get to hear at your gig with Point of View at
the Music Room in Dubai? While the audience will obviously
scream for GN’R songs, will you be playing be stuff from
your solo projects as well?
It’s always a good feeling together with the Point Of View
guys, looking forward to getting together again! We’ll be
playing a combination of POV songs, Bumblefoot songs, some
GN’R songs. I have 20 years of releases of my own music, and
I want people to know my music – I want to connect with
everyone with my music. We’ll have a moment in the show to
do this, as well as during the guitar workshop the next day;
I’ll play some of my crazier instrumental songs to backing
You have released a series of singles in the recent past.
Are you working any new solo album now?
I’m in the studio right now laying down ideas to a new song,
for the next Bumblefoot album. I’ve been writing songs
throughout the year, and recording every chance between
touring... (http://instagram.com/p/nwWUwLEX3g/ ~ video clip
of recording ideas at the studio).
What’s happening on the GN’R front? Any hints on when the
next album is due? How much work has been done?
We just released Appetite For Democracy 3D, the first
official live concert film since 1992’s Use Your Illusion
concert video. It’s a 3D concert from a 2012 show in Las
Vegas, just released July 1. It includes the GN’R band
performing one of my original songs Objectify (from the
Bumblefoot Abnormal album).
Which is your favourite GN’R song to play live? And why?
I always liked the song Shackler’s Revenge off the Chinese
Democracy album. I play a bigger role in this song, I’m
playing my own guitar parts I wrote and recorded for the
song, on fretted and fretless guitar, while singing a good
bit of backing vocals live. It keeps me busy on stage, fun
song to play.
You shared the bill with Yngwie Malmsteen during the Guitar
Gods Tour 2014. What was it like playing with Malmsteen?
What’s your take on critics who think he’s overrated?
Yngwie is an absolute “powerhouse”. Phenomenal player with
an incredible band. Enjoyed the conversations and jams we
Any chances of bringing the Guitar Gods Tour to the Middle
East in the near of far future?
I don’t know what the future will bring, but I certainly
want to come back as soon as my new album is finished...!
I’ll be back one way or another.
Staying with Guitar Gods, what’s your view on shredding?
Some say it’s devoid of emotion while others say its appeal
suffered a major blow in the 90s with the rise of grunge and
nu metal. Is it here to stay?
Popular trends will always change as technology changes; and
as conditions of society change, people need a musical voice
that will speak for them, say what they want to say. And
this changes over time. But nothing goes away, there is
still an audience for ‘shred guitar’ music, same as jazz,
blues, funk, punk, metal, EDM, hip-hop, everything. All
styles exist for the select people who enjoy them.
From the history of rock music, which vocalist, bassist and
drummer would you pick as bandmates for your dream band?
Always a difficult question… would be a band of 50 people
where I don’t play – I just sit back and watch them, haha.
OK, I’ll pick people I haven’t played with... vocals – Eric
Adams (Manowar), drums – Neil Peart (Rush), bass – Flea (Red
Hot Chili Peppers).
The double-neck guitar (one fretless, the other fretted) has
become synonymous with you. Do you feel restricted in your
expression when you are not playing your double-neck Vigier?
I’ve been using the fretless so much more now that I have
the double-neck and don’t have to choose between a fretted
guitar and a fretless guitar, I do miss that second fretless
neck when it’s not there.
Your thoughts on these guitarists: Derek Trucks, Shawn Lane
and Guthrie Govan (we hope you play your Rhode Island Shred
solo at the upcoming gig).
Derek Trucks: He
takes slide guitar and turns it into the most beautiful soul
singer. His fingers truly have a magical voice.
Shawn Lane: Mind-boggling
Guthrie Govan: My
friend, of whom I continue to have the utmost respect for
and am always inspired by, the best at what he does, whom I
miss, wish well, and hope to see soon!
CLASSIC ROCK COFFEE
Located at Dubai Healthcare City, Building 33, Oud Metha,
Classic Rock Coffee promises to be the most chilled out
place for lovers of classic rock music – and fresh coffee.
The Classic Rock Coffee management says it specialises in
fresh coffee, roasted and perfected to one’s taste using a
handmade manual machine, and all Classic Rock Coffee outlets
roast their coffee fresh at the store. Café attractions at a
glance: Monthly live gigs, classic rock merchandise, LP
stations, classic rock library, classic rock compilations
and lots more.
BUMBLEFOOT HOT SAUCES
Ron has developed a line of Bumblefoot hot sauces that are
all natural, contain no preservatives, gluten free, peanut
allergy safe, with flavours ranging from mild cherry bourbon
“Bumblicious!” to sweet and fiery “BumbleBabe”. Proceeds
from the “BumbleBabe” sauce are donated to women’s health
organisations. All hot sauces are available online from the
BumbleStore, shipped worldwide, and now exclusively at
Classic Rock Coffee.
July 31, 7pm: Classic Rock Coffee launch by Ron Thal
followed by Meet-N-Greet, acoustic gig featuring Ron
Thal and POV
Where: Dubai Healthcare City, Oud Metha
Call: 050-656 0113
August 1, 9pm: Ron Thal with POV. Also featuring Behold
Where: Music Room, Dubai
Call: 04-359 8888/050-113 9873
August 2, 6pm: Guitar workshop featuring Ron Thal,
McDaddy, KV & Rohit Joseph. An impromptu jam amongst
attendees would be the grand finale for the night
Where: Classic Rock Coffee, Dubai Healthcare City
Call: 050-656 0113
Ron on POV’s second album
Nik, the frontman of POV, tells XPRESS what’s it
like playing with Bumblefoot and more:
You guys have toured with Ron in the past. Tell us
what is it like sharing the stage with one of the
world’s top guitarists? Do you feel intimidated or
does he just play like one of the guys?
POV: Thanks to the awesome guy that Ron is, he has
never let us feel intimidated. Yes, we do feel
nervous as it’s the mighty ‘Bumblefoot’ on stage
with us after all. But most of all we feel inspired
This is your third gig with him in Dubai. What new
should fans look forward to at this concert?
We know his songs, he knows our songs and we all
know GN’R songs. So it’s a party at the end of the
day. Point Of View is also showcasing a new song
from the new album. The song is called Miss Divine.
Will you be touring again with Ron Thal? When and
Bahrain seems like an early possibility.
When is POV’s second album coming out?
Does Ron feature in it?
He is definitely there in the album. We are already
working on a track.