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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

2010.10.DD - Cool Magazine (Austria) - Interview with Bumblefoot

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2010.10.DD - Cool Magazine (Austria) - Interview with Bumblefoot Empty 2010.10.DD - Cool Magazine (Austria) - Interview with Bumblefoot

Post by Soulmonster Sun Oct 31, 2021 6:04 am

After a far too long time Guns n´ Roses has finally been on September 18th in Austria again as part of their Chinese Democracy World Tour. The sold out show in Vienna´s municipal hall has offered everything one expects from a rock concert: good, solid and energetic rock music and due to ballads like “This I love” and “November Rain” occasionally also very emotional songs, but in any case music that has been created and performed in an artistically challenging way.
In the early 1990ies singer Axl Rose had changed Rock Music. Today he is still irreplaceable and unmistakable. His voice is still one of the most distinctive voices of the Hard Rock genre and his pitch range is still pretty imposing.

The other band members have proved that they all are real masters on their instruments. Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, GNR-guitarist since 2006, has played his guitar in his usual very virtuos way. The versatile musician with his memorable and authentic style has verified once again that he really deserves his excellent reputation.

Before the show started Ron has taken a lot of time for doing an interview with “COOL” and he has been incredibly patient in answering all the following questions:

Martina: At the present you are busy with the GNR-Chinese Democracy Tour. You have done a lot of performances all over the world and right now you are doing the European leg of the Tour. Have there been any shows, which have enjoyed you in a very special way? And if so why?

Ron: Well, there’s always something about them. Usually it’s when the audience surprises me. For example I remember when we first started playing in Brazil suddenly in the middle of the show – how they had it in I have no idea -somehow they all revealed this giant flag bigger than this room all over their heads, a real huge flag with a nice message on it for us and about a hundred of people were holding it and I found out that about 70 people had made it in about two month. I stopped playing and said to Axl “Do you see this?” It is things like that that you do remember.

Martina: Tonight GNR are doing their Austrian gig. Have you ever been in Austria before?

Ron: Yes, we did a festival in Austria about 4 years ago in June of 2006 – it was Nova Rock. We were supposed to play, but it got cancelled or something happened like that I guess. But it wasn´t planned playing there a whole own show like here in Vienna. And playing a festival with a lot of bands is always a different thing than playing for people who are specifically there just for one band, just for Guns n Roses.

Martina: What are you usually doing before a show, if you don´t give interviews?

Ron: I go to catering ´cause usually I haven’t eaten all day and I just eat about 5 plates of food and than I stay there holding my stomach (laughing). And then I take out my guitar and play around till we get on stage.

Martina: What are the other band members usually doing before a show?

Ron: A lot of the same. You know backstage before a show is our home away from home, the place were we live before that moment that we can get on stage. I know there are a lot of people, who assume there are crazy parties going on and all that stuff but before a show that doesn’t happen; we are here to prepare and to get ready for the show.

Martina: By touring you travel many countries. Do you take time for seeing something of the countries like doing sightseeing, enjoying the landscapes and so on or is it just going from hotel to hotel and from venue to venue?

Ron: Most of the time you just see hotels and venues and airports and busses. Most time I don’t really see something else. I have been to Paris for about 15 times by touring and a few days ago it was the first time that we actually had got the chance to go and see the Eiffel tower. So most of the time I just see the sights out of the window and I quickly take a picture as it passes.

There is not really time for sight seeing, because with the travel schedule you often definitely need a rest before you go to the next show, because we are doing a 2 1/2 hour show, I have a 30 pound double neck guitar running round with and I can’t afford to be tired.

Martina: During a tour you have to spend a lot of time very close to the other band members. Does that only mean fun to you or does it also cause troubles sometimes?

Ron: Really no troubles, we have never had fights, we get along well, surprisingly well considering what a roller coaster this is all the time. You know when you are so bunched together there is no time to put your energy in a little paddy stuff. We all hang out, it´s really good. Last few days I was hanging out with Chris Pitman and his girl and then the next night I was out with DJ Ashba and Richard Fortus and his wife and we went to a nice restaurant. Yes it´s strangely good, unusually good. I guess we should go for a fight, we will start one tonight (laughing).

