The accomplished mega-producer and solo artist has teamed with various artists from multiple genres. Sometimes Thal has offered his knowledge behind the mixing board, and sometimes he's lent his one-of-a-kind guitar skills. Though the impetus of the recent Guns N' Roses reunion marked the end of Thal's tenure from 2006-14, it didn't take long for him to find another band worth listening to.
Thal teamed with Disturbed bassist and Austin native John Moyer, along with twins Jon Votta (guitar) and Vince Votta (drums) to form Art Of Anarchy. The group released its debut self-titled album in 2015 with original Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland. However, Weiland wasn't too keen on calling himself a permanent member of the group. His death seven months after appearing at San Antonio's annual River City Rockfest fronting Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts further necessitated the search for a new Art Of Anarchy vocalist.
Enter another much-maligned singer named Scott.
Scott Stapp, the voice of Creed, has joined the fold, and the result is second album The Madness, which will drop March 24 (watch the title-track video here). Even posthumously, Weiland's stamp is on the record. He co-wrote it with Jon Votta.
Thal, who is also the producer and engineer behind The Madness, phoned AXS on Monday and discussed various parts of his career. Some highlights:
AXS: Other than the change in singers, what's the biggest difference for you between this record and the self-titled debut from two years ago?
Ron Thal: Aw, such a huge difference. Going back to the first album, that one, the way it came together, it sort of evolved (into) a life that it didn't plan on. It started off as -- Jon and Vince Votta started the band. They had 10 songs, and when I say songs, I mean just the drum part and the guitar part. They wanted to make the album that they never got to make, like, when they were younger. I've known them for a good 20 years, and when they were teenagers, I would record their bands locally. Back then, there were always people that were trying to just change them to follow a trend or something instead of trying to make them the best version of who they were. So this is the album they wanted to make, one that reflects who they were.
AXS: I hear you're producing the record of (Darryl "DMC" McDaniels and former Exodus singer Rob Dukes' band Generation Kill). Is that true, and what can we expect from that record?
R.T.: Oh yeah, yeah. The band is called Fragile Mortals, It is such, such interesting stuff. It's probably the most interesting metal that I've heard in I don't know how long. Since hearing Queensryche for the first time, like hearing Rage For Order. The things these guys are doing is such interesting stuff. We finished up 10 songs last year. I'm doing mixing, and I added some additional guitar parts. An acoustic thing or guitar solo. But really, the band is the creative force. They're coming up with the good stuff. I'm just putting a little polish on it.
AXS: You spent eight-plus years in Guns N' Roses. What sticks out the most from your time in one of the biggest rock bands ever?
R.T.: That was eight years of my life. I'm trying to think of one moment. There's so many. Every day (laughs). A lot of good stuff. Really, the best part of it -- because now it's becoming more of a distant thing. Years are passing. I left the band in 2014. Now we're going on three years out of the band. Now I can look back on it. And really, the best part of it was always about hanging with the fans. That band is so lucky to have the fans that they have. They were just such enthusiastic, passionate, caring, unconditional loving. Every band should be so lucky to have fans like they had. And I was lucky to be part of that and to experience them. And fortunate enough to have stayed friends with a lot of them.
Listen to the entire interview, including the story behind Thal's nickname, below.