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ART OF ANARCHY: Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal On Bringing A Rock Powerhouse To Life!

ART OF ANARCHY: Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal On Bringing A Rock Powerhouse To Life!

Art of Anarchy (AOA) is truly a force to be reckoned with as it is one of the rare rock bands where each member has a strong identity and together create something special. The band evolved organically out of an 18-year friendship between Bumblefoot and the Votta brothers. Jon Votta came to Bumblefoot with the idea of putting together a new band with a diverse group of talent and a uniquely melodic and aggressive sound. 

It seemed like a match made it heaven. Collectively, the members have sold tens of millions of albums worldwide and have a rock pedigree most artists would be content to rest their laurels on. Lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal hails formerly from Guns N’ Roses, while bassist John Moyer rose to fame as a member of Disturbed. Twin brothers Jon Votta (guitar) and Vince Votta (drums), meanwhile, first gained renown as fixtures on the New York music scene. Art of Anarchy burst onto the radar of rock fans around the globe with the release their self-titled debut album, “Art of Anarchy,” in June 2015. The album featured the late Scott Weiland on vocals and showcased a gritty hard rock edge balanced by a focus on innovative songwriting and skillful musicianship.

However, after a tumultuous start stemming from the departure of the late Scott Weiland, the band soon found themselves without a frontman and unsure of their future. It seemed all hope was lost. Until 2016 when the members of Art of Anarchy crossed paths with Grammy Award winner Scott Stapp, the founder and lead singer of Creed. After a solid jam session, the addition of Stapp was inevitable and would open the door to an electrifying new musical direction. While AOA possess the star power and flash of a rock supergroup, the band’s focus is on meaningful songwriting and creating music with undeniable power. No filler, just raw talent and dedication to the music and being true to who they are. Art of Anarchy’s upcoming album, “The Madness,” is set for a March 24 release via Century Media Records.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal to discuss the making of Art of Anarchy’s powerful new album, the challenges they have faced along the way and what the future holds for them in the days to come.

What went into finding your creative voice as an artist?

When I first started playing, I was so young that all of those questions hadn’t even entered my head yet. I know I love the Beatles, KISS, YES, Blondie, AC/DC and Billy Joel. There were all of these different influences. You just draw from what you know. I was a 6-year-old kid and I heard “Fox On The Run” on the radio and the next thing you know I’m writing a song that sounds similar. It’s almost like the world gives you little building blocks to build with and the longer you live the more blocks you receive and the more you can build. However, at first, you have a limited set of blocks. Early on everything I was writing sounded like early KISS albums, whatever might have been on the radio at the time or whatever albums I discovered from my neighbor’s older brothers and sisters. I think the actual moment that created guitar awareness for me, even though I was a big Angus Young and Ace Frehley fan, was hearing Eddie Van Halen when I was 12 years old. I heard the intro to “Mean Streets” and I had never heard anything make a sound like that before, let alone a guitar. It was the coolest sound I had ever heard in my life and it probably still is! [laughs] That made me rethink guitar playing and made me realize there was more to this thing. I realize it was not just about laying the backdrop to telling a story.

We’ve followed your adventures online for sometime now through social media. It’s been exciting to see the places your career has taken you around the world. How has your exposure to other places and cultures impacted you as a musician?

I think, more than anything, it impacts you as a person. You learn so much from traveling. It’s a great education on reality, perspective and people. It’s an education on culture, architecture, history, food and everything in-between. Understanding people is a big part of it. You may go to one place or something you do might be taken as an insult but in another part of the world it might be a compliment. It really makes you humble in certain ways. It makes you realize you’re not the center of the universe. You really do learn a lot and it truly broadens your horizons. With that, it changes how you make music, the stories you want to tell, what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Your most recent project is Art of Anarchy. Last time we spoke, this thing was just getting off the ground. For those who don’t know, how did the ball get rolling?

It goes back to the mid ‘90s when I had a studio in the boroughs of New York City and some local guys, named John and Vince Votta, came into the studio. They’re twin brothers and, at the time, were teenage kids who played guitar and drums. They would come into to the studio with whatever band they had at the time and I would record them, as well as do some producing for them as well. They always kept in touch throughout the years. In 2011, they said they had written 10 songs, just the guitar and drums, and wanted to make the album they had always dreamed of making. I brought them into the studio and recorded them. As we were doing that, they said, “Hey Ron! Why don’t you lay down the guitar solo in the spot?” I said, “Yeah. OK!” I would just bust something out and then they would suggest adding another guitar part somewhere else. I soon found myself becoming the third part of this thing!

Scott Stapp and Bumblefoot in the studio!

The original idea was to get different singers to sing on different songs. Scott Weiland was the first person to do it and he did the song ”’Til The Dust Is Gone.” Nothing was written vocally, melodically or lyrically. The idea was that whoever was going to sing would get to do whatever they wanted on the song. That is what Scott wrote for it and came up with and it was great! From there, it evolved into him doing the whole record. Then, John Moyer (Disturbed) joined us. Now, this dream album they wanted to make was becoming something much more and had taken on a life of its own. The next thing you know, we got the album out on Century Media. At that point, Weiland very publicly distanced himself from everything. For us it became a question of if we just wanted to call it a day or find a new singer. Next thing you know, two months after the album came out in August of 2016, we were meeting up with Scott Stapp. We hung out in the rehearsal room and jammed a bit. We just made some stuff up on the spot and started jamming to see how it felt. It went well! A month later, he came up to New York.

It was just the five of us in a room building from scratch and rebuilding this thing. It actually evolved into a band in the way you would traditionally think of it, where it’s five guys in a room writing from scratch together. Half of the album happened that way. Half of the album happened in that we can have two weeks where it was just the five of us slogging away in a room. We were busting out a song or two every day with a little recorder in the corner of the room capturing all. From there, it became a whole lot of us trying to get our schedules to align for the next year-and-a-half. Everybody is on tour at different times and it was difficult to find the time where we could get everyone together to shoot a video or do recording and writing. That happened all the way until this past January.

As we all know Scott Weiland passed away in 2015. What did you take away from working with him as an artist?

Any dealings I had with him were good. They were friendly and I felt like they were good. It’s tragic how it all ended and disappointing what happened with the band and all. Honestly, I kind of have a hard time talking about him. I have so many … there is just so much to say that I don’t even say. I just wish things had ended up differently, just him, his wife, his family and his world.

Were there reservations about bringing Scott Stapp into the band in light of what you experienced with Scott Weiland?

Anytime you bring someone into your life, I think it’s normal in any circumstance that everyone is going to enter into it with a bit of caution. I’m sure he was extremely cautious and concerned about us as well. He was bringing four people into his life that he didn’t really know. How’s that going to work out? For us, it’s the same.

Understood. How did the addition of Scott Stapp alter your vision for the band?

I knew when he was going to come into the band that he was going to bring what he does naturally, which is bring ear friendly melodies and a very identifiable sound within his voice. It came down to putting all the ingredients into the bowl, mixing them up and baking it! It’s really that simple! We’re letting everyone be who they are. If we’re being as much of who we are as we can possibly be, then this thing is going to be pretty interesting!

