Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal
Bumblefoot (aka Ron Thal) is a guitarist from NYC with seven albums released since 1995. His music is considered hard rock, bordering on quirky and experimental. Known for his unusual guitar-work, Bumblefoot has been on the covers of guitar magazines around the world. His guitar playing can be heard in the Spanish guitar soloing of Jessica Simpson's Irresistible dance mix, the punky guitar riff of Spike TV's MXC theme song, in the background of MTV's The Osbournes, The Real World, and others.
Bumblefoot works out of his studio in Princeton, New Jersey, where he collaborates with artists as a songwriter/producer and writes for publishing companies, video games and TV shows. Bumblefoot is a volunteer for the MS Research Foundation, a non-profit organization that donates funds directly to Multiple Sclerosis research.
Bumblefoot's first major recording was for a Shrapnel Records' compilation CD "Ominous Guitarists From the Unknown" in 1992, on which he performed a guitar version of Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu. He released two more CDs on the Shrapnel label. First was the mostly instrumental album The Adventures of Bumblefoot (1995), where he displayed his eclectic style of rhythms and soloing. His second CD, Hermit (1997) was very much different from the first, more lyrically focused and influenced by grunge, but still showing his impeccably phrased and highly original and technical guitar work . After these two albums with Shrapnel, Ron Thal adopted the name Bumblefoot and started his own production company Hermit Inc on which he released three musically diverse CDs -- Hands(1998), 9-11 (2001), Uncool (2002). He also released a compilation album Forgotten Anthology (2003) with cuts that didn't make it onto the previous albums for various reasons. His most recent release is Normal (2005), which was released on Hermit, Inc and Neanderthal Noise, Inc. Bumblefoot is also a producer for other artists and is active in fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis research.
Inspired by Kiss at age six, Ron said his earliest musical goal was to play like Gene Simmons if someone decided to do a Kiss version of Beatlemania. At that time his hands were too small for bass, so he decided to focus his attention on guitar. By eight he was covering Led Zeppelin tunes at block parties and even played a hotel in Catskills. He started playing copy tunes in clubs just five years later, and then focused on creating original material on his home 8-track. He later played for New York based group called Legend where he handled guitars and vocals.
In August 1989 he was featured on the Guitar Player Spotlight column by Mike Varney.
"Thal's demo tape is among 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 transcrptions may be interested in seeing these musical masterpieces on paper. With its clever melodies, contrapuntal lines, intricate rhythms and ultra complex ensemble section. Ron's sheer musicality will surely gain him much acclaim." - Mike Varney
Ron Thal Solo
The Adventures of Bumblefoot (1995)
Ron's debut solo album epitomizes for many what instrumental guitar music of the 90's should sound like. With groundbreaking compositions and unbelievable solos, there is much in this album to impress many who are skeptical about the feasability of an original solo guitar album . This album is a fine introduction to the music of Bumblefoot.
Hermit is a vocal extension of the instrumental explorations odf his first album, Bumblefoot. Hermit takes on a whimsical character reminiscent at times of Frank Zappa's classic work. A truly alternative, self contained artist, Ron Thal's vocals and instrumental work push the envelope of contemporary music.
Described as a blend of Rage Against The Machine, Frank Zappa, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hands showcases not only his otherworldly chops, but his original songwriting as well. Guitarist Ron Thal pulls out all the stops on his first recording that demonstrates his true personality coupled with amazing guitar work. Everything about Hands is real - the lyrics, the hands in the artwork, and the recording was kept dry and natural sounding - no doubling of vocals or guitars.
On 9.11, Bumblefoot (aka Ron Thal) takes his quirky and innovative guitar exploration to the fretless guitar, crossing hard rock with Latin, classical, blues, spoken-word and even... opera! Slightly over half-instrumental (the CD features 5 vocal numbers and 7 instrumentals), with flavors of Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Chili Peppers and Mr. Bungle. Guest artists and soloists include guitarists Mattias IA Eklundh and Dweezil Zappa, among others. Originally titled "Guitars SUCK", Bumblefoot renamed the CD to 9.11 in memory of those who suffered from the September 11 tragedies - 100% of Bumblefoot's profits from this CD are donated to disaster relief.
