Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

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Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal
BumblefootHelsinkiLive.JPG
Bumblefoot performing live with Guns N' Roses in Helsinki Finland on June 5, 2010.
Background information
Birth name Ronald Jay Blumenthal
Also known as Bumblefoot
Ron Thal
Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal
Born (1969-09-25) September 25, 1969 (age 45)
New York City
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician, guitarist, producer, photographer
Instruments Guitar, vocals, bass guitar, keyboards, drums
Years active 1988–present
Labels Bumblefoot Music, LLC
Associated acts Art of Anarchy, Cilver, Guns N' Roses, Lita Ford, Salem
Website bumblefoot.com
Notable instruments
Several Vigier custom models
Gibson Les Paul

Ronald Jay "Ron" Blumenthal[1] (born September 25, 1969), better known by his stage name Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, is an American guitarist, songwriter, recording artist and producer. Thal adopted the name Bumblefoot from the bacterial infection of the same name, which he learned about while helping his wife's review for her veterinary exams.[2] He is one of the co-lead guitarists in Guns N' Roses (along with DJ Ashba) and performs on their sixth studio album Chinese Democracy.[3] Since the early 90s, Thal has released 10 CDs and a live DVD. His 1995 debut studio album, The Adventures of Bumblefoot, after being out of print for many years, was re-released in 2010 as a 15 Year Anniversary Edition CD. In commemoration of the Anniversary Edition release, a 200-page transcription book of the recording was also released which Thal himself transcribed.

Thal has appeared as a guest performer on other albums and on numerous compilation CD's.[4][5] He's been the cover feature of several International guitar magazines[6] as well as the subject of many print, radio and web interviews.[7][8] Over the past twenty years, Thal has also worked with numerous bands and artists as producer, engineer, writer, arranger and performer. He has also written, and continues to write, TV jingles, theme songs and background music.[9] From January through December 2011, Thal recorded 9 singles which are available exclusively as digital downloads. Thal is also on the board of directors of the MS Research Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises money for Multiple Sclerosis research.[10]

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Raised Jewish, Thal grew up in Brooklyn and then Staten Island, in the Bay Terrace neighborhood.[11] Thal was inspired by Kiss and their album Alive! at age six, Thal claimed his earliest musical goal was to be able to play "like Gene Simmons if someone decided to do a Kiss version of Beatlemania".[12][13][14] At the time his hands were too small to play bass, so he focused on guitar, while his brother, Jeff, played drums instead. Thal stated that he figured out multi-track recording by using multiple cassette recorders at age six.[11]

By the time Thal was thirteen years old, he was playing cover songs in clubs, later focusing on creating original material on his home 8-track.[12] By sixteen, Thal had started engineering and producing music.[11] When he was eighteen, Thal won his first award, winning a Sam Ash Guitar Solo Contest after playing a spontaneous solo.[12] He played in a New York based band called 'Legend' in the late 1980's.[12]

In 1989, Thal submitted a demo tape to Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records, which caused Varney to feature Thal in the Spotlight New Talent column in Guitar Player Magazine's August 1989 issue.[12] Upon hearing the demo, Varney comented "[Thal's] demo tape is amongst the most impressive I've ever received. It contains elements of classical, blues, and jazz, and at times reminds me of Frank Zappa. His transcriptions are most impressive and detailed, so fans of hot transcriptions might be interested in seeing these musical masterpieces on paper. With its clever melodies, contrapuntal lines, intricate rhythms, and ultra-complex ensemble sections, Ron's sheer musicality will surely gain him much acclaim."[12] In 1993, Guitar Network Magazine described Thal's playing as "Ridiculous... in a good way".[12]

Thal was eventually signed to Shrapnel Records, and his debut album "The Adventures of Bumblefoot" was released in 1995.[15]

Guns N' Roses[edit]

Main article: Guns N' Roses

After a recommendation by guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, Thal joined Guns N' Roses in 2006, filling the position vacated by guitarist Buckethead.[16][17] Thal made his live debut with the band at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on May 12, 2006[18] and he also performs on the bands sixth studio album Chinese Democracy, released in 2008. Thal appeared on the Guns N' Roses video release Appetite for Democracy 3D, including a solo spot of his song "Objectify" from Abnormal.

