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Guns N’ Roses guitarist impatiently waiting for U.S. tour

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Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal has a lot of irons in the fire these days, between solo projects, playing on other band’s songs, guitar sponsorships, developing his own App, managing his career – he’s one busy guy.

Rick Landers of Guitar International recently sat down to chat with Thal about all of the above subjects, and more.

Here’s a small sample of their conversation:

Guitar International: Guns N’ Roses is gonna be on the road in February, right?

Ron: We’re supposed to be and suddenly there’s silence. I don’t think it’s gonna happen. Figuring February is weeks away and I’ve yet to see a single confirmed date. It’s the kind of thing where you have a tour that’s coming together, but it’s so complicated at this level with managers and booking agents and different promoters and venues and itinerary and the production. The manager has to figure out how to get the gear from point A to point B all the time, without us going broke, and making sure all the crew is available.

With everything, all it takes is just one link in the chain to get weak and everything unravels. So, I don’t know what the status is of this U.S. tour that I’ve been impatiently waiting for. It’s been five years since we’ve played the U.S. Last year we did some acoustic shows in New York in February, but as far as a real tour, we haven’t done that. A couple of shows in May and September of 2006 and then a fall tour from October to December.

GI: What does that mean for you? Does that mean you’ve got to keep February and March open as far as anything else you want to do?

Ron: That’s always the dilemma. Things come together so quickly with Guns N’ Roses that I just get a week’s notice.

GI: Jeez.

Ron: In fact, when I joined the band, I only had a week to learn all the songs and then hit the road. And to learn the “Chinese” songs, they wouldn’t give me a copy because they were so worried about leaks. I had to learn all of that stuff on a pair of headphones in the rehearsal room on a laptop just listening and taking notes.

GI: That’s like learning guitar in the ’50s and ’60s with a turntable. Crazy.

Ron: Yeah, so with Guns what’ll happen is I’ll get a week’s notice. They’ll say, “All right. It’s happening. We’re FedExing your tickets.” The thing is, for the rest of the world, if you want to plan something, it’s months in advance.

What would happen is I would plan a tour for five months from now and by that point GN’R would say, “All right. It’s time for us to do something,” and I would have to cancel. It just becomes impossible to make plans. All I can do is make very short-term plans that don’t require too much commitment and if I have to break them, it’s not gonna hurt a lot of people.  (Story from

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