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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2006.11.03 - The Journal News - Q&A: Guns N' Roses Bumblefoot

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2006.11.03 - The Journal News - Q&A: Guns N' Roses Bumblefoot Empty 2006.11.03 - The Journal News - Q&A: Guns N' Roses Bumblefoot

Post by Blackstar Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:03 pm

Q&A: Bumblefoot
Learning lessons from Guns N' Roses


By MATT SARTWELL
THE JOURNAL NEWS


First there was Slash. Now, there's Bumblefoot.

That last name might not have the same cutting resonance as the first, but for guitarist Ron Thal the handle has done him just fine.

Thal, 37, is a Purchase College professor who teaches the art of producing music and, as of May, a member of the newly reformed Guns N' Roses

Thal has the unenviable task of filling the shoes of the aforementioned Slash.

Guns N' Roses - megahit band of the '80s and '90s - broke apart over a decade ago due in part to the antics of its firebrand frontman Axl Rose. Slash is gone, along with all the original members except Rose.

The band has just returned to the United States after a successful European tour, and will play at the Continental Airlines Arena on Nov. 5.

Controversy continues to dog Rose, who was arrested briefly in Sweden after biting a security guard.

Still, critics' reviews for the band's live shows have been overall positive.

Thal, who lives in Brunswick, N.J., is one of the bands' three guitarists with Robin Finck and Rich Fortus. Also in the lineup is bassist Tommy Stinson, drummer Brain, keyboardist Chris Pittman and Dizzy Reed.

Bumblefoot spoke by phone to the Journal News on Nov 3.

Q. Let's get this out of the way, how's Axl doing and how's the band holding up after the European tour?

"Everyone is doing great, the European tour was a great way for the band to come together. I had only been playing with the band a week before the tour started. The fans were very welcoming and we got a lot of love. ... We got a chance to feel out a lot of songs. ... Axl is fine and he's better than ever and anyone who's been to the shows will agree."

Q. Growing up in the Tri-State area, how does it feel to be playing on your home court - as part of one of the most famous bands of all-time?

"It's a dream come true. When I was 5 years old I got the Kiss 'Alive' record and that's what made me want to be musician. That's what made me want to do this. Then, the first concert I saw when I was 9 was Kiss at Madison Square Garden. And my goal was to some day play Madison Square Garden that same way - with all the bombs and the pyro. And now we're playing Continental and MSG. So, after 30 years of busting me ass, not giving up, I'm finally there."

Q. In an article in The Journal News a few months ago, we quoted students and faculty as saying that you are an amazing guitarist and a regular guy. Would you describe yourself as either of those?

"Maybe a regular guitar player and an amazing guy. (Laughs) I think I'm pretty regular. And as far as playing guitar, all that stuff is all a matter of opinion. If people like what I'm doing than great. If they don't? Then I guess I've got a little more practicing to do. "

Q. So where do you stand at Purchase College right now? Will you be returning at any point?

"I would love to if they would take my crazy self back. I miss it. I miss the students ... and all the professors. It's just a great place to be. ... It's kind of a hiatus, but we're just not sure how long this hiatus is going to be. Every semester I'm like, 'Oh, Guns booked more shows.' "

Q. What's your general philosophy on teaching music?

"Learn as much as you can and then forget everything you learned. Go by your gut, and heart, and your spirit. Leave all the [the things you've learned] in the back of your mind and have a lot of trust. It's supposed to be a natural thing ... Know the rules, so you don't have to play by the rules."

Q. Is there anything you miss about teaching when you're on the road?

"Yeah, I miss being in a room with a bunch of hungry minds where we share ideas and experiment and explore things ... reach new epiphanies, even if it's sitting in front of a computer screen and showing them a new technique for making a snare drum sound consistent and strong."

Q. I've read accounts that you got the nickname Bumblefoot when you were helping your girlfriend study for her veterinarian exams. Is that true? And why did it stick?

"Yeah. And I can say she's now been my wife for 10 years, so she must have done good on the test. It was one of those sleepless nights and she had a thousand pages to memorize and one of the diseases in her book was called Bumblefoot and I thought it sounded like such a silly sounding name that I ended up writing a song about a superhero called Bumblefoot. And then it ended up becoming the name of my band and then my own nickname. Now, I'm stuck with it. And now I'm stuck in this cool band with the name of a Saturday morning cartoon character."

Q. Bumblefoot is better than Buckethead (a former GN'R guitarist), but it's not quite as cutting as Slash, either. Do you think you need to edge it up a little for your next handle?

"You know I spoke to them about that before joining the band. You know, "Does Bumblefoot match the coolness of Guns N' Roses?" If this was Primus or Mr. Bungle or a band like that it would work. But they were like, 'Naw man, that's you. Keep it.' ... It's not me, it's a side of me. It's a Ziggy Stardust, not a David Bowie."

Q. Last question. Are you playing any part with the long, long awaited GN'R 'Chinese Democracy" record and is there any definite word on its release date?

"(Laughs) I was politely asked that I decline answering any questions regarding the album ... but there are about nine songs that we have worked up to play live, but we usually do four."
Blackstar
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