Bumblefoot interview at
(French website created by members of the band Veda)
Hi Ron ! At first , thanks for your support for Guitarsucks . You know that without you , we would never have found the site's name ! To have so much influence on people , it's not too hard to bear ?
It makes my joints ache. But I can handle it :)
For those who don't know you , can you tell them who you are :
a) Your true name
b) Where do you live
c) Your phone number ( it's not obligatory ).
My true name is Kaleidoscopicus Pergo Chandelstein Birmbaum Eggtoss Quadrapus Quintipus Bellamy X Dendrite Pithecanthropulous Brown Jasper Quintember Crouton Facsimile Thwartzberg Pong Shuman Boxcar Jimmyjam Quenquist Saskatchewan Reginald Oxnard Bifocalshire Mudpickle-upon-Leeds Sandwichery Duodendron Spilbork Feculance Porksworth Buntlieb Blumangrupe Shardzekiel Kantankertee Moostaflat Clarkporn Hortents-of-Pigsley Shambookalah Crayfisch Mundertoe Spacklerib Conjoinital Seaswine Turpentimothy Fifeskin Alderbletch Everwipe Feffers Feffers Umptoonth Remainmeman Cornblower Forthfith Zeazwine Feefine Finlyfinefee H. Nostrilnimbus Bequikikikik Postum Rectabulous Wesleychex E. E. E. Badball Mungdoodles Blorange of Three.
I live in NJ.
I don't know my phone number.
Before we talk with you about music and guitar , here is , without any doubt , the 26 questions that everybody arise in the universe ! The time is come to discover the man behind Bumblefoot !
-Ron in the kitchen .
1) Who's cooking ? You or your wife ?
2) Your favorite food
3) Is it you who wash the dishes ?
4) If yes , do you wear gloves ? ( if you consider it's an indiscretion , don't ask )
My wife is a wonderful cook! I was a wonderful cook a long time ago, but later discovered I was much better at eating. My favorite food is sushi. I wash the dishes. No gloves.
-Ron in the sitting-room .
1) Have you a TV ?
2) If yes , do you like watching TV ?
3) What's your favorite program ?
4) The program you hate ? ( enough to destroy the TV !)
I have a TV, I like watching TV - the Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, AquaTeenHungerForce, Sealab2021, and a show called In A Fix (it's a home improvement show, on TLC channel) I don't hate any shows enough to destroy the TV, although some "reality TV" shows push the limits.
-Ron in the bathroom .
1) Electric razor , razor or clipper's beard ?
2) Bath or shower ? ( and why )
3) Do you use some cream for you body and you hair ? (no brand-name please !)
Electric razor, I shower (it's quicker), soap for the body, shampoo for the hair.
-Ron in the toilets .
We don't want to know !!!
-Ron in the bedroom .
Oups ! No question . Sorry for the trouble !
-Ron and cars .
Petrol or diesel ?
If you could choose a car , it would be :
K2000 knight Rider's car ( Kiiiiiiittttttttttt )
James Bond's Aston Martin
The A-Team's van
Columbo's Peugeot 304 cabriolet
Petrol. I'd choose K2000. I secretly daydream that I'm David Hasselhoff. But don't we all.
You use to get excited when you're driving ?
What do you mean by excited? Angry? Anxious? Aroused? Yes, all three at the same time.
By the way , have you a car ?
Yes, a 2003 Hyundai Accent. It's the first time I have a car that was built in the same decade I own it! (Usually the car's were built 10 years later than the time I own it.)
-Ron and Cinema .
Ice-cream or Popcorn ?
Your favorite movie and why .
The worst movie you have ever seen and why .
Popcorn. Favorite movies were the Austin Powers movies, because I liked them. I can't remember the worst movie I ever saw - it's blocked from my memory.
You are a movie character . Who are you ?
Edward Scissorhands - I get to cut women's hair with a cool soundtrack behind me. And I wouldn't be able to play guitar, which is good because guitars suck.
-Ron and sport .
Do you like sport ?
If yes , what kind of sport ?
Separately finger stretching , do you practice sport ?
I like sports but have no time to play. I like boxing and will get a heavybag for the studio - that will be as close as I can get to making practice of sport.
-Ron in holidays .
Which country did you go to ?
What do you do when you're in holidays ?
In which country would you like to go to ?
Do you take your guitar ?
Now , we really really know you .
My favorite places I've vacationed were Hawaii, the "Outer Banks" of North Carolina, and Scottsdale Arizona. In Arizona there is so much nature - deserts, forests, mountains, lakes - hiking around the Grand Canyon, Sunset Crater Park, Sedona, Jerome... the Outer Banks is great for paddling out in a little rowboat and fishing, crabbing, empty beaches along the Atlantic Ocean... when I can, I take my guitar. Even though guitars suck.
So , let's talk about music and guitar if you please , Ron .
How old are you ( remember : only the truth !! ) and how long have you been playing ( guitar of course ... ) ?
I'm proudly 35, born September '69. I started playing guitar around the age of 6 or 7. So I've been playing guitar for almost 4 years.
Do you remember the first song you have learned ?
I think it was an old 50's song - a rock-n-roll slow shuffle groovy thing. Too long ago to remember...!
Did your learn on your own or with a teacher ?
I studied privately for 8 years, the first four years strictly reading.
Which guitar players and more in general , which musicians have influenced you the most during your formative years ?
The Beatles for the beauty of it all. KISS for the energy. Guitar-wise, definitely Eddie Van Halen.
What artist do you listen the most ?
I don't listen to one artist more than another, but I do listen to a lot of Motown music - Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson... :)
How did you develop your solo technique ? Is it important to listen and to study other guitarists ?
By just playing how I feel - everything real happens beneath the surface - it's what's in your heart, your mind, your spirit that tells what kind of sound you make. Listening to other guitarists is always good, but it isn't what's most important.
Do you have specifics preferences in terms of scales and chords ? Do you think it's better to know all scales and all chords for a better expression ?
Educating ourselves with chord theory and scales is always good, but always remember that music theory is meant to explain why music sounds good, it is not always the source for making music. Use your ears first, play what you feel, then let music theory give a name to the scale, an explanation...
Can you tell us about your teaching experience ? ( private lesson , clinics ...)
I started teaching guitar to kids in the neighborhood at age 13, sharing what I had learned up to that point. I started teaching at a local music store at age 20, then a music school at 22, then I became music director at a private school at 23, setting them up with a choir, jazz band, music education (theory, history) and music for children. I started doing clinics, not very often, in my late 20s. I continued giving private lessons, occasional clinics, and now I teach music production at SUNY Purchase College in NY. I'm *slowly* working on an instructional DVD (never enough time...!), and hope to make many more in the future.
What do you think of the current instructional methods ? We are referring to books , CD roms , DVD , video tapes ...Would you suggest any one of them in particular ?
I'm not familiar with any of them enough to make a good recommendation. I find that the best instruction happens from personal interaction. A teacher needs to know the student's playing and musical interests, the way a doctor knows a patient's medical history. It's the best way to give students exactly what they need.
Well . Let's talk about your music . How do you go about composing song or instrumental ? Is it the same approach ?
It's always different - anything can trigger a song... sometimes a drum beat, sometimes a word, a guitar riff, melody... always a different road leading to the same place :)
While composing , do you only use your guitar or do you use other instrument as well ?
I do it all in my head. If I like what I hear in my head, I take it outside my head :P
Can you tell us the story -the meaning - of your song " I can't play the Blues " ?
A dozen years ago, this guy at a guitar magazine told me I "needed to learn to play the blues." This song was my way of saying FUCK YOU to him.
And for " Mafalda" ?
When I was 16, my parents bought a new house. Mom couldn't find paintings that matched the color of the living room (peach and teal) so she found a woman who'd do custom paintings that matched the colors - she painted flowers and shit. She was pretty good. One day she stopped me and my brother as we were heading out the door and started saying how she feels so much love in our family and wants to do a family portrait. It was real awkward - I mean, we were at the age where we were more interested in setting fire to the house, and we figured she's just trying to earn some bucks. Totally forgot about that moment, and while I was working on this song it all just popped into my head - I saw her face lookin' all sincere trying to sell us on the idea while we were trying to walk out the door without laughing. The woman's name was Mafalda. We didn't do the portrait.
The meaning of your song " Guitar sucks " ?
I could answer, but more importantly, what does it mean to you? For me, the song makes my fingers hurt - DJs don't have this problem. For this reason, turntables are cool, and guitars suck. Also, years ago, you could get more sex because you played guitar. Not anymore. Because that magic didn't last forever, guitars suck. Sure, I'm 60 pounds heavier and 20 years older and that *might* have something to do with it, maybe, possibly, but I'd rather blame the guitar. Yeah, it's the guitar's fault.
Seriously, many guitarists devote their lives training to be their best, and it often goes unappreciated and has little benefit when trying to pursue a career in music. It can really wear you down. It's like loving a woman that doesn't love you back. We do it because the love is inside us and we must give it. Sometimes love stinks. In this case, guitars suck.
There were times I had felt this way, like I gave too much of my life to something that didn't give as much back. Then I'd go and play, and it would bring me peace. We push the limits and challenge ourselves, and even if it doesn't have huge career value, it has huge personal value. The song "Guitars Suck" is challenging - playing it means you've chosen a path of commitment and dedication, and *you* decide what your own goals are worth to your own spirit. That's really what the song means. It's about climbing to the top of your own mountain.
Which singers are your favorite ?
Eric Adams from Manowar, my absolute favorite.
When are you recording with Tom Jones ? Maybe a tribute album !
A judge ordered that I'm not allowed to come within 500 feet of Tom Jones. Crazy... (I'm kidding...!)
You're working on your own music , you're a producer , you're teaching music production , you're composing for TV/movie...How do you do to make all ? Can you describe a Bumblefoot's day or a Bumblefoot's week ?
I work 16 to 20 hours a day, every day. Every day and week is different... some days I'll have a 10-hour session with a band mixing, they leave, another band comes in and we recording vocals... the next day I teach for hours, go back to the studio for a few hours, go home, eat dinner and watch TV with the wife.
How long have you been professional musician ? I mean how long have you earned one's living as a musician ?
Since I was a young teenager - I started teaching guitar, gigging in clubs and recording bands in my home studio. It's been over 20 years :)
What sacrifices did you do and do you have to make for your passion - job - ?
I have a natural instinct to put other people before myself. Because of this, I haven't made enough time for myself, to maintain my health and record more of my own music. But that's changing - I'm seeking a better balance. :)
Do you have a family ? Is it difficult to balance your involvement between your family and your job ?
I've been married 8 years and have 4 crazy cats. The balance is not difficult - always remember that your life belongs to you, and you have choices. So *choose* to make things work :)
What are your projects for the end of the year and the beginning of 2005 . Album , tour in France maybe ... Tell us everything !!
I'm releasing a DVD of a clinic, hopefully by Christmas 2004. After that I'm starting to record a new CD and maybe do some shows in France :)
At last , what would you say - advise - to musicians who want to become professional ? What do you think about today's music industry ?
The music industry is a failed experiment. Be your own boss, govern your own career - stay indie and indie will be the evolved music industry, run by musicians and artists, with more value being placed on the art.
2 DEC 2004