Last year rock legend, Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, appeared at Newcastle’s O2 Academy where he was ably supported by Twister; the former Guns N’ Roses guitarist appearing onstage wearing a Newcastle United jersey, playing ‘Local Hero.’
Twister’s then drummer, Kyle Hughes, made that much an impression that he parted ways (on good terms it needs saying) with the band, becoming a session drummer working with Aurora Dawn and the Screamin Skulls whilst keeping in touch with, and having occasional dates with destiny, with Ron – it is a friendship that sees the duo re-unite in Newcastle as part of a mini-tour.
Ron has played music since his school days and now, forty years on, he’s still touring, as a soloist and with his own band, Art of Anarchy, playing with some of the biggest names on the planet (he’s just finished a tour with the ‘Platinum Rock All-Stars,’ with Carmine Appice (drums), Rudy Sarzo (bass), Geoff Downes (keys), Gene Cornish (guitar) and vocalist Phil Naro), as well as nine years with ‘the most dangerous band in the world.’
“I started playing very young and if you go by my first original song demos and gigs at the age of seven, it’s nearly forty years,” began Ron.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same. I’ve found that the roads to get from point A to point B have changed due to technology and business economy, but points A and B haven’t changed. It’s still about giving people something a real piece of yourself and giving people an experience that juices up their spirit.
“In those first gigs forty years ago, I’d cut up pieces of paper into home-made confetti and give out cups of it to the audience to throw in the air at the end of the show. Thirty years later and I’m standing on a stage in an arena with ‘confetti cannons’ spraying confetti it high in the air, colours raining down on a cheering audience of tens of thousands. And I think to myself, ‘Man, I’m glad I didn’t have to cut up all THAT confetti before the show.’”
The more things change, the more they stay the same, words which relate to all within an ever changing music industry, whether locally, nationally or internationally.
The same can be said of ‘that’ band, relationships Axl Rose, Dizzy Reed, Richard Fortus et al had en masse, Ron joining guitar greats with Guns like Tracii Guns, Robin Finck, Tommy Stinson, Buckethead, and DJ Ashba.
He joined as an experienced guitarist following recommendation by virtuoso performer Joe Satriani, officially to fill Buckethead’s previously vacated slot, making his ‘debut’ at the Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC, in May 2006.
Staying until 2014, Thal was involved with the Chinese Democracy album in 2008 and the video release of Appetite for Democracy 3D, along with numerous high profile tours, also partaking several solo projects before announcing in late 2014 that he would be leaving to focus on his solo career.
It was a solo career that had seen ‘The Adventures of Bumblefoot’ released in 1995, re-release as a 15-year anniversary issue in 2010, garner lots of reviews, and had Thal on the newcomer lists in many magazines.
He added: “That album got a good reception when first released in the mid-’90s, making ‘Best Newcomer’ lists in guitar mags, lots of positive reviews.
“The good thing about the re-release is that I had a transcription book of the album that I was able to release, 200 pages of extreme detail of every track played on every song, including music notation, tablature notation, including fingers used and picking details.
“I did all the transcribing and type-setting myself, it was 12 months of work. Early next year will be the 20th Anniversary of the follow-up album “Hermit”, which I’ve re-mixed and re-mastered this past Summer.”
It adds to what has been a rollercoaster ride that’s not only seen solo performances and a spell with Axl, but also release Art of Anarchy onto an unsuspecting, ultimately pleasing world, a band set up with John Moyer (Disturbed) with Jon and Vince Votta.
Five years on and they’re as strong as ever, and on the verge of releasing their second studio album after their self-titled album, ‘Art of Anarchy’ was released last year. The new album will be done with former Creed vocalist, Scott Stapp providing extra kick.
“Art of Anarchy was born out of a long-time friendship with Jon & Vince as I used to produce their bands in the late ’90s and we remained friends throughout.
“In 2011 they wanted to record ‘the album they always wanted to make’ ad we started doing that. Over time it grew wings and became something more, it became a real band, and despite many challenges it’s made it to the recording of its 2nd album and the beginning of live shows.
“Things have definitely fallen into place now though and you can hear the personalities of the band members in each song.
“Scott’s distinct vocals, Moyer’s grooves, the Votta’s metal sound, and I bring in some eccentricity. Put us all together and it balances into songs that wouldn’t happen the way they do with anyone else.
“We’ve all been busy with our own touring but it’s getting there, we plan to have the full-length album out in March 2017. Our first single and video “The Madness” from the upcoming album was released October 7.”