Axeman Bumblefoot admits current lineup is overshadowed by the past… and he hates starting late as much as the crowd
Guns n’Roses guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal admits the band could do more to prove they really are a band and not just Axl Rose’s hired hands.
He hates starting concerts late as much as the crowds do – and reveals he needs a half-shot of Jagermeister to put him back in the mood to entertain.
Bumblefoot tells Radio Metal: “We’re not presenting ourselves to the world as a band even though we are one. Unless people know us or they’ve been to twenty shows, people just see the famous pictures of the Appetite for Destruction lineup, and that doesn’t help us.
“We hang out, we play together in and out of Guns, we’re always texting and emailing and hanging, and with Axl too.
“If we had band photos people would say, ‘Oh yeah, they’re a band.’ But we haven’t had a real band photo or anything like that. We could do more to establish ourselves – it shouldn’t be in the shadow of the past.”
He’s not arguing that the past should be forgotten. On the contrary, he understands why fans want an original lineup reunion, and if it ever happens, he says: “I hope they’d give me passes so me and my wife could see it.”
Last week Murderdolls frontman Wednesday 13 told how Rose explained his bad timekeeping by saying he had to get into the mood to play, no matter how long it took.
But Bumblefoot is usually mystified as to why the band wind up starting as much as two hours after they were meant to.
The guitarist says: “I get there early – I take the earliest van I can get from the hotel and I eat dinner with the crew or the other band members who arrive early. I play my guitar, I warm up and I watch the opening act. Then I just wait to get on stage.
“As for what delays the show, I know where the finger is pointing but I’m not going to get into that. But sometimes it’s for stupid reasons – there have been times when Axl is on his way over and the driver got lost for half an hour. Random things happen. I’ve seen it. But that doesn’t explain 20 years of it.”
When they finally hit the stage Bumblefoot believes the last thing the patient crowd need is an unhappy band failing to entertain them. He finds a drop of Jager is the perfect antidote to onstage blues.
“There’s been times where the audience hasn’t been entertained for two hours, so they’re angry and upset. I’m angry and upset too. It’s not something I’m going to be able to change, and it’s not going to help if they get some angry miserable guy on stage.
“So I found half a shot of Jagermeister makes me the happiest person in the world. I call it my ‘liquid smile’ – Jager helps everything. They should get rid of all kinds of medication and just give everybody Jager and everything will be fine.”
The guitarist says the key lesson he’s learned in five years with GnR is never to make any plans: “Things are just going to happen, and they’re not going to happen when you think they’re going to. That’s just how it is and it can’t be controlled. You just roll with it.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s all a big question-mark and it changes minute by minute.”