Martina: You have already mentioned that you are using a double neck guitar at your GNR gigs. It has one fret board and one fretless board. What’s special about playing with a fretless board?

Ron: A lot of stuff, for one thing you have to have the intonation like a cello, you need to be very precise, there are certain sounds that you can only really get from a fretless where you can drag notes and slide them like chords and you can get very dissonant sounds if you want. There´s a lot of things like that. But of course it´s more difficult to play than a fret board guitar.

Martina: Watching some videos of the tour I saw you wearing a thimble on your right hand. What is the reason for using it?

Ron: Oh, let me show you, I just take my guitar out. All right….So here is the thimble now, the guitar, the string, the fret und you are pressing the string down so that it´s touching the metal fret and that´s how we get a sound. But now just because we run out of the fret board the notes keep on going. So I use the thimble almost for replacing the fret and instead of touching the string to the fret I am touching the metal to the string. Doing this way I can get additional notes after the fret board has gone. So you can get all the higher notes out of playing with the thimble.

Martina: Besides your music you are known for modifying your guitars by yourself.

Ron: Nice word, it´s more destroying.

Martina: Is it so bad what you are doing with the guitars?

Ron: Yes, it´s pretty terrible, it´s really bad (laughing).

Martina: So why are you doing it? Are you still doing it?

Ron: No, I´m out of the business of destroying guitars. But as a kid I have always modified my guitars in strange ways, a lot of experimenting.

Martina: Was it just show or does it sound in another way after the modifying, for example after drilling holes in the guitar as you did?

Ron: Yes, a lot of that changes the sound, not always for the better. But it makes the guitar unique, you definitely can get a special sound out of it. But once I hooked up with that French company Vigier and they are doing much better and I left it to the pros. They did the foot guitar with the wings that came out. They do the fretless guitars. So they do it so much better and I just leave it to them and that is simplifying my life. They are making the guitars and I play them. It´s much better that way.

Martina: What are you guys usually doing after a show?

Ron: Well, it depends. Sometimes we jump right into the bus and start travelling to the next city. If we are staying in the city for a while there might be an afterparty. Or we go to a club, bar or we go back to the hotel room and just hang out till noon next day.

Martina: GNR does so many great shows, I read a lot of fan reports, which described the atmospheres like bursting with energy or really thrilling or breathtaking. But it happens that fans are upset because GNR doesn´t start the performance at the scheduled time, but much later. What are the reasons?

Ron: Sometimes there are technical reasons, sometimes there´s a problem with traveling in and that throws everything of.

Martina: Let´s talk about Axl´s relation to the press. Axl is known for being very reluctant towards the press and the press seems to blame Axl wherever they can.

Ron: Absolutely, he is a very easy target to blame by the press for anything because he is not giving interviews, he is not there. So if you are not going to speak for yourself and do not defend yourself, people would just run with anything. You know people have so many things to say about him although they didn’t actually meet him. But you will notice that anybody who had actually met him will say the same thing: he was great, he was very social, he was very hospitable, he was making you feel very comfortable, he is very generous, he was a lot of fun, he was full of stories, he did a lot of laughing, he always stops to sign anything and for taking pictures with anyone. So there are the people, that don’t know him and make up a lot of stories and there are the people that do know him and they all have nice things to say.

Martina: I absolutely think you are right, but according to the media Axl is supposed to be a very difficult person – difficult to handle, short tempered, being in a bad mood often.

Ron: Well it depends, I mean we all can have a short temper. The thing is that Axl is not allowed to be human, because everybody has him under a microscope and everybody is waiting for something that they can jump on, they entertain themselves in his name. So if he doesn’t smile on a photo people start making up stories “Oh he must be angry about this and about that”. But that happens. That happens to anybody that has a celebrity myth about them. People will just invent things to entertain themselves. And most of the time Axl doesn’t bother with it I guess. He just wants to have a good time.

Martina: There have been some GNR-shows that caused a lot of rumours like Reading, Leeds, Dublin.

