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Neemo
 Rep: 469 

Re: The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

Neemo wrote:

9 months ago I posted a thread where I asked the members of this board if they wanted to ask Ron some questions. Admittedly I was a bit slow on the uptake and when I finally sent the questions Ron was working on the Acoustic album. Then there was the big hoopla on the other forums for video Q&A's from all the band members, GNR began rehearsals and then Ron joined Lita Ford on tour.

A week or so ago Ron emailed me out of the blue and asked if we still wanted him to do the Q&A. The stars have finally aligned and those long forgotten GnREvo Questions have now been answered ... and in a bit more detail then we've seen Bumblefoot reply before. If your question wasn't answered, our sincerest appologies, we had to think fast and make the questions fit somewhat into the current timeframe, and if you don't like the answers too bad....

Without any further ado.....feast your eyes on:

The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

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GnREvolution: Who are some of your favorite guitarists..past and present. and for our resident U2 fanatic...what do you think of The Edge as a guitar player? Is there any musician out there who you'd dream of doing a solo collaboration with but thus far haven't?

Bumblefoot: The Edge always did the perfect thing for the song, always the right atmosphere and energy. Some of my favorite guitarists...  Angus Young, Jimi Hendrix, Ace Frehley, Eddie Van Halen, and as far as guitarist's guitarists, guys like Al DiMeola, Allan Holdsworth...  so many inspirational players out there...   Would love to do some kinda band with John Sykes. My friend Mattias Eklundh from the Swedish band 'Freak Kitchen' and I have been talking for years about doing some kind of album together but neither of us ever have enough time to get it rolling.

GnREvolution: If the opportunity arose, would you ever collaborate with former GnR members such as Slash, Izzy, Duff, Buckethead, etc....either in or out of GNR. If such a collaboration could happen with you maintaining your position in GNR.

Bumblefoot: Jammed with Izzy plenty of times, and we worked out a nice version of 'The Devil Went Down To Georgia', does that count?  Haha...   Bucket and I talked before he joined GNR about me singing on his stuff, way back when - generally, if someone's cool and there's no issues, I give things a chance. You can always find a reason to not do things, I say fuck it and just play...  but there are people in my history I'd never play with again no matter what, so I understand anyone feeling that way about anyone. And it's best not to get in the middle of those situations.

(edit: for the Bucket fans out there ... I asked Ron when these BBF/BH collaboration talks took place, and he told me that it was early 1999. smile )

GnREvolution: Which tracks on Abnormal feature the fretless...

Bumblefoot: The main guitar in 'Jenny B' is all fretless.  Some little noises in the breakdown of 'Last Time', the 'siren' sound in the last verse of 'Abnormal', middle solo after the speed-up part in 'Guitars Still Suck', 2nd solo in 'Redeye'.

GnREvolution: What equipment did you use on Chinese Democracy.

Bumblefoot: Les Pauls, the Vigier fretless, Vox or a Cry Baby wah pedal, Marshall heads and cabs, sometimes a Boss Blues Driver pedal for extra juice.  Brought down my old JCM800 for some stuff...

GnREvolution: What songs (and in what ways) did you retool guitar work on to add your touch to for each respective song. can you tell us what guitar parts (Rhythm's, leads, riffs) are yours on the album?

Bumblefoot: If I can remember, been years...  in most of the songs I put in loose riffy rhythms, I think it freed everything up a bit.  On top of that, song by song, in 'Chinese' the fretless in the verses, 'Shacklers' the solos, 'Better' some little noodly stuff in the end of the 2nd verse, some little melodic lines in the rhythms in 'Dreams', solos in 'Catcher', 'Scraped' and 'Riad', the rest I don't remember. Like trying to remember how many sprinkles ya put on an ice cream cone 3 years ago...

