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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.


2007.04.14 - GNR France - Interview with Bumblefoot

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2007.04.14 - GNR France - Interview with Bumblefoot Empty 2007.04.14 - GNR France - Interview with Bumblefoot

Post by Blackstar Wed Sep 07, 2022 1:59 pm

As a tribute to your fans, let's begin with your musical style and technique:

Where do the nickname "Bumblefoot" and the idea of a winged-guitar (anything to do with Hendrix's winged guitar?) come from?

Ron Thal: It was the early 90s, my girlfriend was in veterinary school and I was helping her study - one of the animal diseases was called Bumblefoot. I wrote a song called Bumblefoot, then put out my first album, "The Adventures Of Bumblefoot" The design of the winged guitar came from this album cover. (The guitar was built by hand, by the French guitar company Vigier ) "Bumblefoot" became the name of my band, and eventually my nickname...

Will we have the honor to see you live again in France for another round of Bumblefoot concerts (with your buddies from Freak Kitchen Christophe Godin, Your Degroote)? Any update on a new Bumblefoot record?

Thank you, I hope so! I want to record a new solo album before doing my own touring again. I haven't begun recording a new album yet, waiting for the right moment of inspiration...

Before you joined GN'R, you worked on several musical projects, do you think you'll still release solo albums, teach guitar classes, etc. or are these activities on hold for now?

I will keep doing everything I've done before GnR, whenever I can, when I'm not on tour...

What is your favorite guitar at the moment?

I always love playing the Vigier fretless... I also just got a Gibson Flying V, been enjoying it.

Is there any uncommon instrument (or not) you would like to play or add to the tracks you play on?

Haha...maybe a kazoo...?

What kind of advice would you give to young musicians trying to break through?

Be diverse - do everything you can. Recording engineer, musician, teacher, songwriter... each skill helps the other, and you may develop new talents and find things you enjoy that you never thought you would.

About the equipment you're using, how do you customize your Les Paul for GN'R, and for what purpose? What do you put on your index finger for tapping?

I didn't do anything special or change anything on the Les Paul, didn't change the pickups or anything, all the original parts (is an '89 re-issue of the '59...) On my 4th finger of the picking hand, I keep a metal cap ("thimble") on my fingertip and use it for tapping notes on the string that are higher than the fretboard - the metal cap gives the notes more sustain. You can hear it in the high-pitched notes of "Guitars Suck" (the MP3 is on my myspace right now if you want to hear it -

Hello Mr. Thal, first of all I would like to say what you bring to GN'R is extremely appreciated and your melodies are a real strength for the band. Would you consider talent comes from the instrument, the technique or the heart? Do you think it's more important to like what we create - even if we don't break through - than break through without liking our own songs?

Merci!! Very Happy Everything must come from the heart. You must have passion, and express what you feel. Anything else will eat away your spirit, and without your spirit, you're nothing. There are days when you will love what you create, other days you hate it, but as long as you love creating, you're ok.


Off to Guns N' Roses!

Before you joined the band, what did you think about GN'R?

Was a fan since Appetite first came out. Had a cover band with my friends back then, we did Michelle, Brownstone...

What happened the first time you met/ rehearsed with the band? Were you relaxed, impressed, worried...?

I was relaxed, not worried about anything. Things would happen as they were meant to, however it turned out.

What did you think when the lights went down and you played the first notes for the show at the Hammerstein (May 06)?

I thought to myself, "Which harmony was I supposed to play in this song...? How many verses are in that song...? How many beats is the break in that other song...?" Stuff like that...

Since when do you know the current members of the band? Which word would describe each band member the best?

I met them for the first time when we started jamming last year, although Chris Pitman and I had spoken since 2 years before. Frank and I have mutual friends that go back 20 years. (I don't feel right talking about other band members, I feel like I'm analyzing them...)

What was your secret to blend in so easily in GN'R?

For any band, if you want things to work, just play, make music. Everything else will fall into place naturally.

Which tracks do you like to play the most?

Don't have a favorite, I like them all for different reasons, some for the groove, some for the melody... I like "Down On The Farm", it's a good song, with attitude.

Will there be another record after Chinese Democracy with you on it

Can't predict what the future will bring, for now I'm just looking forward to upcoming tours.

Was Axl in the studio to kinda tell you the style you should use or was he totally confident in you? How is Axl as a person and as a songwriter/ composer?