Ron: We have done a phenomenal show in Belfast and no one mentions that, it was fantastic. We had an incredible show in Rome and no one mentions that, we had incredible shows in France and nobody mentions that. We did a great acoustic show in Paris and no one mentions that. All that is mentioned is that people were throwing things at the band.

Martina: In particular it was Reading that was surrounded by most rumours. Could you tell us what has really happened there?

Ron: It was not as troublesome as it sounds like when you read about it. We were -like we always do -later then the scheduled time, but that happens and if you are going to book GNR you need to know that the curfew is going out the window.

Martina: It was reported by the press that the organizer has pulled out the plug, so that GNR was not able to finish the show anymore.

Ron: Yes, but there were only a few songs left. We would have done another two, three songs. And we have already played for about two hours or something like that. We tried to do the last songs in an acoustic way, Axl grabbed the bullhorn, I grabbed the acoustic guitar but of course that was impossible, a hundred thousand people will not going to hear. And I tried to bring people on to the stage but the local security wouldn’t help me. I wanted to bring 10 people from the front of the audience on to the stage for giving them an acoustic show right there just for them.

Martina: It was also reported that Axl was so upset about the organizer and the whole situation in general that he has fired the whole technical crew. Is that right? Have you heard that rumour?

Ron: I´ve heard it, but it´s not true. But I hear all kinds of rumours. I heard that in Dublin we walked off and then most of the audience left and we didn’t finish the show. But we went back on ahead like 25, 30 Minutes later almost after we had sorted a few things out and we did the entire show to the very end.

And the place was not empty like some press reports wanted it to be. I mean the thing is you can read what the press says, but You Tube doesn´t lie. You go and watch the videos. You know, Reading was the same. The press said that the audience was booing us, but videos show that people were singing along and were having a great time. So people have to decide what they are going to believe, their own eyes or what some disgruntled and angry British press guy is writing. The press often is untrue and brutal and that´s disappointing. They want to entertain their readers even if it´s negative. They do not exact stories, they want to make things more interesting and concerning Reading, Leeds and Dublin they were really exaggerating some things at least from my perspective. I mean my perspective might be different from a person in the audience in the front row and it might be much more different from a person in the audience a thousand feet back. But from my perspective it all wasn’t that mad. But also I might be a little bit desensitized to the craziness. But the only thing that I don´t like is when the audience is suffering. If we are late give them water, give them something on the screen, give them some entertaining while they wait, don´t leave them like they were sitting in the traffic for two hours. Give them something, don´t just leave them there and let them getting angry. The thing is, we entertain because we want to make people happy, we need to please people so that a hundred thousand people smile and cheer. That’s why I´m here, that´s why I do this. I like to entertain people and to make sure that they are having a good time. When the next day someone of the audience is sending a face book message saying this was the greatest night he had, that is such a great thing. But when the audience is suffering that destroys me, that kills me and that I have a really hard time with. And it doesn´t matter why it is happening, it shouldn´t happen and I am sensitive to it. But this is GNR and it will not change, we are always late and people need to know that, they need to bring snacks, they need to go to the bathroom first, they need to plan how they get home. That’s reality and I just don´t want people to be hurt by, that´s all.

Martina: You joined GNR in 2006. How did it happen that you signed up with them?

Ron: It started two years before in 2004 and Joe Satriani has sent me an e-mail and he said “I just recommended you to Axl. So if you get an e-mail or anything from him, you know that it’s not like someone who is just being funny.” So like a few hours later one of the guys in the band has sent me a funny e-mail, and then I had heard from the guy who was producing Chinese Democracy, about their recording schedule and something else and so we got in contact and I was just getting everything going and we were talking for about two month. And then rumours got out, that I was playing with GNR and that I was in the band.

I wanted to stop the rumours by posting something on the internet, just saying “We stopped, nothing is going on.” And you know it was getting in the way of the natural process of things and so when I tried to stop the rumours by saying that it just added fuel to the fire and it got worse and I have got a fight with the management and we were fighting for a couple of month. It was a really nasty fight and we didn’t talk for a year and a half. And then suddenly they just got back in touch and said “He, we are ready if you want, so let’s check it out.” And we started jamming, we rehearsed a couple of songs in New York and after two weeks we just went out and hit the road and did the European Tour.