What did members of Art of Anarchy bring to the project and “The Madness?”

What was interesting, and I didn’t realize it until after-the-fact, was that my whole life all I ever wanted was to be in a band where everybody is known on a first name basis and their name means something musically. For example, John, Paul, George and Ringo or Gene, Paul, Peter, and Ace. These names made up the bands that were my first loves in music. We can’t forget Axl, Slash and Duff! And let’s not forget Izzy and Steven! I wanted to be in that kind of band. I realized, after doing this album, this was the first time in my life that I actually had something like that, where everybody was contributing and what they contributed was never diluted or whittled down. We all got to contribute to who we were and you can hear it in the music. It’s not reinventing rock or anything. We just made songs together but in those songs you can hear Scott being Scott, me being me and Moyer being Moyer with all the grooves and everything. You can hear John and Vince being themselves, which is like this old school kind of attack with the way they play and the riffs that they come up with.

What can you tell us about the writing process for the album?

It was all just a long growth process. There was a lot of digging deep, tasting the floor, re-writing and moving things around. In the beginning, like I said, it started with us jamming in the room and throwing out ideas. Then we took those ideas and started building them out. Once the vocals are on the songs, you have to start changing things up, letting the song take on a life of its own and being careful not to get in its way. There were times we said, “Okay. We thought this was the chorus but it works better as the verse. Here’s a new chorus that works even better because of these lyrics.” There was a lot of re-writing and re-structuring the songs. I wouldn’t say any of it was easy. A lot of work went into it! In a year-and-a-half, we found ourselves having to have the growth of other bands that might normally be around for a few more years than that and we did it!

As an artist, what was the most satisfying part of working with these other talented musicians?

I was there for every step because I was pretty much the producer, the person doing the mixing and mastering, along with being a band member doing the writing and the playing. There was so much to do on this project. Building everything from nothing was a challenge. We literally started with nothing. It was just all of us looking at each other like, “Okay! How do we start this?!” [laughs] Someone would start playing the groove and Moyer might say, “Check this out” as he starts playing a beat. Then we all jump on that! Meanwhile, Scott is hanging out on the couch with the microphone. When something peaks his interest, he starts singing some melodies to it. Seeing it go from that to having the entire album done and knowing how much went into the production of it is amazing. For instance, the intro to “Afterburn.” There is so much going on in that song as far as different sounds and layers of things. There’s a little scream in the background that fades off into something else with a different sound on another track. It’s very detailed. Seeing it all done, knowing what it took to get to that point and having us get to that point is pretty amazing! [laughs]

Art of Anarchy – ‘The Madness’

Just to be clear, for fans who may be wondering, there was no material from the Scott Weiland era of Art of Anarchy which came forward into this new age, correct?

No. With that album, it was just those 10 pieces of music that became that first album. There was nothing else. That’s the thing, it wasn’t like this is this new second album. This new album happened truly like a band. That’s nothing against the first one. Things happened however they happened and you can’t change that. With the first album, everything evolved into a band. With this new album, we truly started as a band.

You have been focused on this album for Art of Anarchy. Have you looked to the future?

We have to do another video. We will be shooting that at the end of March. We have touring to do as well! We are starting to get some shows together for April, which should be announced soon. Then we will take it from there. At this point, it’s hard to think about next year or anything down the road because there’s so much to do in the next four weeks. However, I can assure you, there will be more videos, touring and everything a band should do. We’re really looking forward to getting out and playing.

When you look back at the making of the album and bringing it to life, what are the biggest lessons you took away from the experience?

Ya know, I think I learned all the lessons in the past, before doing this record, and they all came into play. It’s things like, “Don’t force it, just let it happen and it will all fall into place the way it’s meant to. As much as you would like to rush it, you can’t rush it.” Things like that.

Was there anything you wrote during these sessions that didn’t make the album and we might hear in the future?

Musically, we had like 20 other things that we just decided not to move forward with. If we didn’t use them for this, we probably won’t at all. Any writing we do moving forward will probably be fresh writing; at least that’s what I’m guessing.

Which songs from the album resonate with you the most and which are you most looking forward to sinking your teeth into in a live setting?

For a listening standpoint, I like “Won’t Let You Down,” “Changed Man” and “A Light In Me.” When it comes to playing live, I’m thinking “Echo of A Scream” and “Somber.” I’m just looking forward to getting all 10 songs out there!

You experienced the music industry from all sides. What is the best part about being a working artist in this day and age?

The Internet! It’s a double-edged sword in so many ways. Having Internet available has decimated the old structure and economy of everything. However, this is what we dreamed of our whole lives — having the means of getting in touch directly with your fans all across the world. To get them to hear your music and have a relationship with them that is so one-on-one is an amazing thing. That was impossible in the past. In the 1980s and early 1990s, if you wanted people to hear your music was a difficult task. Getting your music into a store meant that you had to get a record deal, put it out and have a distributor who was going to spend $500 a month for every little listening booth in the front of one music store in one place for one month. It was a ridiculous amount of investing in hopes of capturing the attention of someone and having them take a listen. Almost no one got to hear your music and now everyone can hear it instantly. That is an amazing thing!

What else do you have in store for 2017? It’s been awhile since you released solo work. Any movement on that front?

It’s been two years since the “Little Brother Is Watching” album came out; the last Bumblefoot album. I think this year I would like to do another solo record. I’m thinking maybe something along the lines of an instrumental album. I’m not sure but definitely something that’s a lot more about the guitar. Will there be time to do it? I have been thinking there would be for the past 12 years but something always comes up! [laughs] I have been wanting to do another guitar album for a long time but right now my focus is on the Art of Anarchy.

You lend your voice and talent to great charities. What can we help shine a light on?

I just came back from playing in Thailand. There is a big Sturgis-style biker festival that happens out there. It’s called Pattaya Burapa Bike Week in Pattaya, Thailand. I headlined it doing solo stuff. I think it was 50,000 people there in the week. It all goes toward a children’s charity called Jester’s Care For Kids, which provides a safe place for children who come from unsafe environments. It gives them a way out and a place to go where they won’t be hurt and will be taken care of. They provide education, clothing, food and everything so that they will have a better life. All the proceeds from this biker festival go to support the charity. I have visited the kids and seen to work that they do and it’s wonderful! Locally, I support Calling All Cats! It’s an animal rescue in New Jersey that’s really worth checking out. They are a wonderful organization that has done a lot for New Jersey. Those are two great charities to check out!

Awesome! As always, we appreciate your time and are excited to spread the word on all you have going on!

Thank you, Jason! Have a great one and I will talk to you soon!

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Art of Anarchy Pays Tribute To Late Vocalist Scott Weiland With Free Download of Debut Album

Art of Anarchy Pays Tribute To Late Vocalist Scott Weiland With Free Download of Debut Album

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'Art of Anarchy'

‘Art of Anarchy’

Art of Anarchy is paying tribute to the late Scott Weiland with a free download of their self-titled debut album, originally released in June of 2015.

