TBFM Reporter Gav Ranz chats to Ron BUMBLEFOOT Thal ahead of his gig at the Caipirinha Jazz Bar in North London.
For those not yet familiar with his work, Ron is a well established solo artist but has also done everything from soundtracks on TV shows & video games to playing guitar & engineering for Jessica Simpson but he is currently lead guitarist of Guns N Roses.
Hi Ron, welcome to London.
I’m sooo glad to be here…! Haha, thanks man.
For everyone out there reading this, what can they expect from your solo tour/guitar clinic?
It’s more like hosting a big hangout, jam, chat, performance, all in one. I’ve heard them described them like ‘house parties’, they’re very interactive, a lot of Q&A, it’s not a one-directional thing. A lot of communication.
As you’re not travelling with a band, how much research goes into the musicians who are playing as your “house band”?
Traveling by myself, hooking up with local musicians everywhere, some for the first time, and just having fun with it, however it goes…
Have you had anyone claiming they’re good enough to play your technical stuff, only to find that they’re not all what they’ve cracked up to be?
Luckily there haven’t been any ‘train wrecks’ on stage, haha.
When things didn’t go to plan, how did you deal with it?
Ya just gotta laugh, the world won’t end if there’s a trip-and-fall.
I’ve been following your tour online. A different country practically everyday… When do you find time to sleep?!
I haven’t. Been an average 1 to 3 hours a night, but I’ve found that the good vibes have been more energizing than sleep.
Do you get nervous before going on stage?
Do you prefer the smaller, more intimate shows or the GN’R arena shows?
I prefer small personal shows where there’s less distance between the audience & band, where you can reach out & touch.
How did you get the GN’R gig?
A friend lost a bet in a game of poker, and sold me to them to pay his debt. (laughs)
Any apprehension based on all the stories you’d heard?
No, I didn’t pre-judge. I went by my own experience with them… which was worse than the stories, hahaha. (joking)
How do you decide who gets the solo in each song and are there any solos you think “I really wanna play that” (instead of DJ Ashba or Richard Fortus)?
We all pee together in a toilet and whoever finishes last has to play the solo. (laughs)
Do you think Axl would be cool with the band learning a couple of your tunes to throw in while he does his wardrobe change and would you actually wanna do your own material at a GNR show?
Well, we’ve done Pink Panther, Glad To Be Here & Objectify, but I feel like a GNR show should be GNR music. I’d rather give people more GNR songs than not.
I think Tommy (GN’R bassist) sings an odd song now, any cover versions you’d like to sing?
Hmmm… Maiden, Priest, Queen, Beatles? Choices, choices…
Will your next solo release be an album or single and when do you think it’ll be out?
No idea, just gonna see which way the wind blows…
What’s the plan after this leg of your tour finishes?
To squeeze in as much of everything I want to do as I can fit into whatever time I have. It’s all just a scattered race against the clock.
What do you like to do on your down time?
I haven’t had down time in 20 years.
You have your own range of hot sauces. Are they family recipes?
No, my family wouldn’t touch the stuff, hahaha. The flavour profiles just came from what I like to taste, collaborating with Cajohns Fiery Foods who got everything out of my head, perfected and into bottles. http://bit.ly/bumblefkd
Is there anything out there that’s even too hot for you to try?
Molten lava fresh from a baby volcano.
Finally, is there anything you wanna say to your fans out there?
Thank you for coming to these solo shows. Once I joined Guns, it’s like it erased a lifetime as a solo artist and I became ‘the guitarist of Guns’. Add to that schedule conflicts trying to book my own tours, and it’s like everything I did fell too much to the side. This is the first time in 8 years that I’m playing solo again, it’s like starting fresh, re-introducing myself to the world. I’m grateful to everyone that’s been coming to shows and being so supportive, thank you all so much!!
Thanks man, have a great gig tonight!