Martina: You joined GNR in a late phase of the genesis of the Chinese democracy album. Was most work already done or did you get a chance to bring in your personal ideas and creative aspects?

Ron: It was difficult because everything was so full already. I mean you can’t pack another thing into those songs, they would have just exploded. A lot of the developing process was already done, about 80% of the album was finished. I brought in my guitars, brought in my fretless and we have been in studio just between the legs of our touring between 2006 and 2007. I have been in different studios in L.A. and in New York and we added tracks and a hundred things to every song, rhythms, leads, melodic stuff, a lot of stuff, crazy stuff, just strange stuff and then later we just zipped through it all, saw what worked best when there came time to mix and decided “Let´s use this, let´s not use that” and we did that for about 40 songs.

Martina: It must have been a hard working process.

Ron: It was tricky because a lot of songs I have never even heard before. They didn´t want me to hear anything, they didn´t want me to have a copy of anything, they were so worried about leaks. So often I had to go in hearing it for the first time and come over something to a song that was already very full. So it was a challenge.

Martina: Which songs of Chinese Democracy do you like most and why?

Ron: I like “Shackler´s Revenge”, I like “Scraped”, they have a high energy, I like those a lot. But I also like “Catcher in the Rye”, very melodic. We just played that one at the acoustic show in Paris, and you really heard the melodies in the song.

Martina: GNR became one of the worldwide most famous Rock bands in the early 1990´s. What was your attitude towards GNR at that time?

Ron: I liked them. I mean I didn´t have the cross tattoo with the five skulls on it (laughing), not that, but I had cover bands in the late 80ies and we were doing “Mr. Brownstone” and “Welcome to the Jungle” and some other songs. So I really liked that stuff, everybody liked that stuff, it was a cool band, they did cool shows, it was great stuff. You know it changed Rock Music.

Martina: You are not only one of the GNR lead guitar players, but you are a very versatile artist and you did a lot of different music work. Recently you have re-released “The Adventures of Bumblefoot”. How would you describe what can be heard on it to a person who has not listened to it yet?

Ron: It was my very first album 15 years ago. It is a bit like Frank Zappa-Music, experimental, cartoonish, light hearted but technical and intellectual but doesn’t take itself seriously. But there are a lot of samples on www.bumblefoot.com. So best would be to check it out there. It’s weird stuff, real weird stuff.

Martina: Why did you re-release it?

Ron: Actually I always wanted to but the label had the rights, they own the 100% of the rights. So I couldn’t do anything with it. So after I left the label they stopped manufacturing and the album was sold out completely, there was no way to get it. But last year the label asked me if I would love to re-release it and I said “Yeeeeaaahh”. And we worked together and it was a real good situation and we were adding some bonus tracks. The bonus tracks were from video games sound tracks that I did about 14 years ago.

Martina: What’s special about getting the album on your website?

Ron: All albums which are available there are autographed and I donate 5 dollars to medical research.

Martina: In addition to “The Adventures of Bumblefoot” you have released a transcription book. Can you tell us something about working on the transcription book?

Ron: Definitely it was harder to make the book than to make the album. I was listening to every single guitar track, base track, everything for each song. I was listening, learning exactly how I did again and than I was writing down what fingers I used, how I picked the musical notation on the tab. And I did that for every single noise on that album and it was six month of just writing it down. And it was recently that I had ended the type setting and that I had put it into a book form. That has needed another six month. So it was a huge, a hard work.

Martina: Who can use the tab book? Is it only for professional guitar players or is it easy to follow?

Ron: It is easy to read, I mean it´s as easy as any piece of music is to read. At any case the transcription book is very detailed. So if you are not exactly sure how to play the music, the detailed instructions will help you to get through. The fingers are there, the picking; I have tried to make it as easy as possible for someone who wants to learn. But the music itself sometimes is a little hard to play.

Martina: The title “The Adventures of Bumblefoot” includes your nickname/stagename “Bumblefoot”. Where does it originate from?