In Late 2014, Thal announced that he was 'focusing on his solo career'.[19][20] In an interview promoting his solo album, when asked about Guns N' Roses, he said he was "avoiding the whole subject [right now]". [11]

In February 2015, Thal stated that he was "honoring a request to not make any public statements" about his status with Guns N' Roses, adding that it "continues to put me in a very awkward position that I don't want to be in. Not how I do things, repeatedly taking the bullet on this one."[21] Thal explained further with, "Let folks know I'm not being forced ... It's on me, I've been trying to please both sides at the same time that have a different approach to things, and everyone loses a little in the process — that's on me, not them [Guns N' Roses management]."[22]

Recent years[edit]

Thal performing with Guns N' Roses in 2013

Thal's song "Firebrand" was used as the opening theme for the TV show MXC (Most Extreme Elimination Challenge), the American adaptation of Takeshi's Castle. He has also co-written and performed the theme song to VH1 Classic's That Metal Show,[23] an edit of his song "Day To Remember" on his Forgotten Anthology album. Thal has licensed several of his recordings to television shows on MTV and VH1 such as Hogan Knows Best, The Real World, Made, The Osbournes, and others. Thal also wrote and recorded the music for the New York Islanders Hockey Team 2008–2009 season promos.[24]

In 2006, Thal's song "Breaking", from the album Normal, was contributed to the album project Artists for Charity – Guitarists 4 the Kids, produced by Slang Productions, to assist World Vision Canada in helping underprivileged kids in need.[25]

In 2007, after 14 months of recording and touring with Guns N' Roses, Thal began recording his Abnormal CD. During this time, Thal also recorded and mixed the audio of live performances on the TV show Talking Metal On Fuse. Thal performed a cover of "Running Wild" by Judas Priest along with Frank Ferrer on the pilot episode. Thal also performed on the final episode of the show, accompanying Zakk Wylde in an original song "Til the End" written live on the show. In July 2008 Thal released the Abnormal CD. In November Chinese Democracy was released, with Thal hosting the listening party in NYC. In December 2008 Thal released Barefoot – The Acoustic EP, which consists of stripped-down acoustic versions of songs from his previous albums. Thal had fans choose one of the songs he would record.

In February 2009, Thal produced an all-instrumental metal guitar compilation CD entitled "Guitars That Ate My Brain".[26] He oversaw the writing, recording and mixing for half the album (co- writing, engineering and mixing as well as guitar and bass playing by Jeremy Krull, drums by Dennis Leeflang), contributed his playing to the song "Disengaged" and mastered the album. Other artists on the album include Devin Townsend, Chris Poland, Shane Gibson, Dave Martone, Paul Waggoner, and James Murphy.

In June 2009, Thal toured the U.S. and Europe playing guitar for Lita Ford for 14 shows.[27] [28] [29]

In December 2009, Thal began touring with Guns N' Roses on the Chinese Democracy World Tour.

In August 2010 his solo debut The Adventures of Bumblefoot, which had been out of print, was re-released as a 15 Year Anniversary Edition complete with additional bonus tracks. In October 2010, Thal took time out while on tour with Guns N' Roses to give advice and perform with students of The Witchwood School Of Rock in Witney, UK along with Guns N' Roses drummer Frank Ferrer. During the event they played several classic Guns N' Roses tracks, including "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O' Mine"[30] with members of a tribute band.

