I love writing about hometown heroes, I was born and raised in
New York, coming to California in 1990, as a writer, I always
feel a bit nostalgic for the NY music scene and all that comes
with the dream of the “Rock & Roll” life. I often find that one
or two people from my point of departure are doing well and I
will do everything I can to help spread the gospel of rock where
and when I can, so it is with great pleasure that I get to relay
to you the interview I just finished with someone who deserves
every bit of love one can muster.
Thal, better known as “Bumblefoot” is such the homespun legend
which I enjoy talking about with our readers. Guitarist,
songwriter, recording artist and producer has done more in his
career than most would dream of, yet his humble nature and
devotion to his family and fans is amazing and should be
mirrored by many in his position.
Since the early 90s, Thal has released 10 CDs and a live DVD. He
has appeared as a guest performer on other albums and on
numerous compilations CD’s. Thal has been the feature artist for
many national and international publications and radio. Over the
past twenty years, Thal has also worked with numerous bands and
artists as producer, engineer, writer, arranger, and performer.
He also writes TV jingles, theme songs, and background music.
After an expansive tour, I had the chance to converse with
Bumblefoot via email, he has just returned from an engagement in
Europe and was able to share with me his thoughts on some topic
that I feel most interviewers don’t take time to notice about
the artist, the man, we all respect so much.
How did you get started and what was your first influence to get
your interested in music ?
I started young, I was age 5 and
heard the KISS “Alive!” album and immediately knew I wanted to
be a musician. A year later I had a band, we were writing songs,
playing shows, making recordings, designing merch, doing
everything a band does. And never stopped…
IPM: Who were some of your
musical Idols and Influences?
KISS and the Beatles were my
biggest inspirations, but there was so much great music coming
out all the time in the late ’70s, there was no escape from
inspiring music. Over time, as metal arrived, and technical
guitar heroes, it was players like Eddie Van Halen that made me
want to push the boundaries…
IPM: Did you have any
obstacles in music, if so, how did you overcome them?
There are always obstacles in
music and in life, those never end. There will always be
challenges, try to keep a good spirit, focus on solutions, and
don’t give up.
IPM: Bumblefoot, you must be
the most humble man in music, your posts on social media,
especially Facebook and Instagram, you say more about other
artists, praise your friends and associates, and you have shown
a deep and loving devotion to your wife. In an industry that
seems to breed self-involved megalomaniacs, you have stayed a
“Humble Bumble”, what and why don’t you bump up your ego?
You’re too kind! The world is
full of good people and infinite things to discover… we’re all
‘works in progress’ and do what we can to better ourselves. It
takes making mistakes to learn from…
IPM: I know you have been
asked this before, but just for any of our readers that are new
to your music, how did you get the nick name “Bumblefoot”?
’90s, my girlfriend was in Veterinary school, I was helping her
study, one of the animal diseases was called ‘Bumblefoot’. I
wrote a song called Bumblefoot, when I got my first record deal
I made it the theme song and called the album ‘The
Adventures Of Bumblefoot’ ,
married my girlfriend, started releasing albums under the band
name ‘Bumblefoot’, and after years of fronting the band as the
singer, lead guitarist, songwriter, the band name acted more as
a musical nickname…
IPM: You have worked with many
great artists on their albums and projects, several for charity,
what are some of your most special memories?
One of my favorites was playing
with Nancy Sinatra; we did a set of music as part of a benefit
concert for Oxfam’s Tsunami Relief. Another time accompanying
Allen Toussaint on stage at the Music Rising “Icons of Music”
benefit show for musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina. There
was a benefit show playing guitar with Turkish composer Fahir
Atakoglu and his orchestra for the Earthquake Relief Fund, So
many special memories.
IPM: So, what’s coming up for
Bumblefoot, any new studio projects you would like to share.
I have just released the new
music video to the song “Don’t Know Who to Pray To Anymore” from
the latest Bumblefoot album “Little
Brother Is Watching”, it’s on YouTube and I’m working on
some new songs with Art Of Anarchy, demos for the next album.
Also producing and laying guitar tracks for the rap metal
collaboration of DMC / Generation Kill. And more plans for 2016…
IPM: Bumblefoot, recently you
were in Europe, specifically France, which just had a terrible
ordeal. Many have reached out to Paris, “The City of Love”,
especially musicians since some incidents involved Musicians /
Nightclubs. As an artist and a real humanitarian, what are your
thoughts on this terrible tragedy, and in what way should we, in
the music community do to help the victims of this, and other
It was such a shock, so
unexpected, and so tragic, just heartbreaking. No one should
ever go through what they’ve gone through In Paris, and in
Beirut. The music community can do what it does best, we can
unite in support of those who need it, and be there however we
can for those suffering losses.
IPM: all said and done, at the
end of a long day, after performing for the masses at your shows
and seeing the faces of you fans up close, what is your favorite
joy in performing?
The joy in performing is making
people happy, lifting their spirits. Very simple; I don’t want
to divulge anyone’s personal experience or story we shared, but
there have been a lot of wonderful times. Sometimes I’d set up
random contests for fans to get backstage passes and hang out
with the band, or if fans were waiting before a show I’d take
them on a tour of the stage, sometimes give random guitar
lessons or have dinner together. One time in Rio after a show
got cancelled due to extreme weather, a big crowd of us spent
two hours on the stairs singing and playing acoustic guitar
together, things like that are very special moments. I have half
a room in my house filled with beautiful thoughtful gifts from
people I’ve met while on tour – I’ll always cherish the
wonderful times we’ve had, and will have.
Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal is one of the greats, he has created for
himself, and his fans an image of what a rock star could be
given the chance to shine in the light of his own work and
words. It has been a great privilege to be able to bring this
interview to you and a great honor to be witness to his music.
Check out Bumblefoot’s music and his adventures on these web
sites and social media outlets.
Originally posted at