Fresh off the road from a tour alongside Dubai rockers Point of View, Rob Garratt sat down with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, 43.
How was the tour of India?
It was a whole lot of things all at once – which is just what India is, everything at the same time. One through 100, and every number in between. It included monsoon weather and beautiful sunny days, no sleep whatsoever, delicious food and fantastic shows, travel problems – it was just a huge storm and you look back and say ‘wow, what a great bunch of shows we played’.
How does it compare with touring with Guns N’ Roses?
It’s funny because in a lot of ways touring with Point of View is easier than touring with Guns – because even with a crazy schedule, at least I knew what was going on. Think of it like moving a mountain – the bigger the mountain is, the harder it is to move.
It’s definitely a lot more spontaneous, which I like. We can just break into a riff of something. At the very first show, we finished the show and someone in the audience really wanted to hear a Led Zeppelin song and refused to accept that the show was over. There was somebody else in the audience that had an acoustic guitar, so we took the guitar and did a version right there for the guy.
So, why does an international rock star like your good self give up his free time to tour with a Dubai band?
For one thing, it’s always been in my nature – the things I enjoy most are teaching and producing and things that help others and raise them up. Playing for the sake of playing isn’t enough, it has to serve some purpose over and above.
But why Point of View?
I like that fact that they’re kind of the same – they’re socially conscious, they do more with their music, it’s not just making music for attention or fame – they care about things. I felt a certain affinity. And they’re a good band.
So the Guns questions you always get asked... when’s the new album out?
Well we were supposed to start writing after the end of this last run – but I went to India! When I get back, I hope we can all get together, and live it and focus on creating new music together. Fans don’t want to hear about new shows, they want to hear about new music.
Some of those fans will never except the current Gn’R line-up – without Slash and co – what message would you send to them?
There were six Star Wars movies. If you only watch up to The Empire Strikes Back, that’s fine, but you’re kind of missing the rest of the story. And there’s probably some good things in there that you can get out of it. But it’s your choice; it’s there for whoever wants it. If not, that’s fine. There’s enough of everything in the world to please everybody.
Do you have any message to Dubai’s music fans?
It’s nice to be back and I hope to keep coming back. It’s your music scene, you need to support it. All the readers out there, if you really care about your own local music and sustaining it and maintaining it and keeping it there and helping it grow and having a great scene – it’s up to you to come out and support the bands. Don’t just read about it – show up, be there.