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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.


2010.08.23 - Metal Sickness - Interview with Bumblefoot

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2010.08.23 - Metal Sickness - Interview with Bumblefoot Empty 2010.08.23 - Metal Sickness - Interview with Bumblefoot

Post by Blackstar Tue Aug 24, 2021 12:47 pm

Bumblefoot Interview
Conducted by Ben via email on 8/15/2010

Hi Ron, it’s a great pleasure for me to make this interview with you. First of all, you will be in France in a few days with Guns N' Roses. What’s your feeling about this tour ?

I'm looking forward to coming back. France is a special place for me – it's where all my touring began in 1997 and continued, I will always feel a connection there.

GNR gives you the opportunity to play in big stadiums and big arenas. Is it something that you really like and aren’t you afraid to come back to smaller places when you will tour again with Bumblefoot ?

I LOVE playing small places. Playing arenas is exciting, it's something we usually strive for as musicians, but after doing it all, I love the personal connection of playing bars most of all. I'm not wired up with in-ear monitors, wireless transmitters, none of that. It's something real – you plug into your amp, the speakers behind you, the monitor on the floor in front of you, you and the audience are face-to-face... I can honestly say I'm looking forward to it. It'll be like coming home, but with all this life experience I gathered along the way, there's a kind of peace about it.

GNR is a huge entertainment machine. Has it been easy for you to find your place in it ?

There are times when I feel like I'm with family and we're a strong machine, and there are other times when I think “I'm in the wrong band, I shouldn't be here, this doesn't feel right.” I always say not to overthink, it's easy to think yourself into a bad place. But when business and other issues are breaking you down, you become vulnerable. And it adds fuel to the dark side. And I end up having a very polarized time with it, I feel the extremes. Two shows ago, it felt like the best show we ever did. The last show I had to walk off the stage in the middle, I couldn't fight my fucking rage and needed to cool down before letting it take over.

What are your favourite songs in the G’n’R set list ?

"Shackler's Revenge", "Better", and all the classics that the audience loves –"Sweet Child", "Nightrain", "Jungle", "Paradise", "November". Whatever moves the audience is what does it for me.

Did Axl (or anybody else) ask you to change a part of your style to sound like GNR or have you been chosen because you don’t sound like Slash and it’s a way to modernize the GNR sound ?

I was brought into the band because of who I am, I was brought in to be me. I was never asked to change. Even when I played my fucking 'Foot' guitar ( when I first joined, no one stopped me. They should have, but they didn't, haha...

What has this experience changed in the way you do your job?

I don't smile anymore.

Shrapnel records re-released your debut instrumental CD "The Adventure Of Bumblefoot". What memories do you keep in mind about this period and about this album?

It brings back all the memories of recording it. I was still living with my parents, and had a small home studio set up in the basement. Everything was in a little area along the wall - a seat, a rack of ADATs with a mixing board on top, a pair of headphones, and a guitar amp with a mic in front, and a blanket over it. Five feet away was the big noisy air-conditioning unit for the house, and it was a hot Summer. I'd start recording and the AC would kick on - I'd have to stop and wait for it to shut off before I could continue. It would shut off and I'd start recording again, it would go back on, I'd stop, over and over. At some point I'd sneak upstairs and turn the thermostat up to 90º F and get a good amount of recording done, and then I'd hear my mom's voice from the floor above, “Why is it so hot in the house?”, followed soon after by “Who turned the thermostat up to 90?!?!” “....RONALD!!!!!” I'd stop recording, get yelled at, then I'd continue recording. And then I'd sneak upstairs and turn the thermostat back up again, haha...

I think you must be proud to see that this album has became "a cult album"?

That's great, I'm very happy about that. The one wish I have is that songs I wrote would be remembered after I'm gone. If that happens, I'll rest easy.

Do you sometimes think about making a new instrumental CD or is it something you don’t want to do anymore ?

I think about it a lot, I'm thinking of doing this for my next album. I have a difficult time writing while I tour, between the travel schedule and the bombardment of intensity. But I'm going to try on this next tour, I have to. I'd like to make an instrumental album and have a lot of guests lay solos on it.

Autographed copies of the CD will be available at the official store in August 2010, where $5/CD will be donated to Multiple Sclerosis research. Can you tell us why do you especially support this research?

A close friend of mine, Ralph Rosa was diagnosed with the disease in '97, this is what raised my awareness and made it personal for me. He started a non-profit organization “MS Research Foundation” ( and with the help of friends and family, we've held concerts and events and raise money for research. Everyone involved is a volunteer, no one gets paid, there's no overhead, so all the money goes to research. We've gone to the labs, looked through the microscopes, chose the direction of research we wanted to support and are kept updated on progress. I'm donating $5 from the Adventures CDs to MS research, I'm doing this for all autographed items.