On December 3, 2010, Thal made an appearance in Sydney as guest guitarist with the heavy metal band Fozzy.[31]

His songs "Guitars Suck", "Real", "Turn Around", and "Dash" are available as additional downloadable content for the videogame Rock Band 3 through the community-driven Rock Band Network.[32][33][34]

From January 2011 through December 2011, Thal released a series of singles available as digital downloads, five covers and four original songs. Thal's first single was a cover of the 1967 Motown hit "Bernadette" by The Four Tops.[35] His next single was another cover, this time The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever".[36] Thal released his third single, an original song called "Invisible" in March 2011.[37] Thal claims that he wrote the music of the song in the mid 1990's, and finished adding lyrics in 2010.[37] In April 2011, Thal released a cover of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".[38] Thal released another original song in May 2011 entitled "Father", a song dedicated to his father who had Alzheimer's disease.[39][40]

Thal released his sixth single, an original song called "Cat Fight", in June 2011 featuring Mark Tornillo of the band Accept on vocals.[41] In July 2011, Thal released a cover of the Herman's Hermits song "There's a Kind of Hush", his seventh single released in 2011.[42] In September 2011, Thal released the eight single, an original song "Let Your Voice Be Heard".[43] In December 2011, Thal released the ninth and final single in the series, a cover of "The Pink Panther Theme" by Henry Mancini.[44][45]

On October 3, 2012, Thal appeared as a special guest at a concert for the Dubai-based rock band Point of View at the Hard Rock Cafe Dubai.[46]

In December 2013, Thal collaborated with online education site JamPlay.com to put together a series of lessons for aspiring guitarists.[47]

In 2014, Thal formed a band with John Moyer, Jon Votta & Vince Votta entitled Art of Anarchy with an album set for Spring 2015.[48] Scott Weiland provided vocals for the debut album, but later distanced himself from the project, stating he was 'never in the band'.[49] Weiland claimed "I [just] sang over these stereo tracks and then sent [them] back."[50]

Thal's most recent solo album "Little Brother Is Watching" was released on February 24, 2015.[51] The first single, "Little Brother Is Watching" was debuted on Yahoo! Music on January 28, 2015.[52] The album was composed, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered entirely by Bumblefoot himself in his in-home studio, and features Dennis Leeflang on drums.[53][54]

Discography[edit]

Year Album
As Ron Thal[55]
1995 The Adventures of Bumblefoot
1997 Hermit
2010 The Adventures of Bumblefoot (15 Year Anniversary Edition)
As Bumblefoot
1998 Hands
2001 9.11
2002 Uncool
2003 Forgotten Anthology
2004 Live at the RMA (DVD Release)
2005 Normal
2008 Abnormal
2008 Barefoot – The Acoustic EP
2011 Bernadette (First song in a series of digitally released singles – January 2011)
2011 Strawberry Fields Forever (Second song in a series of digitally released singles – February 2011)
2011 Invisible (Third song in a series of digitally released singles – March 2011)
2011 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Fourth song in a series of digitally released singles – April 2011)
2011 Father (Fifth song in a series of digitally released singles – May 2011)
2011 Cat Fight (Sixth song in a series of digitally released singles June 2011)
2011 There's A Kind of Hush (Seventh song in a series of digitally released singles – July 2011)
2011 Let Your Voice Be Heard (Eighth song in a series of digitally released singles – September 2011)
2011 The Pink Panther Theme (Ninth song in a series of digitally released singles – December 2011)
2015 Little Brother Is Watching
With Guns N' Roses[55]
2008 Chinese Democracy
2014 Appetite for Democracy 3D
With Tony Harnell & The Wildflowers[56]
2013 Tony Harnell & The Wildflowers featuring Bumblefoot

Guest appearances[edit]