In a post to their social media accounts, the band said: “In memory of Scott Weiland, we would like to offer the Art of Anarchy record digitally for free to the world during this holiday season. We hope everyone enjoys listening as much as we enjoyed creating it. – Art of Anarchy”

Fans can go to http://anothercentury.com/host/ArtOfAnarchy/download/ for an instant download of the record.

The ‘Mega Group’ featured Scott Weiland, along with lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), bassist John Moyer (Disturbed) and introducing twin brothers Jon Votta (guitar) and Vince Votta (drums) on a worldwide deal with Century Media imprint, Another Century.

 

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ART OF ANARCHY: Megagroup Inks Worldwide Deal With Another Century Records, Album Art Revealed

ART OF ANARCHY: Megagroup Inks Worldwide Deal With Another Century Records, Album Art Revealed

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ART OF ANARCHY, the ‘Mega Group’ featuring legendary vocalist, Scott Weiland, along with lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), bassist John Moyer (Disturbed) and introducing twin brothers Jon Votta (guitar) and Vince Votta (drums) have signed a worldwide deal with Century Media imprint, Another Century. Their debut self-titled album will be in stores and online June 8th, 2015.

The band states, “We’re all excited our album will be released worldwide on Century Media/Another Century Records and the public will finally hear what this band stands for”.

A teaser featuring songs from the upcoming album can be heard below:

The band started out of an 18-year friendship between Bumblefoot and the Votta brothers, dating back to the local New York music scene. Jon Votta approached Bumblefoot with the idea of putting together a unique new rock band that would have people talking. They knew Weiland would be the ideal singer to handle the band’s musical diversity. Once Weiland was on-board, the band was completed by the aggressive, precise, melodic bass of career-rocker John Moyer.

'Art of Anarchy'

‘Art of Anarchy’

ART OF ANARCHY has emerged as a band willing to eradicate musical borders in pursuit of something brilliant. For these legendary members, it’s all about songwriting and musicianship, which the band proudly displays on its self-titled debut album. The band also sees Weiland returning to his hard rock roots with a harder-edged sound than any of his previous efforts.

Bumblefoot shines not only as the band’s co-guitarist, but also as the producer and engineer on the album. His world-class guitar playing ranks him as one of rock’s most innovative guitarists.

John Moyer, self-proclaimed hitman from Texas, brings a punchy bottom end that rounds out the sound of AOA. His in the pocket style can be heard throughout the whole album.

Jon Votta, the grand architect behind Art of Anarchy, co-wrote the album and shares lead responsibilities with Bumblefoot. According to Votta, “This is the record I always dreamed of making since I started playing guitar”. Vince Votta came up with the band name based upon these principles: it had to be extreme, uncompromising, and make a bold statement- much like his drum playing.

2015 will be a big year for ART OF ANARCHY.
Rock was never dead– just dormant– and ART OF ANARCHY is planning to wake it up. They’ll break all the rules and leave you wanting more Anarchy!

ART OF ANARCHY online:
www.facebook.com/ArtOfAnarchyBand

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LIVIN’ THE DREAM: Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal Talks Career, New Solo Album & More!

LIVIN’ THE DREAM: Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal Talks Career, New Solo Album & More!

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Guitar virtuoso, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal has experienced success on every level imaginable. For over 20 years he has been thrilling fans and critics alike by releasing cutting-edge music, performing at international festivals, headlining solo tours, winning many album of the month/year awards and appearing on the covers of numerous music magazines as a solo artist. As lead guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, Bumblefoot toured sold-out shows all over the world, headlining festivals with crowds up to 150,000 people. Bumblefoot’s unique ‘fretless guitar’ can be heard throughout GNR’s 2008 ‘Chinese Democracy’ album. Even with all of his success, Bumblefoot is one of the most down to Earth people you could ever meet. His passion for music and sharing it with the world is undeniable!

On February 24th, he will unleash his 10th CD entitled “Little Brother Is Watching.” The album is an eccentric, upbeat collection of modern epic rock with haunting melodies, huge choruses and witty lyrics about life in the digital age and beyond. Specifically, his own life and coming to terms with what we all face – beginnings, endings, and moving on. The album was composed, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Bumblefoot at his studio in New Jersey, and also features drummer Dennis Leeflang and a crowd of 100 fans stomping, chanting and singing backing vocals recorded at a listening party in New York.

Bumble foot keeps forging his own musical path but relishes and chance for collaboration. His current projects include collaborations with Darryl McDaniels, aka DMC from the iconic rap group RUN DMC, and Scott Weiland in the supergroup Art Of Anarchy. Thal’s spirit of giving doesn’t end with amazing music, as he  also works with U.S. Embassies around the world on cross-cultural music programs, has his own line of award-winning hot sauces, and works with dozens of international charities visiting orphanages and children’s hospitals with guitar in hand.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal to discuss the challenges of bringing “Little Brother Is Watching” to life, his recent collaborative efforts with a plethora of artists, his line of award-winning hot sauces, his philanthropical work and much more!

Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal

Going back to your youth, what are some of your first memories of music?

I still remember hearing “KISS: Alive” for the first time, the feeling I got from it and just how exciting it was. It made me want to do that! I can still remember borrowing the logo for my first band, when I was 6 years old, called Viper 5. There were five of us and vipers were cool snakes and we were kids! [laughs] We had a big white window shade that we were drawing the logo on! The next band, I can remember cutting circles out of paper and taping them to the walls in the basement because our band was called Target! That was our logo! We took the rest of the paper and cut it up into cups of confetti for the audience to throw at the end of our show in the basement! I remember it all, man! [laughs]

Sounds like quite the production!

It was! It was! There was confetti everywhere! I am still finding pieces of it! I will occasionally find a piece of confetti in between my toes and think, “Wow! That is from that show in 1977! What the hell?!”

Who influenced you along the way both as a musician and a person?

Musically, KISS and the Beatles were my two first loves. From there I got into a lot of the progressive British stuff like Yes, Jethro Tull and things like that. There was also lots of classic rock from bands like Queen, AC/DC and whatever else was coming out from Blondie to the Ramones to Billy Joel. I was just a music lover! All of that played some kind of role and served as some kind of building block. There was certainly a lot of classic rock and punk. It wasn’t until the later years that I started taking interest in more of the technical guitar players, guys like Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. I have to say that Eddie Van Halen was really the one who changed the way I thought about guitar and expanding the limits of what could be done. That had a huge impact on me. Hearing the intro to “Mean Streets” for the first time was mind-blowing. Of course, my father had a big influence on me, as well. He was cool as hell!

When you picked up the guitar for the first time, did you ever think it would take you to the heights it has?

Yes! I did! I had no doubt! I was 6 years old. I put the guitar in my lap and started playing it like a drum. I thought to myself, “I’m going to be a rock star! Woohoo!” [laughs] Had I known how much hard work and abuse would go into that, I would be an accountant right now! [laughs] For some reason, I am a glutton for punishment and I stuck with it and here we are having this conversation! Thank you very much! [laughs]

bumblefoot-2015-9

You experienced success on many levels in your career. To what do you attribute your longevity?

