Guns N' Roses' Bumblefoot on his love of hot sauces (and, of course, 'Chinese Democracy')

bumblefoot.jpgBy Kaili Boyd
Special to amNewYork

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron Thal is serious about his music – and his hot sauces.

With the long-awaited release of “Chinese Democracy” days away, Thal – known professionally as Bumblefoot – talked about his love of all things spicy and his contribution to Guns N’ Roses’ first album in 17 years.

“I was looking to bring something new to the songs that may not have been there before,” said Thal, who joined the band in 2006, after most of the “Chinese Democracy” songs had been written.

The 39-year-old New Jersey native tried to resurrect what he calls the “sleazy guitar rhythms” behind the Axl Rose vocals that give the new songs the classic Guns N’ Roses feel. But Thal’s loyal fans will recognize his trademark fretless guitar shredding, which lends his Bumblefoot touch to the album.

He’s not worried about inevitable comparisons to former GNR guitarist Slash.

“People will always compare one thing to another…,” Thal said. “My only concern is being better than I was yesterday, being the best I can be for the fans. They deserve the best.” Fans will decide whether they’re getting the best after “Chinese Democracy” is released on Nov. 23, following years of delays. The album, available exclusively through Best Buy, can be purchased on CD and vinyl, as well as online in a downloadable format.

Thal’s no stranger to online music sales: He became one of the first musicians to put his work on the Internet, more than a decade ago.

“I thought it was a great way to connect with a new audience,” Thal said. “For me it was no different than being on the radio – the only difference is that you get to search and download your play list and listen to it whenever you want.”

While the music industry was slow to embrace the Internet, it proved a godsend for Thal. “I had a computer hooked up to the old Napster and would release a few songs from my collection… to me it was the new way of putting out a single – you put it on Napster and let people download it,” he said.

Thal, who has scored music for SEGA video games and wrote the theme to VH1’s “That Metal Show,” released his eighth solo album this summer, titled “Abnormal.”

He’s also working on a venture that has nothing to do with music: his own line of hot sauces. Thal’s been experimenting with capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, which is stronger than commercial grade pepper spray.

“I’m basically getting to the point where I can tolerate a pure molecule of capsaicin,” he boasted as he added a bit of sushi to his wasabi at a Princeton, N.J. restaurant last week.