Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal said he was still being reminded of his 2011 Spinal Tap moment for which he used to receive death threats.

He was performing classic track “Welcome to the Jungle” at the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil when a combination of bad weather and a Star Wars helmet led him to slip up during his solo. The moment can be seen in the video below.

“It was pouring rain, and the rain was like a few inches high on the stage; they were sweeping it off,” Thal told Rockin' Metal Revival in a recent interview. “It was almost as high as the top of the pedal boards. I remember pyro was misfiring. … I remember trying to play on the fretless guitar, and my fingers were so pruned up… It was like trying to play on a wet balloon, trying to push through it all. Everything’s soaked.”

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At one point he spotted a women in the front row who had a stormtrooper helmet with her. “I said, ‘Yeah, give me the helmet!’ I figured I would put it on and play with it on for a bit,” he recounted. “I put it on my head, and as soon as it touched my cheeks, it’s like it fused to it… because everything was so wet. And I remember just saying, ‘Oh, shit!’”

His outburst seemed to make things worse as the helmet fogged up and he couldn’t see through it. “It’s like, all right, I have this helmet that is gonna take a little bit of effort to remove – and that’s not good when you’’re trying to play guitar in a song.

Bumblefoot Still Gets Emails About Spinal Tap Moment

“And the iconic solo that I had to play was about to come up and it was like, the opening of the show and everything… It’s like, ‘Oh God, this is not gonna work out well!’ … I managed to get the helmet up at least over my eyes and keep it there. And then I think I nodded, like, ‘Ah, good.’ And it flopped right back down!”

Thal went on: “Halfway through the solo… I just had to stop playing and pull this helmet back so I could see what I was doing. And those few seconds that I stopped playing, the next day I got hundreds – hundreds – of furious emails from Brazilians, saying how I destroyed their life, and death threats and all this stuff.”

He also had to report that he’d never been able to put the incident behind him. “To this day, 12 years later, every once in a while someone will send me an email with a screenshot of me wearing that helmet, saying, ‘Ha ha ha!’”

Watch Bumblefoot’s Spinal Tap Moment

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Gallery Credit: Matthew Wilkening

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