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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

2018.10.10 - Everyone Loves Guitar - Interview with Richard

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2018.10.10 - Everyone Loves Guitar - Interview with Richard Empty 2018.10.10 - Everyone Loves Guitar - Interview with Richard

Post by Blackstar Sat Jan 27, 2024 1:04 am



Transcript:

Craig Garber: Hey everybody, this is Craig Garber from Everyone Loves Guitar and we've got just a super cool guy and a great player and someone who's really gotten to experience the success as a musician that really very few people do. I'm with Richard Fortus, the guitar player from Guns N' Roses. Rich was born and raised in St. Louis, he got started with music really early by studying violin at age four and drums at age five, he studied at the Conservatory of the Arts in St. Louis and at Southern Illinois University and he also played with various youth symphonies in St. Louis. His first band was called The Eyes in 1984 and they released a single called Freedom In A Cage while developing a cult following in the Midwest through extensive touring. In 1990 they changed their name to Pale Divine and then signed with Atlantic Records releasing Straight To Goodbye in '91. Pale Divine toured supporting the Psychedelic Furs beginning a long-standing relationship between Richard and the first singer Richard Butler. In 1992, Richard joined the Furs on tour again, this time as a member and then Richard and both Richards formed a band on their own called Love Spit Love. Great band by the way. Their eponymous album was released in 1994 and their second album, which is a really cool title, Trysome Eatone was co-written and co-produced by Richard Fortus and the two Richards still work together to this day. In the late 90s Richard began a collaboration with composer and artist BT, they've recorded film scores records and they also toured together in 2000. Around this time he was becoming a very in demand first call session player in New York City and he also became a partner in the music production company called Compound where he's provided music for TV commercials and show themes, movie trailers, video games, industrial films and more. Also during this time Richard worked with photographer Michael [?] and provided a soundtrack to the film Surf Movie. In 2001, Richard joined legendary rock band Guns N' Roses and he began touring with the band and recording for the band's long-awaited Chinese Democracy record. They've played sold-out shows on nearly every continent in front of millions of fans. During his Guns N' Roses downtime over the last 10 years, Richard has performed or recorded with Enrique Iglesias, Rihanna, Thin Lizzy, Nina, Angela McCluskey, Jesse Malin, Fiona Apple, the Crystal Method, and others. He's also recorded soundtracks for Repo the Genetic Opera, role-models monster, and The Fast and the Furious. In 2013, Richard joined the Dead Daisies,  a supergroup featuring Jon Stevens from INXS and David [?] from Mink[?]. The band's opened for ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Alice in Chains, Jane's Addiction and many other top bands in 2013. Their first headlining tour was in February of 2014 in Australia and it was a resounding success leading to opening gigs in the US for KISS amongst other artists. Also in 2014, The Face I Love EP was released and that was Richard's first studio work with the band. In November Richard will be touring the Far East, the Middle East, and South Africa with Guns N' Roses. Richard, man, thank you so much for time. I appreciate it.

Richard: Thanks for having me.

CG: You're welcome. You started studying off violin in drums and I was curious, why those instruments in particular? And what prompted you to switch to guitar?

Richard: Violin... the Suzuki method was just coming into popularity when I was about that age and they were starting kids really young. My parents got me involved in that and so I rolled with that. And then my grandparents bought me a drum kit, much to the chagrin of my parents, and, yeah, so I got into that and that sort of quelled the rock-and-roll side of me while I was still playing in different orchestras and stuff with violin. And then started playing cello later on as well. But yeah, I carried on playing drums, drums and violin, all through school until I was about 12 and then picked up a guitar and there were always guitars around my house because my father was involved in the MI side of the industry so he was working for a company that made musical instruments. So St. Louis Music, which was [?] Electro Guitars when I was a kid. So there were always guitars in the house. But I was very intimidated by them because they had six strings and very long necks and polyphonic [?] so it was very intimidating, so I never really got into it until I was about 12 or 13 start picking the guitar up.

CG: That's really cool that to hear that you were intimidated by guitar, I mean because you're such a great guitar player now. So for anybody listening, you know, I mean, it's like and for me to hear is interesting, you know.

Richard: Yeah, well, when you think about it, when you're kid, you know, like focusing... cuz violin is predominantly single notes, you know, especially in classical, it's single note lines. The idea of piano still is... like I can't believe how pianist can sit down and sight-read music, that just blows my mind, with your hands. It's still difficult for me to get my head around. But, you know, it was the same type of thing with guitar, it was like, man, reading chords and yeah, I had just a lot to deal with.