You have to keep your heart in the right place. You can’t let it get corrupted with all of the business crap and everyone trying to pull you in their own direction for their own gain or agenda. You have to keep it very simple. You have to be that 6 year old and say, “I love this. I love what I do.” Like I said, I love the feeling I got from hearing “KISS: Alive” for the first time and want to pay it forward to everyone else! I want to make other people feel the uplift of spirit that I was given. That’s it! It is really that simple!

You have a brand new album on the way this February. What can you tell us about “Little Brother Is Watching” and what we can expect this time around?

'Little Brother Is Watching'

‘Little Brother Is Watching’

What can you expect? This album, compared to some of the other solo stuff, is a little punkier. Every album, you have the songs and you start laying them down. They eventually come out however they are going to. You have an idea of what you are going to get but you can’t really control it. It is kinda like throwing ink at a canvas. You can choose the color but it isn’t going to end up the way you predict. You have to step back, look at it and say, “OK, this is what it is. Let’s take it from here.” It is the same situation with this new album. I ended up being very melodic with very long songs, where a lot of the earlier stuff was more in your face and aggressive. It is more about the musicality, the melody, the harmonies and the guitar lines dancing around vocal lines and all that good crap! [laughs] It is a lot more melodic and, even with those melodies that are in there, they are all spontaneous. It was stuff that I just laid on the scratch track as Dennis [Leeflang], the drummer, was playing his drum tracks. They were just spontaneous, improvised melodies. Listening back to it, I said, “Yeah, I am not going to overthink this. This is what I felt in the moment, the first time I played with this stuff and it left my head and hand to be recorded. I like it! I am sticking with it!” A lot of those melodies are very organic, natural first impressions of my songs and what I was inspired to do guitar-wise.

What songs from this album resonate with you at this point in time?

The song, “Don’t Know Who To Pray To Anymore.” It starts off with a really singable guitar line and the words just really hit home. I think people are really going to get it when they hear what I am singing about.

Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal

What made now the right time for a new Bumblefoot solo release? Was there a particular catalyst for it or just an overwhelming creative need?

The need! I have had the need for a long time and it has been a battle or race against the clock trying to find time to get my head in the right place to focus and do it. With all of the touring, it is really hard. You can write but to get in the studio, commit, devote and keep the momentum going can be very tough. It was something that was long overdue. For me, if I am not being creative or putting out music, it is like having a bag over my head and I am suffocating. I need to do it. It is the only reason I feel I should be on Earth and, when I am sharing music with people, I truly feel alive.

Looking back on breathing life into this project, what inspired it and what did you take away from the experience?

I think there are always experiences to share. Doing this album, there have been more of them. Usually, for me, it takes some type of tragedy to make you feel and get in touch with yourself, so you have that story to tell. Any of those kind of things that hit, for me at least, get the words following. With this album, there was everything from a cancer diagnosis to my father dying to having to choose between two lives to facing some of the mistakes I have made.

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Art of Anarchy

 

You never seem to slow down and always appear to have those creative juices flowing. One of the new projects you recently announced is Art of Anarchy. What can you tell us about how it came about?

Sure! There are two brothers, John and Vince Votta, and I have been producing their bands for 18 years. We have always been friends. They finally said, “We want to put our own company together. We want to start a label and do this thing. The first thing we want to do is put out a supergroup type of album where we bring in people from all different backgrounds to come together and create music together for a really cool album of good rock music.” I brought them into the studio and they had 10 songs to start with and we laid them down. I laid down guitar. The amazing John Moyer came in and laid down his killer bass. He is truly amazing! He does what he does and makes it great! As we talked to different singers, Scott [Weiland] agreed to do a song and then he agreed to do the whole album. We did this album together and are hoping to have it out by the beginning of the year. It is all about the music.

Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal

I know that right out of the gate there was a little bit of, I wouldn’t say controversy, but maybe some unnecessary confusion about things. However, it is about the music, about the album and putting the album out. Anything beyond that remains to be seen. We don’t know what is going to happen. We don’t know if, after the album comes out, people are going to want to see something live. If they do, Scott is very clear that his focus is his solo stuff and mine is too. Scott wants to just do his solo thing and isn’t looking to do any live dates with this. Then we would find a new singer, if we did any live shows. Who knows what would happen with that new singer and if it would become a permanent thing or if it would just be for the live setting. We don’t know! Whatever is going to happen is going to happen organically and is going to come together the way the pieces fall at that moment. For now, let’s just take this music that we made together and share it with the people. I really hope they enjoy it!

From the one song I heard around the time of the announcement, it sounds very promising! I know a lot of people are anxious to hear what you all came up with as a unit.

Cool, thanks! Everything was recorded in my studio, except for what Scott wrote and recorded. He recorded his vocals on his own and sent them to me. I did the final mixing and mastering, so that is a little of what I have going on production-wise. The other thing I am doing is with a good friend of mine, Rob Dukes. We have been friends for years and he sang with Exodus. Now, he has this band called Generation Kill. It is really cool, nasty metal band. Good stuff, good stuff! They teamed up with Darryl McDaniels, aka DMC from RUN DMC, and are doing this rap metal thing together. Rob hit me about about being part of the fun, joining in and playing a couple of guitar parts, mixing and doing the production for it. We just have one song we have finished up so far but I’m sure as we get more stuff finished we will start putting out the little teasers and sharing everything. So far, we are having a blast and a great time together doing it!

bumblefoot-2015-1

Clearly, you’re a guy who isn’t afraid to take on challenges when it comes to new projects. Is there a part of the process you are more drawn to or intrigued by?

I love doing it all! Each one keeps everything else fresh! You learn from each aspect that adds something to all of the everything else that you do. You become a better songwriter when you are producing other people and helping to shape their songs. You get better at engineering from that, which makes you better at laying your guitar tracks physically because you have other things in mind as you are playing about dynamics. It is good to do it all because you just keep learning and applying what you learn to all the other aspects of what you are doing musically. My favorite thing is definitely producing and collaborating and making music. That has always been my favorite thing.

Do you have any thoughts on the musical territory you hope to explore in both the short and long term?

I don’t know. I have done everything from producing hip hop to opera to jazz to latin stuff to speed metal. I have done so many types of things and it has all been so much fun! I have also met a lot of cool people along the way!

Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal

So, I am assuming we can expect a Bumblefoot country album? [laughs]

Good question! [laughs] It is something that I should do! I definitely haven’t done that and I would love to do some kind of country thing! I don’t make plans, I just wait for the unexpected to happen and it always does!

It seems to be working out great so far!

Yeah! Just leave your doors open and let the unexpected things come! I love when something I never planned on happens. That is what makes life so amazing! That is when you are living, when you are not in control and just letting it happen! It’s like you are on the rollercoaster and you have your arms up, just letting it go.

One of the other stops on your unconventional journey is your line of hot sauces! Very cool stuff! How did you get into that world?