Ron: It started with my wife. She’s a veterinarian, she was studying and I was holding the book open for her while she was learning everything and one of the diseases was called “Bumblefoot” or named with the technical term “ulcerative pododermatitis”. It was such a weird and strange word and one of the treatments for it was to rub haemorrhoids creme on the animal’s hurt foot and that also sounded so strange to me that I wrote a song called “Bumblefoot”. When I got a record deal I was making an album, where I put that song on and every song was named after another animal disease.

Later when I left the record label and started my own business of making my own albums I put my band back together and I called my band “Bumblefoot”. We did a sort of music like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Faith no more,… and the thing was that I was doing everything in the band, I was writing, I was singing, I was doing art work, I was doing promotion and so on. So it was more a solo effort in people´s eyes. What happened was that people associated “Bumblefoot” more and more only with my person and after a while it had became something like a nickname. And most of my albums have been released under this name.

Martina: Your music is very versatile, you have developed an energetic and authentic style of music, influenced by different kinds of music.

Ron: I like it when the song doesn´t go where you would expect it to but it still works. I just try to make it in a way that the music jumps to somewhat that is not expected by the listeners but they are entertained by it. I like making music that causes sometimes smiles on people´s faces.

Martina: There are a lot of influences of hip hop and in particularly of punk in your music.

Ron: Yes, I have listened to a lot of Sex Pistols and Ramones and Clash and a lot of other punk bands. Concerning hip hop I have recorded a lot of hip hop artists in my studio 10 years or a dozen years ago. Listening to that music and working with that people has surely influenced me.

Martina: Could it be said that you are open to every kind of music?

Ron: Sure, we are the sum of our experiences. So I do and try a lot.

Martina: Could it be said that being open for everything does not only concern your music work but also your life in general?

Ron: I think so, I believe being open for everything keeps life interesting. Concerning music work itself I am playing in GNR and besides that there are a lot of things I can´t do because I´m on the road but when I am off the road I was teaching people on a college, I was teaching people how to make albums and different tricks, I have a studio where I made music for TV-shows, I bring in bands and produce them or collaborate with somebody.

Martina: You did a lot of teaching. Did you like it? What kind of students did you have? What ages were they? I suppose, at the present you don´t have time for teaching. Would you like to do it again, if time permits?

Ron: I loved teaching and I miss it a lot. The students were at very different ages, from 6 years old to 60. But most are teenagers and people around 20 and 30. And I would really love to teach again.

Martina: What do you like more – being in the studio or onstage?

Ron: Stage is nice but the studio for me is the most creative place where anything is possible.

Martina: There are a lot of interesting musicians you have worked with. Is there anybody you would like to work with and haven´t yet?

Ron: No, there is nobody in particular. A lot of time it just happens without it is being planned and you just get along. I´m pretty open to it

Martina: The GNR-Tour will end in October I think. What are your next plans for the future? Will you spend more time on solo projects again?

Ron: In December GNR will do some shows in Australia, we will be there for about two weeks. Afterwards the work within GNR will still have priority because there are so many more people that it affects, especially the big audience. So if I defer something of my own projects, it doesn´t affect as many people.

Martina: Concerning your working process – which part of the day do you consider your most creative phase?

Ron: Well, I think late at night. I would say between 2 am and 4 am till 6 am. Martina: By creating a song -what is usually first: lyrics or notes Ron: Most of the time it’s the music that is first. But it’s not always that way, it can be different, it’s never exactly the

same. Sometimes there’s just a feeling and it need to get out and you find the words for it first. Another time you find the words and the sound for the feeling nearly at the same time.

Martina: Considering your career: What was the key for getting as far as you are today?

Ron: The first thing is: don´t be late. I am always on time, I try a least. The second thing is: do a lot of different things, be versatile. Third thing: be reliable towards the people you work with.

Martina: What was the most important moment in your career?

Ron: I think it was playing at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The story behind is that when I was a little kid about 5 years old all the other kids came “We just got the Kiss-album. Kiss Alive” and I was a real fan of kiss and that was the album that excited me most and that made me want to get on stage and play. And the first concert I went to was Kiss at Madison Square Garden. And some time I thought, it would be amazing to do that one day. And years later 2006 we did it. And it was amazing what was going on, the pyro, the lights. And to be there was like a childhood dream that had become true.

