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2015.07.15 - Interview with Richard in About Entertainment

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2015.07.15 - Interview with Richard in About Entertainment

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:56 am

Richard Fortus joined Guns N' Roses in 2001 becoming their longest serving new lineup guitarist and playing on GNR's 2008 album Chinese Democracy. The St. Louis, Missouri native got his big break when his band Pale Divine opened for The Psychedelic Furs. In 1992 this led to Fortus forming the band Love Spit Love with Psychedelic Furs' frontman Richard Butler and future GNR drummer Frank Ferrer. In 2000 Fortus and Ferrer became touring members of the re-formed Psychedelic Furs before Fortus became a member of Guns N' Roses in 2001 with Ferrer later joining GNR in 2006.

Fortus is currently promoting the musical collective supergroup The Dead Daisies' new album Revolución. The Dead Daisies' revolving lineup currently consists of lead singer John Corabi [Motley Crue], keyboardist Dizzy Reed [Guns N' Roses], bassist Marco Mendosa [Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake], drummer Brian Tichy [Billy Idol, Foreigner, Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne], guitarist David Lowy, and Fortus who joined in 2013. I spoke with Richard Fortus for an hour mostly discussing Guns N' Roses and The Dead Daisies. The following interview includes edited excerpts of our illuminating, entertaining conversion.

What was the audition process like for Guns N' Roses back in 2001?

I had received a call to asking me if I was interested in auditioning for GNR. I was heading out to L.A. in a few weeks at the time and I said 'Yeah sure. I'm going to be out there anyway doing a record so I'll do it at this time.' They said, 'Great.' I had spoken back and forth with their management and I didn't hear anything back from them, so I thought, 'It's not happening.' Then I got out to L.A.

and Tommy Stinson [The Replacements] and Josh Freese [A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails], who were the bass player and drummer with GNR at the time, were the rhythm section for the album I was hired to play on.

So I said, 'Hey! I was supposed to come audition for you guys this week. Funny that we're playing on the same session.' They said, 'Oh yeah! You're the guy! Well Axl found this guy Buckethead and he called off all the auditions.' We did the record and Tommy and I became best friends and we ended up doing a bunch of other stuff together. And Josh and I did some stuff together. But next time GNR needed somebody about a year later they called me again. At that time I was on tour in Europe. I had two days off and I flew to L.A. from London. I got off the plane did the audition, got to hang out with Axl talking about music, and then got back on the plane, went back to Europe and finished the tour I was on. After that tour ended I started with GNR in 2001.

What is the current status of GNR. You've said before that there might be plans to record and tour with GNR next year. Is that still happening?

The current state of GNR is pretty up in the air. The last I heard they wanted to finish up the recordings that we have and put them out next year and start touring. But it has been a while since I've heard from anybody in that camp as far as management or Axl. So I really don't know.

When playing GNR songs live do you try to add your own style to the classic GNR songs?

Within reason. I think it's a delicate balance trying to remain respectful of the original yet you want it to be something that is you and you're comfortable playing; instead of just copying note for note what somebody else has done which I find difficult to do night after night. But Axl's not real uptight about that. I think you need to have reverence for the songs when you're dealing with a body of work like GNR's and how attached people are to those arrangements and the parts. A lot of the Slash solos are hooks, they're part of the song. It's a difficult thing. You have to be respectful yet do your own thing. So that's always a challenge.

What are some of your favorite GNR songs to play live?

Of the new stuff I like playing "Better". Of the old stuff I like playing "It's So Easy" and "You Could Be Mine". Those are always fun to play.

How much have you recorded for the new GNR album?

There's a lot of stuff recorded that is in the can. I have no idea what will be used or scrapped or if we'll end up redoing it. I really have no idea as far as what's going on with that stuff.

What has it been like working with Axl Rose?

Axl has always been cool with me and he's a hell of a musician. Some people are just really musical. They just are music and he is music personified, he really is. He's just one of the cats that just lives it. He always thinks musically. He listens - which is what makes him a great musician. Music is all that matters to him. I've never met anyone with as much musical and artistic integrity as Axl Rose.

People talk about not doing stuff for money, but he really will not do something strictly for money. He's all about the music. It's gotta be about the music. That's why he doesn't do interviews, because it's not about the music. And to him that's the only thing that matters. I think that's incredibly admirable. Axl encompasses in a lot of ways what's missing from rock n' roll now - his mystique and he's an enigma.

And he won't talk. He won't defend himself. People like Slash know that. They know Axl's not going to defend himself in the press. So they'll say whatever they want about him knowing he's not going to refute it. Because early on he got screwed over so much by journalists over and over again to the point where he won't do it. People are gonna say whatever the f--- they want to say. But he's at a place where it's not about anything other than the music. That's all he cares about and you don't see that anymore.