GnREvolution: What was your process for recording solos? Were you given any advice as to the type of solo to play/tone etc, was it all improvised or were you asked to replicate but add your stamp to some existing melodies etc. (Like how Brain was asked to re-do the notes Freese hit but with Brain's feel etc) and generally any other suitable stories or tidbits that relate to the great work you've done on your parts.

Bumblefoot: I'd spend 14 hours laying down every type of thing I could, different directions in rhythms and solos, as well as different guitars, pickups, amp settings, ways of playing. All my own parts, didn't re-play anyone else's, but there was also a collaborative input. Decisions would be made for what they thought was best, using what where and when. Chi Dem is not your typical album, there's no other that's gone through the journey that album did, and no other probably ever will. It's not a simple 'play what ya want on your own song how ya want it and no one else gets a say in it'. My own albums are like that, this one is about being a piece of a very big musical picture. Where else will you hear me and Bucket and Frank and Brain and Robin and Richard and Axl and Sebastian and Dizzy and Chris and Tommy and Paul in songs together? It's a one of a kind, the rules don't apply.

GnREvolution: I would like to ask if your solos on Shacklers and Riad were influenced at all by Buckethead and did you secretly try to out do him?

Bumblefoot: Hahaha, no and no. Listen to my demos from 20 years ago and you'll find that I play the way I play, long before there were buckets on anyone's head or bumbles on anyone's feet. Guys from the same era like me, Bucket, Mattias Eklundh, Christophe Godin, Guthrie Govan, and plenty more, all have a similar thread in the spirit of what we do. No one's copying each other, the same way most 70's blues rock guitarists aren't copying each other - but there was something in the air at the time their cast was solidifying, that affected how they expressed themselves. This happens throughout every era of music, and in our case, the transition from the fun gluttonous 80s into the tighten-your-belt 90s, a time when cultures began to merge, big hair rock turned toward funk rock, grunge, rap rock...  there was an open-mindedness, more of a multi-mindedness that occurred.  Listen to any of our solo albums, you'll hear what I mean.

GnREvolution: Are there any songs on Chinese Democracy that nearly didn't make it? What can you tell us about the alternate album artwork and CD booklet?

Bumblefoot: Ah man, I never get into things that haven't happened - it can affect the final outcome of things, ya can't do that. It's like going up to a stranger and saying, 'In 10 seconds I'm gonna try to steal your car.'  Guaranteed, the outcome won't be the same. So I never talk about plans, things that haven't happened yet - also, as I'm here typing this, managers could be walking out of a meeting in LA, and I don't know what's up until they tell me. Anything I'd say would be mis-information until it's so absolutely undeniably definite, in which case you'd probably find out from them soon after I did.  In my own band, there's less riding on things, it's ok to open the window and let everyone see inside. And I enjoy that, making videos in the studio as an album's being recorded, letting people know what I'm planning for myself - no biggie, if the plans don't happen, it's not like multi-million dollar companies have invested time and the work of hundreds of people are affected by the change. There's a need for protection and privacy when it comes to GNR bizz, or anything on that level. I know it can make you feel frustrated, invisible, abandoned - even though it sucks, I hope you understand that there's too much at stake to risk being irresponsible with information.

GnREvolution: Do you have anything to say about the chemistry of the members of Guns N Roses, either person to person, or as a whole group? and what the hell happened with Robin, its so weird he left on the eve of the album release?

Bumblefoot: I can't and won't speak on Robin's behalf, it's totally up to him if he wants to share anything about it. Me, I'm in touch almost daily with members of the band and crew, we hang when we can. I see Frank most often because we live near each other on the East Coast. But we all have phones, email, we're in touch pretty often.

GnREvolution: What has been your most frustrating moment with GNR and what's been the best moment?

