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Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


2008.10.DD - KSHE 95 St. Louis - Interview with Richard

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2008.10.DD - KSHE 95 St. Louis - Interview with Richard Empty 2008.10.DD - KSHE 95 St. Louis - Interview with Richard

Post by Blackstar Fri Jul 22, 2022 5:10 am


Favazz: Hey everybody, it's Favazz. With me on the phone is a name that you may not know. However, he is from St. Louis, he plays in one of the most well-known bands in the world, and yet we're talking to him primarily because of a reunion that's going to happen with his local band back in the '80s and '90s. And we're talking about Richard Fortus. Richard, welcome to KSHE.

Richard: Thank you, thank you.

Favazz: Have you ever been interviewed on KSHE before?

Richard: Um, no, I don't think so.

Favazz: So the band that we're talking about, of course, is Pale Divine, and the reunion show is December 29th at the Pageant - tickets are on sale - and Richard along with Michael Schaerer and… who else will be there that night, Richard?

Richard: Our bass player Dan Angenend, and drummer is Greg Miller.

Favazz: Okay. Now, I became familiar with Pale Divine right when I started at KSHE back in ’91, but the band started out as The Eyes. You guys got signed by Atlantic Records. What was that whole period like when you started The Eyes and then getting signed? You used to play at Mississippi Nights and Kennedy's quite a bit. What do you remember about that era, Richard?

Richard: Um, not much, it's all a blur.

Favazz: Really? (laughs)

Richard: No, no.

Favazz: (Laughs).

Richard: That was really where I honed my craft, if you know what I mean (laughs).

Favazz: Yeah.

Ricard: I mean, you know, we were playing incessantly, we played non-stop – constantly, just every week - and traveling between Chicago, Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, you know, Chicago… It was all a big cycle that we would do all the time in all the college towns. It was quite an experience and a great way to learn the stage.

Favazz: I bet. And you got signed by Atlantic, and how long did that deal last?

Richard: That lasted until 2002.

Favazz: Well, now are you talking about-

Richard: Sorry, sorry, ’92. ’92.

Favazz: Yeah, yeah. I was like, “Hey, what happened there?”

Richard: ’92, when I left to join The Psychedelic Furs. Well, actually I left to start a new band with the singer of The Psychedelic Furs; that was Love Spit Love.

Favazz: Right, I remember that, too. Okay, so then… were you in St. Louis much then after that?

Richard: No.

Favazz: Really? So you just moved-

Richard: No, I moved to New York and I would come back occasionally to see my parents.

Favazz: Yeah.

Richard: But yeah, I was in New York for a long time.

Favazz: So how did this whole Pale Divine reunion come about then? You know, here Michael Schaerer is a guy that I still go out to see him play acoustic on occasion, and what a great singer and…

Richard: Yeah, he's amazing.

Favazz: He's the bomb. But how did it all… who said what, how did it come back?

Richard: We'd always kept in touch and I was in town a couple years ago. We've been talking about it for a while, but I'm never around, I'm always busy at that time of year, like the end of the year. We wanted to do it, like, at a holiday time when people would be home. Basically, what happened this year was, I have two little girls and we were going to take them to see the grandparents. So we figured, “Well, that's a perfect time to do this” – you know, kill two birds with one stone.

Favazz: Right.

Richard: So I thought it would be a good opportunity and we ended up getting, like, the 29th of December. I guess the rest of the holiday season is tied up by the Pink Floyd tribute.

Favazz: Yes, El Monstero, that's right. Are you going to be able to catch any of that? Are you going to be in town for that?

Richard: I'm going to try and come down, yeah.

Favazz: Oh, right on. You'll love that, for sure.

Richard: Yeah, that's what I hear.

Favazz: Yeah.

Richard: It's quite the spectacle.

Favazz: We're talking to Richard Fortus who, of course, is a member – well, we can still say Pale Divine, since you're going to play again. But anyway, December 29th at the Pageant, tickets are on sale.  But Richard is the guitar player for Guns N’ Roses. Now, how does a guy from St. Louis - obviously you had the connection with the Psychedelic Furs, I'm assuming that got you out to New York and L.A. Is that how Axl found you? Or tell us how that all happened.