Year Artist Album Credits
2001 Jessica Simpson (Hex Hector club mix) "Irresistible" – CD single Guitarist and co-engineer
2003 Q*Ball Q*Ball in Space Guitar and backing vocals
2004 Various Artists Shawn Lane Remembered Vol 2 Guest fretless guitar solo on Richard Daude's song "From the Inside"
2004 Mistheria Messenger of the Gods Guest guitar solo in the song "Dynasty of Death"
2005 Phi Yann-Zek Solar Flare Guest guitar solo in the song "Psychometamorph" – (Thal on synth guitar – right channel)
2005 Q*Ball Fortune Favors The Bald Guitar and backing vocals
2005 Freak Kitchen Organic Guest vocals and fretless guitar on the song "Speak When Spoken To"
2005 Christophe Godin Metal Kartoon Guest fretless guitar solo on the song "Metal Kartoon"
2005 Julien Damotte & Fufux Papa NoHell (unreleased) Guest guitar solo on Christmas song 'Papa NoHell' by Julien Damotte & Fufux
2006 Mike Orlando Sonic Stomp Guest fretless guitar solos on the song "Game Over"
2006 24-7 Spyz Face The Day Guest guitarist
2006 Guthrie Govan Erotic Cakes Guest fretless guitar solos on the song "Rhode Island Shred"
2007 Various Artists The Alchemists II Guest fretless guitar solo on Terry Syrek's song "Threehundredpointtwentyone"
2007 Q*Ball This Is Serious Business Guitar and backing vocals
2007 Jordan Rudess The Road Home Guitar solo on "Tarkus" (@19m10s) & fretless guitar solo on "Just The Same" (@3m22s)
2009 Orelsan Perdu D'avance Guest guitar solo on the song "La Peur De Lechec"
2009 Swashbuckle Back To the Noose Guest guitar solos on the songs "Cruise Ship Terror" and "Rounds of Rum"
2009 Various Artists OCC Rocks Performed with Orange County Choppers Band – guest guitar solo on the song "Cold Sweat"
2009 Various Artists We Wish You A Metal Christmas EP Guest guitar solo on the song "Frosty the Snowman"
2010 Liberty N' Justice Light It Up Guest guitar solos on the song "Wrestling With God"
2010 Ty Tabor Something's Coming Guest guitar solo on the song "Free Yourself"
2010 Indestructible Noise Command Bleed the Line Guest guitar solo on the song "Rain"
2011 Scarlet Haze Reach Down Laid music tracks for the song "Reach Down"
2011 Fredrik Pihl Silhouettes Guest guitar solo on title track "Silhouettes"
2011 Rick Devin Tush (Single) Guest guitar solo on the track "Tush"
2011 Various Artists Embrace the Sun (Japan Tsunami Relief CD) Guest guitar solo on Milan Polak's song "End of Time"
2011 Plug-In Hijack Guest guitar solo on the song "Ron to the Hill"
2011 Don Jamieson Live And Hilarious Introduction
2011 Various Artists Guitar Addiction, Vol. 1 Guitar solo on "Cacophusion"
2011 ElixirOnMute The Last Halloween Guitar solo on the "Hourglass"
2012 Scarface Work Ethic Guitar on "Intro", "Hard In the Ghetto", & "Cold Blooded" (acoustic & rock mixes). Also engineered final mixes & mastering.
2012 Madonagun Grovel At Her Feet Guitar Solo on "Bloodlust"
2012 Liberty N Justice The Cigar Chronicles Guitar Solo on "Stuck In the Middle"
2012 Rick Stitch LIV4EVR single Guitar Solo on "LIV4EVR"
2013 Cilver In My Head Guitar solo on "In My Head"
2013 The Feckers It's Be Rude Not To Guitar solo on "Minus"
2013 Russ Dwarf Wireless Guitar solo on "Driftin' Back"
2013 Mattias Eklundh Freak Guitar - The Smorgasbord Guitar solo on "Special Agent Bauer"

Compilations[edit]

