Cheers Ron, greetings from Poland. How are you?
Fine, thanks! Getting ready for the next tour, a lot of shows coming up!
You are, for me personally, the greatest new-era guitarist, alongside killswitch-master Buckethead. “Guitar Sucks” and “Jordan” always make me goose bumps. How long do you play guitar and how it all started?
Thanks so much! It started when I heard the band KISS when I was five years old. That made me want to make music. I started writing songs and fooling around on guitar at age 6, got serious at age 7 - had a band and was recording, playing live, and kept on going... years of studying, then teaching, recording and producing, collaborating with people, writing for TV shows, playing in cover bands, putting out albums and touring with my own band, being a guest for other people's albums and shows... 30 years of making music, and then with GNR.
When did you get your nickname [Bumblefoot] and what’s the story behind it?
Bumblefoot was the name of my solo band for the last dozen years, and it became my nickname over time. It started in the early 90's - my girlfriend was in veterinary school, I was helping her study and came across a disease that turkeys get called Ulcerative Pododermatitis, also known as Bumblefoot. I wrote a song called Bumblefoot, and my first album was called "The Adventures Of Bumblefoot". That album came out in 1995 on Shrapnel Records (USA) and Roadrunner Records (Europe & Japan). It's being re-released this year along with a transcription book of the album - both will be at bumblefoot.com, where the album is autographed and $5 will be donated to Multiple Sclerosis research.
You’re currently the lead guitarist of hard rock legend Guns N’ Roses. Do you remember May 12th 2006 [the first gig with the band]? Which song was the toughest for you to play back then?
The hardest part of the gig was remembering the new songs - I didn't have copies of the new material, only heard them once through headphones on a laptop at rehearsal, and had to learn the songs just from that. We started making plans in the Summer of 2004, but a tour didn't happen until almost two years later - we got together in NY and started jamming just a few weeks before the tour began, then hit the road, and started recording tracks for Chinese Democracy soon after that.
Favourite show with the band? Remember any funny behind-the-scene story?
The last show we did in Aalborg, Denmark, that show felt like everything was right. But there have been so many memorable shows - Madison Square Garden, playing places for the first time like Moscow and Seoul, the intensity of the shows in South and Central America... and the beautiful roses decorating the venue in Warsaw...! So many things happen on tour - I remember playing in Norway in 2006 and hearing this loud crashing noise from one of the rooms backstage. Someone opened the door, and this guy covered in debris just smiles and says "Hi!". The guy was trying to get backstage and was crawling through the air ducts of the venue, and fell through the ceiling into one of the rooms! I think the road manager gave him some passes for his efforts, haha.
How is it possible that on this year you won’t eat that yummy bean you liked so much back in 2006 while rockin’ Warsaw? Polish fans still got high hopes to see you guys ‘round someday SOON (geez, I hate that word so much)..
I'm surprised we don't have any upcoming Polish tour dates, I'm disappointed. It’s a complex balance between management and booking agents and promoters and venues and schedules, and if one thing goes wrong a show doesn’t happen. I'm sure they tried. Hopefully we'll be able to come back to Poland, but I don't know when it'll happen. Yes, the sooner the better...!
Any plans for a new solo record?
Right now I'm so busy with GNR touring I haven't been able to spend a good amount of time in the studio to make a new solo album happen. The last albums I put out were Abnormal in July '08 and an acoustic ep called Barefoot in December '08. Definitely need to get some new music out soon. I just have such a tough time writing on the road. But I'm gonna try on the next tour, gotta find a way to do it.
Wanna say something to the Kinoplay.pl visitors and your polish fans?
Nice to be here, thank you to everyone here at Kinoplay reading this - hope to see you all soon.....!
See you ‘round man. Thank you for your time.
Thanks a lot, take care!
Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal was interviewed by Tomasz Kordaszewski for Kinoplay.pl. All