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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

2010.03.08 - Digestivo Cultural (Brazil) - Interview with Bumblefoot

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2010.03.08 - Digestivo Cultural (Brazil) - Interview with Bumblefoot Empty 2010.03.08 - Digestivo Cultural (Brazil) - Interview with Bumblefoot

Post by Blackstar Tue Aug 03, 2021 6:18 pm

Original English interview, 23 Feb 2010

01) Your particular style is recognizable and distinct since your first record Adventures Of Bumblefoot (1995). Did you always search for different approaches and sounds? What were (and are) your influences and references?

I started playing guitar in the 70's as a young kid, 6 or 7 years old. The bands I was into as a kid were KISS, the Beatles, AC/DC, the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Floyd, Bowie, Queen, the Who, Blondie, Boston, Yes, Billy Joel, Jethro Tull, the Kinks, a whole lot more... and then lots of 'old school metal', which at the time wasn't 'old school', it was something entirely new. I had a diverse music collection, and was a sponge for everything I saw, heard, felt. I was never concerned about fitting in or not fitting in, I just did my own thing, and maybe some of that comes out when I make music, which could be looked at as a good or bad thing. I never tried to be different, I simply tried to be honest, and real, and did what I truly felt and believed in.

02) When I listen to your music I think in a "melting pot". You can go from some "Sex-Pistols-vibe-meets-virtuoso-guitar-player" in "Abnormal" to a rock ballad like "Simple Days". Is that a "concept" work or it just comes to your mind? How do you manage to incorporate such different styles to create from crazy stuff to more straight-forward songs?

All those different bands and people I listened to that inspired me throughout my life, bands that I played with, people I wrote with, all those things are part of who I am, and the little souvenirs from each road traveled tend to show up in the songs at different times. All the building blocks that made me who I was, whoever I was at that point. It's like that for everyone I think. You are the sum of your existence, and as you keep living, that sum grows. I don't think about it when writing a song, it's more like the song comes to me from somewhere and I try to give others what was given to me.

03) What's your history with the fretless guitar? When and how did you start to play it? Did you have influences from other players of fretless? And when and how did you start to play with a thimble?

I've been using the thimble, or something similar since the late 80's. The notes continue on the string beyond the fretboard, and I wanted a way to access those notes without interfering with the natural way of playing on the fretboard. So I keep a thimble on my smallest finger, picking hand, and tap it onto the string to hit the notes, as if we were touching the string to a fret. You need to look at the string itself, not the fretboard, and see the divisions of length where you'd find the notes. It's the same for playing fretless guitar. Vigier Guitars is the company that makes all my guitars, the fretless, double-neck, the old 'Flying Foot' guitar with the wings, haha... I've been playing their fretless guitars for about a dozen years, made a lot of my own music on them and was glad I could bring that to GNR, and to the 'Chinese Democracy' album. Playing on the fretless guitar, and with the thimble past the guitar's neck, both have that similar challenge of developing good intonation. Over time your accuracy improves, the way it would for playing a cello or violin.

04) Your latest full album released was Abnormal (2008). It is very connected in the music and lyrics with Normal (2005). Both have great and "catchy" songs. But at the same time the songs have ironic and strong lyrics about difficulties you had in your life. Was it hard to expose yourself like that? When did you started do create this concept? And how did you manage to unite both releases without repeating yourself?

It was easy, just let your guard down and let everything out, it's liberating. Don't hide anything, just say how you feel, and all the notes fall into place. It was a personal story about being on depression medication, feeling 'normal' for the first time, but realizing that you've smoothed away your creative edge that makes you who you are. You then struggle with the choice of which version of yourself you want to live as, the one 'at peace' but silent inside, or the one fighting a war inside but filled with music. I chose the war. But I experienced so much during that time, and that's what the 'Normal' cd was about. The 'Abnormal' cd was the next chapter of life, being in GNR and how I processed the changes occurring around me, how I was suddenly seen by many as a different creature, overnight.

05) In other hand, Barefoot EP, despite some strong lyrics, has a more loose vibe. And I know that it were the fans who choosed the tracklist. Why an unplugged album? And why let the fans choose the songs?

I had never done an unplugged album, and most of the time I'm playing, it's unplugged, just relaxing with an acoustic guitar. It just felt like the time to do it. It came together easier than any other recording I ever did, and it was a lot of fun re-writing and re-interpreting existing songs to fit acoustic guitars, and to re-sing them. As for the fans choosing songs, the music is for them, they should have some participation in it. I've had them sing backing vocals on albums, pick songs, pick setlists for tours... it's a combined effort, the artist and the fans are two pieces that fit together to complete the picture.

