Chinese Democracy

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal has some simple advice for players trying to break into the music business: be on time. In an interview with Metal Hammer, the Guns N’ Roses six-stringer said punctuality, preparedness and a sense of calm go a long way toward making a musician indispensable. “By ‘on time’ I mean ‘be early,’” he said. “Make sure you’re there for when you need to be — wait in your car, communicate, let them know ten minutes early that you’ll be there in five minutes, and walk in five minutes later.”

Thal added that by being prepared he means “knowing more than you need to.” “If you’re going to lay down guitar parts,” he advised, “know the drum grooves and where all the accents and up-beats and fills and breaks are. Know the bass lines. When the bassist doesn’t show and they freak out, you [can] say, ‘I know the bass part. I can lay it down.’” Thal went on to stress the importance of “being a soothing presence in the room.” “When everyone is contagiously breaking into panic and stress mode, you’ll be their voice of reason without even trying,” he said.