Sons of Apollo features some of the most revered players in rock and metal music, so we pulled in guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and bassist Billy Sheehan to examine how they got their start in music and the riffs that meant something to them in this edition of Loudwire's Gear Factor.

Sheehan turns the spotlight on a long overlooked player for sparking his interest in the bass. He tells us that The Yardbirds' Paul Samwell-Smith was among those who first caught his ear growing up.

"The Yardbirds, a lot of people pass the name around as this iconic band, but not many people know a lot about the Yardbirds or really could name a lot of their songs, but they were one of the foundation bands that started a lot of the music we have today," says Sheehan. "They had a bass player. His name was Paul Samwell-Smith. He was an amazing bass player and he gets overlooked a lot because of Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton." The bassist then plays a bit of "Lost Woman," adding, "In '66, that was Yngwie on bass," complimenting Samwell-Smith's mastery.

The bassist, like many, also had an affinity for the Beatles, and it's understandable with Paul McCartney's bass work. “Paul McCartney from the Beatles was a huge thing for me," said Sheehan. "The song ‘Rain’ had a really great bass line and McCartney was an aggressive player too. He played a lot of notes.“

For Bumblefoot, it was a combination of influences on him as a kid, telling us, “The Beatles were a huge love. The Beatles made me love music. KISS made me want to get onstage and explode with energy," while also rocking a bit of Ace Frehley mastery for the viewers. “I was five years old and I heard the KISS Alive album for the first time. As soon as I heard it, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

Both musicians also recall the first music they ever wrote. For Bumblefoot, he cops to his song titled "Jupiter Is Nice" being a rip off of Sweet's "Fox on the Run." "That’s what was on the radio at the time and that’s what I could retain. I used to love writing about the solar system and as a little kid I was really into astronomy and all kinds of stuff," says the guitarist.

For Sheehan, he borrowed a favorite bass line from a band called Bloodrock to craft Talas' "Sink Your Teeth Into That." "They say good writers write and great writers steal," Sheehan says with a smile.

We'd be remiss if we didn't also have the guys dig into their own music. The pair give a solid run ripping through their parts on "Goodbye Divinity" from their latest effort, the MMXX (2020) album, then finish off this episode with a bit of "Oblivion."

Watch the Gear Factor episode in full above. Sons of Apollo's MMXX album is out now and you can pick it up here. Look for the band on tour at these stops.

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