Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bumblefoot: "GN'R Makes Its Own Rules"

There's a brand new Bumblefoot interview in the March edition of Guitarist Magazine. I've included some of the tastier tidbits below. A big thanks goes out to the gang over at HTGTH for all the scans.

Guitarist: So, Ron, how does one go about joining one of the biggest bands of all time?

Ron: It all began in the summer of 2004 when I got an email from Joe Satriani, who, coming from New York, I'd known for years. He said that the guys in Guns N' Roses were looking for a new guitar player and that he had recommended me. Pretty quick after that one of the guys in the band sent me an email saying hello, then we started talking with management and the producers of the album and we started making plans way back then. It all went quiet for a while, then in early 2006 they had a tour ready to go and we got together in New York and started jamming. We would get together and play like three songs and say, cool, let's do three more tomorrow! And just kept doing that for two weeks, then we hit the road and played 27 countries in front of a million people. It was pretty damn good.

Guitarist: How did you begin work on Chinese Democracy?

Ron: In between the legs of the tour, we would hop in the studio and start laying tracks. The songs were already written a while back and a lot of the stuff had a very industrial foundation and for me personally, the one thing I felt could really add to the music was the sleaze factor, and to make it sound like a guitar-driven rock 'n' roll song, which is kinda funny because most people think of me as some kind of shredder guy and they focus on the solos, where to me the most important thing I feel I added to Guns N' Roses was in the rhythms and overall vibe of the album. For example, I used fretless guitar for some of the rhythms — like on the title track — and I feel it really adds something to the verses with that whole growling sound.

G: Did you feel a responsibility to respect the already existing guitar tracks, now that those guys are no longer in the band?

R: I would just try to keep the existing parts in mind and play something that's not going to step on something else and at the same time find the balance between not stepping on toes, but giving as many options and possibilities as you can. Plus, I didn't really know how things would be balanced in the end, what's going to be loud, what will be low, what's going to be there, what won't be. That's why I was like, you know what, let me just try absolutely everything and present to you everything, and that way you can mix and match and later on everyone will sit around and say let's go with this, or this bit sucks, or this bit is good ...

We now know that Brian May's tracks weren't used on the final version, which he has expressed disappointment about. What happened to his takes?

Brian May had done a whole lot of tracking for the album that unfortunately wasn't used. Brian had recorded a solo for "The Catcher in the Rye" years ago, and I had done some takes later on. And I guess they chose to go with the stuff I put down, which actually I feel a little guilty about: you know Brian May is definitely someone who is of "we are not worthy!" status. Brian, if you read this, you're welcome to play anything you want on one of my records. In fact, I won't play any guitar at all and you can play all the guitars – that would be fine with me.

Speaking of your own work, since joining you've found time to produce and release two solo albums, titled Normal and Abnormal. What's the story with those albums?

Normal was about everything going on in my crazy life back in 2004 when there was some crazy GN'R shit going on. Some of the songs on there were inspired by GN'R's old manager [Merck Mercuriadis], who I got in a fight with, so I wrote a bunch of songs about the guy.

Are there any future plans for Guns N' Roses? A World Tour, or another album perhaps?

There are no plans as of this moment, I would be surprised if we didn't tour, but there are no plans just yet. I feel an affinity for Guns N' Roses because GN'R makes its own rules, it does its own thing how it wants when it wants, and if you tell it it needs to do something, it will do the opposite just to give you the finger and I'm the same way. A lot of people might not have it in them to go on that ride of not knowing what's going to happen, that feeling of waiting to go on stage to the point that people are about to riot and destroy the fucking place, then you go on right before they do. To me it's the equivalent of going on a rollercoaster, you put your hands up and go, Wheeeee!

Enormous thanks to HTGTH for the scans!

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