|How are you doing?
Good, thank you! And you? :)
Doing great, Thanks!
First some general questions i'd like to ask.
Which song by another artist would you have liked written yourself?
I remember hearing "Would" from Alice In Chains for the first time, and it was the first time in my life, maybe the only time that I felt actual 'song envy', wishing I could have written a song like that. Something about that song...
What is your all-time fav. guitar-solo from another artist and why?
So many to choose from! KISS's Detroit Rock City, half the Journey songs out there, all so sing-able... but I'm going with the intro to Van Halen's "Mean Street". The first time I heard it, it changed my entire perception of the guitar.
Which one from your own work, and also why?
Maybe "Turn Around" or "Don't Know Who To Pray To Anymore" (https://youtu.be/aSBwLNQNY5c), for the melodies, intensity, I couldn't have done anything better for those songs...
Name three albums you would like to take to a deserted island and why exactly these?
Yes "Going For the One", Manowar "Battle Hymns", Beatles "Rubber Soul", "Magical Mystery Tour", "Abbey Road", and too many other albums to list...! Some albums lift every part of you, they're the perfect companions... :)
What are your thoughts about the music climate these days?
There are fantastic writers, performers, artists, out there, all you have to do is look for them – they're there. :) Check out Thank You Scientist (http://www.thankyouscientist.net/), J and the 9s (http://www.jandthe9s.com/), plenty more... they' work hard to give you their best and deserve lots of recognition and support. :)
Busy times i suppose with the new release coming soon, but before we get to that, lets first go for a journey back in time. At a very young age you started playing bass first, but then switched to guitar. I've heard at that time your hands were to small for bass, is this true or was it another reason?
This is true, but in my defense I was only 6 years old, haha. I wanted to play bass and went to a local music store to take lessons, but I had to instead start on a kid-size beginner's nylon-string guitar, it was the only instrument the music store had for a young child.
Who or what got you started in wanting to play an instrument?
I heard the KISS "Alive!" album back then, and that's what made me want to be a musician.
Who were your idols back then?
I was into all the modern and recent music of the time, which at that time was '70s classic rock, punk, and then early-'80s metal.
Back in the days Mike Varney was very much involved in catapulting your career. Are you still in contact with him?
Every once in a while we're in touch...
How do you look back at those early years?
Interesting times, just as consumer digital recording was becoming available and making so much more possible, the days of ADATs and Mackie boards where you can finally have your own 24- or 32- channel recording studio. I couldn't have made my first albums without it. I actually just remixed and remastered one of those albums and it's being re-released as part of a PledgeMusic campaign through The Orchard record label. Includes unreleased songs and the albums will be on vinyl for the first time – more info athttp://www.pledgemusic.com/bumblefoot :)
If you knew back then what you know now, what would you have done differently?
I wouldn't change a thing. Everything happens as it's meant to, as an opportunity to learn and grow... well, maybe I would have told my younger self to buy stock in Apple and Starbucks, haha.
Despite being a recording musician you are also active in the field of charity. Can you tell us something about charity projects you are/have been working on?
I just recently played an annual gig in Thailand at "Burapa Bike Week" where all the proceeds go towards a children's charity "Jesters Care For Kids" (http://www.care4kids.info/) providing for the needs of disabled children, orphaned children, abandoned children, underprivileged children and local schools. A local one I like near me is Calling All Cats (https://www.facebook.com/callingallcatsrescues/), also non-profit.
During your career you have done many side projects with other artists and TV theme songs. Which theme song are you most proud of and why?
Favorite is definitely "That Metal Show" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1382157/), what a great show that was! 14 seasons... also did a film score to an indie horror movie called "The Evangelist" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4313982/) being distributed this year, had an acting scene in it too, haha...!
Let's make a leap forward in time. Art of Anarchy is your current band, Previously with the late Scott Weiland on vocals. How was the band formed?
