IndiePulse Magazine Interview with Bumblefoot
Interviewed by Joseph Timmons: IndiePulse Music Magazine
I love writing about hometown heroes, I was born and raised in New York, coming to California in 1990, as a writer, I always feel a bit nostalgic for the NY music scene and all that comes with the dream of the “Rock & Roll” life. I often find that one or two people from my point of departure are doing well and I will do everything I can to help spread the gospel of rock where and when I can, so it is with great pleasure that I get to relay to you the interview I just finished with someone who deserves every bit of love one can muster.
Ron Thal, better known as “Bumblefoot” is such the homespun legend which I enjoy talking about with our readers. Guitarist, songwriter, recording artist and producer has done more in his career than most would dream of, yet his humble nature and devotion to his family and fans is amazing and should be mirrored by many in his position.
Since the early 90s, Thal has released 10 CDs and a live DVD. He has appeared as a guest performer on other albums and on numerous compilations CD’s. Thal has been the feature artist for many national and international publications and radio. Over the past twenty years, Thal has also worked with numerous bands and artists as producer, engineer, writer, arranger, and performer. He also writes TV jingles, theme songs, and background music.
After an expansive tour, I had the chance to converse with Bumblefoot via email, he has just returned from an engagement in Europe and was able to share with me his thoughts on some topic that I feel most interviewers don’t take time to notice about the artist, the man, we all respect so much.
IPM: Ron, How did you get started and what was your first influence to get your interested in music ?
I started young, I was age 5 and heard the KISS “Alive!” album and immediately knew I wanted to be a musician. A year later I had a band, we were writing songs, playing shows, making recordings, designing merch, doing everything a band does. And never stopped…
IPM: Who were some of your musical Idols and Influences?
KISS and the Beatles were my biggest inspirations, but there was so much great music coming out all the time in the late ’70s, there was no escape from inspiring music. Over time, as metal arrived, and technical guitar heroes, it was players like Eddie Van Halen that made me want to push the boundaries…
IPM: Did you have any obstacles in music, if so, how did you overcome them?
There are always obstacles in music and in life, those never end. There will always be challenges, try to keep a good spirit, focus on solutions, and don’t give up.
IPM: Bumblefoot, you must be the most humble man in music, your posts on social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, you say more about other artists, praise your friends and associates, and you have shown a deep and loving devotion to your wife. In an industry that seems to breed self-involved megalomaniacs, you have stayed a “Humble Bumble”, what and why don’t you bump up your ego?
You’re too kind! The world is full of good people and infinite things to discover… we’re all ‘works in progress’ and do what we can to better ourselves. It takes making mistakes to learn from…
IPM: I know you have been asked this before, but just for any of our readers that are new to your music, how did you get the nick name “Bumblefoot”?
Ahhh, early ’90s, my girlfriend was in Veterinary school, I was helping her study, one of the animal diseases was called ‘Bumblefoot’. I wrote a song called Bumblefoot, when I got my first record deal I made it the theme song and called the album ‘The Adventures Of Bumblefoot’ , married my girlfriend, started releasing albums under the band name ‘Bumblefoot’, and after years of fronting the band as the singer, lead guitarist, songwriter, the band name acted more as a musical nickname…
IPM: You have worked with many great artists on their albums and projects, several for charity, what are some of your most special memories?
One of my favorites was playing with Nancy Sinatra; we did a set of music as part of a benefit concert for Oxfam’s Tsunami Relief. Another time accompanying Allen Toussaint on stage at the Music Rising “Icons of Music” benefit show for musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina. There was a benefit show playing guitar with Turkish composer Fahir Atakoglu and his orchestra for the Earthquake Relief Fund, So many special memories.
IPM: So, what’s coming up for Bumblefoot, any new studio projects you would like to share.
I have just released the new music video to the song “Don’t Know Who to Pray To Anymore” from the latest Bumblefoot album “Little Brother Is Watching”, it’s on YouTube and I’m working on some new songs with Art Of Anarchy, demos for the next album. Also producing and laying guitar tracks for the rap metal collaboration of DMC / Generation Kill. And more plans for 2016…
IPM: Bumblefoot, recently you were in Europe, specifically France, which just had a terrible ordeal. Many have reached out to Paris, “The City of Love”, especially musicians since some incidents involved Musicians / Nightclubs. As an artist and a real humanitarian, what are your thoughts on this terrible tragedy, and in what way should we, in the music community do to help the victims of this, and other tragedies?
It was such a shock, so unexpected, and so tragic, just heartbreaking. No one should ever go through what they’ve gone through In Paris, and in Beirut. The music community can do what it does best, we can unite in support of those who need it, and be there however we can for those suffering losses.
IPM: all said and done, at the end of a long day, after performing for the masses at your shows and seeing the faces of you fans up close, what is your favorite joy in performing?
The joy in performing is making people happy, lifting their spirits. Very simple; I don’t want to divulge anyone’s personal experience or story we shared, but there have been a lot of wonderful times. Sometimes I’d set up random contests for fans to get backstage passes and hang out with the band, or if fans were waiting before a show I’d take them on a tour of the stage, sometimes give random guitar lessons or have dinner together. One time in Rio after a show got cancelled due to extreme weather, a big crowd of us spent two hours on the stairs singing and playing acoustic guitar together, things like that are very special moments. I have half a room in my house filled with beautiful thoughtful gifts from people I’ve met while on tour – I’ll always cherish the wonderful times we’ve had, and will have.
Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal is one of the greats, he has created for himself, and his fans an image of what a rock star could be given the chance to shine in the light of his own work and words. It has been a great privilege to be able to bring this interview to you and a great honor to be witness to his music.
Check out Bumblefoot’s music and his adventures on these web sites and social media outlets.
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