THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE FOOT
8ballRadio's Monthly Feature Editorial by Q*Ball , August 2002
Let me preface this living tribute to one of my favorite musicians by including the following disclaimer – Bumblefoot is my friend. I have known him for 5 years. He has engineered tracks for many of my musical projects. He plays guitar in my band. He has co-produced, mixed & mastered most of my recent songs. And regardless of all this, I still find him to be the most fascinating & talented musician you’ve never heard of. It’s often sad to find the public’s perception of a “rock star” skewed by turning on a radio station, watching MTV, or reading the latest edition of Rolling Stone or Entertainment Weekly. True, the media’s job is to fuel our perception of who’s hot & who’s not, & what’s in & what’s out – but in the music world, where there are so many of us striving to grab that “rock star” mantle, perhaps the true rock stars are the ones who spend more time honing their craft & gaining the respect of fellow musicians than looking in the mirror. If this is the case, then Bumblefoot surely is one of the biggest rock stars I know. Don’t get me wrong – Bumblefoot understands the game & how it’s played. He uses a stage name to add to his mystique, but that of course, is very “rock star” (see Elvis, Cher, Beck, Moby, etc.). He has a guitar fashioned after a block of Swiss cheese, another as a big cartoonish foot with wings – both created by guitar companies as a tribute to his style & performance. The French worship Bumblefoot, & he often performs to packed houses whenever he tours overseas. Joe Satriani references Bumblefoot in interviews, siting him as an influence. But it’s not all about technique, pomp & circumstance. As a guitarist, Bumblefoot can grind with the best of them. But it’s diversity that separates Bumblefoot from the Satrianis, Steve Howes & John Petruccis of the world. He will perform on an Yngwie Malmsteen tribute album one day & play guitar on a rap record the next. He has no musical boundaries. Bumblefoot is the ultimate crossover artist. He can play multiple instruments (sometimes at the same time). He can rap. He can croon. He is a human karaoke machine, able to play pretty much any song on cue. He can laugh at himself lyrically without having others laugh at him. They marvel at him, instead. He has been involved with artists such as Jessica Simpson & The Backstreet Boys as both a guitarist & producer. This is akin to that brilliant movie director who directs the big-budget sequel to finance his dream film. It’s a necessary evil, gaining him notoriety, contacts & much-needed dollars. Perhaps Bumblefoot’s truest rock star quality is that music is his life. It’s his job, whether as a producer, a writer or a performer. He is a wealth of knowledge & technical expertise. He is personable, helpful to & respectful of fellow musicians. He’s confident in style, flashy in technique & flamboyant in ability. In my book, that’s what being a rock star is all about. But don’t take my word for it (like I said, I’m biased). Visit his website at www.bumblefoot.com & check out his music.