Richard: Well, I guess I developed sort of a reputation in New York, you know, from playing with different people, and being a session guitarist, and writing with different people. And I had worked with Tommy Stinson and Brain, Josh Freese – they all were in Guns N’ Roses -  and I guess that's where it came about, yeah. So they called and I was on the road in Europe, and I flew back in on my day off in Europe. I flew to Los Angeles, auditioned and then flew back, all, like, in one day.

Favazz: Really? So that was the first time you met Axl then, too?

Richard: Yeah.

Favazz: What was that whole experience like?

Richard: We played through some songs and then just stayed up all night talking to him, got back on a plane and… He was great, you know, very engaging and very charming – not the monster that you read about (laughs).

Favazz: (Laughs).

Richard: But yeah, he's a very loyal friend.

Favazz: Now Richard, but isn't it funny though that you're in the band with him, and in 1991 he started one of the biggest riots ever and it just happened to be here in St. Louis?

Richard: That's right.

Favazz: Does he ever talk-

Richard: Because of that we don't play in St. Louis, so I don’t see my family (laughs).

Favazz: I know (laughs). Now is he really… I mean, is it just like, is he scared to come back or he just doesn't want to have anything to do with St. Louis?

Richard: He doesn't want to have anything to do with the police department there.

Favazz: Really?

Richard: Yeah.

Favazz: So there's no way that Guns N’ Roses will ever come here?

Richard: I don't know. You know, to be honest, we were speaking about it, I guess last year, and he was talking about wanting to do a love tour where we played all the cities where there had been riots-

Favazz: (Laughs).

Richard: And maybe do, like, free shows and try and make amends, if you will.

Favazz: Yeah (laughs).

Richard: So, I mean, there is a chance, yeah.

Favazz: So are there enough cities that he's caused riots in that they could do a whole tour? (laughs)

Richard: (?) a whole tour (laughs).

Favazz: (Laughs) Really. You know, it's funny, because the first time Slash came through with Snakepit, probably around ‘95 or ’96, I remember him telling me that he was actually kind of scared to even show up in the city, like he was gonna get beat up or something like that. And, you know, since then Slash has been through many times, Duff has been here now when he joined Velvet Revolver. So you don't think Axl can put that police thing aside and play for the fans?

Richard: Um, I think he could, yeah. I think he could.

Favazz: Yeah?

Richard: Yeah. Like I said, we talked about it, so hopefully we can – I think that he wouldn't want to do it unless he went in a situation like that, that we could make it up to people and sort of make amends and… you know.

Favazz: Okay. We're talking to Richard Fortus who is part of the Pale Divine reunion, December 29th at the Pageant. Richard also just so happens to be the guitar player in Guns N’ Roses. So, Richard, you know I'm going to ask you about Chinese Democracy, this album that has been rumored to be around forever, you know, could see the light of day around the first of the year. Number one: are you tired of being asked about it? (laughs). And number two: is it really going to come out?

Richard: It comes out next month.

Favazz: Next month.

Richard: Yes, it’s been announced. It comes out. Pre-sales are available at Best Buy.

Favazz:  Okay. Now, what I’ve read – and, see, this is one of those things, you know, you read something, then you don't, and then you hear that it's not true or whatever. I heard that it was Best Buy, I heard it was Walmart for a minute - I heard it at the beginning of the year – and then people started taking pre-orders at Best Buy, so it's definitely going to happen in November.

Richard: Yeah. To my knowledge, it is (laughs).

Favazz: (Laughs) See? So will it only be available at Best Buy?

Richard: Yes, only at Best Buy for the first six months.

Favazz: For the first-

Richard: And on iTunes.

Favazz: Okay, all right. So, I mean, I've heard, what has been told to me is the whole album, you know, things get leaked and everything like that.

Richard: And you were told it was the whole record.

Favazz: I was told it was the whole record.

Richard: Wow, you've heard stuff that nobody else has.

Favazz:  And I really… and it's Guns N’ Roses, I mean it sounds like you guys. And this was-

Richard: The whole record or the nine songs that were leaked?

