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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.


2010.08.14 - GNR France - Interview with Bumblefoot

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2010.08.14 - GNR France - Interview with Bumblefoot Empty 2010.08.14 - GNR France - Interview with Bumblefoot

Post by Blackstar Tue Aug 24, 2021 12:21 pm

Interview de Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal [English version]


What's your most memorable moment about your stay in Bretagne?

Working with Pat O'May on his Breizh-Amerika album in 1998. I'll never forget one early morning, going to a big empty farm house and recording a bunch of Celtic dancers. We had a mobile recording setup, mic'd the floor, the room from inside, from the ceiling below. The dancer's feet hitting the ground in unison, the sunlight coming in from two windows, the dust from the dancing lit up by two rays of sunlight from the windows. We added the sound of their dancing into one of Pat's songs, there's a sample here:

In Bretagne, we are known to "appreciate" wine and different spirits. Is there any spirited moment you spent there you'd like to share with us?

I think I remember having some wine...? It must have been very enjoyable wine, I can't remember much, haha...

Pat O'May participated in many breton's projects, festivals, concerts, etc. You recorded some tracks with him in Bretagne. Have you heard anything from what he has written for the shows Anne de Bretagne or Excalibur (2009-2010)? If that's the case, what did you think of this kind of celtic music? What do you think of celtic music in general?

Pat's a great and talented guy. I spent a month in Bretagne with Pat producing the album, then he came to US and stayed with me for a few weeks while we mixed the album. I've followed Pat's music and have enjoyed everything he's done.

Have you heard other French celtic artists or bands, like Alan Stivell, Tri Yann or Dan Ar Braz?

I've heard a few, yes, and love it. Celtic music has such a strong identity........

Harp is an instrument very common in celtic music. Patti Hood added some harp parts to the Chinese Democracy album, did that make you think of celtic music? Any chance GN'R will play live in the future with Patti Hood?

For me the harp on Chinese felt more traditional classical than Celtic. But now I'm thinkin' about it, hmmm.... Patti did some beautiful stuff - don't know what the future holds, would be interesting to bring her on stage.


You have come to France several times. When you do so, do you have time to check out the countryside (outside the Paris region) and different parts of France? Is there any region you really like (besides Bretagne)

I've been all over the entire country over the last dozen years... each area has its own vibe, each holds a lot of memories. Bretagne, hangin' with the Morglbl Trio in Annecy, the Dirty8 touring company guys in Strasbourg, the Plug-In guys in Bordeaux, dozens of times in Paris, Lille, Nice, Nancy, Lyon, Tours, Besancon, Guingamp, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Bergerac, Marseille, Montpellier, Perpignon, Mende, Montpont, Astaffort, Tours, Nantes, so many.....

Have you been "initiated" to wine tasting and to the French wine culture? Any vineyard you remember?

I haven't gone to any vineyards but have had different wines... I try not to drink on tour and I'm always there on tour, aaahhh!! I have a beautiful bottle of Cognac I've been saving for years for the right moment...

If I tell you Savigny-Les-Beaune, Saint-Estèphe, Chassagne-Montrachet, Saumur-Champigny or Meursault, does that ring a bell?

Ahh, Burgundy...........

Is there a French recipe you "have" to order every time you come here or to a French restaurant in the US?

Crepes. Usually get different types of crepes in France.... and of course pain du chocolat for my wife.

Do you have any thought or souvenir or advice or whatever you'd like to share with French fans?

A thought to share...? So many... first thought that comes to mind is Lille. At the first solo tour I did in France in 1997, we played Lille. After the show I took a bunch of fans out for pizza. They were great, I still keep in touch with some. The last solo tour I did in France in 2005, we started in Lille, and the show was sold out quickly, so we added a 2nd show and finished the tour in Lille. This will be my first time playing Lille with GNR, it will be special.

Have you ever heard French bands like Noir Désir, Louise Attaque or Indochine?

Haven't heard those bands, but knew the music of Gojira, Zuul FX, Lofofora, Superbus...

What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming French concerts?

Seeing friends I haven't seen in a few years...

French fans have always welcomed you very well, as a solo artist or with GN'R, how did you create this special bond with French fans?

I've always found the French to be open-minded toward music, metal or jazz or anything crossing the lines. My own music never quite fit an exact mold, and I think this was appreciated in France.


