“Music Stands on its Own Merit.”- Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal

“Music Stands on its Own Merit.”- Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal

03/19/15 Song River

Some may call a child of seven who ventures into studying music, and by twelve is teaching lessons, and recording, a prodigy, but Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, feels even though his growing up may be considered a bit odd, he still did normal kids things... he just added in music, and an insatiable appetite to learn. A sly grin came across Ron's face,

I was just very dedicated and focused, I really enjoyed the pursuit. Academic studies were of interest to me, and so was teaching my neighborhood friends guitar and, recording my own songs. Think about it, if no one hears it... it doesn't exist! I feel even today education is the same way. Give the people, the kids, the tools. I love teaching, still do. Its a way of giving and receiving back all at the same time.”

It would seem sitting still has never been an option, as Ron has always been busy musically and academically. Ron went on,

I think I’ve always been busy. At 12 between lessons, recording, shows, etc... I remember painting Iron Maiden on dungarees to sell, so I had money for my lessons. (Laughed) When I was 10, I read all 3,000 pages on World History and wrote a 10 page summary on it. I was just a freaky kid, building models, puzzles, reading encyclopedias, looking at Kiss albums, drawing and yes... I even played with my friends to be normal. We were all that way though, we did kid stuff.”

Still even today when you read through all Ron has been and is involved with he is that 'freaky kid.' He is involved with numerous charity works, markets his own brand of hot sauces, designs merch, records consistently, creates new works with a diverse range of musicians, and continues to push forward.

We just finished up a 4 year collaborative work as of recent,” Ron said. “It took four years to create, Art of Anarchy with Scott Weiland, and I am very pleased with how it turned out. We have two videos with it already. I think what I liked about the project so much was we came into this with no rules. Scott would write whatever he wanted, and it just came together. Its an interesting album, experimental. As well, I am currently working with DMC (formerly of Run DMC) on a collaborative too, first songs title: Lot Lizard...” (he laughed, then felt like he had to explain... I understood. Wink).

Ron talked about some of his charity work he has been involved with and his philosophy behind helping others.

My traveling around the world, and meeting people. We cross each others paths for a reason, and you realize it's what your doing- you help others. Donating my music, and performing to help put clothes on a kids back. The act of charity in what you do, its giving more music, people can take it with them, and apply it in a physical form. Same end goal. Playing my music to raise funds to help clothe a kid, or just teaching music to give to someone else. It's about Paying it Forward.

Some of the charities and events Ron has been involved with are: Operation Smile, Rays of Sunshine, Tsunami Relief and Global Emergency Fund, Dubai Autism Center, NGO Wildlife Trust of India, the Red Cross to name just a few. Ron is also a board member of the MS Research Foundation, a spokesperson for iRock2Live, which provides schools with programs against bullying, texting while driving and obesity. He is also a member of “Musicians on Call.” With guitar in hand, 'fret-less' Bumblefoot lives his unique... he visits orphanages and childcare’s hospitals all over the world.

With his dynamic openness to express his charitable nuances, and the title of his latest album I asked Ron about his religious, and political beliefs. As the latest album entitled, Little Brother is Watching, many of the energizing elements that make Bumblefoot who he is come to play in his works.

(Prior to asking the question though, I prefaced it first by telling him that I was going to be asking him a question and that if he was uncomfortable he didn’t have to answer. Of course, Ron took this to mean a three letter word which he didn't want to talk about. We both got a good laugh from it, as I never had the intention of asking or referring to his work with a previous three acronym letter band, since where he is now and what he is working on was my focus.)

I am a spiritual person- Buddhism being an example- seems to be in line. I don’t believe God is going to save me or wish me ill will- stuff happens. I am responsible for who I am.” Ron paused, reflecting. “Its up to you to undo the damage and be a better person. People tend to look at big obstacles, looking at the mountains instead of the hill. If each person would focus in on improving themselves, that I believe is how you would fix the world.” (paused for a moment, seeming to gather his thoughts) “We all make mistakes, conditioned reactions which may not be best. Every so often we need to to an inventory check. If people take care of self spiritually- get that in order, then work on social, that would help everything politically.”

Touching on the subject of politics, I asked Ron to expand on the subject, plus our social climate and its influences on the album title, Little Brother is Watching.

 “There are different sides to how technology has affected us, Ron referred to Orwell's 1984, you know where 'Big Brother' is watching. But no one predicted where we can watch each other. We've become the; 'Yes, we are both watching each other.' The 'Big Brother' and 'Little Brother.' Society in check, sharing experiences- good or bad. Some people feel there’s a loss of control of how your image is being seen- without control we become afraid to offend- it becomes a chain. I don’t think about if people are judging me, some do feel it though, while others don't care. I think life may not be so black and white anymore. I think we see gray a little more. We see it globally across the world. Take a white wall and have a million people look at it. Some will see pure, plain. Some will throw something at it, write on it, but nothing defines the wall... its an exterior... we all have our own eyes. YOU know who you are. That is the jest of the meaning behind the album's title and content.”

These are the observations made, put into words, baptized in notes, musically drenched in hard rock and guitar riffs played by Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and his gold double necked fretless guitar.

Creative minds are seldom still. Place that with a heart full of compassion, and you have a legendary maestro musician, who is a philanthropist by day... and a musician 24/7/365. A humble ace that walks- what he talks, and plays- who he is.

For more information on Ron Bumblefoot Thal- Albums, YouTube Videos, Instruction Videos, Tour Info, Merch, Hot Sauces, etc...


Bumblefoot Signature Guitar Cases

Bumblefoot Hot Sauces

BBF Merch store

BBF iTunes

Information on Art of Anarchy:
Scott Weiland (vocals)
Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal (guitar)
John Moyer (bass)

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/ArtOfAnarchyBand

Photo Credits Listed on Photos.

For Vents Magazine March 2015

Song River is the owner of CowGirlZen Photography. She is also a freelance photojournalist. Currently working with L3 Magazine, Vents Mag, Silverplatter. You can follow her interviews, reviews of great musicians, writers, artists on her blog, http://cowgirlzenphoto.cowgirlzenphotojournalist.com/.  She is also quite active in social media working as a copywriter for several companies, and individuals. Never wrong, always right... and filled with a twisted satirical outlooks on life sometimes... you have to be thinking out of the box most of the time to catch her.  A mess of delight and quandary at times, but known for her love and compassion to help others succeed. A die hard Nikon proficient!