Statement from Bumblefoot
Originally, this CD was going to be called "Guitars SUCK"
After the tragedies of September 11, there was no question but to dedicate this CD to the incomparable honor, courage, and bravery of all those who gave their lives to save others, to the memory of all those no longer with us, to the comfort and healing of those suffering with personal losses.
And also to commemorate the unbreakable goodness of the human spirit. In times of tragedy, we join together and are there for each other. Nothing can destroy the collective human spirit - those who try only make it stronger.
Lastly, I dedicate this CD to YOU - I'm donating all the profits of this CD to the American Red Cross, but the truth is that *you're* donating it, through the purchase of this CD. So I'm dedicating this CD to *your* generosity, and thank you for helping those in their time of need. YOU make the world a better place.
Quirky and experimental modern-rock mixed with 70's lounge. Picture an urban metal band getting unruly at a karaoke bar, or Tom Jones singing with Mr. Bungle - that's Bumblefoot's 'Uncool' CD.
Forgotten Anthology (2003)
A collection of guitar-heavy, vocal songs intended for previous albums, but never released. The first four songs were written for what would have been Thal's second album. The album's musical direction was rejected by the record label, citing it as "too negative". Ron started from scratch and wrote in a different musical direction, for what would eventually be his second released CD, "Hermit". After releasing the "Hands" CD in early 1998, Bumblefoot began working on the next CD, that would have had songs 5 through 10 on it. When the drummer left the group, it was decided to start fresh rather than release an album featuring a key member that was no longer in the group. "Crunch" and "Maricona" also appeared on the French release of "Uncool", but were cut from the final release of the CD. The songs "She Knows" and "Myth" weren't completed in time to be on any of the "Uncool" releases.
Bumblefoot's Normal is set in the world of an insane musician who takes medication and experiences what it's like to be 'normal' for the first time - but the medicine silences his ability to make music. Eventually he must choose which life he wants. The songs on Normal follow his journey.
Guns N' Roses
On May 12th, 2006 Bumblefoot was confirmed as the new lead guitarist for the hard rock band Guns N' Roses at their concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, taking over the position formerly occupied by Buckethead from 2000 to 2004. Prior to the show he had rehearsed with the band only about a week and was still learning the songs minutes before the show started. During the European tour he has been playing a special instrumental version of Don't Cry as part of his guitar solo.
Early in his career entered the Sam Ash guitar contest, played a spontaneous solo and walked off with first prize, a Gibson Les Paul, signed by Les Paul himself. The music shop who talked him into entering later made slanderous claims that Ron had given fake ID in order to enter the contest (as he did not qualify to enter the competition due to his living outside the area limited by the contest's rules). He vowed never to compete with guitar ever again.
His all time favourite band is The Beatles.
He came up with the name Bumblefoot when he was helping his wife (then girlfriend) Jen, study for medical exams to become a veterinarian.
Worked with Turkish composer Fahir Atakoglu to create music for CNN-Turk (CableNews Network in Turkey.)
Composed music for the SEGA video game Wild Woody.
As a child, Ron had a band with his brother Jeff called "Viper 5". Jeff later drummed on Bumblefoot's records "Hermit" and "Hands" before moving to Florida.
A printing error caused the cover of the Japanese release of "The Adventures of Bumblefoot" to be blurry.
An error during mastering of "Zero", opening track of "Hermit" caused it to be distorted.
Ron Thal teaches at SUNY College.
Ron plays with a thumble on his picking hand in order to play notes higher than the fretboard will allow.
Bumblefoot is also noted for his guitars.
Ron's main guitar is the Bumblefoot Guitar made by the French guitar company Vigier. He also uses their Excalibur and Surfreter models and has another signature guitar by the same company called the B.B.F.S.C.G. (Bumblefoot Swiss Cheese Guitar). Most recently a signature model was released, using the pickups and custom wiring used by Bumblefoot on the Swiss Cheese, Bumblefoot guitar et al, whilst including a convenient hole to store a thimble.
Ron uses the Line 6 Vetta II amplifier both live and in the studio.