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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2018.06.26 - Heavy Music - Interview with Richard

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2018.06.26 - Heavy Music - Interview with Richard Empty 2018.06.26 - Heavy Music - Interview with Richard

Post by Blackstar Tue Jan 23, 2024 12:08 pm



Transcript:

Interviewer: I know you mostly from the GN'R gig, I saw you many times with the previous lineup and all that. To me it seems like you're really like an accomplished guitar player, really well-rounded, like you get a little like the old-school bluesy record type of approach and also like the more modern, [?] if you will type of stuff when you do like stuff like on Chinese Democracy Better or like the chaotic solo in Black Whole Sun for example. It shows like you got like [?] and also like crazy finger picking, I can tell that. So yeah, basically, what was like your background of learning guitar and fluency and stuff?

Richard: I grew up playing... When I first started playing I was really into more, I guess, the art rock type of things and also fusion, because when I was a kid, like, Mavishnu Orchestra and Jeff Beck and that was really what attracted me as well was, like, Yes and Genesis like the early giants, King Crimson, stuff like that. And then I heard the Clash and everything sort of changed. Then it was about not being able to play, you know-

I: [?] this was around.

R: Yeah, and it was about the songs and the attitude and not so much about masturbatory playing, you know? But I was always into... When I was a kid I was into older music, you know, I was into bands like Thin Lizzy and Bowie and, you know, stuff that was a-

I: Classic rock, yeah, yeah.

R: Kids my age were listening to Poison and Def Leopard and, you know, it just wasn't my thing. So I went from like the older rock and then I got into punk rock, you know?

I: Yeah, okay. And this finger goes [?] tonight, I think, like you're actually like on the Rocket Queen jam for example, like, you're actually changing like it's improvised I think all the time like those extended jams [?] that i love, because I think in Paris last week you were already doing like the Rocket Queen solo like with the fingers, tonight was more with the pick [?] you're changing up a little bit but I-

R: It's always different.

I: Yeah, but I can tell like you get a crazy good like finger picking, maybe I [?]

R: Yeah, you know, it's a fun thing about this, the best thing about playing with this band is that it's different every night. Like, tonight was really good for that, Slash and I were really playing off of each other well. And, you know, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. And tonight was really, you know, I'd say something and he would answer me and it was like this conversation and it all was very smooth and flowing and really have things happen, you know, seamlessly. It was cool. You know, some nights it doesn't happen, you know.

I: Yeah, but that's cool, definitely. And that's one of my... You know, usually on the shows like those extended jams or solo stuff can be boring stuff, sometimes you know you can do stuff when you go grab a sandwich or have a piss, you know, but on this, I mean, it's already three times that i saw this tour and stuff, it's definitely one of my favorite highlights every time. I think you and Slash would get like a great chemistry together-

R: Yeah, I love playing with him. You know, man, it's so cool that I get to listen to him every night, because he plays different every night. Like his solos, completely different every night and that's just so inspirational to me. Like what we do on Wish You Were Here, it's different every night. You know, he never repeats himself. I mean, there's certain themes that we will play. But, I mean, generally a lot of times like bands get caught up in doing the same solos and doing it every night, you know - and there's some stuff like that, you know, he's written solos from Appetite that you have to play - but, man it's so much fun to be able to listen to him play and to be able to play back and forth because we push each other, you know, and it's a really great thing, I love it.

I: Do you develop, I'm [?] talking about like, the Knockin' On Heaven's Door jam, the Rocket Queen jam and Wish You Were Here jam because it was still, I think at the Troubadour, maybe you were already doing this, I think it was since the beginning of the tour already I think, those jams maybe, so how did you develop that?

R: Yeah, you know, when we started rehearsing, you know, we would rehearse, we'd do the jams much longer [laughs]. Because, you know, especially at first because Axl wasn't coming down at first so it was just the band, and we would just go forever.

I: Yeah, like you said tonight [?] Knockin' On Heaven's Door I was lik, I have to to sing at some point so they won't never stop.

[Laughs]

I: Or something like that before like one of the choruses. And the cool thing like is... so obviously already in the Chinese Democracy lineup and you were more assigned at this time to a reason[?] guitar player role, you know, and whether it was Ron Thal or Buckethead or Robin Finck and [?] but they were taking more leads I think at that time, and so the the cool thing is like Slash is back in the band and everybody could expect like he will like, you know, fill the entire room and actually your role expanded since he's back, you know what I mean? To me at least, like, yeah, you get more leads you was the obvious European like the crazy stuff from Chinese Democracy [?] chaotic in position[?] in Black Hole Sun [?] Better, stuff like that, but obviously Nightrain solo and-

R: But thing is is that there's only two guitar players now. Before, you know, there was so much going on and I don't really have that much of an ego when it comes to that stuff. I like to... you know, someone's got to fill it out, you know? It's so much better now, so much more enjoyable.

I: But what's cool is like you know [...]

R: What I love about this band is that everybody listens to each other. And I suppose you have to when things are changing every night. You know, Axl listens, he'll wait, if you notice, he'll always wait for us to finish the phrase, you know, or finish what we're saying, you know, before he'll come back in. That's just so rare to find a group of people where everybody's paying attention and, you know, thinking about the bigger picture. Like when Slash is soloing it's like, "Okay, how can we..." We're always listening to what he's doing, you know, if he's crescendoing we're all trying to crescendo, you know, and then we can bring it back [?]. Yeah, it's really inspiring.

I: [...]

R: But like in that funky part [in Rocket Queen], we're trying, like we're listening to what he's playing and then, you know, trying to back him to push everything. You know, so much music now is just people just play their parts and there's so much stuff on track-

I: [?] it's really unusual to see a band play three hours plus shows-

R: - and not have a setlist.

