Ron is an exceptionally talented guitar and vocalist whom I’ve had the pleasure to have known for many years. We recently spoke to Ron about the new Sons Of Apollo album.
How was the writing process for MMXX?
RBT: I will send them little ideas and guitar riffs that are recorded, my studio with some bit of drum beat behind it, and Derek will send me keyboard lines. The three of us just amassed ideas, and then the band gets together. It’s time to start recording and building; we have a starting point. We have some ideas that we can begin developing. Portnoy will say hey, let’s start with this one, and we take an idea, we’d jam on it and see where it goes. Somehow by the end of the day, that evolves into an old song with ideas that we’re writing on the spot and adding to it. It all just turns into songs. So for the first album, we all had the luxury of being in the studio together. We could write together, play along, and record everything together.
This time it just wasn’t possible. So we had to do the demos and writing. We did meet Derek and Mike at his house and Mike’s house. We then went and recorded on our first song laying the drums at the same studio as the first album. I laid my guitar parts to his drums and Derek lane, his keyboards and Billy is bass and Jeff doing the vocals, and Derek was producing and putting everything together and, and then got it all to our engineer.
With your vocal ability, has there been any discussion of you taking the lead vocal duties on a song?
RBT: I don’t think so. Jeff is the best singer I’ve ever been in a band with. He’s just an incredible person to be in a band with. That’s probably about the best you could say because there are so many great attributes about him. He doesn’t have an ugly bone in his body,
He will always sing his ass off, give 100%, he’ll be on time. You don’t have to worry about if he’ll be on time if he’s doing drugs, none of that. I’ll take it; further, he’s the guy that will work with the tour manager to help balance the tour budget. He’s incredible.
Derek produced this album. Did he have the final say on everything?
RBT: Derek has the final say, but he listens to everybody. If someone feels strongly about something, he considers it. For this album, Definitely more so than the first he as he put on the producer hat and others.
Is there something on the new album that you like better than the debut album?
RBT: I wanted to get a little crazier, a little more intense. I wanted the stuff to be even more over the top. I’m just one guy in a band of five. So if 20% of my ideas get in, then I’m getting what I’m supposed to. If 80% of my ideas are shot down, that’s leaving room for everyone else to get their 20% in. That’s what you have to be okay with a band. So in songs like a New World Today, there’s a whole section of the song that Mike would call adventures in Bumbleland. I like the guitar solos. I’m happy with what we did.
Have you thought about doing instructional videos?
RBT: I like doing clinics and doing it in person. I’ve been doing a lot of them, and I do music camps I started doing in the past two years. I’m going to be doing Paul Gilberts Great Escape this July in New York. Tony MacAlpine will be there. I will be there. Greg Howe, George Lynch, and others., how we’ll be there. Uh, George Lynch will be there and, of course, Paul Gilbert.
I want to help people, and I always feel like I’m trying to squeeze in a lifetime of learning that I want to pass onto people. I started doing my Bumblefoot music camps, where I could torture people for a good five days morning all night. We would begin around 10 or 11 in the morning and go to two the next morning. It was a ton of stuff that we would be getting on every aspect of playing and writing and music, business and everything and singing and recording.
Do you have any solo shows coming up this year?
We have Sons of Apollo tour dates this year, and some that haven’t been announced yet. Everyone can go to bumblefoot.com, and all my scheduled events are there. My award-winning hot sauce is back on the market. You can get them also at bumblefoot.com.