Bumblefoot Felt Guarded In Guns N’ Roses
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal recently did an extensive interview with About.com’s Bob Schallau to promote the new Art of Anarchy supergroup album project and the conversation turned to Guns N’ Roses and he says that he was never able to “comfortably” be himself and not be guarded in the group and he is not sure if the members of the band “ever got to really know each other”.
His current status in Guns N’ Roses is unclear but he did confirm in the interview that he originally turned down the offer to join the group in 2004 after he was recommended by Joe Satriani.
He said, “Joe recommended me and sent me an email letting me know that in case they reach out that it’s not some weird prank or anything, it’s legit. A few hours later I heard from one of those guys in the band and we spoke for a couple of months. At the time in 2004 I was putting out an album every year or two, I was touring, I was producing a ton of bands, I was an adjunct professor at SUNY Purchase college teaching music production. I was making music for video games, TV shows, little indie movies. I was doing so many things and I was really happy doing them all. And I felt that every one of those things had a future and were growing and should be nurtured. I knew that if I put all that aside that I would be trading off a lot of things that we’re important to me, that meant something to me and I felt had value. I was able to contribute something of worth to the world and I didn’t want to give that stuff up. So yeah, originally I told them, ‘Look, I don’t think I’m the guy for this. I will help you find the right guy. I’d be happy to discretely get in touch with people and help you find the right guy, but I don’t think I’m it.'”
He then explained why he decided to join the group in 2006. “Oh, it was a year and a half later and they had a tour coming up. They reached out again and I still didn’t want to do it. I just didn’t think I was right for it for a lot of reasons. Then my lawyer friend spoke to them on my behalf and said, ‘Look, just leave him alone. He doesn’t want to do it.’ Instead he got back to me and said, ‘You may want to talk to them.’ And I was saying, ‘No! No! No!’ He said, ‘Just talk to them. Hear what they have to say.’ And I’m being a brat saying, ‘No! No! No!’ He said, ‘For me, just talk to them.’ And I was like, ‘Alright.’ So I went down. They were rehearsing in New York and I just brought my guitar, I figured we’d jam a couple of songs that night. So we did, and then the next night another three songs. And we jammed seven times and then hit the road for three months.”
Bumblefoot was then asked about Wikipedia entry that said that he was not initially treated well in the band and that he had to “get a little violent” to gain other member’s respect. He responded, “You know what, I don’t want to get into dirt and all that negative crap. There were so many good things that happened with ‘Guns’. People just wanna put all the bad stuff on Wikipedia. They don’t wanna talk about any of the good stuff. They don’t wanna talk about visiting a children’s hospital in Dallas. Well, ultimately when I joined the band, in the first month, it’s true and I’m not revealing anything that I haven’t already put out there. So it wasn’t the warmest welcome. I kind of had to earn it.”
He was then asked if there were actual physical fights and he said, “Well, I think it was just more of a situation like a new family member was brought home without the other siblings’ consent (laughs), or to their surprise. It was like, ‘Who the **** is this guy?’ (laughs). So it took a good minute for us to get to know each other. I don’t know if we ever did. I don’t know if we ever got to really know each other to be honest. I feel like the environment I was in never gave me a chance to just comfortably be myself and not feel guarded. But that’s just me, and that’s just the way the pieces fell, you know.”