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2002.11.22 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Axl Rose Brings His Guns To Town (Richard)

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue May 06, 2014 6:25 pm

2002.11.22 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Axl Rose Brings His Guns To Town (Richard) Utennavn-29

Axl Rose brings his Guns to town

BY SCOTT MERVIS
POST-GAZETTE WEEKEND EDITOR

Richard Fortus never even owned a Guns N’ Roses record. Now he goes on stage every night occupying one of the spots vacated by Slash and Izzy Stradlin.

Safe to say, this is not your uncle’s Guns N’ Roses. The 2002 edition rides with one lone member, Axl Rose, and a stage full of hired guns to fill in for those outlaws who dropped off here and there for personal or creative differences with the fabulously petulant frontman.

Fortus is not the one with the bucket on his head (that’s Bucket-head) and he’s not the industrial-metal dude (that’s Robin Finck from Nine Inch Nails). Fortus is the more normal rock star-looking one, who came to Rose’s party from Love Spit Love and the revamped Psychedelic Furs.

“It’s nothing like being in the Guns N’ Roses we knew growing up,” Fortus says. “The band is a new, whole different vibe.”

It couldn’t help but be different with such an odd amalgam of replacements. Buckethead — whom Fortus calls “technically amazing” — comes from the avant-garde rock school, as does drummer Brian “Brain” Mantia, last seen with Primus and Praxis, a band with Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Bucket-head and Bill Laswell. Bassist Tommy Stinson, a cult hero unto himself, is beloved for his days with the Replacements.

The previous version of Guns N’ Roses, which crashed and burned around 1994, featured keyboardist Dizzy Reed. He's back with a second keyboardist, Chris Pitman (Replicants, Lusk), concerned more with electronic effects.

“It’s sort of a dream band,” Fortus says. “I don’t think I could have put together anything better than this.”

With all this new ammunition, the current Guns N’ Roses is different — but kind of the same.

“It’s not that far off” Fortus says of the band’s sound on hits like “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” “You don’t want to alienate people by changing it too much. Guns fans are very intensely into it You can’t deviate that much.”

In addition to the old songs that made Guns N’ Roses the biggest baddest hard rock band of the pre-Nirvana era, the new Guns is playing about four songs from the much-talked-about-but-never-seen comeback “Chinese Democracy," planned for February release. Fortus, a seasoned session player who's worked on records by everyone from Ben Folds to ’N Sync’s “Celebrity," joined the comeback in progress and says “it’s great.”

He says the same of working with Axl.

“No complaints. Really.”

And so far, he says, no complaints from the GNR faithful. In Europe, Fortus says, “We saw signs like ‘Where’s Izzy?’ But they would be gone by the third song. There hasn’t been a lot of negativity.”

Unless you count the little riot at the Nov. 7 tour opener in Vancouver. Officials at the arena there canceled the show moments after the first band was to go on when they learned that Rose was somewhere on a plane delayed by bad weather. If gave the fans, who were still outside, an appetite for destruction and they started smashing windows and doors, and getting beat up by cops.

“The building was worried about getting the ice set up for the following day’s hockey game,” Fortus says. “We were all ready to play, then we heard it announced over the PA that the show was canceled. We knew [Axl] was on his way. He was delayed. We would have been done by curfew."

One good thing about this version of Guns N’ Roses, it was no problem for the band members to get out of the Vancouver arena alive.

Says Fortus, “Nobody knew who we were.”
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