Bumblefoot: Most frustrating moments are when plans are delayed or canceled while waiting for 'the pieces to fall into place' as I like to word it...   you guys have dealt with a whole lot of that, and I apologize for any of it on my end.  We were gonna do videos answering fan questions, had every intention of doing it, had mine all planned out - I was gonna soft-spokenly answer every question, very calmly, while 20 feet behind me there's a woman screaming bloody murder, giving birth. It was really fucking disturbing, and so contrasted and bizarre, it was just really fucked up. That's how your mind works after months of rehearsals and living in the same hotel room for almost 100 days.  The band accomplished plenty in that time - new guitar rigs, new guitars, new gear all getting worked out, new songs being worked on and sounding better than we ever have, DJ being a great guy and a wonderful bandmate, but the rehearsals ended before I could get everything and everyone together to make my video happen. I'm sorry about leading y'all on and not getting it done.

GnREvolution: What is your opinion on the reception of the album and singles in the media, and within the fanbase. Whats up with the music video for Better? Will we see a 3rd single from this album?

Bumblefoot: I can't say what the future holds, like what I was saying before - some things are unfinished bizz, other things I don't know the most-current status of, and I'm content often with *not* knowing - I don't want to micro-manage GNR, I want to write, record, perform, connect...  that should be my place.  My opinion on the album promotion?  I don't want to say things that can be twisted into a blame game towards anyone, it's not about that.  I just wish those 'pieces' were all in place, where we could have had a strong personal connection to the fans over the last year. I mean face-to-face.  I did what I could, happily, when the album came out - going to the listening party in NYC and hanging with everyone, doing days of interviews in Europe, it would have felt unnatural to not do all that. It should have been a celebration, nothing less. And it was good to celebrate with everyone at the listening party, thanks to those who were there.

GnREvolution: What is your favorite song on Chinese Democracy and which song from the album do you most look forward to playing live.

Bumblefoot: Right now I'd say This I Love, Sorry, Scraped...  would love to play Scraped and Shackler's live.

GnREvolution: When Guns N Roses tour next will Brain and Frank both in? will we see 2 drummers on stage at the same time? Are you looking forward to playing with DJ Ashba in a live setting?

Bumblefoot: Definitely have been looking forward to hitting the stage with DJ, and everyone. The two-drummer thing? Don't have an answer...

GnREvolution: Did you work on any of these tracks which Axl confirmed as working titles of future GnR Material or was your involvement in the recording process strictly limited to the songs which appear on Chinese Democracy? (Ides Of March, Berlin (Oklahoma), Atlas Shrugged, Oh My God, Silkworms, Down By The Ocean, Soul Monster (Leave Me Alone), Seven, The General, Thyme, Quick Song, Zodiac). Did you contribute to writing any new material for GNR that we won't hear until some possible future album? is the material you've heard for the follow up albums heavier or is it pretty much the same ballad to rocker ratio as appears on CD? Basically anything you can tell us about any future GnR Material would be appreciated...

Bumblefoot: I played on a good handful of songs that weren't on Chi Dem.  Can't predict what the fate of any of those songs will be.  I haven't written any new songs with GNR, would like to see it get to that point.

GnREvolution: How is www.gnrevolution.com perceived by the band (if at all)?

Bumblefoot: Couldn't tell ya what everyone else thinks about the boards or any specific one. To me you're all GNR fans, I don't divide you guys into specific boards - when I talk to one of ya, I'm talking to all of ya.  The boards are your playground, have fun in them  smile  Just don't do any illegal, you crazy fuckers, lol.  What do I think? Like any cluster of people, there are good people, and there are jerkoffs. I'll leave that to you guys to decide who's who, haha. Maybe make a poll, 'Biggest jerkoff on the board', haha.  I've actually met some great people through these boards, all over the world, people anyone would be blessed to know. 

Thanks for the questions. And if ya say 'great, another interview where a bandmember tells us nothing' I'm gonna reach through the computer and punch you in the balls.

Ron

Re: The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

Thanks to everyone involved! It was an interesting read.

Anyway... I'm out before the war begins.

Have fun punching people in the nuts, Ron - there's going to be plenty.