This release will contain 5 bonus tracks you composed for a SEGA videogame. Is it something you’d like to do again (for a videogame, but also for a movie soundtrack)?

I would love to do more videogame music, film music. Right now I mostly do TV music, the most recent is VH1's “That Metal Show”, I did the theme song.

What’s your involvement in the tab book, and what do you think about this kind of product (is it something that helped you in the past when you learnt guitar)?

The 'Adventures' transcription book is something I started in 1997. I put every guitar part from every song onto cassettes and would listen back with a guitar in hand, a few seconds at a time, re-learning everything I played and writing it out with notation software. It took six months, 200 pages of exact fingers, picking, musical notation and TAB for every note hit on the album. The whole thing was a huge challenge, but I'm so glad I did it. Books like this can be a great way to understand how other musicians think, you can get a lot of new ideas, give your fingers something new to develop, and broaden how you play and write. There were times where my ears weren't enough to learn something, and reading the notes put the puzzle pieces in place.

Do you think your music can really be transcribed in TAB for a "normal" human being and do you know where I can buy a "256 fingers kit" to play your songs ?


You have made a lot of master classes and you often appear in the guitar press. You give a lot of advices and share a large part of you ability. Is it something important for you as a musician to share your secrets with other musicians?

It's important to share, but I don't feel that there are secrets. I see it more as showing them how I found out what I found out. For years I've wanted to make an instructional DVD but never have the time to get it started. Every year I say 'hopefully next year...' It's completely in my power to make it happen, I just have to choose what needs my time most and it's always something else, something with a deadline, somewhere I have to be... as a wise man (Mattias Eklundh) said to me not long ago, 'Time is the enemy'

Some videos show you jamming with other guitar heroes. Have you got favourite ones (let’s give us some names) or do you like any kind of guitarists?

Joe Satriani, Vinnie Moore, Guthrie Govan, Mattias Eklundh, Chistophe Godin, Stephane Alaux, and probably a bunch more that deserve mentioning that are escaping my mind at the moment. But all these guys are wonderful people with and without a guitar in their hand.

I saw you on the Guitar Part magazine DVD and your guitar really seems to be a game for you. Is it true and do you have a secret to keep in mind this dimension of the guitar playing?

I just have fun with it, and don't think too much. Just go by instincts, spontaneity, let the moment and the feeling in the air guide you...

Your music is also available on RockBand Channel. What do you think about this way to make your music known?

Yes, we started with the song “Guitars SUCK”, and will work on making songs from the Normal and Abnormal CDs available next. It's a great way to connect people to music, physically, interactively, I love it.

Do you personally play games like "RockBand" or "Guitar Hero"?

When we had GNR rehearsals in LA throughout 2009, I'd go to a friend's house every Saturday, he had this huge wall and a projector. We'd watch UFC, watch obscure and vintage metal videos, then play Rock Band all night...

To end this interview, have you start composing the next Bumblefoot album? You must have tons of ideas...

I actually have some music I wrote last year that I want to get a singer on. I don't want to sing on it myself, I just want to be the guitarist.

Will the Guns N’ Roses experience have an influence on it and how?

I think GNR influenced the Normal and Abnormal albums, where I was inspired to dig deeper into my own roots of 60s/70s rock and punk. My relationship with GNR started 2 years before joining the band, and some of the events are what got the writing for the Normal album flowing.

Is there a chance to see Bumblefoot in concert in France in the near future?

So many times when I make my own plans, there's a last-moment change in GNR's schedule and I have to cancel my plans. I've had to cancel tours, clinic tours, all kinds of things. The only things I plan now are meet-n-greets, things that are free to go to and a smaller investment to organize. This way if something goes wrong, there's less damage. But even something as simple as a meet-n-greet, it was almost impossible for me to make the last ones I scheduled happen – GNR changed their plans and I had to stay in different cities than the rest of the band, it was a lot of chaos on my end. It's been getting harder for me to get on that stage - if I'm gonna make it through the next tour I'm gonna have to simplify my world.

Thanks for your answers and all the best for you and your projects!

Thank you, always a pleasure!

PS : Thanks for "Normal" and "Abnormal" two albums that have change my life and the way I listen to music!

That really means a lot, thank you soooooooooooooo much.....! Smile

Merci à/Thanks to Barry Adkins

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