I have always loved spicy food. It’s like music in a lot of ways. You buy a few albums, listen to them and like it and, before you know it, you want more! You learn there are different flavors and you like them! It eventually reaches a point where you want to share that as well and want to start making your own! It was something I had wanted to do for years and I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the good people at CaJohns Fiery Foods in Columbus, Ohio. They were crazy enough to take me on and say, “OK! Let’s do some Bumblefoot sauces!” They took my ideas and together we made it happen! I designed the labels on Photoshop and they were picking out the best peppers to use. We were experimenting in the kitchen with which berries to use. Some of my original ideas didn’t work and then they came forward with some great new ideas. It was a collaboration just like in the world of music. It has been a terrific experience! You know, I would say that hot sauce is the metal of food. That is why you find so many metal musicians, guitar players and people who play intense music wanting to explore that world. If you think about it, there is no other type of music that is in your face as much or knocks you on your ass the way metal does. It’s the same with hot sauce. There is no food or anything you can eat that is as intense as hot sauce. To give someone that intense a feeling, whether through music or food, is an amazing feeling. Some hot sauce is very much like metal. That is why you find many musicians offering hot sauces, from Zakk Wylde to Joe Perry to Michael Anthony to Eddie Ojeda. It is all great stuff!

We certainly can’t overlook the work you do for charity. What do you have going on in that realm at the moment?

Ron Thal: Keepin' Real Metal Alive

Ron Thal: Keepin’ It Real

The next gig that I am going to be doing for a charity is for Jesters Care For Kids. It is a charity out in Thailand that I will be doing a show for on the 12th of February in Pattaya, Thailand. I am headed out there in two days for a Bike Week and I am going to play the Bike Week and do the gig for charity. Then I am going to Bangkok, Thailand, where I have something planned at the US Embassy. I am going to do a workshop and a little concert! Then I am headed home! I love connecting with charities with my own tours and I love finding ways to do that. I was just talking yesterday with a promoter in India that works with an organization that builds houses for kids and the homeless. We talked about doing a fundraiser out there in the next couple of months as well. There are so many great causes all over the world and I am happy to do it!

“Little Brother Is Watching” is set for a February 24th release. What are you looking at in regards to a tour in support of the album?

I want to, yes. I want to put out the album, see how it does and then figure out where I should, when and what kind of venues I can play. Before booking the tour, I just want to put out the album and see how people react to it. Until then, I am just doing little things here and there. The next thing I am going to do, in The States, is Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. I am doing that March 26th through 29th at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. That is going to be a cool one! It’s going to be metal oriented! Michael Schenker [of UFO], Bill Ward [of Black Sabbath] and Glenn Hughes [of Deep Purple] will be there as well. It’s going to be a great time!

Ron Thal at play!

Ron Thal at play!

Before we let you go, I have to ask one more question. What is the biggest lesson people can take away from the story, so far, of Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal?

The lesson is so simple. Never lose your love for making music. That part of you that made you want to start making, playing, enjoying and sharing music. That is always there but other things get in the way and weigh it down, so don’t let them! Don’t let anything get in the way and keep your eye on that one simple thing. Then you will be good! Annoying things will happen. That’s life! You don’t have to let it squash your spirit and your relationship with making music. Keep it unadulterated! [laughs] Keep it shiny! [laughs] Keep it shiny and uncorrupted and never lose sight of that!

Thanks so much for your time today, Ron. We appreciate it and look forward to all you have in store for us in the years to come!

Absolutely! I hope everyone enjoys the new music coming out! Thank you, Jason! Talk to you again soon!

Get the latest and greatest news and developments from the world of Bumblefoot with at these social media outlets:

Officialwww.bumblefoot.com
Twitterwww.twitter.com/bumblefoot
Facebookwww.facebook.com/bumblefoot
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ART OF ANARCHY: Scott Weiland, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, John Moyer, Jon & Vince Votta Launch Epic New Project!

ART OF ANARCHY: Scott Weiland, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, John Moyer, Jon & Vince Votta Launch Epic New Project!

AOA-2015-1

Presenting Art Of Anarchy, an album featuring Scott Weiland on vocals, John Moyer of Disturbed on bass, Jon & Vince Votta on guitar & drums, and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal as co-guitarist & producer. A video teaser can be viewed at this location: http://youtu.be/xL8CJfkLBo0

Poised to become one of the biggest new bands of 2015, Art of Anarchy is redefining the rock supergroup.  Meet the “mega group” – band members are rock legends in their own right with over 150 million in sales.  Promising over-the-top songs that break rock music boundaries with an all-or-nothing attitude, star power and bring-down-the-house performances, this mega band promises to transform a new generation into rock enthusiasts and die-hard “Anarchists”.

Art Of Anarchy members are some of rock’s heaviest hitters and most versatile musicians.  Iconic front man, Scott Weiland with his instantly identifiable voice needs no introduction.  He is known as one of rock’s most adroit and ever-evolving vocalists.  Lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot Thal from Guns N’ Roses, bassist John Moyer of Disturbed and twin brothers Jon Votta on lead guitar and Vince Votta on drums promise extreme, uncompromising musicianship that rings in a new era for rock music.

The band started out of an 18-year friendship between Bumblefoot and the Votta brothers, dating back to the local New York music scene.  Jon Votta approached Bumblefoot with the idea of putting together a unique new rock band that would have people talking.  They knew Scott Weiland would be the ideal singer to handle the band’s musical diversity.  Once Weiland was on-board, the band was completed by the aggressive, precise, melodic bass of career-rocker John Moyer.

Art of Anarchy has emerged as a band willing to eradicate musical borders in pursuit of something brilliant.  For these legendary members, it’s all about songwriting and musicianship, which the band proudly displays on its self-titled debut album.  The band also sees Weiland returning to his hard rock roots with a harder-edged sound than any of his previous efforts.

Bumblefoot shines not only as the band’s co-guitarist, but also as the producer and engineer on the album.  His world-class guitar playing ranks him as one of rock’s most innovative guitarists.

John Moyer, self-proclaimed hitman from Texas, brings a punchy bottom end that rounds out the sound of AOA.  His in the pocket style can be heard throughout the whole album.

Jon Votta, the grand architect behind Art of Anarchy, co-wrote the soon-to-be-released album and shares lead responsibilities with Bumblefoot.   According to Votta, “This is the record I always dreamed of making since I started playing guitar”.  Vince Votta came up with the band name based upon these principles: it had to be extreme, uncompromising, and make a bold statement- much like his drum playing.

2015 will be a big year for Art of Anarchy.  Rock was never dead– just dormant– and Art of Anarchy is planning to wake it up.  They’ll break all the rules and leave you wanting more Anarchy!

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Metal Superstars Reinvent Michael Jackson’s Biggest Hits On A New Tribute Album

Metal Superstars Reinvent Michael Jackson’s Biggest Hits On A New Tribute Album

A hard rockin' tribute!

A hard rockin’ tribute!