CG: Well it worked out good.

Richard: Maybe my next adventure will be piano.

CG: Plan B, man, there you go.

Richard: I mean, I had to play piano in school and stuff but the idea of people that can just sit down and... cuz they're always the best sight readers, pianists are.

CG: Yeah, there's a lot going on, there's so many notes-

Richard: Yeah, how do they do that?

CG: I don't know, man. I've interviewed a lot of people and they all said, "I thought my life was set once I got a record deal," and many of them, they... it was just a heap of trouble. So I was curious what was the most important thing you learned from your experience signing your first record deal with Atlantic and how did that help you navigate the business end of the industry moving forward?

Richard: You know, I think that, it's not... I never viewed a record deal is the be-all end-all like, you know, "Okay, now I'm successful." It was just the next step and at that point in the world and in the business the next step [?], you signed with an indie and then shift to a major. Or you had to sign with a major and you know hope for the best, then try and make the most of it to get to, you know, any type of success. And I realized that nobody in the industry really gives a shit about you, you know. Just because they signed you, at that point they were throwing shit against the wall, right? And they would just roll with whatever stuck. But they would throw as much shit against the wall as they could. They had money coming in, it wasn't like they had to be careful with their investments, they were signing up anything that looked like it had regional success and they, you know, would expand to a national level with a little help. And that's what I saw and that's what I learned is that nobody really cared about you, you know.

CG: So you knew this back then, even when they signed?

Richard: I learned it very quickly, yeah.

CG: Did that in a way like [?] way take stress off of you? As a player?

Richard: No. No, if anything it adds it because you've got to win over an audience every night, you know, you've got to blow people away cuz if nothing else is gonna help you, you know, nobody else is gonna do it for you, you know. And obviously there were situations where that did happen, you know, guys wrote hit songs that connected with people for whatever reason or they had a video that connected with people or something, you know, that they got legs on its own, that got the interest of a company to get behind and struck, "Okay, now let's go with this, this is," you know, "looks like this is gonna stick, let's push that." And then there were the bands that slugged it out in clubs every night and built their following that way, you know, and just won people over every night. And that's really what we had been doing and what I figured we would continue to do and build on a national level. Which now it seems is the way you have to do it. So I think that grassroots type of... when you build a base in that way it's solid, you know, that's a solid foundation because those people will stick with you.

CG: Yeah, sure. You don't have a choice now, like you said, you know, it's social media and, you know, how much can you promote through your social media channels, which is pretty much it. Which is, you know, in a way a blessing and a curse.

Richard: Yeah, but, you know, with the advent of the internet the playing field was leveled in everybody had a shot. You didn't have to be... If you had outstanding music you didn't have to be good-looking, you didn't have to have a video that looked great, you know. In a way that's great and in a way that sucked because there's no filters, so everything becomes more niche you know. And it's difficult for me to find music that I love now, you know, I but I do, I mean, it's there. It's just it's always been there, you know. People talk about, "Oh, there's no great like they used to, great bands," that's bullshit. I mean, there is tons of great bands, there's people that still... Man, it's a disease that has infected generation after generation, you know, this love of music and that desire to get in a room with other guys and make noise, you know.

CG: Yeah, it's true it has leveled the playing field because now, like, you're right, you don't have to be good-looking, you don't have to... if you can appeal to enough people. You know, the downside of that is most musicians are terrible at marketing and that... you know, so it forces them to sort of like deal with a reality, "If I need to get good at this quick, or-"

Richard: It's always been like that, you've always had to be able to create your art and then step outside of that and look at it and go, "Okay, now how do I exploit this?" Don't you think? I think it's always been that way, you have to be able to sell it, you know, you've got to be able to but without it affecting you as an artist. You know, you've got to be able to create your art and then separate yourself from that and go, "Okay, now what do I do with it?" "How do I sell this? How do i exploit it?" "How do I get this to as many people?" and, "How do I make it is...." You know, and I think it's always been that way and the artists that were able to do that were the ones that succeeded. I mean, the best musicians and the best artists in the world are the ones that are sitting in a basement somewhere, you know. I really believe that. I mean, the best players I know are not gigging.

CG: Interesting. You know, the only thing is in the past where the musicians had to label... There was only one method of distribution so if you had that, if you had the connection into that, if you got a record label signing you, your hands were free, that was quote their job, you know. And sure they would ask you to do promos and stuff but the burden of-

Richard: Yes and no. I mean, in some cases that happen but I never felt that...