I: Yeah, because the set is changed and [...] thing like you're playing like you're in jam band, basically.

R: Sort of, not as as meandering.

I: But I think that's a cool thing like [...]

R: The last shows we played on the last leg in LA was three hours.

I: Yeah, like in Inglewood [...]

R: We're really anxious to get some new songs recorded and-

I: That'd be great because you played so long I mean at some point you will need some new music because it's not like there's million records.

R: Yeah, we're excited about doing it. Everybody's excited. Axl's exciting, yeah. It's cool.

I: The cool thing about Guns N' Roses is lik,e you know, it's not like a band like Metallica where, like, you know, like, the guitar spectrum is a bit narrower and like you can really taste[?] what James and Kirk are doing when they are playing really different stuff like if your player leads. In Guns N' Roses you get like a wider, more room, it's more open, you can hear properly both guitar sounds all the time. And even like like tonight like even, like, you know, Double Talkin' Jive you can like hear like when Slash goes crazy I can hear you like with your finger playing like a guitar, even on Estranged, you know, every little thing you know, there's room, it's open, like the open sound.

R: Slash has a very distinctive tone, he has his tone, so I try-

I: - you're complimenting, right?

R: Yeah. I'm always thinking about trying to fit around his sound, you know, just so that it's so that each thing has its own character.

I: [...]

[not transcribed the equipment talk]

I: Like back on the tour, touring thing, like the cool thing about the set is like we say it's really free and so obviously to me like the cool thing since the beginning is like to see Slash and Duff playing some Chinese Democracy songs, you know and now you're playing [?] and of course you're playing like older stuff like, you know [?] Layla [?]. Sometime in the stadium I feel like i'm the only one to know Melissa[?] you know for example but yeah but i think it's really cool and gives like-

R: You know, we started doing the Glen Campbell song after he died as a tribute to him. We started doing Black Hole Sun after Chris died. We started doing Melissa after Gregg Allman died, you know? And they all sort of started organically, like one of us just played it and then people started picking up on it. Like, that's why I started playing it and then Slash came out and played on top of it.

I: Yeah, one thing about Axl, like, he's a guy with, like, a really risky[?] type of voice obviously like Chris Cornell also like when you sing that high, you know, to maintain those three hours 20 minutes set, you know, and he's doing it good, you know, [?]  type of preparation for this or anything because it's really spot-on, you know, I think right now and, yeah, it's long. Like I said, he's got like what I call like a risky voice because he's not like, you know, he's singing so much high, it's easy to blow up, you know.

R: Yeah, and there's nights when, you know... But he's very disciplined with... You know, he does an hour warm up, he does a 40 minute cool down every night.

I: Yeah [?]

R: Every night. You know, he's very disciplined with that.

I: Because even This I Love it's a song like he play every night I believe and it's not like an easy one [laughs]

R: That's a tough one, that's a tough one. You know, it's funny because like Coma, like, he, when we started playing that, he was like-

I: In Coma there's a really hard part when-

R: -at the end-

I: -long time-

R: -yes, and he's like, "God damn it! Why did I do that to myself?" you know? Yeah, there's other songs that are just like so high and it's like, "Way to go! I fucked myself again," you know.

[...]

R: I think Slash is playing better than he's ever played.

I: Is that anything to do with hearing more better than before?

R: I don't know. I think it it definitely makes you play better. I mean, it makes you... Because you can't be as sloppy because you're under a microscope because you hear everything, you hear every detail, so in that way... You know, I don't know, you know, I haven't talked to him about it.

[...]

R: You know, when you're standing in front of loud amps everything sounds great, you know, you can get away with so much.

I: And there's some notes you can miss as well and stuff like that you [?]

R: But when you're hearing it in your head, every, you know, pick scratch, it makes you play tighter and makes you play better. [...] It's not terribly loud. [...] But I've been using in-ears for so many years. I think the only toy when I was with Thin Lizzy, we didn't use in-ears and that was so much fun. It's so much fun just to stand in front of the amp.

I: On this tour there was like this special gig, like, it must have been a special gift for you like because you're from St. Louis and Guns haven't been there like since the riots in '91 [...] Were you in the audience at that gig?

R: No, I'll tell you where I was, I was playing with my first band down in the city at a club. And then everybody came from the show down to see us and people were telling us the stories, you know, about what happened. But no, I wasn't there. But yeah, that was an incredibly special show because I'd been in the band for 17 years and never played my hometown. It was great. You know, there was a guy tonight at the front that had a "St. Louis sucks" shirt on, that like Axl wore it. I actually have that shirt. When I moved from L.A. back to St. Louis the crew guys packed up my gear, you know, to ship it to me and when I opened one of the boxes, right on top, was that shirt. It was a joke for them. It was great. It was a big deal. And it was a great show. And there's still people like, "I'm not gonna go," you know. [...] Yeah, still protesting, yeah, 20 years later.
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2018.06.26 - Heavy Music - Interview with Richard Empty Re: 2018.06.26 - Heavy Music - Interview with Richard

Post by Blackstar Wed Jan 24, 2024 1:45 pm

This audio interview was the basis of an article in French that was published on the website of the French magazine Guitariste on November 23, 2018:

https://www.guitariste.com/interviews/richard-fortus-guns-n-roses,5331,1.html
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2018.06.26 - Heavy Music - Interview with Richard Empty Re: 2018.06.26 - Heavy Music - Interview with Richard

Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 03, 2024 2:36 pm

Transcribed this. I didn't transcribe the talk about guitar equipment. It is funny how much more verbose and enthusiastic Richard gets when he get to talk about pedals and amps.
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2018.06.26 - Heavy Music - Interview with Richard Empty Re: 2018.06.26 - Heavy Music - Interview with Richard

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