Bumblefoot talks about latest solo album “Little Brother is Watching”

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is a guitarist/songwriter/producer who has been making his way in music since the late 1980’s. He is probably best known for his work with Guns n’ Roses on the long awaited “Chinese Democracy” album and from the bands recent live film release “Appetite for Democracy 3D”. Bumblefoot’s latest solo release (his 10th to date) is titled “Little Brother is Watching” and features 11 tracks which delve in to a variety of unique sounds and subject matter. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Bumblefoot recently about the new album, his creative process and his other plans to stay busy throughout 2015.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some info on “Little Brother is Watching”?
Bumblefoot: This is my latest solo CD. It has 11 songs which if I had to describe it I would consider it melodic rock. I think it’s going to appeal to guitar players. The album took about 9 months to complete which seems to be how long all of my albums tend to take. From the time I hit record to the time they hit the merch table at my shows its 9 months. The weird thing about it is that during those 9 months I always gain exactly 8 pounds. No matter what I do or don’t do its always 8 pounds that I gain during those 9 months. After the album comes out those pounds just sort of disappear. It’s just weird. I just sort of noticed this happened one day. It’s like I was having these invisible babies every time I went in and made a new album. (Laughs)

AL: Where do you generally start when you begin work on a new album?
Bumblefoot: It usually just starts in my head. Even before that there is usually something that happens where I get an idea for a song like walking into a wall. Something in life happens and then I start putting things together in my head. I don’t play a note or anything. I am just hearing things between my ears and putting it all together. I do this for each song. The first time I actually play them is when I go in with my drummer Dennis and we play them acoustically. From there we will talk about things, lay down scratch tracks and build things from there.

AL: Have you always worked this way or has it been sort of a progression?
Bumblefoot: It has sort of become that way. When I am working with other people it tends to be different but for my solo stuff it usually happens all in my head before anything else. If it sounds good in there then hopefully it will sound good once it all comes out. I think it works good for this way because the ideas can sort of simmer and I can get familiar with before going in to the studio.

AL: Are you the type of musician who is always coming up/working on new material or do you have to set time aside away from touring and such?
Bumblefoot: I have never been able to force myself to write and while I’m out on the road I have never been able to write either. For me touring has always been about giving yourself to everybody else. Everyone else gets your attention so when you are writing music you need to put all that attention inwards. The two have never meshed for me prior to this album. With this new record I forced myself to do it. It definitely hurt. (Laughs) In March/April of last year I was in South America doing shows and started coming with things for the new album. I was a bit of a nut case. We actually figured out the drums in May and then I went back out on the road. After that run was over I jumped on a bus for the Guitar Gods tour for 5 weeks where I did a lot of writing.

AL: Can you tell us about the addition of having fans play on the record?
Bumblefoot: There are 6 songs on this album where I have 100 people singing. When the album was almost done we decided to have a listening party and invited 100 people. We would play a song, do a brief Q&A and then I would play a section of the song and have those in attendance sing on those parts. We did that for each of the 6 songs. I took those tracks with me into the studio and mixed them into the album. I think it came out sounding really good. I wanted to have these songs have parts where the audience was part of the song they were hearing.

AL: Do you find being a solo artist to be as equally rewarding as when you are working in a band setting?
Bumblefoot: Everything is going to have its own set of likes and dislikes. The goal is to have diversity in life. You want to make sure your doing enough things to where you always feel refreshed and you don’t get bored or wore out. You have to keep things interesting. One thing can’t be your everything so it’s great to be able to do a variety of things. For me being just a guitarist in a band is one thing, signing and writing is another and producing and engineering is one more. Everything is different so when I put it all together I am very musically complete and gratified.

AL: What type of tour plans do you have in place to support the release?
Bumblefoot: I don’t have a tour booked just yet. I want to take some time to get the word out about the album. I want to make sure there is time for interviews, videos and all that stuff before I go and book a tour. By giving the album some time I can then figure out exactly where we should go and set up shows. You have to have a strategy when putting out an album. I would love to go and play every place possible but the cost of doing something like that can be quite high. I really like the idea of doing residencies where I can set up and play the same venue over a couple nights. Doing shows like that makes things a lot easier on everyone and it’s a bit more affordable for everyone.

AL: Can you tell us about some of the other things you have going on/coming out this year?
Bumblefoot: Art of Anarchy which is sort of a super group featuring Scott Weiland, John Moyer, Jon and Vince Votta and I is something I have been working on lately. Our first album should be out sometime in May. I have known Jon and Vince for a long time and they approached me about doing this. They had Scott already in mind as the vocalist and then we brought in John on bass. Besides playing guitar I also worked as producer and engineer. Outside of that I have also been doing some production work for the band Generation Kill and I have been doing some guitar stuff for Darryl McDaniel’s from Run-DMC.  At the end of March I will be at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas with Michael Schenker, Glenn Hughes and a bunch of other really cool people. I also have my own line of guitar cases and hot sauces that people can check out. There is a lot of fun stuff going on over the next few months.