CG: You kept pushing at the-

Richard: -my disposal to make, you know. But I never felt like it was now somebody else's problem, you know. And I always felt like it was... at the end of the day I was the one that was gonna have to get people to get involved in it, you know. And everybody, I mean, Axl's that way. You know, he's involved in his own business, you know. Everybody is, Slash is, you know, the guys from the Psychedelic Furs were, you know, they're very careful [?] what they're putting out, how they're presenting it.

CG: So let me ask you this because this is like honestly one of the first times I'm hearing that. So I'm wondering, is this part of the reason why you guys are in the echelon you're in, because you didn't sit and say, you know, because you continue to carry the ball on your back and not say, "Okay, I got a record company, now it's up to them"? You continue to be vested in this and say, "Fuck, we gotta push this thing," you know what I'm saying? I wonder if that-

Richard: Yeah, "Why isn't the record company doing this?" And then it's a matter of working with them and going, "Hey," you know, "we're seeing this, why aren't you guys seeing this at this angle?" you know. Because a lot of times they're seeing things from a different vantage points, they don't see what you're seeing as the artist, they're not seeing the reaction on people's faces when you play a certain song, they're not seeing the, you know, that whatever the... And as relating to as far as the artwork on your t-shirts or whatever, you know, they're not seeing that. So you've got a present, you've got to work with them, you know, you know what I mean?

CG: No, I totally know what you mean, this is-

Richard: [?] angles and you've got to you gotta work with them.

CG: Have you always been like that as far as like-

Richard: Yes.

CG: Okay, but-

Richard: Since I was playing clubs with my first band. I mean, going out and putting fliers out, and, again, assessing, looking at what your your audience is responding to, you know, and what things are turning them on and, you know, giving them more of that, or pushing it more, or seeing how they react to the opening band, to the band that's playing after you, you know. And go, "Man, something like that would be cool," you know, "Why aren't we doing something like that?" You know, I'm constantly looking for inspiration in that way, you know.

CG: So you're always looking for... so you're running this like I run my businesses or any other business person does, you're looking for angles that you can get in, you're looking for other ideas that work and then how do you and take them and put them into your thing.

Richard: Right, but then you've got to be able to separate that. It's a very delicate balance because you can't go and say, "Okay, I need a song like this," because it just doesn't work. It's not gonna be believable, it's not gonna be... And really, I mean, ultimately for me at least, the stuff that I am drawn to artistically, the stuff that I wanna listen to, is stuff that is believable. I have to believe it. If I go see a band, man, nine times out of ten I don't believe the singer, I think he's faking it, you know. You know what I mean?

CH: Yeah, I totally do.

Richard: What turns me on, I don't care if the songs... I want to see, I want to believe it, I have to believe it.

CG: When you say "believe it" you mean it's got to be authentic?

Richard: It's got to be authentic.

CG: Okay.

Richard: I have to believe that that person feels that, that it's real, that the music is coming from a genuine place, you know. And I know sort of that's that negates in a way what I said before but it doesn't, you know. You have to be able to separate them, you know, your art from your business.

CG: Man, I totally get that, yeah. It's really good to hear that because a lot of people I've spoken to haven't, you know, they had a bit of an old mentality. And maybe I'm wondering, just kind of thinking out loud, is there a reason why you guys are at that level? And maybe they weren't because they did abdicate some of that responsibility to the record company and label? You know, it's almost like saying, you know, you get married and you say you know you put the burden of getting along on your wife and you're not you know you're not gonna be involved and I mean that's the same thing in a sense you know. If you're not gonna participate, man, it ain't gonna work.

Richard: That's right.

CG: Yeah, interesting, man. Thank you. You spent time with Richard Butler and it was really productive. You played, wrote, produced and you guys made some great music together. What was the most important things you learned from that experience?

Richard: Man, he is... Okay, first of all, I was a huge Furs' fan when I was growing up. When I started off I'm a real prog type stuff at that point so bands like Yes and King Crimson and like, you know, Peter Gabriel, Genesis and you know. And like more the art rock, like Bowie and T-Rex and Velvet Underground and Roxy Music, you know. Stuff like that I was really intrigued by. And then I didn't listen to, I wasn't into, like, Motley Crue or Poison or Def Leppard or bands like that, that were popular, Ozzy Osborne. But I love like the early Sabbath stuff. I just was like attracted more to older music. And then I heard The Clash and my whole world was like, "Whoa! Okay, hold on a second-"

CG: Say that last again? You heard The Clash? It just broke up for a second. You heard the Clash?

