Bahrain This Month magazine
DEC 2014

Cover & interview
Ready to Rock!

Guitar virtuoso Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is set to rock the Kingdom during a series of events to promote local and regional musicians.

Perhaps best known for his role as lead guitarist in Gun N’ Roses, Bumblefoot has a musical career spanning decades. During that time he has grown from strength-to-strength, achieving word-wide fame and is keen to help other musicians make the transition.

Speaking exclusively to Bahrain This Month, he shares his tips for success and discusses Jam Up, a first-of-its-kind venture that gives the Kingdom’s budding talents the chance to shine.

“JamUp put together a fantastic batch of events that combine art and music, bringing together local and foreign musicians, performing - it’s personal, it’s educational, and it supports local charity. It’s got it all,” says Bumblefoot.

“I’m excited about meeting the local musicians, to meet the kids at the RIA Centre, everyone getting to know each other. Jam Up has put together great events and I’m honoured to be part of what they’re doing.

“It’s important to be encouraged, and to have experiences that teach, inspire and build who we are. I wish I had something like this when I was starting out.”

As part of his visit, Bumblefoot will conduct a special workshop where he will play some of his songs, explain techniques and answer questions. However, the format is far from formal.

He explains: “I go by the questions of those attending and talk about what interests them - anything from business, touring, song-writing, practicing, staying healthy, psychology, philosophy, funny stories, anything.”

Playing to sold-out stadiums is every musician’s dream but, for Bumblefoot, the smaller shows are just as important.

“I prefer intimate gigs more,” he explains. “Smaller shows have the things I like about performing, it’s personal, you can interact with the audience more. I interact a lot in my own shows, going into the audience, inviting audience on stage, very face-to-face. I’m looking forward to doing this in Bahrain with everyone!”

Bumblefoot’s advice to aspiring musicians in Bahrain is simple; don’t let anything get in the way of your passion for music. 

“Life will get complicated, challenging, difficult - stay focused on why you love music and don’t let anything get in the way of it. All the struggles are on the outside surrounding it, the inside is simple and beautiful and keeps you strong, it’s part of your soul and part of who you are,” he says.

Over the years, Guns N’ Roses have had a selection of guitarists including Slash, Buckethead and now, Bumblefoot … does Axel insist you have an unconventional name to fill the position?

“Ha, ha, ha,” says Bumblefoot. “I’d hope people in the position got there on their merits over their name.”