Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal: An Original Voice
Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal has been making brilliant instrumental music long before he landed the high profile Guns 'N Roses gig. He is a guitar player that makes you laugh, hang your head in disbelief and cry all at the same time. Listening to Ron is like taking a magical journey through tonal space. You never know what to expect with Ron. He is one of the most original players on the scene today and we are honored to feature his interview on our website.
1. Ron, since 1995 you have released so much great music, vocal and instrumental all with your unique signature sound. How have you been able to maintain such an original playing and writing style?
Ron: Thanks! It's about maintaining your spirit, and not letting the obstacles in life get the best of you. When you shut your doors and put your guard up, you're not going to be as free to express yourself musically. Maintain the purity of why you make music, and don't permit anything or anyone to take that away from you. Most of all, don't think too much, trust your gut and your instincts.!
2. Many fans of guitar instrumental music know that Satriani recommended you for the Guns N' Roses gig and love the fact that you are now getting the attention you deserve. How did you feel when you first got the call from Axl and then landed the gig?
Ron: It was over 8 years ago when GNR reached out. At the time, I was releasing my own albums, touring, producing great bands, guest guitarist with cool artists, licensing music to TV shows & videogames, teaching music production at a University, my life was complete and gratifying and the thought of putting all this aside to join another band... I told them no. A year-and-a-half later they reached out again and we worked it out. I had to cancel an upcoming Bumblefoot tour from Russia to Iceland, stop teaching, put producing on hold as well as my own albums, and took a chance that I'd be able to juggle everything. We jammed 7 times, I learned all the unreleased Chinese Democracy songs by listening on a laptop for a half-hour with pen & paper in hand, and hit the road.
3. "Guitar's Suck" and "Guitar's Still Suck" are two of the most amazing guitar instrumental songs ever written and show your amazing guitar technique. How important is technique for a guitarist and how can it be utilized in a musical way?
Ron: Thanks again :) You only have to be good enough to play your own songs. That's it. If you can do that, you have good technique. Passion and personality should come first – whatever technique you have will show itself without you needed to thrust it into the forefront. You play how you play. Just think about the song, the feeling you want to express and what you want people to feel from it.
4. Is there anything that you want to say about upcoming projects or releases that are in the works?
Ron: I wanted to have some new GNR songs in the works on my end, but life got in the way. Hoping to move on that when we all get together in a few weeks for the Vegas shows. I've joined in on acoustic music with vocalist Tony Harnell, hope to see that released soon and grow into more. Last year I laid guitar and did final mixing/mastering for an album by rapper Scarface, called Work Ethic, label hasn't released it yet. I still want to do an instrumental album, and have some songs that needs vocals – melodies are there, but can't find the words. It'll all happen when it's meant to...
5. Do you feel the Internet has helped musicians? What are some of the best ways to take advantage of the opportunities it has to offer?
Ron: Internet has given every musician freedom to do the most important thing – share their music. Soundcloud, Reverbnation, CDBaby, Tunecore/Topspin, YouTube, Livestream, StageIt, wherever you look there's an easy way for everyone connect.
6. f you could jam with any one musician, alive or dead, who would that be and why?
Ron: Freddie Mercury. John Lennon & George Harrison. Jimi Hendrix. Can't pick just one. 'Why' gets in the way of doing – best not to ask why, and just 'do'.
7. In closing, can you tell your fans one thing they probably don’t know about you, and keep it clean LOL?
Haha, clean? OK, this is big, prepare yourself....... I used to not like broccoli, now I do. OK, for real now... I won't smash a guitar. Just aint my thing. I'll give one away to a kid before destroying it. Thank you for the interview and thank you all for reading! :)
For more information on Ron visit his website