Richard: I heard the Clash and everything changed for me. My whole world went... Cuz before that it was all about... Like I was really into Mahavisnhu Orchestra and Jeff Beck and [?] and, you know, all this the fusion thing that was happening, you know, like  the [?] like with that, you know I Get Up On The Corner and Bitches Brew and then when that became Mahavishnu. To me that was my Vishnu was like punk rock, right? They like chips on their shoulder and they were out to prove themselves, you know. And that's the same thing, that energy and that passion is what attracted me to the Clash and to the Sex Pistols and to the Ramones, and it was so immediate and so raw and pure, you know. And that really attracted me. And also, I think ignorance so often breeds innovation. And there was a simplicity and ignorance that made that so pure and genuine and again, you know, I need to believe it. And, you know, same thing with Sonic Youth, the same thing with Fugazi or a Minor Threat and Black Flag, you know. Like, when I heard all this that's where my life went, you know, musically. And then it was not about being a virtuoso player and for years, you know, we hid that as much as wecould and it was more about the subtleties, you know, where you let that shine for a second, you know, but don't focus on it, you know. And so that's sort of the direction that I went in. And the Furs were a huge influence on me, I mean, Talk Talk Talk, that album really affected me and at that time, man they, were one of my favorite bands. I saw the Forever Now tour when I was... Man, I must have been 14-15. There's so many great bands around that time.

CG: This is in St. Louis?

Richard: Yeah, yeah. I remember I saw them at the same place that I saw The Replacements open for X, I saw a [?], Circle Jerks, I saw everybody there.

CG: Those are all super high energy bands, man, it seems like that was your thing.

Richard: Well bear in mind I'm coming into my teenage years, I'm like 15, you know [laughs].

CG: So you're going nuts with hormones and you're like, "Yeah!"

Richard: But yeah, so Richard was... that was one of my favorite bands, the Furs. So when my band signed a deal that was one of the bands that I was like, "Okay," and, I mean, I wrote a letter to John Ashton, I wrote a physical letter and a friend of mine in New York worked at a music... at a Row[?] Music, and they sold him dear[?] so that was my in, right? So I got the address and sent him a letter, a physical letter. I wrote to their agent, you know, and said - and this is, you know, we were signed to Atlantic - I'm like, "Hey, here's copy of our record, we signed with Atlantic, I'm a huge fan," you know. Same thing with the agent, "Love to tour with you guys, if," yeah.

CG: That's so cool, so that's how you hooked up?

Richard: Yes, yes.

CG: So they responded to that? They checked it out and they were like, "Hey, this sounds cool"?

Richard: Yeah, I don't know how it came through, I think the agent and so then when the guitar player heard he said, "Oh yeah, yeah, I know that band, yeah" you know. It's fucked up as I ended up taking that guy's job and he hated me for years [laughs].

CG: Doesn't make you a bad person.

Richard: It's not exactly true, but...

CG: It's so wild, man, that is really cool. That's good hustle, man.

Richard: But you sort of have to, you know.

CG: I agree, but not a lot of people do that. I mean, of the average... just of the population, you know, for the most part work is kind of like a dirty four-letter word, you know. I'm not picking on anybody specifically but-

Richard: You know, I think that, you know, after I moved to New York I joined the Furs and then did Love Spit Love and during that [?], because I think socially and musically as far as my history of music, my knowledge of the history of music, I could relate to producers. So if a producer said... I mean, cuz there's better guitar players than me, you know, I think my strong suit was I knew my history, and I knew how to use my gear, and I knew how to get tones, and I knew if a producer said, "Yeah, I'm looking for more of like a Kossoff type vibe on on the chorus," and like I knew exactly what he meant, and I knew how to get the sound, you know. And being able to relate to people socially in that way makes a big difference.

CG: That helped you as far as when you were making records, it was like you were super easy to work with and productive and effective, okay.

Richard: It's a communication thing, you know. A producer or an artist wants to be able to say, to express themselves in the way that they do and to have somebody relate to them. And so when a producer says, "I don't know, I'm looking for something fuzzy and Beach bowling," you know, then you've got to be able to go, "Okay, what the fuck does he mean by that?" and then saying, "Okay, I think I get it, I think I know what you're looking for, check this out," you know. And knowing your gear and how to... it's about communication I think, that's ultimately what I was trying to get at.