Your band The Dead Daisies has a revolving door lineup. How did you get involved with the band?

I came into it through my good friend [drummer] Charlie Drayton [Keith Richard's X-pensive Winos, session musician]. But the band started with the original Australian singer Jon Stevens and David Lowy, the other guitarist. They did an album together, they wrote a bunch of songs, recorded them, then they decided to put a band together. They called Charlie who knew David through [Australian singer] Jimmy Barnes. Charlie called me and I called Marco Mendosa. I called Dizzy Reed. It just kind of happened like that. For a while we had Darryl Jones [The Rolling Stones] playing bass. Then Brian Tichy came in on drums when Charlie couldn't do it. Now we have guitarist Damon Johnson [Brother Cane, Alice Cooper] filling in for David Lowy for the new tour - who I recommended to take my place in Thin Lizzy. Whenever you're working with musicians who are actually working you've got to work around schedules if somebody can't make it. That has been a really cool thing and a really interesting process.

So this former Australian band sounds like it's been completely Americanized.

It has been! Yeah, you're right. The only Australian left is David, who's not going to be on this tour. So it's a completely American band [laughs].

The Yanks have taken over [laughs].

That's right. That's what happened. Like a cancer.

Did you play on The Dead Daisies song "Lock 'N' Load" with Slash?

No. That was recorded before I was in the band. I wouldn't do that out of respect to Axl. Not that he would make a big deal out of it. But after all the s--- that's gone down between those two guys it would be a real slap in the face. Slash wanted to sit in when I was with Thin Lizzy and I told Scott Gorham, the other guitar player, 'If Slash wants to sit in he can use my gear, my amp, and my guitars.' But just out of respect for my friend I can't stand on the same stage with Slash. And nobody asked me to do that, it's just a personal thing. And it's no slight to Slash, he's one of the greatest guitar players ever. I just can't do it out of respect for my friend [laughs].

Audioslave played a show in Havana, Cuba back in 2005. But were The Dead Daisies the first rock band to play Cuba since the trade embargo was lifted?

Yeah. The first American band anyways. It was amazing. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Really fantastic. It was definitely worthwhile. They let us use a great studio where we recorded two tracks for the new album there and we got to play with some incredible Cuban musician. It was awesome! It was just cool to see how that culture works and be introduced to it the way we were. And people were so appreciative that we paid our way to come there and made it happen. And I'm sure they were exactly the same with Audioslave.

What are some of your favorite songs from The Dead Daisies new album Revolución?

"Get Up, Get Ready" is my favorite, that and "With You And I". I'm really proud of this album. I think it's a great album.

What have been some of your favorite acts to open up for with The Dead Daisies?

We toured with Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd. That was huge for Dizzy and me because Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd were important bands for us growing up. Paul Rodger is one of my all time favorite singers. We thought that was the perfect bill for us due to our influences, but we actually went over much better with the Kiss audience which was incredibly welcoming for us. It just seemed to be a really good match, I don't know why. But Kiss was a band that I grew up on when I was young.

Did you ever see any Kiss tours when you were a kid?

I must have been about 8 years old the first time I saw them on the Kiss Alive ll or maybe the Love Gun tour. In fact, I just found an autographed picture that I have of Paul Stanley and he signed it, "To Richie, Keep practicing and some day maybe you'll be playing with us" [laughs].

The Dead Daisies new album Revolución is set for U.S. release on July 31st. Pre-order it here on iTunes. Watch The Dead Daisies official "Midnight Moses" video (shot in Cuba) here.
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Re: 2015.07.15 - Interview with Richard in About Entertainment

Post by Uli on Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:43 am

How much have you recorded for the new GNR album?

There's a lot of stuff recorded that is in the can. I have no idea what will be used or scrapped or if we'll end up redoing it. I really have no idea as far as what's going on with that stuff.

What has it been like working with Axl Rose?

Axl has always been cool with me and he's a hell of a musician. Some people are just really musical. They just are music and he is music personified, he really is. He's just one of the cats that just lives it. He always thinks musically. He listens - which is what makes him a great musician. Music is all that matters to him. I've never met anyone with as much musical and artistic integrity as Axl Rose.

Not sounding very hopeful about new material, but nice things he says about Axl.
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Re: 2015.07.15 - Interview with Richard in About Entertainment

Post by Soulmonster on Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:15 am

Yes, this doesn't look promising. Seems there was communication and work on a new record, perhaps with the hope of a release before the next Las Vegas residency, but that this has, for some reason stopped.
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