Martina: Have you been nervous?

Ron: No. The only thing I was nervous about was that it could not happen. So I thought “Don´t let anything fuck this up.” But there were no problems.

Martina: When you think of getting ahead in your career – is there anything special you would still like to do?

Ron: There is a lot, but what I would really love to do is doing voiceovers for cartoons.

Martina: A lot of people do admire you. Which advices would you give to young musicians for their careers?

Ron: Don’t be late! Be early! And be prepared. If you are going into a studio to play a song, know the song, know other people’s parts. Be very prepared for whatever you are going to do. People have to realise that there is a lot more to do than just getting on stage and playing. You need to live music night and day, you go to bed with it, you wake up with it, you dream about it and you need to work hard on it like just always doing something. And you need to be able to do all: You have to be not only a musician, you also have to be your own song writer, your own engineer, your own manager, your own booking agent and so on. And by doing that also you discover so many things about music and you might find passion in some area that you didn’t know you had.

Then there is another very, very important aspect: be honour, be humble, be gracious and realise that we are all just guests in this world and anyone can take us out at any time. Be good to people.

Martina: At the time you signed up with GNR you have already been a successful musician. What has changed in your life since joining GNR?

Ron: Some things have changed. The people that interact with me have changed. My life hasn’t changed. I’m still living in the same house I did before, I still have the same car, I still gonna take out the trash. But for example if I say something or if I respond to an email, someone might post it as if I was making some press statement. So by being more known you loose some freedoms.

Martina: Can you still go out without being guarded in the States?

Ron: Oh yes, I mean once in a while someone comes up to me and recognizes me and wants to chat, but it’s always nice. If I am at a place where we play music or in a bar or in a club it’s a little different, then more people come up to me. But in general it’s a normal life, pretty normal.

Martina: Considering information about you on your website and some of your previous interviews it seems you are a quite genuine person and still rooted to the soil. How did you manage to maintain that besides all show business and Rock star Life? What keeps you down to earth?

Ron: You have to remember that show business is not what makes us who we are; it’s not all that you are. You have to remember that anything what you do is just a piece of your person. The person that you see onstage is not the only side of that person. I mean I love music, I am a musician, but you have to remember that besides being a musician you are a human above all.

Martina: Let’s go back in former times. At what age did you start playing music? Did you get professional music education or did you learn playing music by yourself?

Ron: I was 6 years old when I started playing music and at first I just started by myself. And after maybe a year or something like that I took lessons for about 8 years and I studied very academically. I had teachers who told me what I needed to know and I got into jazz, classical music, everything. Then I started getting more to recording and then producing and working with people and playing in cover bands.

Martina: As you already told me Kiss was your shining example when you were a kid. Are there still musicians, who inspire you?

Ron: I love the band Muse. They are one of my favourite bands. I still love Queen, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Who, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, all the 60ies Motown stuff, Smokey Robinson and the British metal rock in general.

Martina: Have you always been sure of wanting to be a musician or were there also times, where you wanted to do another business?

Ron: I have done a lot of other things because of the economical situation. You know, the music is your baby and you have to raise your baby. And you do whatever there is to do for that. You work as many jobs as you have to, so that you can found your life and found the crown of what you are trying to accomplish. So absolutely I proudly say, I have had many shitty jobs.

Martina: When did you reach the moment when you were able to finance your life by playing music only?

Ron: It was my early 20ies. It’s hard to believe, because a lot of people won’t make. But I started working young, I started working when I was about 12. I was painting Iron Maiden albums on the backs of people’s jackets. So I saved up money to buy guitars and I was working maybe a dozen years just doing whatever I needed to do.

That time I started teaching and recording bands also. And when I was about 24 I was able to finance life only by doing musical work.

Martina: Have you never had doubts?

Ron: I have had doubts about if I would be able to survive, if I would be able to succeed. Everybody has doubts like that sometimes I guess.

Martina: Besides your early passion for music, would you tell us a bit more about your growing up: where did you grow up, do you have sisters/brothers, when did you leave home, did you like school….?

