Guns N' Roses stars jam with British schoolkids

Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal with his Vigier doubleneck in South Dakota last August. © Jordan Axtman ./Retna Ltd./Corbis

Unless they were expecting Slash, these schoolkids were very glad they didn't play hooky. Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and drummer Frank Ferrer took time away from their world tour yesterday to join aspiring rockers from the Witchwood School Of Rock in Whitney, England.

At the music school for students ages six to 18, the two Gunners played through several classic GN'R tracks such as Paradise City and Sweet Child O' Mine. They also jammed with some of the pupils and offered them career advice.

According to Gigwise, the visit was the idea of School Of Rock events organiser Mike Dove who contacted Thal and asked him to sign School Of Rock T-Shirts. "He came back to us and proposed the idea of coming to jam with our kids," said Mr Dove. "It's bonkers - we can't believe this has happened to us."

Thal was most jazzed about the intimacy of the surroundings. "When you're on stage there's a bit of a connection there, but not like this," he told BBC News. "You can't stop a Guns N' Roses show and say, 'Hey, does anybody have questions?'"

Ferrer joked that the school-aged audience was more daunting than any stadium crowd he's encountered. "I'm actually more nervous going and talking to the kids than I am playing in front of 20,000 people, because you don't see them," the drummer said. "Here you're going to see every little kid's face."

Thal and Ferrer, along with Axl Rose and the rest of Guns N' Roses, will play London's O2 Arena tonight.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.