(Not gonna talk about other members...) I can't speak for anyone else, and I don't want to say too much about Chinese... I will tell you about my other studio experiences. I've owned my own studio for a dozen years, recorded hundreds of albums and demos with hundreds of bands. In the studio, in my experience, it's always best to let people do their thing, and not have everyone watching over each other - it's the best way and the usual way things are done. When bandmembers are recording in my studio, they usually work alone and their bandmembers have confidence in them. If bandmembers are at the studio, they're usually in a different room hanging out, checking in once in a while. When I'm mixing an album, I do most of it on my own, then meet with band members to make adjustments. Many times when mixing, I work alone and email the band MP3s of the mixes, they email me a list of changes, I make the changes and email new MP3s. It's a good way - they take care of their business, while I'm getting the mixing done, and we both make more progress. When I record guitar tracks on my own albums, I prefer to work alone, I focus better that way.

Did you write anything for the tracks that will be on Chinese Democracy, or did you mainly play stuff that was already written? For instance, when you play T.W.A.T, it was stuff that was written before, so do you have to stick to it or can you kinda improvise and add your feeling to it?

Songs had already existed from before I joined the band - I did my best to add my own spirit to the songs, hopefully people will like it.

What did you think about the concert in Paris last year? Is there anything you will remember for a long time from the 2006 tour?

I had a GREAT time in Paris!! I had just played in Paris, November 2005 with the solo band, at "La Maroquinerie". France is the main country I've toured in the last 10 years. It can be 300 people at a show with the solo band, or 15,000 people with GnR, it's always a good time, and every show is memorable. I think, what I remember most from the 2006 tour is... the *food*. Haha, good food. Smile

Do you think (or know if) the band will be back to Canada or France for the 2007 tour?

I don't know...

What did Guns N' Roses represent for you in your musical background?

Do you mean, was GnR a musical influence? Kiss and the Beatles inspired me to become a musician, I was mostly influenced by classic rock and old-school metal, and some punk, it's what I listened to mostly as a kid. GnR may have been in there, a little bit...?


Your own stuff:

Who are the 3 best guitarists of all time, according to you?

My favorite guitarists, that influenced me most, were Eddie Van Halen for his innovation, Jimi Hendrix for his feel, and Ace Frehley (KISS) for making every solo a singable part of the song. Randy Rhoads (Ozzy) is in there too as a favorite. Those first two Ozzy

As we speak, who do you admire the most as a musician?

Shawn Lane had some of the best technique on guitar. Another guitarist, from the UK, my good friend Guthrie Govan ( ) is one of the greatest players, always enjoy jamming with him. Stevie Wonder, amazing songwriter and singer, his songs always make ya feel good. Definitely George Martin, the Beatles' producer that added the great classical instrumentation to their songs. And of course Mattias Eklundh and his band Freak Kitchen ( ).

What are your favorite rock bands besides Guns N' Roses?

Beatles, Kiss (1977 and older), Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, RATM, Queen, Faith No More, Muse, and most of all, MANOWAR.

According to other members of the bands, you're like a walking musical encyclopedia, what French artist(s) or band(s) do you really like?

France has so many talented and fun-loving musicians, I've been fortunate enough to become friends with, and make music with many of them, people I have great respect for personally and musically. There's my old friend Christophe Godin ( ) and the bands he's had, Mörglbl Trio, Metal Kartoon, Gnô... The band Plug-In ( ) with Elmobo on bass and Fanalo on guitar, both who were in my band when we were touring in '02, '03... I miss all those guys.

What do you like to do when you have a day off on tour when you're overseas?

I'm very boring while on tour, haha. I stay in the hotel room mostly, getting lots of rest and playing lots of guitar. I have a responsibility to be 100% for every show, that's why I'm there, that's all that counts.

We know you like France and French-speaking people and our site is called Guns N' Roses France ( , so we would like to ask you to say a little something about the following French-speaking countries (some souvenir you might have, favorite bands, some monument you like, etc.):

- France

Couldn't begin to recall everything in France that left an impression... the beautiful forests in Brittany, spending time there with my friend Pat O'May in the late 90s while working on his album ( "Breizh-Amerika" ) The beaches in Nice, Montpellier, the friends I've made in Strassbourg, Bordeaux, Paris, Lille...too many people and places to mention, all of them good. And the food.

- Switzerland

I remember playing in Romont, in the Winter of '05, my band and Freak Kitchen. Mattias drove the van up this snowy hill, at the top was a castle, and we played next door to it. Will never forget the beautiful castle in Romont.

- Belgium

Big thanks to my friend Jean-Michel Legusti, who's been by my side throughout many tours, and mails me and my wife *Belgian dark chocolate*. (Again, it's about food...)

- Québec (Canada)

Made friends with a good guy in Québec, who just had a son, the son's name is Axl. His son, is what is special about Québec.

- Algeria - Morocco (North Africa)

Never been to Algeria or Morocco, but as I'm typing this, I'm leaving in 10 minutes to eat sushi with my wife and her best friend Zina, who's father was the Mayor of Casablanca. So that's my connection to Morocco. That and a Moroccan fez Zina got me.


Thank YOU, to all of you!! Hope to see you all again soon...!

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