Ron: I grew up in New York, I have wonderful parents. They are still alive and well and together. And I have a brother.

I didn’t like school. But I loved learning and for example I liked spending my time by learning basic language for my Commodore 64, so that I could do all that programme and make my own video games. And I loved History. But when you have put me in the classroom I didn’t feel well, I didn’t like the cliquish atmosphere and all that stuff. So actually I quit school when I was a teenager and I just did the music. And anytime that someone says “There is one way to something” I say “No, there is another way, too, and I will show you.” And there is a very defined thing in me to prove that things don’t always need to be as other people do expect. So I went from a high school drop out to being a college professor for music.

Concerning leaving home I tried to leave a few times but it didn’t work, they always caught me and brought me back (laughing). It was in the early 20ies that I really left home but came back after some time for a little bit and by the time I was in my mid20ies I was out finally.

Martina: Would you tell us some facts of your private life today?

Ron: I am married, my wife is a veterinarian, and we live in New Jersey, right across from New York City. We have a nice little townhouse. We have a swimming pool that we never use. We have a tennis court that we never use. We are too busy. And I have another little house, a hundred year old house that I use just for making music. And we have three cats and they are all really crazy.

Martina: I´ll give you some words now. Please just describe for every word a situation that you think of. ambitious, lazy, honest, thankful;

Ron: ambitious: I think of 10 years of trying to make it with a band and it seems like everything is against you. And it almost seems like you are trying to climb up this endless hill and you just keep sliding down. And you try it years and years and years. So it´s like a never ending climb and an impossible task but you just keep on going and going and going. That is what ambitious means to me.

lazy: It´s a word that is no longer in my dictionary, there´s no time for it, so by hearing lazy I think of the past.

honest: Honest makes me think of what I have realised about Guns n´ Roses as such a high profiled band that people don´t care about the truth. They care about entertainment. And you can tell them the truth but if a lie is more entertaining they would rather go with the lie. So honesty has become not as relevant as entertainment, what is surely disappointing.

thankful: I´m thankful every morning I wake up.

sad: When I have to tour without my wife.

Martina: You are known for taking great care of your fans. Can you tell us a bit about your attitudes towards the fans?

Ron: They are brain eating zombies, they are monsters – Noooo, joke, joke, joke…..(laughing)!! You can´t have one without the other. We would be playing in an empty arena without them and without us they would be cheering before an empty stage. So it’s a sort of symbiotic relationship where one needs the other. It´s not always an easy relationship because you are dealing with a lot of different personalities, the fans´ individuality and the band’s individuality, each person is different. So you are not always having a perfect relationship between them two, but it is a bit like a marriage. The band and the fans belong together and I appreciate that.

Martina: Some other well known musicians are exactly the opposite of you. What do you think are their reasons for being more reserved towards the fans?

Ron: I think they probably had bad experiences. So what happens is that you are open, you are accessible and then one crazy person tries to get violent to one of your family, tries to break into your house or something like that. Then you realise that you need to have a safe distance to protect people around you and yourself. So maybe something had happened that crossed the line and had made them change. And the fans need to respect that and should not be angry at someone for not being accessible. Fans have to realise that these people are human and they need to live in a way that works for them.

Martina: Is there anything in your life that you do regret?

Ron: Hm ……(thinking)……hm, that’s a tough question because I take a lot of responsibility and accountability for anything I do. I try to make decisions that I won’t regret and if I do make a mistake I accept it and I learn form it and I try to do right and fix it. Hm… (thinking)….I try to think of something I do regret…. Ok, during this tour I really wanted to exercise every morning and I have done maybe once and I feel it and I regret it. I regret that I can´t go on stage and take my shirt off (laughing) because everybody would react like “Ahhh, put it on again!!!”

Martina: What was the greatest challenge of your life?

Ron: Arm wrestling with Richard Fortus, he has very strong arms (laughing). Well, I am thinking about a serious answer …. …….I think it´s just finding time. Finding time for doing

everything that you need to do and you wanna do because it´s just a constant race against the clock.

Martina: So thanks for spending time by doing the interview. It was a great pleasure.

Ron: Thank you for coming and chatting.
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