Guitar Gods Tour: Interviews with Gary Hoey and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

When I first heard that there was going to be a "Guitar Gods" tour, I was thrilled. If you are a regular reader of this blog that should come as no surprise. When I found out who the "Guitar Gods" were going to be, I was ecstatic. Yngwie Malmsteen, Gary Hoey (solo artist, producer), and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (current Guns'n'Roses lead guitarist and solo artist) are taking their virtuoso ways across North America this June and July, and you'd be silly to miss out on the show when it rolls through your town.

Photo by M.Fasano

It goes without say that the concert itself was a tremendous tribute to the musicianship that all three guitarists are best known for. From Bumblefoot's doubleneck guitar, Hoey's soulful blues compositions, and Malmsteen's physics-defying licks (and throwing of Fender Stratocasters), the upbeat Toronto crowd was treated to a complete throwdown of guitar trickery. I must confess, I feel like selling all of my guitars this morning, but I'm also inspired to keep plodding through Gary Hoey's "Need For Lead" DVD and Bumblefoot's lessons on JamPlay. All three Guitar Gods gave the fans exactly what they came for: a whole lot of shredding, and a whole lot of passionate musicianship - something that seems to be in short supply in today's current rock scene. Many bands have one of those qualities, but not the other. 

I, along with some other VIPs, were treated with such great hospitality by both Gary and Ron. We got to hang out, take photographs, talk music and guitars, and have a few laughs. 

I also found out that Gary Hoey does a pretty mean job of parking a huge tour truck in tight spaces. For those that have ever been to The Phoenix, you know the space allotted to tour vehicles isn't exactly spacious - this is before the complication of traffic, cyclists, pedestrians, and the countless other traffic and street closure issues associated with Toronto summers. I happily agreed to take a photo of Gary standing in front of his sweet parking job.  

I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with both Gary Hoey and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal last night prior to their blistering sets in Toronto. Here's what they had to say about guitars, the tour, what inspired them to learn how to play, and their thoughts about the music industry. Oh, there are also helicopter chases and some aptly-timed heavy metal screaming. And something about the invasion of countries, courtesy of Bumblefoot. Plug your earphones in and have a listen!

A special thanks to Gary Hoey not only for the hospitality but the opportunity to photograph the show and for arranging both my interview with him, and a last minute chat with Bumblefoot. You rock!

Be sure to check the Guitar Gods Tour dates here and get your tickets as soon as you can! You might also want to check out the Yngwie MalmsteenGary Hoey and Bumblefoot websites to keep up to date with your favorite guitar gods. You can also follow Yngwie, Gary, and Bumblefoot on Twitter.

Gary Hoey Interview                                                                          Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal Interview

All photos by M.Fasano