A Virtuous that paints for the g3

The coarse trajectory of every powerful guitarist, it has immortalized it in the covers of specialized magazines worldwide. Producer and composer, his guitar has sounded like background music in the famous series of MTV, like Real The World, The Osbournes, among others. Even, its omnipotente guitar extends until the video music games.

It belongs to the directory of an organization who reunites funds for the investigation of the worse flagellum of a guitarist: sclerosis.

Bumblefoot is the most visible face of Ron Thal, who is the leader of this band and the same name are the signature of everything what does musically.

Perhaps, is the reason to Satriani sent a mail congratulating it by his new disc, Normal, whose work hallucinated to the best guitarist of the planet.

May. 2006

How did you started in music?

It started when I was 5 years old - the older kids in the neighborhood just bought the Kiss Alive album. I heard the album and loved it - I knew from that moment I wanted to be a musician. By age 6, I formed a band with some local kids - we could barely play, but we wrote our own songs and did what we could. We played concerts in our backyards and at the nearby school.

Do you have formal studies on guitar?

At age 7, I started taking guitar lessons - I took lessons for 8 years, studying reading, jazz, classical, theory. I didn't go to a music school, I only took one-on-one lessons.

What other activities do you have, besides making music?

Photography, carpentry (drywall and electrical work...) and a little hiking. I'm on the Board Of Directors of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation ( www.msrf.org ) and help arrange events to raise medical research funds.

How did you started as a musical producer?

I had a home studio to record my own band, and friends started asking me if I could record them too. During the process, they would ask for my creative input. It was always a positive experience, and I never stopped. Once a week I teach a class in music production at Purchase College in New York.

What are your thoughts about suncaged and what can you say about the experiece of playing in that band?

Yes, I had the pleasure of having the ex-members of Sun Caged as my band in 2002 for a tour of The Netherlands - it was wonderful!  It was the first time I played in a situation where all the musicians were virtuosos, but were a *team* and we had a wonderful time   :)

Some people say that virtuous musicians doesn't have much feeling when they play, what is your opinion about that?

Well, there are also non-virtuous musicians that don't have feeling when they play, haha. Virtuosity and emotion are not opposites - they are two separate entities, you can have different amounts of either entity. Once we start challenging ourselves with technique, it's easy to put more focus on this - so it's important to remember that we still need to make music that touches people, and not neglect this.

What do you think about G3, would you like to be part of G3 someday? who other guitar players would you want to see in G3?

G3 is great, I'm sure it's alot of fun to be part of :) I think Buckethead or Mattias Eklundh would make very interesting additions to G3 :)

You have recorded and produced albums for different artists. What do you think about the music of artists like Jessica Simpson?

Producing, and being part of the creation of someone's music, really makes you appreciate it much more. There is alot of music I wouldn't listen to in the past, but have learned to appreciate it after making the music. For the Jessica Simpson song (I added music tracks and I helped engineer the mix) I added alot of nylon-string strumming and riffs, tried to add something human to the rhythm (which was all midi keys) and compliment the vocals with guitar riffs - it worked out really well.

Can you tell us about your experience of playing with Mattias IA Eklundh?

He's a kind-hearted wonderful person, and an incredible musician. It's always a pleasure to be in his company, whether we're making music together, or touring together, or eating rotten fish in the woods in Sweden.

Do you remember some funny story happened with Mattias?

So many...! One time, I was about to do a show - Mattias took my vocal mic, put it by his ass and farted into the mic, then put it back on the mic stand.

I had to get a new mic.

How can you play that mixture of exquisitous and freak music. Did you think when you were a child that your way of making music could be different to the rest of the common musicians?

haha, thank you :) I never thought about it, I still don't - I just try to express whatever I'm feeling. :)

How did you get to play with Vigier Guitars?

I met them in 1997, the first time I was touring Europe. Before Vigier, I only played my own guitars that I built myself, I wasn't looking for a guitar endorsement. They asked me to try one of their guitars, and it was the best guitar I ever felt. I met the guys at the company and they were kind decent people, the kind I wanted in my life. Been playing their guitars ever since - Patrice Vigier is family to me :)

What is the idea behind your BumbleFoot Custom Shaped Guitar, what did you think when you were creating that model?

The concept came from my first album, an instrumental CD called "The
Adventures Of Bumblefoot" - the flying foot...   (pic attached)
Patrice Vigier had the idea of making a custom guitar shaped like
this, where the wings would open when the vibrato bar is pressed down.
They gave it to me at NAMM 1998 - I was amazed - the wings were a
surprise, I didn't know they would move...!  

Can you tell us how did you record the Normal album? What kind of software did you use? how did you record the guitars, drums, bass and voices?

It started with jamming to the songs on an acoustic guitar with Dennis. Then I'd lay some scratch tracks and Dennis would play to them, try different ideas, take them home, try other ideas the next day. Everything was recorded using Nuendo2 on a PC - guitars and bass were direct through the Vetta2 direct-outs. Most of the vocals were using an AudioTechnica AT3060 mic. Alot of scratch tracks were kept - sometimes, the first take has the right vibe, something special that can't be re-created...

Why did you decide to include Dennis Leeflang in Normal, and what do you think about him?

Dennis is the best drummer I've ever worked with, and one of my best friends. I wouldn't want anyone else on the album.

What is Bumblefoot doing these days?

Writing songs, recording, touring, trying to stay healthy and stay out of trouble :)

Do you plan to release a new album this year?

I'd like to, but it always takes longer than I plan, haha. So, probably early 2007 :)

as they recorded it,  the idea of where he appeared,  who is the director  video of "Real " ?

The video was directed by William Knight, a fantastic video editor (he won an Emmy award for video editing...!)  He's also a songwriter and I produced his first album.  The video was recorded at my studio, in the downstairs "Swiss Cheese" room (yes, those are really black holes in yellow walls...!)   We played live along with the album in the PA speakers, shot 50 takes, then William edited his favorite moments together.  We didn't do any story, jut a perfomance.  We wanted the video to capture a real performance.  :)

What bands are your listening to these days?

I love Muse, and all the classic rock and metal, the Beatles... my favorite music is Motown - Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops...

What do you know about the sudamerican music scene? specifically about the scene in Chile?

Not enough - I need to learn more! I look forward to learning alot when I come to Chile :)

Can you give some tips for the guitar players that are just beginning?

Have FUN! When making music, do something real and honest. Don't limit yourself - music should have total freedom, do what feels right to you. :)

Do you have plans to come to chile with a band or to give us a clinic?

We're putting our best effort into a September tour, with Freak Kitchen - hopefully all will work out and the band will be there giving clinics and shows :)

Any message to your fans in Chile and the visitors of vortex.cl ?

THANK YOU for inviting me - I can't wait to see you all and make music together!

Can you give us your 5 favourite albums to include them in our website?

This is a tough choice... hmmm.... ok, some albums I really enjoy...

1 - Manowar "Battle Hymns"
2 - Beatles "Abbey Road"
3 - Stevie Wonder "The Definitive Collection"
4 - Rage Against the Machine (self-titled)
5 - Yes "Going For the One"

Can you comment about the composition of one song that you have recorded in the studio from a technical point of view? one song that you like the way you created the guitar lines?

The riff to "Real" - it started when I was watching TV, noodling on the guitar, playing it slow and going faster and faster - it had a fun vibe to it, and it eventually became the song. I kept the idea of the speeding-up... (click for TAB)

Thank you for the interview - see you soon!


by Johnny Verdugo