Will
 Rep: 225 

Re: The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

Will wrote:

Would love to hear that Izzy/BBF jam of 'Devil Went Down To Georgia', gonna have to cross my fingers that it was recorded and not just jammed out in a spur-of-the-moment backstage environment which I suspect it was sad

Ron is underappreciated as ambassador for GNR. If it weren't for him answering fan questions as and when his time permits we'd be starved for any information. He might dodge questions and skim over subjects but its understandable why he does so, and at least he always throws us a few scraps of information knowing how little we get from elsewhere in the GNR camp.

James Lofton
 Rep: 603 

Re: The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

James Lofton wrote:

Bucket and I talked before he joined GNR about me singing on his stuff, way back when

Very intriguing. Since it was early 1999,  that dates it post Colma and would place it around the Monsters and Robots/Cobra Strike material.

I listened to neither of these guys back then, but would have been a killer collaboration no doubts there, and the track(s) would have been in massive rotation on these sites when he first joined the band.

Hopefully the two can do something in the future.


Chi Dem is not your typical album, there's no other that's gone through the journey that album did, and no other probably ever will. It's not a simple 'play what ya want on your own song how ya want it and no one else gets a say in it'. My own albums are like that, this one is about being a piece of a very big musical picture. Where else will you hear me and Bucket and Frank and Brain and Robin and Richard and Axl and Sebastian and Dizzy and Chris and Tommy and Paul in songs together? It's a one of a kind, the rules don't apply.

A stellar description of the project. 5


Most frustrating moments are when plans are delayed or canceled while waiting for 'the pieces to fall into place' as I like to word it...   you guys have dealt with a whole lot of that, and I apologize for any of it on my end.  We were gonna do videos answering fan questions, had every intention of doing it, had mine all planned out - I was gonna soft-spokenly answer every question, very calmly, while 20 feet behind me there's a woman screaming bloody murder, giving birth. It was really fucking disturbing, and so contrasted and bizarre, it was just really fucked up. That's how your mind works after months of rehearsals and living in the same hotel room for almost 100 days.  The band accomplished plenty in that time - new guitar rigs, new guitars, new gear all getting worked out, new songs being worked on and sounding better than we ever have, DJ being a great guy and a wonderful bandmate, but the rehearsals ended before I could get everything and everyone together to make my video happen. I'm sorry about leading y'all on and not getting it done.

He deserves major kudos for addressing this issue. It has been the elephant in the room for most of 2009, and everyone associated with GNR and even certain websites sidestep this issue.

Its about time someone stepped up to the plate on this.

I can't say what the future holds, like what I was saying before - some things are unfinished bizz, other things I don't know the most-current status of, and I'm content often with *not* knowing - I don't want to micro-manage GNR, I want to write, record, perform, connect...  that should be my place.  My opinion on the album promotion?  I don't want to say things that can be twisted into a blame game towards anyone, it's not about that.  I just wish those 'pieces' were all in place, where we could have had a strong personal connection to the fans over the last year. I mean face-to-face.  I did what I could, happily, when the album came out - going to the listening party in NYC and hanging with everyone, doing days of interviews in Europe, it would have felt unnatural to not do all that. It should have been a celebration, nothing less. And it was good to celebrate with everyone at the listening party, thanks to those who were there.

He does have a point. While the overall promotion was shit, there were a few moves by Ron, Brain, and of course Stinson. They each gave it as much of a push as they could individually.


I played on a good handful of songs that weren't on Chi Dem.  Can't predict what the fate of any of those songs will be.  I haven't written any new songs with GNR, would like to see it get to that point.

9 First time confirming he has actually played on tracks that may or may not appear on a 2nd album. Cool that he answered this, but it also creates more questions, as the band is missing one guitarist(Finck), so his additions could be to replace that and not just Bucket or even Tobias/Fortus. He also confirms there are no new tracks, which is interesting.

