Elliot Levin of the NY Hard Rock Music Examiner recently conducted an interview with GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Examiner: Axl [Rose] first took the new version of [GUNS N’ ROSES] on tour in the U.S. in 2002, then again in 2006, then “Chinese Democracy” came out in 2008, and now you guys are going out again here at the end of 2011. Is there some kind of rhyme or reason to the timing of this tour, or the earlier ones for that matter?
Bumblefoot: I have no fucking idea, man. They just tell me where and when, and I suit up and go. And I’d rather not even know. The less I know, the better. Ignorance is bliss. Just get me on the stage and don’t let me sing.
Examiner: Axl is obviously a very controversial figure; I can’t think of anyone else in rock n roll who generates the kind of rumors and media controversy that he does. But at the same time, everyone close to him swears that he’s the greatest guy in the world. Do you feel like he hurts his own cause by doing such limited press?
Bumblefoot: I think, if you let people get to know him more, it certainly wouldn’t hurt him. We’re all human, we all have our light side and our dark side and everything in between. I know I sure as fuck do. But he just did [VH1 Classic‘s] “That Metal Show”, and if you watch it, that’s what it’s like to just hang out with him and talk. And we’ve hung out and talked for like 20 hours straight. It’s like a big episode of “That Metal Show”. I think that it wouldn’t hurt if… like me, personally, I don’t mind connecting with people. And doing interviews and just hanging out and that kind of stuff. I know he’s in a different position, because at his level of fame, celebrity, notoriety, idolization, objectification, it’s so far beyond the scope of things I’ve ever dealt with. And you lose a lot of freedoms, because you can’t just say what you want because everything you say can and will get twisted, and it just gets to you. And you can’t hang out, because people just can’t handle it and start acting all weird and it gets uncomfortable and there’s always a problem with that kind of shit. So it gets very tricky. And sometimes you just have to… it’s kind of like a doctor, where you may want to give your home number to your patients, but they might start to abuse it if you do.
Examiner: GUNS N’ ROSES was just nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and while the winners haven’t been announced yet, I’ve read interviews with both [former GUNS N’ ROSES members] Slash and Duff [McKagan] and they seem to think that any attempt to put the original guys together in a room would be a disaster. Do you agree?
Bumblefoot: Ha. I don’t know, I’ve never been in a room with all the original guys. So I think only the guys who have been in the room with the original guys would really know for sure. I’ve hung with Izzy [Stradlin], I’ve hung with Duff, I’ve hung with Axl, I did hang with [Steven] Adler once. I think that there would definitely be a… strange vibe in the air. I can only guess, and say that there might be an air of tension if they all got together. But that’s just me speculating.
Examiner: The band has a reputation for late starts, which Axl has defended as part and parcel of rock ‘n’ roll, and personally I agree, even if I don’t like it. What’s the earliest you guys have made it on stage on this tour?
Bumblefoot: I think 9:45
Examiner: So what time would you advise fans to absolutely be in their seats by if they don’t want to sit for hours, but also don’t want to miss the beginning of the show?
Bumblefoot: If I had to guess, I’d say 10:30. But I don’t know.
Examiner: So if someone’s tailgating in the parking lot, you’d say it’s a safe bet they could come in around 10 and not miss anything?
Bumblefoot. Ha. Yeah. But I’m just guessing, because I can say that and now somebody will go on at 9. Or I can say be there at 9, and we’ll go on at midnight. Don’t know. No fucking idea.
Examiner: On “That Metal Show”, which just aired this past weekend, Axl said things start going wrong day of show, he said things get a little ADD, and then he said, “Hey, I’ve been late for everything in my life.” So is it multiple factors at work here, delaying the start?
Bumblefoot: I don’t know. All I can tell you is that I’m ready to go, and whenever Axl‘s ready to go, I’m ready, too. As far as what controls the time he gets to the stage, only he can answer that.
Read the entire interview from NY Hard Rock Music Examiner.