Just in time for Halloween, a scarily impressive alliance of metal and hard rock luminaries has formed to create one of the most depraved abominations of musical crossbreeding in history – an all metal tribute to the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson, available on CD October 22!

Never before have such quintessential pop hits as “Beat It,” “Thriller,” “Billy Jean” and “Man In The Mirror” been so completely transformed, substituting softly stylized synths with crunchy, distorted guitars, replacing the pitter patter of programmed beats with pulverizing double bass acoustic drums, and topping it off with some of the finest, most powerful vocals in metal. When completed, these reinventions pay due respect to the expertly crafted melodies and songs that made Michael Jackson one of the most beloved figures in all of music, and offer legions of metalheads a reason to simultaneously grab their crotchesand throw the horns in celebration!

Spearheaded by producer/musician Bob Kulick, who also helped in the arrangement of these cover versions, the project was in his words a “labor of love” for all involved. Exclaims Kulick, “We made these awesome songs kick ass while still being faithful to the original versions. Add killer players like Doug Aldrich, Billy Sheehan, Bruce Kulick, Rudy Sarzo, Tony Franklin, Craig Goldy, Bumblefoot, Phil Campbell and you’ve got some real MAGIC!” Rudy Sarzo, a stalwart of the metal scene as a member of both Quiet Riot and Queensrÿche, reflects, “Michael Jackson’s music is synonymous with iconic rockers such as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Stevens and Slash. So it’s only fitting that the rock community pays tribute to this legendary artist with Metal Mike!” And Fishbone’s Angelo Moore expresses great enthusiasm for his contribution, saying “I never thought I would hear myself doing a cover of ‘The Way You Make Me Feel,’ but it’s an honor and a dream come true. We put a different twist on it to give it a whole new light, or maybe I should say a whole new dark!”

In addition to the legends Kulick enlisted, several of today’s modern metal figures also contributed, including Elias Soriano of Nonpoint, who comments, “It was my pleasure to do this tribute to MJ. My admiration for the talent and history he has given to music overall will be hard to replace. My only wish is that I did him justice with my performance.” Jason Myers, of Icarus Witch, one of the current flag bearers in the traditional metal scene, declares, “When we were approached by Cleopatra to contribute to the Michael Jackson tribute we were honored (due to the legendary talent already on board), but a bit skeptical about how our fans would react…Choosing an unorthodox hit took a bit of pressure off and allowed us to put more of ourselves into the track.”

Finally, bassist Tony Franklin, who has worked with everyone from Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page to Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour to Whitesnake, confirms the surprise and astonishment many felt during the creation of the album, “The first thing I noticed was how easily these out and out pop songs translated to the metal genre. That is the sign of, one, a great song and, two, a great production and arrangement.” He goes on to note that it wasn’t just the songs that were transformed when Metal met Pop on these recordings; the performers themselves were transformed. He states, “It was very cool to see how the guest artists interpreted these songs as it brought out a different side of them – a side we wouldn’t usually hear.”

1. Thriller – Chuck Billy (Testament)

2. Man In The Mirror – Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandria) & Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big)
3. The Way You Make Me Feel – Angelo Moore (Fishbone), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), & Rudy Sarzo (Queensrÿche)
4. Black Or White – Lajon Witherspoon (Sevendust), Bruce Kulick (ex-KISS), & Tony Franklin (The Firm)
5. Beat It – Priya Panda (Diemonds) & Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses)
6. Billy Jean – Corey Glover (Living Colour) & Phil Campbell (Motörhead)
7. Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) – Elias Soriano (Nonpoint)
8. Rock With You – Doug Pinnick (King’s X)
9. Dirty Diana – Chris Jericho (Fozzy)
10. Bad – Paul Dianno (ex-Iron Maiden) & Craig Goldy (Dio)
11. They Don’t Care About Us – Icarus Witch
12. Never Can Say Goodbye – Lonnie Jordan (War)
13. Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm

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Guns N’ Roses To Stream Live From Las Vegas Show On December 30th!

Guns N’ Roses To Stream Live From Las Vegas Show On December 30th!

Axl Rose

Fans of legendary rockers Guns N’ Roses are in for a treat! There will be a LIVE stream of GN’R from The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas that will let you ring in the New Year in style!

That’s right! Purchase the 12/30 LIVE stream and access to the entire performance for 24 hours after the show throughout 12/31 to ROCK in 2012.  Playing for over 2 ½ hours at each of its US tour stops, the first of 2 final shows in Vegas promise to feature classics including “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Paradise City,” “November Rain,” and “Welcome to the Jungle.”

Presale for the event will start at $7.99. On the day of the show prices will increase to $9.99. Show will be available LIVE from approximately 11 PM US Pacific Time and available to stream for a 24 hour period following the performance. Check it out here at this location!

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One Man Mutiny: Tommy Stinson Talks New Album, Guns N’ Roses And More!

One Man Mutiny: Tommy Stinson Talks New Album, Guns N’ Roses And More!

Tommy Stinson began his legendary musical journey in his teens. Little did he know when he joined up with his brother Bob and fellow Minnesotans Chris Mars and Paul Westerberg to form The Replacements, they would go on to become one of the most influential bands in the alt-rock scene. After the band’s demise in the early ’90s, Stinson continued to push his musical boundaries with several post-Replacements groups, such as Bash & Pop and Perfect, that also garnered critical acclaim.

His musical endeavors have always been eclectic. A quick glance at his resume removes all doubt that he has never been one to shy away from a challenge. However, it still came as a shock to many when, in 1998, he joined forces with W. Axl Rose in what is arguably the world’s most notorious band, Guns N’ Roses. Since joining the ranks of GNR, he toured the world and played a role in the band’s infamously delayed “Chinese Democracy.” Tommy also has another permanent gig in Soul Asylum, where he writes and tours with the band. As if that weren’t already a full plate, he just released an exciting new solo record, “One Man Mutiny.” Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Tommy Stinson to discuss his storied past, the creation of his new solo album, life on tour with Guns N’ Roses and what the future holds for one of the busiest artists in rock ‘n’ roll!

 

Tommy Stinson

You’ve been a part of many cool musical projects through the years and surely influenced many up and coming artists. I was curious to learn how music first came into your life?

The first real memory I have of music having an effect on me happened when I was about 6-years-old. We were still living in Florida. I remember driving around with my family in the car and we heard that song “Family Affair” by Sly & The Family Stone. I remember it moving me for some reason, I don’t really know why. I guess I was too young to know but I really dug that song right off of the bat. It’s weird, after that, up until the point that I started playing bass, I didn’t really have an emotional contact with music. It was five or six years later when my brother started showing me how to play bass that I started to experience that connection. So it is weird. I don’t really know why I connected with that song in particular but even when I hear that song now, it still moves me.

You started in music professionally at such a young age. Do you think starting that young instilled something in you musicians of your same age didn’t have?

It is hard to say because I don’t really have anything to compare it to, ya know? I think that there are probably a bunch of things but not knowing or sitting and talking to someone who has learned later in life, I don’t know what that would be. But I certainly grew up a lot earlier than I would have otherwise! [laughs] We were playing clubs and I was doing that instead of hanging out with people my own age. Everyone was several years older than me.