CG: Yeah, I totally see that, man.

Richard: And, you know, and that's how I got in with the Furs. It wasn't necessarily my playing, it was being able to relate to Richard artistically when we discussed what turned us on about different music, you know, or art or whatever, you know, it's that ability.

CG: Well, you probably have both thought the other one was authentic and in the way that each of you needed to feel that.

Richard: Impassionate.

CG: Yeah, what prompted you to move to New York City in the first place and once you got there, how'd you get work? That's not an easy town as you know.

Richard: Well, I was playing with the Furs on a tour and then afterwards Richard asked me if I would come to New York - he was living in New York - and write with him for his solo album. So I started doing that and I was still with my old band and having a lot of problems with the singer. We were working on our second record, we're writing our second record, we kept sending demos to the label trying to get them to give us the green light to go in and record the next album and we were rehearsing everyday, you know, playing gigs on the weekends still, like, supporting ourselves in that way. And trying to get the singer to show up at rehearsals. So for six months he would not show up at rehearsals and we were rehearsing every day. And then we're sending demos to the label and around that time, meanwhile nobody wants to be around the singer cuz he's just a nightmare, and around that time I got the call from Richard saying, "Hey, would you be interested in working with me?" I remember going into a band meeting, the singer showed up, and I had this in my back pocket, you know, knowing, "Okay, what am I gonna?" and I didn't know what I was gonna do and I sort of was assessing things. And first thing he came in and said, "I've decided I want to record a solo acoustic record," and so that made up my decision for me right there [laughs]. So I moved to New York and started working with Richard on his solo album which inevitably became the Love Spit Love album. As we were recording he was like, "Man, this is not a solo album, this would not be fair of me to call it a solo album because we've done everything together," and he said, "Let's just, why don't we just call this call this a band name and make it a band?"

CG: Has it been your experience that most people have done the right thing like that?

Richard: No, but most people aren't Richard Butler. I mean, you know, it varies.

CG: That's really good, that's really good. And once you move to the city, how did you start getting session work?

Richard: Well, I think moving to the city with that name cachet of being associated with the Furs put me in a certain light. So it introduced me to a crowd of people and people heard what I was doing or saw me live, and then started to ask me to be involved in sessions. And I think a lot of it again goes back to just meeting people socially and [?] I generally know what a person's gonna play like from talking to them. I know what kind of musician they are just from talking to them nine out of ten times. I don't think I've ever had anybody come in where I thought, "Man, I want to work with this guy," and been wrong about his playing.

CG: Are you good as far as like reading people? I mean, in general?

Richard: I think so, I think so.

CG: Where did you develop that?

Richard: I don't know. I mean, doesn't everybody think they're good at that? [laughs]

CG: I don't know.

Richard: I don't know either, but I think it's a communication thing that like, you know... I don't know, it's interesting, you can tell what... Not only if they're competent but you can tell what kind of player they are.

CG: I've heard that a couple of times.

Richard: Man, I firmly believe it. And I've been auditioned so many times without picking up an instrument, you know. I think people look at your track record after a while and they basically want to know, "Can I get along with this guy?" "Can I relate to this guy?"

CG: That I totally get, because you're playing an hour maybe two hours a day, that's a hang for the rest of twenty two hours, is painful if you can't...

Richard: If you can't get along with someone.

CG: Yeah. What were some of the cooler sessions you worked on in the city?

Richard: Oh man, you know, I used to do all the Puffy stuff, like back in the day. So like all like the Benjamins - that was a cool section, actually. And it's ironic because I went into that, and this is the rock All About the Benjamins track, right? So I go in, they have a demo from a band called Perfect and I was like, I knew that was Tommy Stinson's band because I was a big Replacements fan. "Oh, that's Tommy Stinson's new band." They did this demo for that and it was a killer track, like real sort of Sly and the Family Stone type vibe. And then Dave Grohl came in to play drums.

CG: With Tommy Stinson or?

Richard: No, Tommy wasn't there. They just had a tape, a demo of that song, that his band had worked up for Puffy. And ironically Tommy and I a few years later end up becoming best friends and playing in a band together, but at that time I was just a fan. But Dave Grohl came in, and this is before Foo Fighters - well no, I guess Foo Fighters had started - but he came in and played drums and he blew me away. I thought he was just such a phenomenal and versatile drummer and totally killed that track. I mean there's a lot, there were so many weird sessions like that. Man, I remember doing a session for RZA, at that time there was so much hip-hop going on in New York, right? So it was RZA and P!nk and they were doing a cover of an INXS song, that I Need You Tonight song. It was the most amateurish thing I'd ever been involved, it was crazy. First of all, he was the stonedest guy I'd ever seen. It was [?], man. He was so high and they had no idea about miking or anything like that. You know, they're in this nice room and nice studio, just no clue. Stuff like that happened a lot.

