Ron Thal: classic all out guitar interview

Is there a community going on between the old Shrapnel players? At least among the players around here? Stephen Ross is from New York, isn’t he?

He lives maybe a half-hour away from me. Michael Romeo from Symphony X lives forty five minutes away – I’ve hung out with him a bit.

Did you all know about each other fifteen years ago? Did you hear about who was the baddest player in the area?

I met Steve Ross and Mike Romeo for the first time at a guitar show we were all playing at, in like 1988-89.

The famous Sam Ash guitar competition, that you actually weren’t entitled to compete in? [The competition was open for New Jersey residents only, Bumblefoot being a New York City resident.]

Yeah, that was the last time I did that!

Hey, you won!

That just makes it worse. They said: ”We want you to be in it”, and signed me up. The thing is that they, Sam Ash, made the rules, and they wrote me into it. Basically it was against my will. I told them I didn’t want to do it, and they were like, ”You better show up because you’re on there now.” And then I ended up winning, which was like, ”Oh shit! That wasn’t supposed to happen.” But yes, we all met from there, me Mike and Stephen. I also talk to Vinnie Moore once in a while. We just ended up e-mailing each other out of nowhere at some point, that kind of thing. I recently hooked him up with some hard disk recording equipment, so he could record all the guitar tracks for the UFO album at his studio.

He’s a scary player.

He’s great. He lives maybe one-and-a-half hours from me, in Delaware.

What’s your relation to the guitar these days. You’re doing so many other things than play guitar

At any given point I’m usually doing at least two or three things at once. So I might be uploading our video to Google, having dinner and watching TV with the guitar in my hands, all at the same time. When I’m playing I’ll also be on the phone trying to arrange, for instance, a dance mix between a famous dance remixer and some guy that I’ve worked with, trying to negotiate things. So I usually have a bunch of things going at once. That’s why I really need a manager. I had one a few years ago but he ended up ruining everything. So I have been trying to do everything myself. more