GUNS N’ ROSES’ BUMBLEFOOT: ‘We Could Do More To Establish The Current Band As Its Own Band’

Radio Metal recently conducted an interview with GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. You can now stream the one-hour chat at this location. A few excerpts follow.

On the current lineup of GUNS N’ ROSES:

Thal: “If we had band photos, then people would say, ‘Oh, yeah, they’re a band. But we haven’t had a fucking real band photo or anything like that! So we are not presenting ourselves to the world as a band even though we are one, and because of that, people, unless they know us or they have been to twenty shows or hung out with us after shows and stuff, they know but the rest of the world is just going to say, ‘Alright, all of the famous pictures of GUNS N’ ROSES, they have the five guys from the ‘Appetite’ lineup,’ and, yeah, that doesn’t help us. (laughs) I feel that we could do more to establish the current band as its own band. It shouldn’t be in the shadow of the past.”

On GUNS N’ ROSES starting its concerts later than scheduled:

Thal: “Well, first thing, people don’t realize that it is such a big show with so much going on that at minimum there has to be 45 minutes between bands. What happens after that? I don’t know! (laughs) I mean, I’m there. I get there early. I take the earliest van that I can take to get to the venue from the hotel and I eat dinner with the crew or the other bandmembers that arrived there early. I play my guitar, I warm up and I watch the opening act. That’s it. And then I just make sure that I’m ready and that I’m there. Then I just wait to get on stage. As far as what delays the show? I know where the finger is pointing, but I’m not going to get into that! (laughs) I mean, sometimes it’s for stupid reasons! There have been times where Axl [Rose] is on his way over and the driver got lost for like a half hour. He gets there and everyone is pissed, like, ‘What the fuck?! How does that happen?’ You can literally see the venue from the hotel and it’s a five-minute drive but the driver got lost for a half… fucking… hour.”

On GUNS N’ ROSES‘ future plans:

Thal: “If you ask me about my stuff, I can tell you all kinds of plans for the future and what’s going to happen. If you ask about GN’R, it’s all a big question mark and it really is. It’s not like anything is being hidden, it’s just that nothing can be predicted. [Laughs] It’s a weird fucking thing, man!”

On how he would feel if a reunion of the classic lineup ever happened:

Thal: “If a reunion ever happens, I would hope that they would give me some free passes so that me and my wife could go. [Laughs] You know, that doesn’t bother me. I have no problems with anybody. I mean, shit, I just did a signing last weekend with Duff [MacKagan]. So does it bother me that people want a reunion? No! You know what?! I love KISS, I love a whole shitload of bands and if there was a lineup that did an album that I totally loved, I would love to go see that lineup do those songs. It’s normal. And it doesn’t mean that I hate what’s going on now.”

On Axl Rose:

Thal: “There has been no other singer that I have ever worked with in my fucking life that cares as much and that gives as much and that kicks as much ass on a stage and that works as hard as that guy. Everyone wants to think of his as this kind of dictator just because he’s the last man standing from… I mean, he started the band and he’s still there and he’s not going to end the band no matter who leaves until he decides that he wants to stop. You can do anything. I’ll wear whatever I want, I’ll play whatever I want and he’s got no problem with it. Because we don’t do a lot of press as a band, people don’t see that side of things. They don’t see us joking around or having fun. Either that or they don’t want to see it, because it’s more fun to talk about the character that people have in their own minds about others than the people that they truly are.”

On feeling down on stage:

Thal: “There’s time when we are getting on stage so late and the audience has not been entertained at all for like two hours and so they are all angry and upset. I’m angry and upset with them. I found out the way to resolve that for me, because it’s not something that I am going to be able to change and it isn’t helping anyone as they are just watching some angry miserable guy on stage, it’s not like, ‘Well, we waited for two hours to see the band and now we get to see the band but the band is pissed off,’ we have to give them a great show. I found that half a shot of Jägermeister before I go on stage and I am the happiest motherfucker in the world! [Laughs] It took me 40 years to figure that out! Yes, Jägermeister, I call it my liquid smile. Jäger helps everything! They should get rid of all antibiotics, they should get rid of casts, they should get rid of hospitals and all kinds of medication and surgery and just give everybody Jägermeister! And everything will be fine. Wars will end. Everything will be cool. Domestic disputes will end in nice dinners. Yes, Jägermeister! Or at least it does for me.”

On practicing as a musician:

Thal: “People practice too much. If you spend 10 hours a day, every day for years playing, then in those 10 hours you are not going to get as much out of it as in a very concentrated two hours. The rest of the time you should be spending living your life. It’s wrong to be sitting in your room, not experiencing life and just slaving away. If you want to make interesting music then you have to live an interesting life.”

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