GUNS ‘N ROSES Guitarist RON THAL Takes Flight!
August 13, 2010, 9 years ago
By Mitch Lafon
On August 19th, current GUNS ‘N ROSES guitarist, RON ‘Bumblefoot’ THAL, re-releases his 1995 debut album The Adventures of Bumblefoot via Baldfreak.com. Thal’s repackaged guitar wizardry comes with the addition of seven bonus tracks (five taken from the Wild Woody 1996 SEGA video game soundtrack) and will contribute 5$ of each signed CD sold to help find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. The guitarist sat down with Bravewords.com hours before Guns N' Roses were due to hit the stage at the Rock ‘N Rev Festival in Sturgis, South Dakota to discuss what it all means.
The awesome Mitch Lafon of Bravewords.com: Tell me about the re-issue of The Adventures Of Bumblefoot. Have you changed any parts or remixed it in anyway?
Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal: “No, we kept all the original stuff. All the original mixes, the mastering and song order are exactly the same. We added five bonus tracks from a video game I did back in ’96 (Wild Woody).”
Bravewords.com: Why re-issue it now?
Thal: "The question I’ve always had is ‘why did it need to be re-issued?’ Why was it ever out-of-print? It came out in ’95 and I was out of my deal with Shrapnel in ’97 and at that point they didn’t reprint the album. So, it just fell into extinction and people had to eBay it. People would send me angry emails saying ‘why don’t you release it blah blah blah’ and I’d have to explain to them that I don’t own any of the rights to these recordings and that it was wholly up to the record label. I reached out to Mike (Varney) at the label (Shrapnel) and I asked if I could license it from him, but he didn’t want to so it was just gone. One of my babies was gone. However, he contacted me last year and said he’d like to re-issue it and I was like ‘yeah!’. So, I re-did the artwork and we worked together on which songs to add on and stuff. It was really good this time around getting it all together and making it happen.”
Bravewords.com: There are no real vocals on the album. It’s pretty much an instrumental record.
Thal: "There’s no lyrical vocal content in the songs, but there are some vocals. For example, in the solo of one song I had this sinus infection and was such discomfort that I’d be like ‘ahhhhhh’ and do things like that – that I built the solo around it. So, when it comes to vocals there are parts where I’m scatting along to the guitar solo.”
Bravewords.com: With a talk-box?
Thal: "No, just the guitar and voice together in unison doing the parts. One bonus track does have a vocal to it, but otherwise it’s all really weird instrumental guitar music.”
Bravewords.com: Without sounding rude, does most of the interest for this album come because you’re in GUNS ‘N ROSES now?
Thal: "I guess so yeah and it’s not rude. It’s the reality of it. I’m more on people’s radar than five years ago, ten years ago… It was a smart move to do it (join GN'R).”
Bravewords.com: What’s the plan for future releases of new solo material?
Thal: "I had recorded a bunch of stuff last year and had a band together with a drummer, bass player and singer and with me on guitar, but the singer backed out of it. I’ve been looking for a singer since then. I’d love to find the right guy and put these songs on there on iTunes or something.”
Bravewords.com: Would you consider SEBASTIAN BACH?
Thal: "I just worked with him on his new album and Frank (Ferrer - Guns N' Roses drummer) came down. We jammed and I laid down some solos. I don’t know if he’ll use it on the album, but yeah – I would definitely do something with Sebastian. It was great hanging out and getting Pro Tools to work…”
Bravewords.com: I’m surprised that you would want to touch Pro Tools after the making of Chinese Democracy. You figure you’d be more inclined to plug-in, play four-on-the-floor, and record.
Thal: "Pro Tools was used only to lay the track, but it was not a Pro-Tool project in anyway.”
Bravewords.com: Would you tour in Sebastian’s band if he asked you?
Thal: "Maybe, but he’s pretty set-up. Still if it’s possible then ‘yeah’. I’m looking to get out there. I didn’t become a musician to sit around and do nothing. I want to tour. I want to write. More so than touring – I want to write, record and put music into the world. To do a show – it’s over and done with.”
Bravewords.com: So, it’s important for you to record. More and more bands seem solely interested in the touring, the marketing and the selling of merch. Recording new stuff becomes less and less important. Take a band like CINDERELLA – they haven’t put out any new music since 1994.
Thal: "That’s cool for a lot of people. There’s a certain vibe out there that if you’re a band that had a bunch of hits twenty years ago – don’t try and do anything now. It would be like a boxer trying to get back in the ring and fight again. You did your thing. You were a champion then – enjoy it. Now go out and play the stuff, but don’t try to be a champion again. I think the bands want to do it in full. We want to write. We want to record. We want to do everything. We want to play our old stuff plus the new stuff and you can’t blame them. They’re musicians and they want t make music. People are just less receptive to hearing new music. A lot of people, at least in America, have the attitude ‘we don’t want to hear the new shit. Just play the old hits.’”
Bravewords.com: Is the release of The Adventures Of Bumblefoot only the beginning of an onslaught of new Bumblefoot recordings?
Thal: "I had that stuff last summer and had it come out it would have been great. It would have been a band thing and it came so easily and naturally. It reminded me of Led Zeppelin meets Pantera. It was cool shit and I did it with that fretless double-neck. I was thinking of contacting John Corabi (ex-MÖTLEY CRÜE, UNION, SCREAM) – what a fucking voice and such a talented dude.”
Bravewords.com: John Corabi would be a great choice.
Thal: "I should get in touch with him. We were both on Eddie Trunk recently – he was talking and I was just hanging…”
Bravewords.com: Before I forget. You’re heading off to tour with Guns N' Roses including the Rock N’ Rev Festival festival in Sturgis, SD…
Thal: "We’re playing with ALICE IN CHAINS. It’ll be totally cool. Hopefully, we won’t be pelted with (literal) buffalo chips (laughs). It’s our only US show and then we’re flying off to Europe. We’ll play Europe for about two months. We’ll play the UK, Serbia, Croatia, Spain and then we’ll see what happens after that. We have a one-off in Australia at the Telstra Sydney 500 V8 Supercars in December. ”
Bravewords.com: Back to your new album, The Adventures Of Bumblefoot. You’re donating 5$ of each signed CD sold to a Multiple Sclerosis foundation - Msrf.org
Thal: "The album will sell on my site for 20$. So, I decided that I will sign every album and donate 5$ to MS research.”
(Photo #2 by Gregory Ivan Allen)