Bumblefoot Opens Up About GN'R Concert Tardiness: 'You Didn't Buy Tickets So We Could F--k You'

The guitarist expresses great regret over the band's bad reputation with concert delays.

Ultimate Guitar

Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal recently discussed the band's continual stage tardiness, pointing out that he considers himself as the one most affected by long waits. "That hasn't happened for a long time. But it did for a long time," Bumblefoot kicked off (via Blabbermouth). "And that's not something that I can ignore and pretend hasn't happened or didn't happen. I absolutely had the hardest time out of anybody in the band with that stuff - with 'late' stuff." The axeman further explained, "I'm always in touch with one very simple thing: you make music to make people happy. You put on a show, you entertain - whatever you wanna call it - you do it to make people happy. And to be happy, and to just share this great moment together. And anything that takes away from that or undoes that or creates the opposite of that is completely just anti why you're doing what you're doing. So if there are 20,000 people that are pissed off, 'cause we just left them... "I mean, hell, if I have to wait five minutes longer in a doctor's office, or in traffic or something like that, I'm starting to get annoyed. So imagine, if that's five minutes, imagine two hours. Yeah, I get it; I totally get it. It's not like I don't care, it's just... there's nothing I can do. "And it's not just that, it's not just the waiting, it's the fact that... if you're gonna do that to someone that isn't expecting that and has a babysitter waiting, or you have to be up in four hours for work, or whatever it is, or the buses are gonna stop running soon, or whatever it is..." Thal made sure to stress the importance of treating fans right, saying, "It's, like, you didn't go out that night and buy those tickets and do us the honor of having your presence there just to stain our existence so that we could completely f--k you and inconvenience you and put you in this position where, alright, 'My life is gonna be really annoying, and I have to choose between missing the show after waiting for it, or seeing it.'" He concluded, "I've gotten so much resentment over that from people. And they have the right. And I'm just happy that that's not happening anymore. And I'm really, really happy that we've been going on time, close to on time, sometimes early. And I know the fans are very happy; the people that come to the show are much happier about that. "There's always the fans that are, like, 'Nah, it's a rock concert. They should be three hours late.' Maybe for you, but not for the other 20,000 people... Everyone's got responsibilities. Rent isn't what it was in the '70s. There's a lot more living hand to mouth, and you can't f--k with that. And I get it. And this is not some kind of, like... I'm not trying to bash Axl or anything. I get it. And I'm just glad that we've been doing better with that."

Did you ever attend a GN'R gig when the band was severely late? Let us know in the comments.

