[rock band instruments]Rockin’ on the Fourth of July

  The Iowa Great Lakes are ready to rock ‘n’ roll this Fourth of July weekend.

  Taking center stage for Live at the Lake will be The Trip, an award-winning rock cover band from California that will take the audience on a musical journey through several decades of rock ‘n’ roll classics.

  The sound gets turned up a few notches starting at 7:30 p.m. at Preservation Plaza in the heart of Arnolds Park and on the shore of West Lake Okoboji.

  The Trip has also stuck an ace up their sleeve to help crank the volume to maximum levels.

  Guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is set to join them on stage, bringing decades of rock experience and skill of the highest levels.

  Current frontman and guitarist for progressive rock band Asia, he also rocks with Sons of Apollo and toured the world as a member of Guns N’ Roses for nearly a decade.

  His rock ‘n’ roll journey started at a young age.

  “The way it worked was all these kids my age had older brothers and sisters who were buying albums and every time we’d go over to someone’s house we’d play these albums that were laying around. All this amazing stuff that was coming out in the early and mid ’70s. We would put one on the turntable and stare at the speakers like we were watching a movie,” Thal said.

  One particular album would prove to be the catalyst for his career.

  “The KISS ‘Alive!’ album had just come out in 1975,” Thal said. “As soon as I heard it at five years old I knew that was what I wanted to do.”

  He and a group of fellow youngsters soon started learning to play instruments, write and record songs and made copies for their family and friends.

  Stage experience started early as well.

  “We would do concerts and make little tickets and put on shows. I would cut up pieces of paper and make confetti for the audience to throw in the air during the last song,” Thal said. “We did everything our idols were doing, just the way children would do it. We played and recorded and I just never stopped. Now it’s 45 years later and I’m still at it.”

  Along the way he’s played venues all around the globe both as a solo artist and with the aforementioned world famous bands.

  “Guns N’ Roses, people definitely know that name! A lot of things end up like that where I look back and say ‘how did I end up here?’” Thal said. “With the band Asia, we’re playing the same arenas I played with GNR, but now as a frontman, it’s a surreal thing. It’s a very strange path to go from guitarist in GNR to lead singer of Asia, but I tend to take those roads.”

  And now the winding and surreal path has led Thal to the Iowa Great Lakes for the first time, where he will rock the Fourth of July with The Trip.

  “I did a show with them in April, an inauguration show for a new arena — again an unusual road — and we had such a good time. It was a case of it just being too much fun — we had to do it again,” Thal said. “They’re a phenomenal band. Everyone is super talented and great guys. They’re a lot of fun. We’re going to have a great celebration!”