Had it really been three years since our last chat with Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal? Yes, it was three years ago we took in a show for Bumblefoot and Friends and spoke with Bumblefoot about his many musical ventures. It is always a great when an artist remembers you and your work, but even more outstanding when they remember the time and place. Bumblefoot seems to have a photographic memory and is a plethora of knowledge and dates, and we laugh and catch up for a few moments as the chatter of other interviews with more bands is going on around us. We are standing in the hallway of the M Resort Spa and Casino on day two of Rock Into Spring, and it's our turn to chat with Bumblefoot (Guns N Roses) and John Moyer (Disturbed, Adrenaline Mob) about thier band Art of Anarchy.
Moyer gets us on track again, asking "Are we doing this right now? Is the interview now?" And exclaims, "Its ON! Let's do this!" But before another word is spoken he is pulled away for a different interview nearby, and waves as he heads down the hall while Bumblefoot sticks with us and continues with his take on the recent tour. "This is the second to last show, but our 10th show just in this month. We have one more to go and then we have a bit of a break. This has been an extremely enjoyable and interesting tour", states Bumblefoot. "We started in Amityville, New York, then over to The Stone Pony in Jersey, then up to Toronto and over to Sarnia, Ontario which is close to the boarder near Detroit. From there we were in Battlecreek, Michigan, Libertyville, Illinois, Chesterfield, Michigan, Ft Wayne, Indiana and then right before here was Ringle, Wisconsin. Ringle was a pretty interesting venue as it was an old elementary school they had converted into a venue. It was a great, great place! Even more, we are excited to play here tonight in Vegas!"
Art of Anarchy "formed" in 2011 with then Guns N Roses guitarist Bumblefoot, Disturbed bassist John Moyer, twin brothers Jon Votta and Vince Votta on guitar and drums, and vocalist Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver). There are a number of bands that the world labels a 'supergroup' and curious to know if this was a label accepted by affirms guitarist we received a very thought provoking reply. "However people want to call us is fine with me. It's all about what it means to them, not what it means to us. So if they want to call us a supergroup or not it's fine either way. We're a band. We're a group of guys that have done other things with other bands before, and now we are together to do this thing. So whatever that classifies us for any individual is totally fine, and I don't judge,"
"This band came about six years ago with Jon Votta and Vince Votta, the two brothers who play guitar and drums. I have been friends with them for about twenty years. They had bands in New York and I used to record them in my studio and work with them on a few things. The next thing we know we have a band. It began with them having about ten songs that the two of them had written for a first album. It was an album they had always wanted to make, so I brought them into the studio, threw in a couple of solos here and there, things like that. Next we began looking for a singer and we brought in Scott (Weiland) to do a song. He ended up doing the entire album, and next we have John Moyer as the bass player and now we have this band that has just evolved.
Scott (Weiland) decided he didn't want to have anything to do with this band and went his own way. The first album came out in June of 2015 and not even two months later we were flying down to Florida to hang out with Mr. Stapp," he grins. "We jumped into a rehearsal room and just jammed. In that few hours, we began writing; we walked out of there and already had a song written and realized there was a chemistry between us. A month later, everyone came up to New York. For about a week and a half, the five of us sat on the floor of this room, instruments in hand, jamming, coming up with ideas and we wrote half the album that way. Exactly the way you picture a band doing it; five people in a room, just jamming and letting things come from the ground up."
With all five band mates having other tours, ventures and commitments, staying organized and on schedule has to be a challenge and wondered how they fit it into their work life and their personal life as well. "Yes! That has been the tricky part", Bumblefoot chuckles. "Scott (Stapp) joined us in August 2015, and we really began working it hard in September 2015. We do a lot of juggling! We were together in September and October, writing demos, recording and got about half the album done. I had to do a tour in Europe, then when I got back, Moyer was on tour with Disturbed. (Then) he gets back and Scott was out on his solo tour, and finally we are able to organize and get together between tours. We would write, record, do a video, do a photo shoot, what ever we could do when we could get together. It slowed down the process, but if anything, it gave us the chance to marinate and I think the time didn't hurt. Of course we wanted everything to happen yesterday, but I think the extra time where we got to know each other, we got to know the songs we were writing a little more and make the tweaks. I think it was just helped us sort of develop. It was our development time, while in the background we were all running around doing our own individual thing. We finished the album (The Madness) January of this year, we got it immediately to the label and they got it out March 24. We hit the road ten days later for our first show of the tour on April 3."
Art of Anarchy began with lead vocalist Scott Weiland, and now the vocalist duties belong to Scott Stapp. Two completely different people, two completely different styles and two completely different ways they each came into the band. "For Scott Weiland, it sort of grew into a band from something else. For Scott Stapp, we started off as a band and we started working together, completely together. It wasn't fragmented, we all worked as one group and built it that way so that made a huge difference. For Weiland, we all came into the picture one at a time, but for Stapp, we started together as a band. The lineup was there and this allowed us to start as a band from the ground up", he adds. "When we started making music, we were a band, a unit as a whole and it made a really big difference."
The new album The Madness hit the Billboard Music charts in April as soon as the tour took off. Currently it has peaked as high as 13 and is charting on six charts; Independent Albums, Hard Rock Albums, Heatseakers Albums, Mainstream Rock Songs, Top Rock Albums and Top Album Sales. After their performance at Rock Into Spring, the band will jet off at 6:00 a.m. to South Carolina for '98 Rockfest. "We want to play every corner of this planet, as with any other band. I do hope we will continue the tour after our short break, so we shall see," he smiles. "I personally am involved in a lot of music camps, and I have one coming up on the Greek island of Corfu! Every July the Corfu Rock School hosts one week on a Greek island, having a music camp just jamming and playing music, then going to the beach. It's beautiful and amazing to spend your time island hopping, seeing Athens, the Parthenon, all the ruins. The people are extremely friendly and it's just a wonderful place to have a camp. Anyone can come! If you want to check it out, it's http://corfurockschool.com/ I would love to see many there! Just do it!"
As we wrap up with Bumblefoot and turn the corner, the rest of the band is standing in the hallway, and we had a great moment to say hello and to tell each one how excited we are to see their performance later that night. If you've not heard their latest album The Madness, it is a definite must. If you've not seen them perform, that is an even more definite must! If you are in the area of Warrendale, Pennsylvania, Art of Anarchy will perform on Wednesday, July 19, 7:30 pm at Jergel's Rhythm Grille. You can purchase tickets at: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1487931?utm_medium=bks . We will keep our fingers crossed for the band to play a city near you so you can witness how Art of Anarchy has evolved into a force to be reckoned with.
Art of Anarchy Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/STardogphotos - CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW