Of Bird and Cage is a unique metal album blended with a short, story-driven game. Let symphonic metal lead you through a two-hour-long story of trauma, violence, and madness based on ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Among the many famous artists working on the project is Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal.
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, also known simply as Bumblefoot, is one of the musicians behind Of Bird and Cage. His experience with music is not only extensive, exceeding twenty-five years, but also eventful, with Bumblefoot coming a long way from playing in clubs via playing for Guns N’ Roses for eight years to forming his own band.
You probably know Bumblefoot as the lead guitarist of Guns N’ Roses and as a guitarist of “the progressive rock band” Sons of Apollo (with Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian, Billy Sheehan, and Jeff Scott Soto). But how did his grand adventure with music start?
Ron Thal grew up in Brooklyn and was inspired to follow a career in music by the rock band Kiss, which was formed in New York City when he was still a child. Listening to their album Alive!, a six-year-old Thal began to learn to play the guitar and make recordings. By the time he was 13, he was playing local concerts and soon after started working on his own material.
“I knew as soon as I heard it [the album] – as if it was some kind of subliminal message or something – that this is what I wanted to do with my life,” said Thal in an interview with The Sessions which you can watch here. “It was almost like these doors opened and that album was like these big hands that just pushed me through it.”
As a teenager, Ron Thal played original and cover songs in clubs, engineered and produced music, and then won his first award with a solo performance for the Sam Ash Guitar Solo contest when he was nineteen. In 1989, Guitar Player’s Magazine featured Thal in the Spotlight New Talent column after he submitted a demo tape for Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records, the label he later signed to in order to release his debut album, The Adventures of Bumblefoot, in 1995.
Soon after, Ron Thal started his own record label releasing albums under the name “Bumblefoot” and began touring internationally. At his studio he was continually releasing new Bumblefoot albums, making music for TV and film, and producing many artists. In 2003 he began teaching as an adjunct professor at SUNY Purchase College.
In addition to his successful solo work, in 2006 Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal joined Guns N’ Roses as lead guitarist. While in the band, Bumblefoot toured continually and was featured on the studio album Chinese Democracy. After eight years, Thal left Guns N’ Roses, but his career didn’t stop for even a second.
In 2011 Thal formed a band with John Moyer (Disturbed), Jon Votta, and Vince Votta called Art of Anarchy, and in 2017 he joined Sons of Apollo, a progressive metal supergroup. In addition, Thal joined Asia in 2019 as a lead vocalist and guitarist.
How does Bumblefoot connect his solo performances with band performances? “I actually look at them differently. You feel like you have different roles and there are different things the audience wants from you,” said Thal in an interview with Glide Magazine, which you can read here. “Like with Asia, what’s really interesting is that I’m doing something for the first time on a big stage where I’m taking the guitar off and just fronting the band.”
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal has been working on video game soundtracks for years already and he describes the work as having a visual guide or story guide that you can write to, not just an empty canvas. “There’s something visual there and you need to create audio that matches that, enhances the experience, while for an album, the music is everything and the vision is in your head”, he shared. Due to this need for adjustment to the existing material, Thal called such work a great way to grow.
“I love a good challenge, I like doing something different,” he commented on his work on the Of Bird and Cage project. “I’m glad that life worked this way up in this crazy way to this moment. It’s gonna be a good show.”
“Who knows, Of Bird and Cage might be pioneering a whole new idea of integrating video games and metal bands,” Bumblefoot added.
Don’t miss Of Bird and Cage when it’s released on PC May 20, 2021! Wishlist the game on Steam.
Learn more about Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal on his main website and follow Of Bird and Cage on social media to stay updated.
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