It began in 2011 by my long-time friends Jon and Vince Votta, twin brothers that play guitar and drums. They wanted to make the album they never got to make, one of music that doesn't conform or compromise, that expresses who they truly are. They had 10 song structures ready to go and we started recording. As we recorded I started adding my own guitar parts. The idea was to have different singers sing on different songs, writing their own lyrics and melodies and to be themselves. Scott Weiland was the first to participate, writing "Til the Dust Is Gone" (https://youtu.be/HFT1tW3XsL4). From there he went on to do the whole album. Then John Moyer (Disturbed) joined as bassist. We then got a record deal with the label Century Media, releasing the debut album June 2015. It became something more than a musical project, it took on a life of its own, it turned into a band.
Last year Scott Stapp who was previously the lead singer in Creed joined the band. How did he become a member?
Scott Weiland distanced himself from it all and focused on his solo work, and we decided to look for a new singer. Two months after the album release we met with Scott Stapp, jammed in a rehearsal room in Florida and talked about the future. All went well and a month later the whole band was in a room together writing for what would become "The Madness" album, being released March 24th.
In recent interviews Scott states he got a warm welcome and got the trust he needed after a difficult time in his life. Scott also told the media you guys gave him lyrical freedom in the writing process. Can you tell us how Art of Anarchy worked on creating the new songs on The Madness.
We spent about two weeks in that room, the five of us together as a band, writing and jamming and building songs, making simple demo recordings. We wrote half the album at that time. Then it was a year of working between all our touring schedules, any time we could get together and write more songs, record the album versions at the studio, do photo shoots, video shoots. It was recorded and mixed at my studio.
As I've heard Scott has been given freedom in writing the lyrics for this album, I think this is a great choice. Scott told the press lately that the lyrically the album are about his struggles the last couple of years. What is your fav. song on the new album?
Scott is a great lyricist, he has a lot of meaningful experiences to share, he's great with phrasing and melody. "Changed Man", "Won't Let You Down", "A Light In Me", "The Madness"... I'm a fan of every word he wrote.
Now about your guitar work on the new album, are there some special arrangements you'd like to share?
Jon Votta and I share the guitar duties, Jon has a great old-school attack and aggression, we're a good team. My favorite solos are "Echo Of A Scream", "1000 Degrees", "Somber", "Dancing With the Devil", but there are some nice clean moments too, like in the verses of "Changed Man"...
Which gear did you mainly use during the recordings?
Main gear was my Vigier signature series DoubleBfoot" fretted/fretless double-neck guitar (http://vigierusa.com/index.php/guitars/doublebfoot/). Rarely any other guitar in my hands...
What can you tell us about the different characters in Art of Anarchy?
Jon and Vince are metalheads, old-school. John Moyer is more new-school and adds great grooves. Scott is very melodic and ear-friendly. And I can be a bit left-of-center adding a twist to things, whether in the writing, playing, or production. I think you can hear it all in the songs, you can point out each of our personalities in the music...
Is anyone having strange habits or is anyone superstitious?
Strange? Nothing is strange to me anymore, haha....
What do you do before hitting the stage?
I say hello to people, maybe eat a little, play some guitar, relax quietly, whatever a person does while waiting to hit the stage... :)
How does it feel playing you own songs live on stage?
I've been doing that my whole life since the age of 7, it feels normal...
What can we expect after the release, will you guys take the world by storm with an extensive tour?
We'll be hitting the road, yes. We want to get out and play. The band spent a year-and-a-half writing, recording, delivering the record, and preparing to do a lot of playing. Ultimately a band's fate is in the hands of their fans, but to be able to do all the things a band wants to do for those fans, that takes a strong machine – the label, management, booking agent, publicists, show promoters, they can only make the rest possible, the band's future depends on them.
Thanks Ron for taking time to answer these questions. Wishing you guys lots of success with Art of Anarchy's release The Madness.
Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal
MUSIC VIDEO: Art Of Anarchy "The Madness"
MUSIC VIDEO: Bumblefoot "Don't Know Who to Pray to Anymore"
MUSIC VIDEO: Bumblefoot "Little Brother Is Watching"