It’s (so) easy to get caught up in the joy of having Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan reunited as Guns N’ Roses, but a number of personnel changes had to occur to make the “Not In This Lifetime…” tour a reality.
One of those changes was the exit of guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, who was in GN’R from 2006-2014. While there’s certainly no ill will, Thal’s also not in a rush to see the band on tour either and expressed why in a recent conversation with WRIF’s Meltdown:
“It just feels kind of weird. I quit the band and they moved on and I moved on. It's not like we quit pretty. And also, what am I gonna do? I'm gonna stand in the audience and everyone's gonna be, like, 'Hey, you used to be there!' It's too weird, man…I wish them well and all, but to actually physically go, after hundreds of times on the stage with them, it just feels very strange. I always describe it like going to see your ex-girlfriend's wedding. And I don't mean any disrespect by that, and I do wish them well and I'm happy that they're doing so, so good. But for me to go and see it, it would just stir up a lot of stuff.”
Stirring up “stuff” aside, leaving GN’R might’ve been best for Thal, who seemed to be feeling more like a “hired gun” than an actual bandmate, like with his current bands Art of Anarchy and Sons of Apollo:
“That was part of why I was feeling that unrest and that itch to move on, because for me I need to be super creative. I am not…I'm just not the kind of that's utility that you hire and he plays and gets paid and that's it. No, like it means the world to me what I'm doing and who I'm doing it with. And it has to grow, it has to be a relationship that's… We have to be making music, we have to be doing everything that, when you were a little kid and you imagined being in a band, what that band is doing. And that's how it is with all the other bands I'm in…After eight years in Guns, I just looked at it and I said, 'Am I doing what I wanna do?' And I felt like anyone could have been doing what I was doing at that point, and it didn't have to be me. And if I wasn't happy, and if they knew I wasn't happy, then I should get out and do what I'm supposed to do and let them do what they were supposed to do. And I knew that the reunion was coming. So it was, like, 'All right. Let me just get out of the way.'"
Thal will be plenty busy in the coming months with Sons of Apollo, which also features Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian, Billy Sheehan and Jeff Scott Soto. The group is set to drop their debut album, Psychotic Symphony, on October 20, and full album details can be found at SonsOfApollo.com.
To listen to the interview in its entirety, go to WRIF.com.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.