Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal Talks Axl, Guns N' Roses And How Nothing Is Definite….

APRIL 3, 2013

I had chance to catch up with lead guitarist of Guns N Roses, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal who performs on their sixth studio album Chinese Democracy and Thal isn't just a pretty face, He is a performer, Producer, Writer and an engineer to boot, Who always works hard and appreciates every bit of success along the way. He has not long come off the back of an Australian tour with GnR and we decided to ask those questions that are always on everyone's lips. So here we delve deep and this is what he had to say….

When did you start playing guitar?

I was 6 years old. I heard the KISS Alive! album when I was 5 and immediately knew I wanted to be a musician. Soon after I started studying music & learning guitar, writing songs, had a band, playing shows, making demos, and never stopped…

What genre of music did you listen to growing up?

Classic rock, 60′s rock, punk, old-school metal, prog rock… Queen, Zep, AC/DC, Beatles, Pistols, Blondie, Yes, Priest, Maiden, Ozzy, *Manowar* – ahhhh, can make a list 1000 bands long…

Who is your inspiration and why?

Guitar-wise, the biggest ones have been Eddie Van Halen & Jimi Hendrix… hearing Eddie for the first time was life-changing, it changed my whole philosophy about playing guitar, felt like there were truly no limits…

How did the endorsement with Vigier Guitars come about?

I was touring France in ’97, and they brought a guitar to a show for me to check out. I always built my own guitars and wasn’t looking for an endorsement, but their guitars felt so good in the hands…! We talked about collaborating on ideas, and have been a happy family ever since :) The ‘Flying Foot’ guitar, the fretless/fretted double-neck, great guitars :)

What's your favorite part of the job, Performing, Producing, Writing or Engineering?

There’s no part of making music I don’t like. But if I had to choose my favorite, it would be producing – taking someone’s ideas and making them a reality, I love the process, the building and creating and teamwork, every bit of it.

How did you meet Axl?

I started chatting with the GNR folks in the Summer of 2004, but we didn’t get active until they had a tour starting in May 2006. Axl & I met face-to-face for the first time jamming to the song Riad in NY in April ’06, a few days before the tour began… I jammed 7 times with the band and we hit the road.

Is there any new solo material on the horizon?

With all the touring I haven’t been writing much, I really need to, been too long. Been writing some music for horror movies, wrote some songs with Tony Harnell for our upcoming acoustic album, but need to do some solo music, some more guitar music. I want to start doing guitar workshops again, should really write some fresh music for them….

Why are you named after an infectious sheep disease?

Anthrax was taken, Bumblefoot was the next listing in the medical dictionary. Nooooooooooo, ‘Bumblefoot’ was the name of my band for the last 15 years, it became like a nickname over the years…

Do you think its acceptable that GnR´s charge people money to see a show, only to come onto stage at 11pm?

I like to be at the venue early, spend some time with the crew, be at the meet-n-greets, be warmed up and ready. And the times when the audience’s patience was pushed to their limit it crushed me. I’ve always had the hardest time of everyone when it came to the fans waiting. I’m sooooooooooooooo happy that since Oct last year we’ve been starting shows on time, just about every show, some *early*. I know the fans are happy, and it’s about *them*.

This GnR line up has been together longer than the original, Do you consider it definite?

The only thing that’s definite is that nothing is definite. Life isn’t definite. People get sick, people die, people disagree, people need something else. And there are always wolves in the fold, usually not the people you’d think… one will always get in, manipulate their way into a buddy position, then try to weaken other relationships. Those people eventually show their true colors. It’s fine, part of life – I’m in it for the love of music, the love of playing, and to give the best moment I can for the fans. And no one has the power to take that away.

And finally one for fun…..

If you could be an animal, What would you be?

An onion.