06) I read a lot of your recent interviews about GnR and you seem to be more "in" the band nowadays, more comfortable. Also, it seems the band itself is more relaxed and integrated compared to the 2006/2007 tour. What changed?

For one, the album came out. Having music that I participated in that was released, made it more like being home, and not just a guest. Playing my own guitar parts, and having the definite parts in the new songs to play, and updating my gear to play everything live with the double-neck fretted/fretless guitar, everything just felt solidified. And after years together, there's more comradery, I don't feel like a 'new guy' anymore, and that doesn't have anything to do with anyone else joining after me. We've lived a bigger piece of life together now.

07) The GnR fans are always complaining about how they want this or that member back, or about the choice of the songs etc. How to deal with their expectations and the whole repercussion nonsense?

You can cry about what isn't, or come to a show and enjoy what is. My concern is about what is.

08 ) How were your recording sessions in Chinese Democracy? What are your favorite moments on it and what kind of 'legacy' do you think Chinese Democracy will leave for music?

Favorite moments would be torturing Caram [producer] over the guitar tuning. We were using a lot of different guitars, a lot of tracks, a lot of experimenting, so we had to check guitar tunings a lot. Caram would say "OK, check the tuning, then we'll lay this track." I'd say "It's in tune, we're fine." Just to fuck with him. He'd answer "Let's just check it and make sure." and I'd answer "It's in tune, it's fine, let's record." He'd say, "C'mon, just check it." I'd say "No, we're good, hit it." "PLEASE CHECK YOUR FUCKING TUNING!" "IT'S IN FUCKING TUNE!!" "TUNE UP!!!!!" "NO!!!!!" Haha, every once in a while just to break his balls... haha...! One good thing about Chinese Democracy is that it wasn't mastered to try and be the loudest album of its time, at the expense of dynamics and clarity, like many albums now are. I'm hoping other bands will follow this, and start mastering to have the best sound, not to be the loudest. We need to get ourselves back to sound quality and 'dynamic range'. And if you want something louder, just turn up the volume knob.

09) Any plans for a new BBF solo effort? Do you have any material? If so, is there a "music direction" yet?

I never plan a direction, I just let the music happen with whatever vibe comes naturally. I've had songs stirring around in the back of my head, but it doesn't feel like the time to work on them. I can never write while I'm on tour, it seems to always be one or the other, studio or stage. Right now my focus is the GNR tour.

10) How is this '09/'10 tour with GnR going so far? Can you mention the best and worst moments?

This has been the best. We've been outdoing ourselves, playing the band's longest show in its history (3 hours 37 minutes in Tokyo Dec 2009), playing places in Asia for the first time, spontaneously jamming on AC/DC and Floyd covers, been a real good time. Moments I try not to think about, hmmm... spending the first night of the Asian tour face down on a bathroom floor for 16 hours vomiting, haha, and being doped up on flu medication and feeling too sick to move, half way through the Canadian tour. But even that doesn't seem that bad when I think back on it, that stuff happens all the time on the road. Ya don't sleep, ya sweat on stage, ya touch a hundred hands, ya freeze getting to the bus, someone else on the bus is sick, it's gonna happen, you're next, haha. The best times for me are the things that surround the show, the 'normal' times of just hanging out with good people. One good memory was giving a guitar lesson as part of a radio contest in Halifax. The winners were this really nice family, I took them on a tour of the stage before the show, and enjoyed hearing about where they live in Newfoundland, real good people. Would love to do things like that during the S. American tour, hopefully there will be time to arrange it, and the travel schedule will allow it.

11) What are your expectations with GnR in 2010 and 2011?

I never assume, predict or expect, because anything could change at any time - business, illness, natural disasters, unnatural disasters, anything. I just hope that immediate-future plans work out well, the S. American tour. Everything after that is open to anything - I'd love to keep touring, work on additional music, but only the things that are meant to happen will happen, and I'm cool with that.

12) What are you expecting from the South America tour? And feel free to say anything you want to the Brazilian fans.

You've all been wonderful to me, thank you so much! I feel like I already know many of you, from emails and chats, you're all passionate, you have a lot of heart. I'm counting the days 'til I can see you face-to-face, 'til we can be together at the shows. You have my love, thank you for everything. Smile See you soon!!

Ron
23 FEB 2010

http://www.bumblefoot.com/press/20100308_-_Digestivo_Cultural_(Brazil)/20100308_-_Digestivo_Cultural_(Brazil).htm
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