Year Artist Album Credits
1992 Various Artists Ominous Guitarists From the Unknown Includes "Chopin Fantasie." Co-produced "Story Teller" by Rich Kern
1992 Various Artists Guitar on the Edge No. 2 Includes "The Shuck Duffle" (renamed "Blue Tongue" on The Adventures of Bumblefoot)
1993 Various Artists Guitar on the Edge No. 3 Includes "Love Soup"
1994 Various Artists Guitar on the Edge No. 4 Includes "Bumblefoot" from The Adventures of Bumblefoot
1996 Various Artists SEGA Power Cuts 1 Includes songs from the Sega CD video game Wild Woody soundtrack
1996 Various Artists Super Guitar Heroes Vol. 1, 2, & 3 Includes "Chopin Fantasie" (OGFTU), "Blue Tongue" & "Rinderpest" (The Adventures of Bumblefoot)
1997 Various Artists Ondes De Choc Includes "Hermit" and "Freak" from Hermit
1997 Various Artists Hard Beats From Hell Includes the title track from Hermit
1998 Various Artists Guitar & Bass No. 50 Includes "Chair Ass" from Hands
2000 Various Artists Rock Sound, Volume 45 Includes "T-Jonez" from Uncool
2001 Various Artists Fretless Guitar Masters Includes "Lost" and "RayGun" from 9.11
2002 Various Artists The Alchemists Includes "Mafalda" from Forgotten Anthology
2003 Soundtrack Outlaw Volleyball: Music From The Game Includes "Meat" from Forgotten Anthology
2005 Various Artists Village of the Unfretted Includes "Mafalda" from Forgotten Anthology
2006 Various Artists Artists for Charity – Guitarists 4 the Kids Includes "Breaking" from Normal[25]
2006 Various Artists CMJ – On Air, Vol. 12 Includes "Rockstar for a Day" from Normal
2008 Various Artists FMQB – SubModern #021 Specialty Show Sampler Includes title track from Abnormal. Also mixed and co-produced
2009 Various Artists Guitars That Ate My Brain Includes the song "Disengaged." Also mixed, co-produced and mastered
2009 Various Artists This Is Shredding, Vol. 1 Includes "Blue Tongue" from The Adventures of Bumblefoot. Also mixed and co-produced
2014 Various Artists Rock 2 Live, Vol. 1 Includes "Let Your Voice Be Heard" and "Normal".

Tribute CDs[edit]

Year Artist Album Credits
2000 Various Artists Crushing Days – A Tribute To Joe Satriani Tribute to Joe Satriani CD. Covered "Always With You, Always With Me”
2001 Various Artists Warmth in the Wilderness – A Tribute to Jason Becker Performed a duet solo with guitarist Mike Chlasciak for the song "Out Jam"
2002 Lounge Brigade Sabbath in the Suburbs: The Lounge Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne & Black Sabbath Thal, as balladeer crooner "Herbert 'Ruffles' Lovecraft", sings Iron Man, Paranoid and Bark at the Moon
2002 Lounge Brigade The Sweet Sounds of Slim Shady: The Lounge Tribute to Eminem Thal, once again, as crooner "Herbert 'Ruffles' Lovecraft" and also as "Checkers Goldstein". Songs include "Without Me", "Cleaning Out My Closet" "My Name Is" and "Soldier”
2003 Lounge Brigade The Lounge Below: The Lounge Tribute to Outkast A lounge-style tribute to Outkast. Produced by Thal and featuring "Herbert 'Ruffles' Lovecraft" on vocals
2004 Various Artists The Spirit Lives On – The Music of Jimi Hendrix Revisited, Volume 1 Covered "Fire". (With Dennis Leeflang on drums)
2013 Various Artists A World With Heroes - A KISS Tribute Vocals and Guitars on "Detroit Rock City"
2013 Various Artists Thriller - A Metal Tribute To Michael Jackson Guitar on "Beat It"

Other projects[edit]

Year Artist Album Credits
1987 AWOL AWOL – EP Thal's six-song EP of his band Awol
1995 Soundtrack Wild Woody SEGA CD video game Composed and performed entire soundtrack
2002 Carlin Music Publishing Library CD #331 Alternative: Punk vs. Nu-Metal Songs written by Thal exclusively for Carlin Publishing
2003 Soundtrack Outlaw Volleyball Xbox video game Music includes "Meat" from Thal's Forgotten Anthology CD
2004 Soundtrack Test Drive: Eve of Destruction PlayStation 2 video game Music includes Thal's "American Rock-n-Roll" from Carlin Music Publishing's Alternative: Punk vs. Nu-Metal CD
2005 Carlin Music Publishing Library CD #356 Rap & Hip Hop Songs written by Thal exclusively for Carlin Publishing
2010 Soundtrack Rig 'N' Roll PC video game Music includes Thal's "American Rock-n-Roll" from Carlin Music Publishing's Alternative: Punk vs. Nu-Metal CD

