Tina Hall of Maximum Ink recently conducted an interview with GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Maximum Ink: You have stated that from an early age you didn't need most people. Do you think that is a good thing to learn considering the whole issues of trust and loyalty?
Thal: I've just never liked dependency. I've always been able to entertain myself just fine [and] stay busy. I usually flourish when I'm alone, undistracted; I'm more productive, body and mind both get stronger, my interests grow, get new skills. Only problem with that is in the end everybody is depending on you, you're the "go-to" guy for everything, and if you're not able to say no for 99% of it, you become nothing more than everyone's life support system wherever you turn. And that's when life becomes empty and questionable — when you slowly realize you're just a fucking carcass getting picked at until there's nothing left. I believe in being wanted, not needed. Being wanted is by choice. Being needed drains my batteries.
Maximum Ink: What does it take to put on a really great show?
Thal: Passion, conviction, integrity, and being imperfectly human. It's the same if you're in a chair in your living room with an acoustic guitar, or if you're surrounded by lights, video screens, pyro with 100,000 people watching.
Maximum Ink: I know you have some very strong opinions on stress and negativity. How do you deal with such things? What advice would you give people in dealing with naysayers and the like?
Thal: There are two groups of people in the world — the ones that create and the ones that destroy. We choose which group we're gonna be part of. People have no power over you, other than what you give them. The key to happiness is to not give a fuck. And the best revenge is living well. Been getting a lot of revenge lately. [Laughs]
Maximum Ink: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you in general? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you in regards to the music industry?
Thal: Best advice was from my mom, and it's so true. Just a few years ago she said to me, "A friend will be there for you when things are bad, but a real friend will be there for you when things are good." Yup. Best music advice? Had one lawyer tell me years ago, "Ask for more Vaseline." [in reference to me being contractually fucked in the ass.] I've dispensed decades of advice to indie artists which was to not sign bad deals out of desperation — it empowers a flawed system that's destined to crumble (it did), and it collectively takes power and value away from artists. All you need is the artist and the fans and an internal team to keep everyone connected.
Maximum Ink: What is like to be a part of GUNS N' ROSES? What have you learned from your time there?
Thal: It feels normal; your life is always your life. What have I learned? That there is no truth, only entertainment. If a lie is more entertaining than the truth, people will go with the lie.
Read the entire interview from Maximum Ink.