Another 2000-04 album with Ron, Frank, and possibly Ashba?

Either way, I look forward to hearing it of course.



I'm not a musician so cant really comment on any of the stuff about his equipment. I just know his rhythm work on the title track kicks ten tons of ass.




Thanks for the questions. And if ya say 'great, another interview where a bandmember tells us nothing' I'm gonna reach through the computer and punch you in the balls.

Now you know we'd NEVER say that. wink


Would like to thank Ron for doing this. While this site has quite a few Bucket fans and some think that automatically translates into Bumble haters, I assure you that the people here appreciate the chats you've done here and also these various Q&A's over the years.

If the band had more people willing to approach the fans like you do, it would definitely be much less of a clusterfuck.  19

Olorin
 Rep: 268 

Re: The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

Olorin wrote:

Nice suprise big_smile Thank you Ron and you too Neemo!!

I'm dying to hear Scraped live now, its such a tease just hearing them talk about playing.
It doesnt sound like its all over for GNR, just the usual delays for the time being. Its nice to get an acknowledgement on those fan questions,  sounds like the idea has just been abandoned, pity.

Damn good interview, and massive respect to Ron for getting back in touch, its a great gesture from him and very much appreciated 22

Re: The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

Sky Dog wrote:

James, I would go out on a limb and say that there were no new tracks written and recorded after Bucket's formal departure in 2004. Ron and Frank just came in and put some more shit in the salad. Ashba, I am quite certain, didn't do anything to any songs.....simply rehearsed cd songs and classics for a tour.

Either way, thanks for the interview Ron and good luck in the future.:mosh:

Olorin
 Rep: 268 

Re: The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

Olorin wrote:
James Lofton wrote:

Chi Dem is not your typical album, there's no other that's gone through the journey that album did, and no other probably ever will. It's not a simple 'play what ya want on your own song how ya want it and no one else gets a say in it'. My own albums are like that, this one is about being a piece of a very big musical picture. Where else will you hear me and Bucket and Frank and Brain and Robin and Richard and Axl and Sebastian and Dizzy and Chris and Tommy and Paul in songs together? It's a one of a kind, the rules don't apply.

A stellar description of the project. 5

I thought that too, its weird cause I'd never really looked at it from that perspective before but it makes a lot of sense. There are a lot of killer and diverse musicians on that album, often on the one song, its one hell of a novelty for an album to have and its under appreciated.

RussTCB
 Rep: 633 

Re: The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

RussTCB wrote:

removed

James Lofton
 Rep: 603 

Re: The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

James Lofton wrote:
madagas wrote:

James, I would go out on a limb and say that there were no new tracks written and recorded after Bucket's formal departure in 2004. Ron and Frank just came in and put some more shit in the salad. Ashba, I am quite certain, didn't do anything to any songs.....simply rehearsed cd songs and classics for a tour.

I agree nothing was done once he left, and his departure was obviously a huge blow to the project at the time.


As far as Ashba goes, I meant in the future. We're not getting an album now, so there's still time for him to add something.



While it would be interesting to hear some actual new stuff by a stable line up, its good to know that we may actually get to hear the rest of those sessions at some point.


Ron working on more songs does show that more songs were in play for the album, and it simply wasn't just a 'leaks and a few bonuses' album like is theorized at these sites. Sure that is what it was in essence, but other things were considered and maybe the other tracks simply didn't go with what wound up being its track sequence.

Example....

Berlin might be a killer track, but maybe it was simply awkward between Catcher and Riad so it was replaced with Scraped.


Things that make you go hmmmmmm.... 16

supaplex
 Rep: 57 

Re: The GnREvolution Q&A with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

supaplex wrote:

you know what's sad promotion wise? since he joined the band he's been the guy who reached out the most to the fans although his contributions on the album are not that many.

he's a class act and no matter how much he said/didn't say in this interview, i couldn't say one bad thing about it.

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