As you said, you started off so young. Was there a moment when you decided music was something you wanted to pursue as a profession?

It was immediate, I will tell you that. It took a lot of coercing by my brother before it really clicked. It was hard for me to learn bass at such a young age. My fingers were small and the strings are much bigger than on a guitar, I am sure that had something to do with why it was hard to play. But it was immediate and it took a lot of him pushing me along bribing me with things like candy and Coke! [laughs] I didn’t take to it instantly but once I did and I was finally in it, it wasn’t until we started playing parties and shit that I felt the people kinda giving energy back, the adoration, the girls and things like that I started thinking “Oh, OK! This is alright then!” [laughs]

Tommy Stinson On The Road

Obviously, your brother was a huge influence in every aspect of your life. What are your fondest memories of playing with him?

Ya know, it is the early days that are some of my favorites because we would have this sorta “rehearsal scenario” set up in our basement. He would have the turntable plugged into all of the amps in the room before and after we would play. He would crank music through those amps, like the Beatles or whatever else he was into at the time. He just wanted it so bad and was just so into it all of the time. The early years were kinda special like that.

Looking back on the early days of your career, did you think you would be still going strong all these years later?

Ya know, I never really did! I used to think “Jeez, 30 is so old!” back then! [laughs] It was so foreign to me, how could I possibly fathom doing it at 45?! I didn’t even think I would be alive this long! [laughs] It just seemed kinda weird. So, no, I didn’t think I would be still be doing it.

To what do you attribute your longevity in this ever-changing industry?

I still love what I do. I love when you write a song and you get that feeling of “This is awesome! This is one of the best things that I have ever written.” The moment that you write a song that you like, that is the only time you ever really get that moment from the song because after that you are producing it, putting it out to the world and then it is kinda done. I still love that! I love the feeling that I get from doing it, from having that song that you wrote or listening to someone elses music and going “God! That is the best song ever!” You get that feeling, the goosebumps!

'One Man Mutiny'

In regard to new music, you recently released “One Man Mutiny.” What can you tell us about your writing process for this album?

It came together in pretty much the same way as my last solo album did, the “Village Gorilla Head” record. I kinda compile songs as I go along and when I have enough of them that I like, I finish them and decide that it is time to put another record out. It’s pretty simple but the bummer of that is I have been so busy over the past couple of years that it has been a long time between records. I am hoping to reconcile that now that I have my studio set up in my house and all of my stuff is in one place, set up and ready to go. Doing things on my own, I believe, is really going to help the process out and cut down on the time between records.

Do you do anything differently in regards to songwriting these days?

Ya know, in the new year, I think I am going to get into some different stuff. Where I live now, in upstate New York, there are some interesting musical folk around that come from different places, which I am trying to incorporate. I have my wife [Emily Roberts] singing background vocals on “One Man Mutiny” and I think working with her is going to help make for some different stuff. I think I am just going to keep doing what I do, which is always adventure into some other area. I think ultimately it will still come out sounding like me.

It sounds like you are always thinking about the future. You are also on the road quite a bit. Are you always writing or is there a point where you sit down and go from there?

Tommy Stinson

I am not always writing. I don’t really write a whole lot on the road because I am not very inspired because I am always so tired. Once in a while something will come out like “One Man Mutiny” did but it usually starts coming to me when I am off of the road for a bit and I have my bearing about me and I am freed up. It is when I haven’t been doing anything for a bit that I get the urge to write.

You mentioned the title track. How did you come to choose “One Man Mutiny” for the record?

I didn’t really choose it, it kinda chose me in that regard. I had a few songs sittin’ on the back burner when I wrote that when I was on tour with Guns N’ Roses. When I got home from that trip, I started finishing up some other stuff and that song just kept coming around. It started jumping out at me as the title of the record, the lead track, it just seemed to make sense somehow. I had some other ideas before that but it just popped out one day as the title track and the rest is history!

What was the biggest challenge in putting this record together?

Really it was just finishing it up and finding the time to finish it up. I was trying to do two really big things at once — finish the record and move! Once I got it all figured out it was OK but it was a bit stressful for us at the beginning of the year.

This record feels a little more upbeat to me than your last outing. Is it safe to say you are in a positive place creatively?

Yeah, that would be a pretty good assessment. It is partially that and partially that I had more rockers on hand for this one than that last one. ya know? I think on the last record I did a whole lot more piecemeal and I was just in a different space. I kinda had a lot more dark shit sitting around, I suppose, than upbeat.

Do you think this more upbeat material is a trend we will see more of in the future?

You know, it is hard to say. I don’t have any one way of writing or specific method, so we will see. I guess it all depends on how many of my kooky musician friends I can get on board for the next one! It could turn into a complete fiasco! [laughs] Or it could be great!

Click To Learn More

One of the coolest things about this record is you are donating half of the proceeds to a very worthy charity, the Timkatec Schools in Haiti. What can you tell us about that and about how you got involved?

I got involved with Timkatec after the earthquake in Haiti. A friend of mine was living in Haiti and knew of this school. I really wanted to do something to help and I didn’t want to just donate money because I had done that after Hurricane Katrina and was bummed with what the Red Cross had done with it. I knew that I needed to get more emotionally involved, hands on involved, and I wanted to do something substantial. I went down to Haiti to check it out. I saw the school and the kids and I just kinda fell in love with it! Ya know, this could be my life’s work, helping this group of kids who I think are ultimately going to rebuild their country. It just made sense to me.

Right now, you are out on tour with Guns N’ Roses. Do you have any plans to tour in support of “One Man Mutiny” and, if so, who will be the players involved?

I am looking to do some stuff in the new year, some regional stuff, whatever makes sense to do. I will probably use a group of guys that I have used already on a couple of the dates that I have done already in the Mid-West and on the East Coast. We will see what happens! Hopefully I can get out and play some shows!

Tommy Stinson On Stage

It is really inspiring to see an artist like yourself get involved in this manner. I am glad we can help in some way to spread the word.

Yeah, that is the whole point. Any time I do an interview, I think it helps to get the word out there a little bit further and hopefully it does something good!

You’re currently on tour with Guns N’ Roses. I saw you just the other night and you are playing tighter than ever.

Thank you!

For you and the guys in the band, how does the current tour stack up to your previous outings?

I think the difference between this tour and the earlier ones is that we are having a lot more fun. I think that Axl seems to be having more fun as well. I think that it might have something to do with the addition of DJ Ashba, I think that is a pretty good assumption to make. He is a good fit musically and, with his personality, I think him and Axl get along really well. All those elements make for a really fun show. It is light and we work our butts off but it is a lot more fun and less hectic than the last outings.

You are no stranger to touring and this current GNR tour is a huge production. Has touring gotten any easier for you through the years or has it gotten more difficult? Let’s face it, none of us are gettin’ any younger!

[laughs] No! It is definitely NOT gettin’ any easier! The older I get, the harder it is!