Favazz: Uh, maybe it was the nine songs, I don't know. But it was over a year ago.

Richard: Oh, then it wasn't that many.

Favazz: You know, I mean, the stuff that people have maybe found on the internet, or leaked, or whatever - is the record sounding like that or is it just completely different from what we've been… told?

Richard: There's some things that are not completely different. There's been no final mixes leaked except for the one that's on Rock Band.

Favazz: Oh really? Okay.

Richard: Which is Shackler’s Revenge. Other than that, there hasn't been any anything leaked in its final form.

Favazz: Okay. So do you have the date on that, once again?

Richard: I believe it's November 25th?

Favazz: November 25th. Okay. You heard Richard Fortus say it, he's in the band.

Richard: (Laughs).

Favazz: (Laughs).

Richard: And I think you can get more information at

Favazz: Really? All right.

Richard: Yeah.

Favazz: Now, did you read Slash's book at all, Richard?

Richard: No. But, boy, I’ve heard a lot of people are upset about it.

Favazz: I guess Axl doesn't like it.

Richard: Nobody in that band liked it. Everybody was very upset.

Favazz: Really?

Richard: Yeah…

Richard: Well, just the thing that I wanted to ask you about and that it seemed like it aggravated Slash the most – and it aggravated him with Scott Weiland up until, you know, they kicked him out of the band recently – is that Slash hated going on late all the time, and, you know, he blamed a lot of that on Axl. And I know from shows in the past few years that there still have been some issues about the band going on late. Can you say anything about that? I mean, do you hate going on late? Why do you have to go on late?

Richard:  We don't have to go on late, and sometimes we don't, sometimes we do. Yeah, it's just one of those rock and roll things.

Favazz: (Laughs).

Richard: It takes Axl a certain amount to get himself ready to go on stage, get his head together, get, you know, in the game. And, you know, he's always there and… I don't know, it's been getting – it’s changed a lot since when I first joined in 2002. You know, we just did the last tour we did at the end of last year, we were in Australia and Japan, and all those shows were pretty prompt.

Favazz: Yeah.

Richard: But, you know, it's amazing, it's an amazing thing - when I first joined the band - to be sitting backstage in an arena or a stadium and have people chanting… (laughs)… you know, profanities, and stomping their feet, and throwing things, and this whole huge negative energy, and, as soon as you walk on the stage, all of that energy just completely shifts and goes just… it's amazing.

Favazz: Wow!

Richard: And for a while I thought, “Man, he's doing this on purpose.”

Favazz: (Laughs).

Richard: Like, “It's just genius,” he’s like… you know. But don't know, I'm not convinced of that anymore (laughs).

Favazz: (Laughs) Now, when you guys play nowadays, do you get stuff thrown at you, or are there threats made, or have people said-

Richard: No, we've never had any of that. I mean, actually we did have that in one festival in England, at Donington.

Favazz: Oh, that's the place to have it at, I guess.

Richard: Yeah, yeah, exactly. But I think we walked out feeling pretty victorious, I mean we really… You know, people are very skeptical: new members, a new band… But reception has been really great. I mean, by the end of the show things are always good.

Favazz: Well, you know, obviously I'm gonna have to go to another city to see it, Richard, but I mean you know-

Richard: I’ll get you tickets.

Favazz: (Laughs) Now that I know you, you’re damn right I’m gonna call you. But the thing about it is, you know, I've heard you guys had Modern Day Zero from St. Louis open for you guys a few times?

Richard: Yeah.

Favazz: And Scotty was telling me, “Man, the band is great.” You know, here all these years I've been thinking to myself, Richard – I knew you were in the band, I knew your connection with Pale Divine and Michael, but man, I'm a Slash guy and I thought, “What could this band be like without Slash in it?” Because, for me, all that Guns N’ Roses stuff, the albums and everything, you know, Slash made it for me. So, do you feel like at this point in 2008 that all that stuff there has been forgotten about and you've been accepted by the fans, and everything?

Richard: Oh no, no, it'll never be forgotten about. I mean, that legacy is far too strong and he's genius, Slash is amazing, you know? I don't think that it will ever be forgotten.