Producer[edit]

Year Artist Album Credits
1996 Boiler Room Low Society Engineered / Produced. Self-released debut CD of NYC nu-metal band
1996 Various Artists God Shave the Queen Engineered / Produced, co-wrote, Performed bass, guitar, keys
1996 Indecision Unorthodox Engineered / Co-produced
1997 Inhuman Evolver Engineered / Co-produced. NYC band's first full-length CD
1998 Indecision Most Precious Blood Engineered / Co-produced
1998 Evoken Embrace the Emptiness Engineered / Co-produced
1998 Various Artists Lost Voices Engineered / Produced. Tribute album to Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. Produced the group Tyris performing the Doors' song "Love Her Madly"
1999 Future Chicken Farmers Future Chicken Farmers Engineered / Co-produced
1999 Pat O'May Breizh / Amerika Co-engineered / Produced
1999 Inhuman Rebellion Engineered / Co-produced
2000 Various Artists Hell Rules 2 – A Tribute To Black Sabbath Engineered / Co-produced
2000 Anomos/Stealth From Here On... Engineered / Co-produced, mixed and mastered. Performed guitar, choir arrangements
2000 Various Artists Crushing Days – A Tribute To Joe Satriani Engineered / Produced
2000 Evoken Quietus Engineered / Co-produced
2002 The Wage of Sin Product of Deceit And Loneliness Engineered / Co-produced
2001 Most Precious Blood Nothing in Vein Engineered / Produced
2001 One Second Thought Self Inflicted Engineered / Co-produced
2002 Troy Kurtis (former of Menudo) Demo Engineered / Produced. Co-writing, performed all music
2002 Q*Ball In Space Engineered / Co-produced / Performed guitar, backing vocals
2003 Cathy-Ann Honey Wagon Engineered / Produced, Performed all music except acoustic guitar/vocals
2004 Q*Ball Fortune Favors the Bald Engineered / Produced, some Co-writing, Performed guitars, backing vocals
2004 Various Artists Bring You To Your Knees: A Tribute To Guns N' Roses Engineered, Produced
2004 The Nerve! The Nerve! Engineered / Produced
2004 Nikki Sorrentino Demo Engineered, Produced. Wrote and performed music
2005 Evoken Antithesis of Light Engineered / Produced
2005 Zachary Fischer Band On Borrowed Time Engineered / Produced
2006 24-7 Spyz Face the Day Engineered, co-produced, guest guitar solos
2007 Q*Ball This Is Serious Business Engineered, produced, some co-writing, performed guitars, backing vocals
2007 Hurricane Abaybay (Rock Re-mix) Engineered, produced, performed
2007 Return To Earth Captains of Industry Co-engineered, co-produced, performed some backing vocals
2007 Talking Metal on Fuse FuseTV (November 2007 – March 2008) Engineered, produced, performed
2010 Return To Earth Automata Mixed, co-produced
2012 Alexa Vetere Breathe Again Co-writer, rhythm and lead guitars, backing vocals, engineered/produced, mixed & mastered
2012 Poc Rise Above Co-writer, all music & backing vocals, engineered/produced, mixed & mastered

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Director
unknown "T. Jonez"[57] unknown
2006 "Real" William Knight
2010 "Better"(Guns N' Roses teaser) Dale Resteghini

Guitars[edit]

Thal is an endorser of Vigier Guitars. The company produces a signature Excalibur model for Thal named "Bfoot"[58] and a custom shaped double neck with a fretless neck on top and a fretted neck on the bottom called the "DoubleBFoot"[59]

  • Excalibur Custom Clear Black
  • Excalibur Surfreter Supra Antique Violin
  • BumbleFoot Custom Shaped Guitar
  • Vigier Cheese Guitar
  • Excalibur Bfoot Edition
  • Parkwood PW370M acoustic guitar

References[edit]

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