Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal on his love of all things prog

A picture of Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal
Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal (Image credit: Getty)

Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal has spoken of his love of progressive rock, saying: “I’m definitely a prog guy.”

The former Guns N’ Roses guitarist has just wrapped up a run of shows with Platinum Rock All Stars which features him on guitar, Carmine Appice on drums, Rudy Sarzo on bass, The Rascals’ Gene Cornish on guitar, Canadian singer Phil Naro and Yes and Asia keyboard player Geoff Downes.

And Bumblefoot’s early solo material was, by his own reckoning, progressive as it comes. He says he has moved away from that genre somewhat in recent years, but playing alongside Downes has brought it all back.

He tells TeamRock: “We were doing all music from all our backgrounds. Gene’s 72, I’m 47…he didn’t know what to expect. Like I’m from Guns N’ Roses, he expected me to be spilling Jack Daniel’s all over his shoes.

“We all got along and bonded so well. Every single guy in this group that I grew up with and was, to me, really something special. Hopefully we’ll do more in 2017.

“And I love King Crimson, Yes, Jethro Tull, ELP. I’m definitely a prog guy.”

Bumblefoot has worked with former Orphaned Land man Yossi Sassi extensively and says he is keen to work with the prog star again.

“I’m sure I will work with Yossi again,” he says. “It’s always a big love fest. Hanging with him and his band and making music, they are wonderful guys. I try to get together with him every year to make music.”

Asked if there’s anyone he hasn’t worked with yet that he’d enjoy writing music with, Bumblefoot names Primus mainman Les Claypool and Queen guitarist Brian May.

He says: “Les and I would make some weird stuff for sure. I would love to play with Les Claypool.

“I would love to play with Brian May. We have spoken a few times but not worked together yet. He’s just such a sweet guy. He’s beyond a musician, what he has contributed to mankind.”

And he’s not ruling out expanding his musical experiences even further, saying he would consider working with a ‘pop’ star along similar lines to Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt’s work with Rihanna.

Bumblefoot says: “I’ve done things in the studio that people don’t know about – like playing bass for a dance mix for Cher. I played nylon string Spanish guitar parts for a dance mix for Jessica Simpson. I haven’t hit the stage with them or even met them, but I enjoyed it and it was fun.

“Would I do a pop gig? It depends. Life is about experiences. You can’t stay in a box. If I did that, I’d still be just sitting in my room. I can’t say I wouldn’t do it.

“And it’s not even a money thing. You’d probably be playing with some kick-ass musicians, it’s gonna be a well-oiled machine. It’ll be well-run with a great crew and production team. You’re gonna be touring in great circumstances and playing with great people.

“Music is music and as long as you are giving people a sound that they enjoy, however that sound is dressed up is almost secondary. It’s about giving people an experience with music. It doesn’t matter whether it’s pop or if it’s death metal.”

The guitarist is also working on the rock supergroup Art Of Anarchy and this week said the band was the perfect working environment for new frontman Scott Stapp. The fact that the band is a “drug-free” environment is important as Stapp continues his recovery from a public breakdown, Bumblefoot says.

Bumblefoot plays three solo shows in the UK next month where he’ll perform with Coyote singer Stuart Craig, Tygers of Pan Tang guitarist Micky Crystal, Daz Dodds from Wolf on bass, drummers Kyle Hughes and Simon Wyett and vocalist Stuart Brierley.

He will also meet with students from his Bumblefoot Rock Project.

Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal UK shows 2016

Nov 03: Trillians Newcastle
Nov 04: Featherstone Ace Of Clubs
Nov 06: Doncaster Diamond Live Lounge

Bumblefoot regrets blanking solo career

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.