Ronald Jay Blumenthal (born September 25, 1969), better known by his stage name Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, is an American guitarist, songwriter, recording artist and producer. Thal adopted the name Bumblefoot from the bacterial infection of the same name, which he learned about while helping his wife review for her veterinary exams. He is currently one of the two lead guitarists along with DJ Ashba in the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses and performs on their sixth studio album Chinese Democracy. Since the early 90's, Thal has released 9 CDs and a live DVD. His 1995 debut studio album, The Adventures of Bumblefoot, after being out of print for many years, was re-released in 2010 as a 15 Year Anniversary Edition CD. In commemoration of the Anniversary Edition release, a 200 page transcription book of the recording was also released which Thal himself transcribed.
Thal has appeared as a guest performer on other albums and on numerous compilation CD's. He's been the cover feature of several International guitar magazines as well as the subject of many print, radio and web interviews. Over the past twenty years, Thal has also worked with numerous bands and artists as producer, engineer, writer, arranger and performer. He has also written, and continues to write, TV jingles, theme songs and background music. From January through December 2011, Thal has recorded 9 singles which are available exclusively as digital downloads. As a humanitarian, Thal is on the Board of Directors of the MS Research Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) org that raises money for Multiple Sclerosis research.
Inspired by Kiss at age six, Thal says his earliest musical goal was to play "like Gene Simmons if someone decided to do a Kiss version of Beatlemania". At the time his hands were too small for bass, so he focused his attention on guitar, while his brother, Jeff, played drums instead. He began playing copy tunes in clubs just five years later, and then focused on creating original material on his home 8-track. He entered a Sam Ash Guitar Solo Contest, played a spontaneous solo, and walked off with first prize. After submitting a demo tape to Mike Varney at Shrapnel Records, Varney featured Thal in the Spotlight New Talent column in Guitar Player Magazine's August 1989 issue. Upon hearing the material, Varney had this to say about Thal's playing - "Ron sent us a tape with four songs on it...Thal's demo tape is amongst the most impressive I've ever received. With its clever melodies, contrapuntal lines, intricate rhythms, and ultra-complex ensemble sections, Ron's sheer musicality will surely gain him much acclaim (the demo featured "The Shuck Duffle", "Love Soup" and "Chopin Fantasie").
Guns N' Roses:
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns_N%27_Roses
After a recommendation by guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, Thal joined Guns N' Roses filling the position vacated by guitarist Buckethead. Thal made his live debut with the band at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on May 12, 2006 and he also performs on the bands sixth studio album Chinese Democracy, released in 2008. Thal is currently on an international tour with Guns N' Roses.
Thal's song "Firebrand" was used as the opening theme for the TV show MXC (Most Extreme Elimination Challenge), the American adaptation of Takeshi's Castle. He has also written and performed the theme song to VH1 Classic's That Metal Show, an edit of his song "Day To Remember" on his Forgotten Anthology album. Thal has licensed several of his recordings to television shows on MTV and VH1 such as Hogan Knows Best, The Real World, Made, The Osbournes, and others. Thal also wrote and recorded the music for the NY Islanders Hockey Team 2008-2009 season promos.
In 2007, after 14 months of recording and touring with Guns N' Roses, Thal began recording his Abnormal CD. During this time, Thal also recorded and mixed the audio of live performances on the TV show Talking Metal On Fuse. Thal performed a cover of "Running Wild" by Judas Priest along with Frank Ferrer on the pilot episode. Thal also performed on the final episode of the show, accompanying Zakk Wylde in an original song "Til the End" written live on the show. In July 2008 Thal released the Abnormal CD. In November Chinese Democracy was released, with Thal hosting the listening party in NYC. In December 2008 Thal released Barefoot - The Acoustic EP, which consists of stripped-down acoustic versions of songs from his previous albums. Thal had fans choose one of the songs he would record.
In February 2009, Thal produced an all-instrumental metal guitar compilation CD entitled "Guitars That Ate My Brain." He oversaw the writing, recording and mixing for half the album (co- writing, engineering and mixing as well as guitar and bass playing by Jeremy Krull, drums by Dennis Leeflang), contributed his playing to the song "Disengaged" and mastered the album. Other artists on the album include Devin Townsend, Chris Poland, Shane Gibson, Dave Martone, Paul Waggoner, and James Murphy.
In June 2009, Thal began touring the U.S. and Europe playing guitar for Lita Ford.
In December 2009, Thal began touring with Guns N' Roses on the Chinese Democracy World Tour.
In August 2010 his solo debut The Adventures of Bumblefoot, which had been out of print, was re-released as a 15 Year Anniversary Edition complete with additional bonus tracks. In October 2010, Thal took time out while on tour with Guns N' Roses to give advice and perform with students of The Witchwood School Of Rock in Witney, UK along with Guns N' Roses drummer Frank Ferrer. During the event they played several classic Guns N' Roses tracks, including "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O' Mine."
On December 3, 2010, Thal made an appearance in Sydney, Australia as guest guitarist with the heavy metal band Fozzy.
His songs "Guitars Suck", "Real" and "Turn Around" are available as additional downloadable content for the videogame Rock Band 2 through the community-driven Rock Band Network.
Since January 2011, Thal has been releasing a series of singles available as digital downloads. Thal's first single was a cover of the 1967 Motown hit "Bernadette" by The Four Tops. His next single was another cover, this time The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever". He released his third single, an original song called "Invisible" in March 2011. In April 2011, Thal released a cover of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," and an original song called "Father" was released in May 2011. Thal released his sixth single, an original song called "Cat Fight", in June 2011 featuring Mark Tornillo of the band Accept on vocals. "There's a Kind of Hush" (recorded by Herman's Hermits in 1967 and The Carpenters in 1976) is Thal's seventh single which was released in July 2011. Let Your Voice Be Heard is Thal's eighth single released in September 2011. In December 2011, Thal released a cover of The Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini. This is Thal's last single in the digital download series for 2011.