x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Bumblefoot talks heavy metal and hot sauce

Guns and Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal speaks to Saeed Saeed about his neglected solo music career and his own line of hot sauces.

The guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal of Guns N’ Roses.  Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP
The guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal of Guns N’ Roses. Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP

The Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal tells Saeed Saeed about his neglected solo music career – and his line of hot sauces, newly launched in Dubai and which he says is “the heavy metal of food”.

You are here in Dubai to both play at the launch of the Classic Rock Coffee Company tonight and tomorrow at The Music Room. How are the preparations going?

I am excited about the opening. I have brought some guitars with me which I will be hanging up on the wall. I have been tweeting pictures about it and generally getting everything ready. Tonight I will also be playing an acoustic show at the shop and tomorrow night will be the big loud show at The Music Room with Point of View. Then on Saturday I will be back at the coffee shop for another solo show.

The coffee shop will also be selling your line of Bumblefoot’s Hot Sauce. How did you get into the spice market?

There is something similar about heavy metal and hot sauce. I mean, think about it, there is no music that reaches as much a level of intensity as heavy metal. When it comes to food, there is no food that gets much as an intensity as hot sauce in terms of the reaction that it gives – it is simply the heavy metal of food. It might be this that attracted me to it.

Have you always been a fan of spicy food?

Always. I was 12 years old when I ate my first hot pepper and I’ve been putting it in my sandwiches ever since. Every time I go to a Thai restaurant I tell them to make it as spicy as they can, and the waiters will look at me as if I couldn’t handle it. I always tell them, make it hotter. Dubai also has plenty of spicy places from Indonesian and Thai to Indian. It does very well in that category, for sure.

You haven’t released a full solo album since 2008’s Abnormal. Is it fair to say your solo career has taken the back seat once you joined Guns N’ Roses?

The solo albums are everything to me and it’s really what I do. To be honest I really should have paid more attention to it, even when I was in Guns N’ Roses. I should have been touring more and putting more albums than what I did.

Perhaps you are being to hard on yourself. Guns N’ Roses tours are normally long and gruelling.

It definitely is. When you are on the road you are either sleeping or playing. When you do have some free time you need to sort of step away and recharge your batteries or you burn out. For me, when I am tour like that I find it very hard to get into that creative zone of recording.

In April, Guns N’ Roses’ original bassist Duff McKagan joined the band for a South American tour. How much of a big deal was this for you and the rest of the band?

He is such a sweetheart. Before he joined as a guest in a previous tour and then he returned to do full shows with us. It was just nice to spend some quality time with him. Now I know from the fans’ stand point this is a big thing, but for me it’s like hanging out with a friend who I have such great conversations with.

On both of your Abu Dhabi shows (2008 and 2013), the songs from the last album Chinese Democracy came across as far more superior than that on the album. Did you hear of other fans experiencing the same thing?

I agree. When you see hear it live, you get to experience the individual spirit of the songs. While on the album, there were so many people that played on it over so many years that it almost became a little diluted than what you get to see live.

Finally, has any work begun on any new Guns N’ Roses material?

We are all on break and everyone is off touring. Richard (Fortus) and Dizzy (Reed) are off touring with The Dead Daisies. DJ Ashba is readying to release his next album. Tommy (Stinson) is playing with The Replacements and I am finishing up my new solo album.

How about the legendary frontman Axl Rose?

He is just kicking back and enjoying life. Well, I hope so anyway.

• Bumblefoot and the Dubai-based band Point of View are performing on Friday at The Music Room, Majestic Hotel, Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai, at 7pm. Tickets are Dh100 from www.platinumlist.net or on the door. Classic Rock Coffee Company at Dubai Healthcare City is open from 7am to 10pm daily. Visit www.facebook.com/ClassicRockCoffeeUAE

sasaeed@thenational.ae