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JUL 5-9, 2021
Instructor & performer at
Great Guitar Escape
Glen Cove, NY


Ron Thal, "The Adventures Of Bumblefoot"

Artist: Ron Thal
Title: The Adventures Of Bumblefoot
Label: Shrapnel Records
Selection#: SH-1078-4
UPC# 0-26245-10784-7
Release: May 1995

Track Listing

Blue Tongue
Q Fever
Strawberry Footrot
Malignant Carbuncle
Fistulous Withers
*shell on the sand

About the CD

The concept started in a small room in North Carolina in 1993.  I was helping my girlfriend study veterinary medicine when I came across a disease that turkeys get called Ulcerative Pododermatitis, also known as Bumblefoot. One of the treatments for this disease was to rub hemorrhoid creme on the bird's foot and wrap it in a ball bandage.  I found this inspiring.  Every song on the CD is named after an animal disease, and there are characters scattered throughout the cover art that represent each disease/song.

About the cover art...   upon using the accompanying bathroom to that room in North Carolina for any extended period of time, my girlfriend would draw pictures of dogs vomiting and birds rendered unconscious from the smell of what I was doing in there (or so it was implied) and slip them under the door.  She would draw scenarios with caricatures of me as a giant ass that met a skinny neck and head with a giant nose and one eyebrow. Many of these ideas found their way onto the cover.  I spent many weeks sitting in front of my Windows 3.11 PC staring at my foot, plotting lines on Corel Draw4 making the artwork.

I recorded everything at home, all the equipment was set up in my parent's basement in a little area along the wall - a seat, 2 ADATs, 2 compressors and 2 FX processors in a rack with a mixing board on top, a pair of headphones, and a guitar amp with a mic in front, and a blanket over it.  Five feet away was the big noisy air-conditioning unit for the house, and it was a hot Summer. So I'd start recording, the AC would kick on, and I'd have to stop and wait for it to shut off. Then I'd start up again, and go through the same thing. Once in a while I'd sneak upstairs and turn the thermostat up to 90F degrees and get a good batch of recording in, until I'd hear my mom's voice from the floor above, “Why is it so hot in the house?”, followed soon after by “Who turned the thermostat up to 90?!?!” “....RONALD!!!”  I'd stop recording, get yelled at, then I'd continue recording.  (And I'd sneak upstairs and turn the thermostat back up again...)  I did all the punch-ins with a footswitch while I was playing.  I didn't have any speakers, and recorded and mixed the entire record using a 10-year old pair of $20 headphones.

A few of the songs were already around. Malignant Carbuncle was recorded in Dec. '91 as part of an instructional tape for Shrapnel Records that didn't get released. Blue Tongue was written in 1989, I had a few demo versions of it - the version on the Adventures album was first released May '92 on a guitar comp CD for Legato Records (the song was alternately called 'The Shuck Duffle'). The title track 'Bumblefoot' was released May '93 by the same label for another guitar comp CD. I started writing and recording the rest in the Summer of 1994. The first song I recorded was Strawberry Footrot - I had sinusitis and laid down a track of moans of discomfort - I built the solo around it later. The original name of Strangles was Bastard Strangles. The high-pitched squeak at the end of the solo in Orf was from the side of my hand accidentally touching the high E-string while I was sliding a 9-volt battery down the neck. At the last minute, 2 songs were pulled off the CD and I quickly wrote Ick, Rinderpest, and Q Fever. I borrowed an $85 beginners' nylon-string guitar from a music store I gave guitar lessons at to record Ick. There was a flat fret that farted out on the 4th string (9th fret) - you can hear it if you listen for it (at 0:29 seconds.)  Recording was finished October '94.

There are two bonus tracks on the album - one is a vocal song recorded when I was 17 about the polluted fish in the surrounding waters of Staten Island NY; the other is a poem where I took the words and converted them into a music code played on the guitar instead of being spoken.

Bumblefoot on the Web

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