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Art of Anarchy certainly got off to a strange start. The band recently released their sophomore record, The Madness, though and it's turning heads very quickly. With new vocalist Scott Stapp in tow, they are firing on all cylinders and we had to know more! I caught up with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal to talk about thew new album, new vocalist, and more. Here's what he had to tell us...
Interview by mark1340
How are things in Camp Anarchy these days? I believe you are on tour, or getting ready for it, at the moment?
Hey hey! All is better than ever, thank you! Album just released, about to hit the road. This is our first tour, finally! Haha.. we'll be playing all the songs on the new album, everything has that raw natural sound and energy, looking forward to getting on stage with it.
So, in my mind, this sort of feels like the beginning of the band. There was some weirdness surrounding the first album, particularly with what Scott Weiland had to say on his role, and I think many people found it confusing. Was it as strange for you as it seemed to be for an outsider like me or do people just read too much into it?
Yes – strange, destructive and more, sadly. The past can't be changed, we started fresh with Scott Stapp and built from the ground up and all is on the right track.
Would you mind telling us a little about how the band and Scott Stapp came together? Did you insist on the singer’s name being “Scott?” (Just kidding, of course)
Yes, we considered Scott Baio, a Bon Scott look-alike, and some dude from Scotland. Scott Stapp was the top of our list and we didn't need to look any further, we met up in August 2015 and had a casual jam, hung out, and knew without a doubt this would work.
I believe that I read that Stapp was touring as a solo act at the time as well, how hard is it to coordinate schedules? I’m sure the commitments to Disturbed and Bumblefoot’s solo work that other members have can also make schedule….interesting?
A month after we met with Scott, all five band members were in a room jamming, writing and demo'ing new songs together, for about 2 weeks, and we wrote half the album during that time. From then 'til now, there were times we had to coordinate between touring schedules to get together... we made it work.
Scott Stapp certainly has had his fair share of unfair press over the years and had some very public issues not that long ago. Was this a concern when considering working with him?
Once we met we all had faith in each other. Life happens, we all go through our hard times. What matters is what you do about it – Scott is a strong, dedicated person that triumphed over something that not only destroys lives, but all too often kills. He did more than survive, he came back an even stronger person – that's deserving of a lot of respect.
I really, really love The Madness. There aren’t a whole lot of smart, musically interesting Hard Rock albums these days. When you were in the early stages of recording the songs what were some of the goals you had for the finished product?
Thank you! We didn't have a set sound in mind, we all just did what we do, and stayed true to who we were, and the combination of those parts became the sum of what you hear. Scott is a great lyricist, very personal, and great melodies. John Moyer makes great grooves, has a modern rock/metal edge. Jon & Vince Votta have old-school metal roots that shine through in what they write and the way they play. Me, hmmm... writing a bit more theatrical, adding counter-melodies and production, adding fretless guitar... put it all together and you have one dish with five distinct ingredients, as every band is: a unique combination that creates something bigger than any one soul could do. That's why we love bands. :)
How has response been to The Madness so far overall? How has it been received compared to your hopes or expectations personally?
I can never predict how people will react, what songs they'll like more than others, how they'll like an album overall, it's never exactly what you think it'll be. We've gotten positivity which we're always grateful for, the record label had to re-order CDs just after the first week, which is a good sign... as long as people out there are enjoying it, if the songs mean something to them, if they're happy I'm happy.
The title track is one of my favorite tracks here and one of the coolest anthems I have heard in quite a long time. Would you mind telling our readers a little about the track and how it came to be musically, lyrically, or both?
Thanks so much :) That was the first song we wrote together as a band. Moyer came up with a groove, Vince started playing along, Jon started playing chords along with changing notes on top, I started doing this tapping a pattern of harmonics with a delay on them, then Scott started singing melody ideas along. Completely organic, band jamming in a room stuff. When we started recording the album, I added the guitar intro/outro riff and sound that was a theme for my guitar part, Scott had lyrics mapped out, while recording we'd chat about the meaning, the message, make sure all was getting across in the lyrics and how the story was being told, feeling out where harmonies would emphasize... a lot of the songs came together this way, us jamming and then solidifying details at the studio.
Is there one particular song, or even a moment, on The Madness that you feel completely and truly represents what Art of Anarchy is all about? If so, which one and would you mind telling us a little about why you feel that way about it?
That's a tough one, for me the songs are not just what you hear but all the experiences leading up to them. The song "No Surrender" for example, it was the second song we wrote, I'm picturing us jamming on the ideas that first day we were all together, how parts we played evolved and changed, the different versions of vocals and arrangements we tried, how Jon was really happy when we were playing the harmony solo at our first show... every song has a little life of its own. I remember when we were coming up with the song "Won't Let You Down" and suddenly Scott got up and said, "This is it, this is that moment." He said how there's a moment when it all comes together and becomes a band, and it had just happened now, with that song.
What do you have coming up next that fans should know about?
We just shot a music video for the song "Echo Of A Scream", and have the April tour, lots of merch & VIP stuff, we're headlining Rock Into Spring festival on April 29th in Las Vegas – we'll have more shows announced as soon as possible. We keep steady updates at Facebook.com/ArtOfAnarchyBand , Instagram.com/ArtOfAnarchyBand , www.ArtOfAnarchyBand.com , that's the best way to get info.
Thanks so much for your time. Congratulations on the album! We are rooting for much, and continued, success for the band. Are there any parting thoughts you’d like to leave our readers with?
Thank you very much. Thank you all for checking out this interview, we're so thankful for the support, and hope to see you all soon!!