30 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Wow, someone in GNR has a brain bigger than their ego. I'm shocked.
    Thal is such a cool guy, insanely talented. At least one person in the band realizes what Axl doesn't.
    I was at the guns show in dublin when they got bottled off for being 2 hrs late. After the show I heard tommy stinson out by their buses and he was going apeshit over axl and being sick of his late timing shit. He said he was sick of it and he isn't in music for what axl thinks is acceptable. That he has integrity etc. Interesting listen I can tell ye that! Ha!
    I saw them not long ago and they started at 10:30. And Axl even apologized for the late start.
    December 1991, Madison Square Garden. Tickets said on the front "Start time: around 8:30pm". Soundgarden opened at 8:30, sound was muddy as shit. They finished at 9:15pm. GNR didn't start until past 11:30pm. They wait time really did whip the crowd into a frenzy, and when the band started, the energy level was through the roof. Port Authority had to stay open late so people could get their cars out after 2am. December 2006, Universal Ampitheater. Three opening acts, GNR started 45 minutes after the third act. Spring 2012, LA Forum. Band started 45 minutes after Steel Panther finished opening, but still didn't start until 11pm. Ended at 2:30am. By the time of the encore, 50% of the upper tier had left, 25% of the lower tier left. October 2012, Hard Rock Las Vegas. Started an hour after the opening band finished, about 11pm. Played until 2:45am. Half of the balcony left by the time of the encore. It hasn't been an issue so much of the band being late as the start times are intentionally started later than regular shows. For the incredibly long shows they play and the talent in the band (Richard Fortus is a freakin' MONSTER and highly underutilized in the band), I think it's worth adjusting for.
    January 2010 Hamilton Copps Coliseum. 45 minutes late, but to be fair, the Chargers football game was on. My buddy was getting updates from the game on his phone. About 8 minutes after the game ended, they came on stage. It was cool with me, but if they woulda been 2 hours late I woulda beat Axel's ass myself. As it was, I got back to Chatham from the concert at 7:20am, and had my grade 12 calculus exam at 8....got a 97% though! G N R!
    This hasn't been a problem in a while though. I've been fortunate enough to watch GNR twice in the last 6 years and they've been bang on time both times and played extended encores. Full value for money.
    why r we still calling Axl n company GnR.....they're not His voice is shot n the original(good) songwriters r elsewhere
    Cause as an adult you have to accept some things like if somebody has the rights to a band's name and wants to keep using the same name you can't stop em. They never changed it when Tracy Guns left before Slash came in, what does it matter? The band members are what really matters anyways and they're all still around.
    I saw the Metallica & Guns tour in Toronto. Metallica came on stage almost immediately following Faith No More leaving the stage. Metallica raged for over 3 hours and then GNR took 2 hours and 45 minutes to take the stage following Metallica's exit. I will never forget that BS. Then they sucked and I left way early.
    Newcastle July 2006. They came on over 2 hours late I think it was. Hottest day of the year and the venue was so hot. Had to change t-shirt it was that bad and then change again during the gig. And they left early cause someone threw a coin at Axl. Also Newcastle May 2012. Band due on at 9.30 I think. I actually set off from my house near 10pm, got there and walked into the arena close to 11pm and The General was starting and as soon as I found the spot I wanted to stand Chinese Democracy kicked in. Played until about half 2. Band was on top form too.
    Saw them two years back, they went on around 11:30pm, wasn't a big deal, its AXL, if you don't know by now they hardly ever play on time its the way it is, this should be no surprise what so ever. they kicked ass for nearly 3.5 hours, and yes AXL killed it. Excellent show. Its not "GnR" I guess... but still, great show.
    I saw them play November 2011 in Chicago and they were a good 2 hours late. They jammed for a good 3.5 hours, the show was amazing and well worth the $$. I feel completely satisfied with my experience but would not see them again due to the wait involved in seeing them.
    it isn't so much that they're running on time now, it's just that you can only run so late before it seems like you're on time
    Saw GnR in February of last year. My ticket said Friday, and the band didn't go on until Saturday. The opening band wrapped up around 9:30ish, and GnR didn't go on until 12:30. Although I loved the fact that they played a 3.5 hour set, I didn't love that I left the venue at 4am... As great as the show was, it definitely factored into my decision to not see them a second time when they came back.
    Is it just me, or did it not read off as if he was struggling to even put out a half-ass decent apology statement? He seemed to have a hard time even acknowledging the issue at hand and he pretty much said, "I get their mad, they have their right....let me seem to be ashamed of it and somewhat push the blame on Axl." If I was in a band that had the tendencies to be late habitually, I'd ride in my own tour bus and show up on time and entertain the crowds on my own...just bust solo's up the ass for 2 hours until the band decides to give a damn.
    Carl Hungus
    And then get booed off stage by angry drunk fans who came to see a band not a one man show.
    wow. to be honest I've unfairly had a grudge towards the new guys cause I love the original lineup, but much respect for Bumblefoot. I hope he doesn't have to put up with the crap Slash described in his book
    Vicryl 2.0
    not for long. after this, axl is probably thinking of giving bumblefoot his last paycheck.
    I saw them at Hellfest 2012, and they started... on time ! The organizers were really happy about that, and me too, knowing that their show was at 11:30pm until 20
    I hear what Bumblefoot is saying and in general he's right. But for heaven's sake, read the lyrics sheet, this band is a giant middle finger and that's why we like them. Axl is known for this so expecting GnR to start on time is like expecting to date a porn star without daddy issues. With Guns-n-roses (and Marilyn Manson) you NEVER know what you're gonna get and that's part of why the band is so gritty and exciting. if you're worried about start times, go see Barry Manilow --