The end of Catcher In The Rye (when your guitar parts are mixed with Axl's vocals) is probably one of the best GN'R songs endings (with songs like Locomotive or Coma). Is there any chance we will hear Catcher or other "rare songs" from Chinese Democracy like Prostitute or There Was A Time in Europe? Are these songs more difficult to play for the band than other songs from the new album?

Merci...! I'd love to play more Chinese songs. We played almost the whole album in Tokyo last year, would love it if we mixed it up and changed the variety of songs in the set.

You've been in the band officially since 2006. One of your most memorable moments with the band was the first concert of course. Since you're part of this band, what is the thing you accomplished you're the most proud of (off or onstage, personal, with the band, etc.)?

Playing on Chinese and seeing its release.

During your guitar solo with GN'R, you play (a little bit of) Estranged. Most fans acknowledge the fact it's highly unlikely this song will be played in its entirety, but is there any chance you might play a longer part of this song in the future (like one of the solos of this song)? A lot of fans would be ecstatic...!

Things like that, when I added Don't Cry or that piece of Estranged to my solo, those were spontaneous. I think if something more happens, it'll be the same way...


You've been doing some signings sessions during the first leg of the European tour, how did the audience respond?

It was great ? good friendly people, spent about 4 hours or more signing in Moscow, Helsinki, and Aalborg Denmark. I love doing things like that, contests, special things for the fans, but don't know what I'll be able to do for the next leg. I don't know if it will be possible with the travel schedule. If I do anything, it will have to be informal, something spur-of-the-moment.

Your latest solo effort: Abnormal, has been released almost 2 years ago. Are you working on a new record?

It's been too long since I've released music. I have a hard time writing on the road, and it's been a lot of touring. I'm going to bring recording gear with me on tour, and will try to write and record some music.

From all your albums, which one are you the most proud of?

Usually it's the most recent one. There's a lot of stuff on Normal and Abnormal I really like, but I think the vocal performance on the acoustic album, 'Barefoot', right now that one is my favorite.

Is there a song from your solo albums you'd like to play during your guitar solo with GN'R?

Maybe 'Guitars Suck' would work, but I'd rather see more GNR songs at a GNR show, and less of other things. People are there to hear GNR.

Many fans know you've been releasing music for a while, but some of them still don't have one of your records, what would you tell them to convince them they have to get one?

I would recommend Normal, or Abnormal...

What is your take on the whole CD vs. MP3 vs. illegal downloading issue? Do you think most bands should just release their music online?

I think for right now, it's good to release a song at a time, digitally, before each leg of a tour, play the new song live, and keep doing that. An album is a big investment of time and money - releasing a song at a time is more manageable. I've mentioned this to GNR, I'm hoping that we can do this at some point.

You have been involved with multiple sclerosis research foundation for a few years. Would you like to say a word about this to the fans?

For 10 years I've been volunteering for a non-profit Multiple Sclerosis organization, that raises money for research. It's a small non-profit organization, everyone involved is a volunteer so there's no overhead, no salaries, all the money goes to research. I've gone to the labs and spent time with the researchers over the years. It's called MS Research Foundation, $5 from every autographed item at my site is donated to MS research.

Speaking of autographed albums........ my first album is being re-released, 'The Adventures of Bumblefoot'. It's an instrumental guitar album originally released May 1995 on Shrapnel Records in the US, Roadrunner Records in Europe & Japan. It was pretty well received at the time, good reviews, charted on reader's polls in magazines. The album's since been out of print for the last dozen years, and it seemed like the only way to get it was on eBay, where I've seen them sell for as much as $600. Now 15 years later, Shrapnel is re-releasing the album, with bonus tracks making it a total of 19 songs. The CD will be available exclusively at my webstore ( ) where it'll be autographed and $5 will go to Multiple Sclerosis research. After the initial release of the album, I spent six months writing out and transcribing every detail of what I played ? the TAB, notation, fingers, picking, strumming, weird noises, absolutely everything. It's a 200-page book, and will also be available at the webstore.

We have the "GN'R France Awards" going on on the site, will you give us your opinion about the winner (in a few weeks)?

Yes, please let me know when the results are in...!

Anything else you would like to add to this interview?

A grand merci, THANK YOU so much for the years of friendship and support, thank you for all!! I look forward to coming back to France next month, à bientôt!!

Interview by Will for

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