Related Content

CD Review: Bumblefoot “Little Brother is Watching”

“Little Brother is Watching”
Produced by: Bumblefoot
Label: Bumblefoot Music
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Little Brother is Watching” is the latest solo release from guitarist/producer/songwriter Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. The 10th solo release in a career dating back to the late 1980’s “Little Brother is Watching” is an eccentric, upbeat collection of modern rock that incorporates haunting melodies, huge choruses and witty lyrics about life in the digital age. Bumblefoot takes you on a musical journey that will light up your senses.

Tracks such as the albums opener “Clots” come roaring through the speakers with Bumblefoot’s signature frantic approach and instantly set the stage for what’s to come. On tracks such as “Little Brother is Watching” Bumblefoot enlists the help of a 100 voices to carry out the haunting background. The various voices which were recording during a special listening session add a unique appeal to the album as you never know when these elements might creep in. Probably my favorite track off the album is the laid back “Don’t Know Who to Pray to Anymore”. The track opens up with a George Harrison esque guitar solo reminiscent of “My Guitar Gently Weeps” before traversing down a more bluesy avenue which ultimately explodes into a full on rock ballad. This song alone makes the album worth giving it a listen. Other notables that I enjoyed were carnival tinged “Cuterebra” and the straight forward chugging power of “Never Again”.

Though the album might lack cohesiveness it makes up for it with its energy as the chaotic styling’s of Bumblefoot and company will certainly be appreciated by long time fans and the uniqueness of the albums 11 tracks could be enough to grab the attention of new listeners.

Track Listing:
1.) Clots
2.) Little Brother is Watching
3.) Argentina
4.) Don’t Know Who to Pray to Anymore
5.) Livin’ the Dream
6.) Cuterebra
7.) Higher
8.) Women Rule the World
9.) Sleepwalking
10.) Eternity
11.) Never Again

Disney’s "Brother Bear" 2-Movie Collection Blu-ray™ Giveaway [ENDED]


© 2013 Disney

New 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack Available for the First Time in a 2-Movie Collection Debuting March 12, 2013

To celebrate the release of Disney’s “Brother Bear” 2-Movie Collection, Media Mikes would like to giveaway 5 copies of the Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (1 Blu-ray™ + 1 DVD). If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email indicating your favorite character from the film. This giveaway will remain open until March 22nd at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to residents of the United States only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Two warm and wonderful Disney adventures arrive together for the first time ever in a Blu-ray™ Combo Pack! Families can share the heartwarming and hilarious tale of “Brother Bear” — the 2003 Academy Award® nominee for Best Animated Feature—and “Brother Bear 2” in one incredible 2-Movie Collection. Bring home an entire forest full of fun, complete with digitally restored high definition picture and sound.

After an impulsive boy named Kenai is magically transformed into a bear, he and his little brother bear, Koda, take a courageous (and often hilarious) journey to see the Northern Lights. Experience the excitement of these two fantastic films like never before on Disney Blu-ray™ March 12!


Related Content

Blu-ray Review "Brother Bear: 2 Movie Collection"

Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, Jason Raize, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas
Directors: Aaron Blaise, Robert Walker
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Run Time: 85 minutes

Brother Bear: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Brother Bear II: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When I first saw “Brother Bear” in the theaters, I first thought that Disney was slipping quite a bit with their animated films but since it has grown on it. “Brother Bear” is not a perfect film and in fact is one of the last classically animated film from Disney. The film delivered a great message and has quite a bit of heart. The animation still holds up, especially on Blu-ray. The voice cast includes an interesting choice of Joaquin Phoenix and Rick Mornais, in one of his last film roles. So since this film is a two movie collection, we also have the direct-to-video sequel “Brother Bear 2” included. This film screams direct-to-video and really should be considered as a bonus feature here for this release. “Brother Bear” is a the real draw here though and worth the purchase or upgrade alone.

Official Premise: Disney proudly presents two heartwarming and hilarious movies in one incredible collection – Brother Bear, the 2003 Academy Award nominee for best animated feature, and Brother Bear 2 – together for the first time on Blu-ray. Bring home an entire forest full of fun, complete with digitally restored high definition picture and sound. After an impulsive boy named Kenai is magically transformed into a bear, he and his little brother bear, Koda, take a courageous (and often hilarious) journey to see the Northern Lights. Experience the excitement of these two fantastic films like never before on Disney Blu-ray!

Even though these films aren’t Disney classics per se, they are still decent film and look amazing on Blu-ray. “Brother Bear” looks stunning with its 1080p transfer presented with its aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with black bars at the top and bottom. The colors are beautiful, sharp and really pop off the screen. Believe it or not “Brother Bear 2” is also very impressive as well. Even though it is direct-to-video quality Disney cleaned this film up for this Blu-ray quite well. Next up is the audio, “Brother Bear” delivers a great DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which works well with the action, the dialogue, the score and of course Phil Collins’ songs. Again “Brother Bear 2” also delivers with it’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. For what it is worth, the track works with what what the film has going for it.

