GNR guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal plays in India this Week
The Guns ‘N Roses guitarist will jam with Mumbai musicians such as guitarist Warren Mendonsa, vocalist Siddharth Basrur and Shazneen Arethna at a new venue in Pune
American guitarist Ron ”˜Bumblefoot’ Thal sounds like a tourist when he talks about his third visit to India. Says the guitarist of rock legends Guns ”˜N Roses, “Anywhere with hot weather, spicy food, and beautiful smiles is where I want to be.” Thal, who just released his solo album Little Brother is Watching in February, will perform at the opening of a new venue in Pune called Classic Rock Coffee Co. on May 16th.
Thal first visited India in late 2012, as part of the Guns ”˜N Roses debut India tour, followed by a five-city 2013 tour with Dubai rock band Point of View, whom he had interacted with over the Internet. His only connection with India last year came as part of the jury for the ninth Jack Daniel’s Annual Rock Awards, but he says he couldn’t tour as he spent more time in the studio working on Little Brother is Watching. Prior to the album, Thal’s solo material was last released in 2011, in the form of monthly singles. But he made time for the album even as he worked on other projects last year. Says Thal, “I finished all the GNR touring in June. Three days later, hopped in a tour bus and did the North America Guitar Gods tour with [guitar virtuoso] Yngwie Malmsteen, writing songs while on the road, and in mid-July, I locked myself in the studio and banged out the album, finishing the recording in December.”
While the album’s title and themes revolve around the dystopian, all-seeing figure of Big Brother from author George Orwell’s novel 1984, Thal, who handled guitar and vocal duties on the album along with drummer Dennis Leeflang, also weighs in on the pros and cons of the Internet. The guitarist considers himself lucky to have technology at his disposal as a musician with a wider reach, but adds a word of caution, “We live with the same power [of all-seeing, governing presence] in each of our hands, collectively I refer to us as ”˜Little Brother’. He says the title track explores how this constant surveillance touches on the “pressure to be ‘perfect’ when all eyes are on you. The internet, social media, all of it ”“ it’s an absolute blessing that we should respect and use thoughtfully.”
Bumblefoot will perform a few songs off the album at Classic Rock Cofee Co., along with GNR hits and his classic rock favorites alongside Mumbai guitarist Warren Mendonsa [from instrumental rock band Blackstratblues, who had jammed with Thal on the Point of View tour], vocalist Siddharth Basrur [whose band, alt metallers Goddess Gagged opened for GNR in 2012] and singer Shazneen Arethna. Says Thal, “We jammed into the evening in Mumbai on the 10th and wow, what a voice she has! It’s a great pleasure to be making music with all of them.”
Although Thal conducted a guitar workshop earlier this week, the Pune show is a one-off gig for the busy guitarist, who has several projects lined up for the rest of the year. While he’s been working with hard rock supergroup Art of Anarchy alongside the likes of Scott Weiland and metal band Disturbed’s bassist John Moyer, Thal is also getting on the heavier side of things with collaborations on a new rap metal project with rapper-producer Darryl McDaniels from Run-DMC and metal band Generation Kill, featuring Rob Dukes, a former vocalist of thrash metal veterans Exodus.
Bumblefoot performs at Classic Rock Coffee Co. at Kalyani Nagar, Pune on May 16th, 2015. Event details here.