Today I had the chance to interview Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. While Bumblefoot touched on many topics including his relationship with Joe Satriani, Art of Anarchy, a potential Little Brother Is Watching world tour and his favorite GNR material, Ron was very hesitant to answer anything related to Guns N’ Roses. I was able to get him to discuss his favorite GNR tracks and recording the “Pink Panther Theme,” but otherwise he said that talking about GNR would give him a headache.
Bumblefoot also discussed recording the Art of Anarchy album, and how Scott Weiland worked with the band, praising his work, but being unsure of his commitment to the band. Thank you to MSL and GNRTruth for providing many questions.
Are you planning a Little Brother is Watching World Tour?
It’s possible. I would love to, I definitely want to, I need to, I should. However, first I want to nurture the album a little bit more, I want to put out more videos, I want to do more things to let people know that it exists so people can check out the music and get to know it. After that though, I would like to hit the road, all over the place.
What accomplished songwriters that you’ve worked with have influenced your solo work most?
(Laughs) Ones that I have worked with that have influenced me the most? Let me think. Accomplished, that I’ve worked with? There are accomplished songwriters that I haven’t worked with, and songwriters that I have worked with that weren’t accomplished at all! I would say the one person that has it all is Tony Harnell (of TNT), he writes beautiful melodies and definitely makes me think a bit more when it comes to vocal melody.
Is there any material you initially wrote for GNR that ended up on your album?
Yes, I had two songs, “Argentina” and “Don’t Know Who To Preach To Anymore” that when I first wrote them I left them unfinished and I was thinking that I could bring them to the table with GNR but I felt ultimately that both songs were better fits on my solo album.
A three part question here: What is your favorite original GNR song, your favorite Chinese Democracy song, and your favorite unreleased GNR song?
Did you get the memo about no GNR questions or no?
No sir, I was never informed of that.
Oh, well, I’m sorry, I’m not supposed to talk about GNR. I will answer this question but from here-on we cannot discuss GNR. It actually would be fucking fantastic if you skipped every question you had about them from here-on. It would save a lot of headache. However, my favorite original GNR song is “Don’t Cry”. For personal reasons, of course it’s a beautiful song but that was also a time during shows where I would play the solo, the fans would sing along and it was my own personal chance to connect with the audience and that made that song extra special for me.
As far as stuff off of Chinese, I would say “Shackler’s Revenge” because of all the crazy setlist stuff, two handed stuff and doing that wild singing, it kept me busy and out of trouble.
How much time did Scott Weiland spend writing and recording with you guys in the studio, and did it come off to you like he was committed to the band, or just doing it for the check?
(Sigh) Well, he started off and wrote one song with us, he did everything in his own studio and had Doug Grean, his former right hand man doing everything with him at his place. Scott did one song called “Til The Dust Is Gone” and it came out beautifully. In fact, it’s probably going to be one of the singles. We shot a video for it and then he agreed to do the whole album so he pretty much banged out really quickly, in about a month. Scott would just write, write, write & hand things over. It was great.
As far as getting inside of his mind or spread any sort of negative dirt, that I cannot get into or even tell you. That is not stuff that I can answer.
Have you considered doing guitar and vocals for Art of Anarchy if there is a tour and more albums after the debut is released?
I don’t think so, no, because Art of Anarchy was created as a supergroup. Meaning, it would have a singer with one background, me in there with another background…etc. I think that’s what made it special and if I take over vocal duties I would compare that to teaching a three legged dog to run. I would love to if Scott was willing to see it through but if he didn’t then I would love to find someone that would be willing to see it through.
What is the current status of Blowout-NYC? Any plans for more shows?
There is no status, that’s not happening. Yeah, we did one show and everyone is too busy doing other things so that’s just not going to happen.
Can you tell me about the recording session for the track “Pink Panther Theme.” I understand most members of GNR contributed with the exception of Axl.
That one, we actually played live and then I put it in my solos at my place. We did it live in California and then we took it live before we hit the road and I wrote my solos on it, spending around three weeks trying to transcribe it.
What was it like meeting Joe Satriani and playing with him? Do you have a favorite song of Satriani’s you like to play?
Joe is just a sweetheart, just a wonderful guy. We stay in touch, we see each other, whenever Chickenfoot would come into town I try and get over there and say hello. One of my favorites is “Always With You”. That song has such a beautiful melody and could go on forever and never stop being beautiful.
Wonderful track. Beautiful song, I would like to thank you for taking par-
Hey listen, do you have some actual questions for me about my solo album, or no? Anything of interest that you want me to tell you about, anything? Anything that doesn’t have to do with GNR or Scott Weiland?
Here, I’ll tell you something cool about the new album, one thing that was cool about it was that I really enjoyed the process. I had 100 fans and friends and we all met at a venue in Brooklyn. So, like this listening party but the album wasn’t finished yet. We played each song in the state that they were in at the time, talked about each song with a little Q&A talking about what each song was about as well as different things. I then showed everybody different parts to sing and we sang them together so the album has group vocals of about 100 different people chanting stuff and singing different stuff. That is something that I really wanted to do.
For me, albums I like including people that are actually going to be listening to the stuff and make them part of the process. To me that’s most special because it’s for everybody, not just for me.