Next up are the special features, which are just ports of previous DVD releases. They are decent but in terms of taking the extra effort, it is a letdown. “Brother Bear” starts off with an audio commentary track with the film’s characters Rutt and Tuke (voiced by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas), the film’s Canadian Moose duo. If you are a die-hard fan, I highly recommend this as it is a riot. “Paths of Discovery: The Making of Brother Bear” is a four-part documentary focusing on the cast, story, production and score. There are three deleted scenes with an introduction from directors Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker, as well an Never-Before-Heard Song (except on the last DVD release) called “Fishing Song”. “Art Review” takes us with Art director Robh Ruppel and supervising animator Byron Howard as they discuss…art from the film.

“Bear Legends” is a very short series of Native American tales. There is the song “Transformation” with its original Phil Collins lyrics, as well as a Sing-Along Song for “On My Way” and a Music Video for “Look Through My Eyes” by Phil Collins. “Koda’s Outtakes” are in character and are quite funny, taking a page from “Toy Story”. “Making Noise: The Art of Foley” is a non-technical look at sound design for kids. Wondering about “Brother Bear 2” extras? The only extra is “Behind the Music” with Producers Jim Ballantine and Susan Kirch, director Ben Gluck and others talking about the films tunes.

“Brother Bear” is not the only animation classic being released on high-def Blu-ray. March 12th will also bring the release of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1 & 2″, “Mulan 1 & 2″ and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Of course like Disney is smart to release their films like that ”Mulan”, ”Brother Bear” and “Hunchback” with their direct-to-video sequels because otherwise I do not think that anyone would be interested in owning them. So I look at these direct-to-video sequels as a bonus feature really. I am not sure how “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” fits into this trend but that is one release that I am highly anticipating.


Related Content

Blu-ray Review “Our Idiot Brother”

Directed by: Jesse Peretz
Starring: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Coogan, Hugh Dancy, Rashida Jones
Distributed by: The Weinstein Company
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 90 minutes

Overall Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When I first saw a trailer for this film in theaters, I couldn’t have wanted to stay away more. Bad trailers though do not always mean bad movies. This little gem got overlooked actually deserves some attention. Paul Rudd in my eyes had been on a downward spiral with the films he has chosen to be in. Romantic comedies and just lazy films, he is very funny and this film challenges him quite a bit. The film is funny but it is not a full blown comedy…it is dramatic but is not a drama. I like the mix of both and it works well with the story as well.

We follow Ned (Rudd), who is one of the nicest guys in the world, gets busted selling weed to a cop. Upon getting out of prison, he finds out that he lost his home and his girlfriend and decides to move in with this family. Well, his family consists of his mom and three sisters played by Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer. Ned ends up living with each sister and turns their lives upside down or does he end up shedding light to help each of them?

Besides Rudd performance, which I really enjoyed, the supporting cast is also very notable. Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer play the sisters to Ned and they all really give totally diverse and entertainment performances. Adam Scott, Steve Coogan, and Rashida Jones also appear but have smaller roles but only add greatness to this already stellar cast.

The bonus features on the Blu-ray are basic. The audio commentary includes is with director Jesse Peretz. He gives a real good insight into the making of the film. There are four deleted & extended scenes, including an alternate ending. They are only in SD which is interesting but they are worth a watch. “The Making of Our Idiot Brother” is also in SD but delves into the film and runs a decent 15 minutes.


Related Content

ABC Bans Commercial Spot for the Weinstein Company’s Comedy “Our Idiot Brother”


Network Refuses To Air Spot, Prompting Studio To Cut New Red Band Trailer For Film In Advance Of August 26 Opening

New York, NY, August 25, 2011 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that ABC has refused to broadcast the commercial spot for its new comedy OUR IDIOT BROTHER,  unless TWC makes specified cuts.  The ad is already airing in its current form on other broadcast and cable networks.  The action has prompted to TWC to cut a new red band trailer for the film.

Commented TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein, “We’d like to dedicate our new red band trailer for OUR IDIOT BROTHER to censorship everywhere.  Enjoy!!”

An ensemble comedy about three sisters and an incurably optimistic sibling, OUR IDIOT BROTHER was a breakout hit at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.  It is directed by Jesse Peretz and stars Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, Hugh Dancy, Kathryn Hahn, Rashida Jones, Shirley Knight, T.J. Miller and Adam Scott.  The screenplay is by Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall.

The banned television spot can be viewed below and also at:

http://www.youtube.com/theweinsteincompany and the new restricted trailer can be viewed exclusively on AOL’s Moviefone at http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/08/24/our-idiot-brother-red-band-trailer/.

OUR IDIOT BROTHER opens nationwide on Friday, August 26th.

“Our Idiot Brother” – Help Willie Nelson Find Ned!

In the upcoming film OUR IDIOT BROTHER, lovable idiot Ned gets arrested, leaving his dog Willie Nelson behind. Now, Willie Nelson is searching all over New York City for his idiot owner. So far, Willie Nelson has visited Times Square, Grand Central and the Yankee Stadium without any luck.

*UPDATE 8/24* The Search is Over!…Almost! Did Willie Nelson find his IDIOT Owner Ned? Check out the video below:

Check out Willie Nelson’s first three attempts: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheWeinsteinCompany#p/p/c/0/_f-TPiCN7oo

“Our Idiot Brother” opens in theaters everywhere on August 26th.