Favazz: Well, I didn't mean… I just meant “forgotten” in fact, like, that was then, Slash was in the band but now he's not, and that the fans have given you a group hug and gone, “Richard you're good! This is cool.”

Richard: Some have and others, you know, I'm sure that… I mean, I read stuff on the internet and there's people that love it or they hate it. They either accept it or they don't and, you know, fair enough. And it's definitely a different band, so… It's a different sounding band, but it's a kick-ass band (laughs). I think that's pretty undeniable; I mean, this band is amazing.

Favazz: Who else is in it?

Richard: Robin Finck from Nine Inch Nails fame, Dizzy Reed of course is still in it…

Favazz: Right.

Richard: Izzy still comes out and plays with us occasionally…

Favazz: Right.

Richard: Tommy Stinson from the Replacements…

Favazz: Okay.

Richard: Brain played on the record - from Primus - and lately Frank Ferrer's been playing with us because Brain just had a baby, so for the last while Frank's been playing with us. Frank played with me in the Psychedelic Furs and Love Spit Love-

Favazz: Oh, okay.

Richard: -and another band called Honky Toast. I've done loads of stuff with Frank.

Favazz: All right.

Richard: Yeah, so it's a (?) band.

Favazz: Well, Richard, I think you gotta talk Axl into coming to play in here, dude.

Richard: I'm trying, man, trust me. I want to see my family and friends.

Favazz: (Laughs) I mean, you know, I really believe that there are still some people out there that harbor those feelings toward him for what happened; but I think, for the most part, people would go bonkers here to see you guys, man.

Richard: Yeah, I would love to come back. I mean, I'd love to play there with that band.

Favazz: All right. Maybe 2009, you never know.

Richard: Yeah, yeah. Well, we're going to be out touring, so…

Favazz: All right. So once again, though – well, you know, we got to cover it, Richard. Guns N’ Roses, the new record, November 25th, at Best Buy only for six months. And it's still called Chinese Democracy, right? (laughs)

Richard: It's still called Chinese Democracy.

Favazz: (Laughs).

Richard: Also, you know, Pale Divine, we're doing a two DVD/two CD retrospective-

Favazz: Oh really?

Richard: All old live footage from back in the day-

Favazz: Wow.

Richard: And the first one of the CD’s is the first CD that we released independently called Freedom In The Cage, and we only made 1000 copies of that CD originally, and they sold out the first weekend. The other CD is a CD of demos that we recorded for what would have been the second Atlantic record.

Favazz: Wow. Well, that sounds pretty cool. Will we be able to get them that night of the show?

Richard: If they're still available. I know that they're available on our website, which is, like, paledivine-theeyes or theeyes-, and I think they're available on the Pageant website as well.

Favazz: Oh, okay. All right.

Richard: And if they're still available – we’re only doing 1000, it's a hardcover book type of package.

Favazz: Oh! Okay.

Richard: It's beautiful, it's really pretty.

Favazz: Wow.

Richard: But I'm really excited about that. I mean, we're probably going to lose our asses on it, but it’s…

Favazz: (Laughs).

Richard: I want to do something really special that the people that the band, you know, was an important part of their life - I think it's going to be a real time capsule that they'll be able to have for the rest of their lives.

Favazz: Oh, that’s cool.

Richard: So I want to do it right.

Favazz: That's really cool. And, once again, the show is right after all the El Monstero shows. It's December 29th and I think that's a… yeah, it's a Monday. It'll be a Monday night, Pale Divine and, boy, I cannot wait for that, Richard. That's gonna be quite a special evening, I think.

Richard: Thank you. Yeah, I'm excited about it. And ticket sales have been great.

Favazz: They have, they have.

Richard: Yeah.

Favazz: I just got that email last week. And of course then Richard is with Guns N’ Roses and maybe we'll see him somewhere in 2009. Richard, man, thanks for calling and it's nice to have a guy from St. Louis have the quiet career that you really have, I mean, even though you've been in some fairy name bands and you're in Guns N’ Roses. You know, I’ve always wanted to introduce you to the KSHE crowd, so I'm glad you talked to us today.

Richard: Great, thank you very much.

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