Do you do anything special to prepare for a tour like this that has three-hour sets?

What I did before but I haven’t been doing in a while because I had a kid and that has definitely changed my whole daily workout regiment. I used to go to the gym a lot more. I think that is something I need to get back to as it definitely helps when you are doing a three-hour show as far as keeping your old body in shape and increasing your stamina.

Tommy Stinson

Even with a three-hour set, you have a lot of downtime. What is a typical day like for you when you are on this tour?

To be honest, there hasn’t been all that much downtime on this particular run. Since we got back from South America, it has been pretty hectic. There is a lot of travel on our days off. Generally, our day starts at about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, when you are waking up from an overnight drive because you just left from the previous town at 6 or 7 in the morning. It has been kinda kooky in that way! The travel has been the hardest part of it. When the fans coming to the show are getting off of work, our day starts!

As an artist, what has been the highlight of your time in Guns N’ Roses?

Jeez, let me think about this now. Hmm … I may still be waiting for one! [laughs] No, I am only kidding! Ya know, it was a big highlight for me when “Chinese Democracy” came out. It was a pretty big moment but sadly there was a lot of shit that happened that kinda took the whole thing down. But yeah, it was definitely a highlight when the album was released because we had put so much into it, ya know?

Social media has played a big part in many peoples personal and professional lives in recent years. How do you feel it has impacted you as an artist.

I have seen a huge impact. It is exciting on one hand and daunting on the other. It is a big open world out there with a lot of free space. It is breaking down the barriers of compartmentalized music genres that we have been having to deal with for 20+ years where you have pop stations and rock stations and this or that. It is really opening up a whole new thing of “free music” where you can have a wide musical palette and not be compartmentalized. The daunting thing is how you reach those people. There are so many ways to reach them and so many ways that work and some that don’t. You have to find those. I am putting my own record out so I have to find out how to make that happen.

Tommy Stinson - Guns N' Roses

Your career has so many defining moments. Is there something you haven’t tackled musically or even outside of the realm of music you would like to pursue?

Ya know, I am looking for that. I think that Timkatec is part of that and some type of work within the community, not in a politician sort of way but working within my community to do for others with what I have got and with what I can get and what I can make happen. I think there is a lot of selfless work that can be done that I am starting to figure out and get ready for. I think that is probably going to be what happens with me.

You’ve seen the music industry change so much through the years. What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in the music industry in this current climate?

You have to fight your way up. You have to look at the Internet as an asset, not a liability. You have to really pound it and figure out how to reach the people and get your music into their hands and see if they are going to buy it or not. It’s a lot of hard work, there is nothing easy about it.

Do you think there are any misconceptions about you as an artist?

No. I think you can look at all the crap I have done and say, “Yeah, that seems like part of the story.” All of the parts make the sum.

What about telling that story? Any thoughts on writing an autobiography?

Not yet but maybe one day. Maybe one day I will break down and spill the beans! [laughs]

Fans are always clamoring for a Replacements reunion. And 20 years after The Replacements, the mythology of the band continues to grow. What is it like for you to look back on your time in the band all these years later?

Tommy Stinson - Rock Legend

I look back on that period fondly. We left our mark. We did some good things and we did some bad things. I think that, ultimately, history will remember us that way — and that is a good thing! I look back fondly on the whole thing. Do I ever want to go back? Not really. But I don’t think that we really could anyway because it is in the past, ya know?

Do you still feel a reunion in some form is in the cards for you all?

I don’t know. I don’t know. It seems like we talk about it every now and again but it just seems like the overall baggage is just too great for it. It always seems to get in the way of the talks. I am not going to say never but I doubt it.

In your opinion, where does the road lead next for Tommy Stinson — in the short term?

Probably back to my home so that I can start working on another record in January or February! That would probably be my guess. I will probably do some shows. I will probably do some recording with my band and some other people to get some other stuff going on.

That is great news and we wish you the best of luck on that and with the current tour!

Thank you so much!

For all the latest information on Tommy Stinson, check out his official website at www.tommystinson.com. For more information on Timkatec and how you can help this very worthy cause, visit www.timkatec.org.

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Legendary Guitarist Slash Releases ‘iTunes Session’ EP

Legendary Guitarist Slash Releases ‘iTunes Session’ EP

Legendary guitarist Slash (Velvet Revolver, Guns N’ Roses) has just released “iTunes Session”, a six-song collection recorded exclusively for iTunes. The effort, which features Alter Bridge singer, contains the following tracks:

1) Back to Cali
2) Communication Breakdown (Led Zeppelin cover)
3) Fall to Pieces
4) Rocket Queen
5) Starlight
6) Sucker Train Blues

You can purchase the EP at this location.

The deluxe edition of Slash‘s self-titled solo album was released on September 28. The three-disc set includes two CDs and a 52-minute DVD featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the album, performance footage from Australia and Los Angeles, video clips and more.

Source: Blabbermouth.net

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Guns N’ Roses To Play First US Show In 4 Years At Rock ‘N Rev Festival

Guns N’ Roses To Play First US Show In 4 Years At Rock ‘N Rev Festival

Legendary Frontman Axl Rose

Making their first U.S. concert appearance in four years, and playing their only U.S. show in 2010, Guns N’ Roses has been officially recruited to join the inaugural Rock ‘N Rev Festival and cement its assault on the legendary Sturgis Rally’s 70th Anniversary celebration in Sturgis, SD, at the newly constructed Rock N’ Rev Amphitheater at Monkey Rock USA.

Guns N’ Roses will headline the fifth and final night of the festival, as it moves to the Brand New Rock ‘N Rev Amphitheater at Monkey Rock USA in Sturgis, adjacent to its original location. L.A.’s notorious rock ‘n’ roll bad boys – one of Q magazine’s “50 Bands to See Before You Die” – have combined forces with HDlogix and DC3 Global for this rare and very special appearance on home soil to bring the “full-out rock ‘n’ roll spectacle” (Spin) of their 2010 “Chinese Democracy World Tour” to Sturgis and finish off the hijacking of the world’s biggest, baddest biker event, Monday, Aug. 9 through Friday, Aug. 13, 2010.

Rock ‘N Rev Festival’s sweltering lineup also includes: Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Wolfmother, Creed, Daughtry, 3 Doors Down, Godsmack, Three Days Grace, Cage The Elephant, Rev Theory, Eagles of Death Metal, The Darling Stilettos (featuring former GNR drummer Matt Sorum), and Swayback — just some of the bands making massive music at this colossal biker bash.

Tickets for the Rock ‘N Rev Festival are $45 per day, general admission ($150 for a five-day pass), and on sale now through www.ticketmaster.com and rocknrevfestival.com and at all Ticketmaster locations, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also will be available in person beginning August 5, 2010 on location at the Festival’s on- site box office. For more information on exclusive VIP packages ($150 for a single day, $300 for all five days or $1,000 5 day platinum packages), including backstage access to a VIP area to special, air-conditioned tents with private bars, motorcycle parking, luxury bathroom facilities and more, go to www.rocknrevfestival.com.

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