CG: That's funny, man.

Richard: I did a ton. I've got so many stories about different sessions.

CG: One more, do one more.

Richard: Let me think of a different genre. Well, I was actually just talking about this one last night. I did a session for the Tom Tom Club. Tina and Chris from the Talking Heads, right? And they were doing a remake of their big hit, what was that song called? [humming]

CG: I don't know the Tom Tom Club, as well. I know Talking Heads real well.

Richard: Alright, see, now I'm gonna look it up.

CG: [laughs] It's totally cool, man. Do it.

Richard: Anyways, I go into this session and it's Chris and Tina and they're doing the master of that... the master tape had been damaged and they wanted to use it on like a greatest answer[?] for a TV commercial or something like that. And so I go in and the part that they had... So I'm hearing all these [?] blues [?] track, the original, is just incredible. And then they had this African guitarist that was playing the rhythm part and they'd been through three different guitarists and nobody could cop this feel of this, because it's such a weird syncopation and really super staccato strat type sound., like real clean. And it was in the middle of this snow storm and I had like I had to fly to LA, I had like half an hour to do this session, and I had to leave to go catch this flight because the snow was so intense. And yeah, it was like this crazy night. I was just talking about the session last night to the guy... I actually went out and sat in with these guys, my buddies in Live.

CG: Yeah, I saw that on social media.

Richard: Yeah, so they played last night, so I went out and played with them, and we were talking about... because they did their first album with Jerry Harrison. Or not the first album, the Throwing Copper album.

CG: He produced it?

Richard: Yeah.

CG: Yeah, I remember that.

Richard: And so we're talking about that, we're talking...

CG: About that session you did. And I'm assuming you nailed it?

Richard: Yeah, yeah, they were super happy.

CG: Yeah, African music is so rhythmic, you know, very, very much so.

Richard: So I was in the club one night and playing gig in New York and-

CG: Dude, I have to ask you only cuz I'm from there, which club?

Richard: This was... it was in the West Village. What was that place called?

CG: The Bitter End? The Bottom Line?

Richard: No, no, further west on Bleecker like the Strega? Something like, it was just one of those clubs, it might have been like the Red Lion or something like that. And this friend of mine, actually she used to be my roommate when I first moved to New York, and she was an A&R person for my label at that time and I hadn't seen her for a few years. And so we were catching up and she's like, "Hey, what do you know about Ethiopian music?"

CG: That's a badass shit.

Richard: "I don't know much, all I know is I know this singer named Aster Aweke I'm in love with," and she was, "Oh my god, why did you say that?" I said, "I just know her stuff cuz she was on Columbia," and she's like, "I can't believe you just said that, I'm doing a record with her right now and she wants to use like some American musicians, you'd be perfect for this," I'm like, "I am so in." And so I ended up doing this incredible record with her. And it was super cool. That was a great session because I got to play with these African musicians and, you know. I met with her... Again, you know, I auditioned by just going and meeting with her sure and her husband, and just fell in love with her. We had like this, you know, love affair thing, you know, it was just music and just related in that regard, just as humans. And so it was a great record. But she never listened to me play before, she never... I don't know if she ever listened to any other music that I'd done. But we went in the studio and made this great record.

CG: But that's so cool, like, you know, right there, man, when you mentioned her name the universe was like extremely supportive of that whole project. Like, of all the things that the names might pull out, right? I mean, that's so cool when that happen.

Richard: I know. And legit, that was the only one I knew. I mean, that was all I knew about Ethiopian music and I was obsessed with these two records that she'd done on Columbia. And yeah, she's like the Aretha Franklin of Ethiopia.

CG: Man, I am sure you've told this story like dozens and dozens of times but if you're comfortable telling it once more and if not that's totally cool, but for people that haven't heard it that are listening, how'd you get the call for Guns N' Roses? And again, if you're tired of telling it that's totally cool, we can go the next question.
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2018.10.10 - Everyone Loves Guitar - Interview with Richard Empty Re: 2018.10.10 - Everyone Loves Guitar - Interview with Richard

Post by Soulmonster Sat Mar 16, 2024 7:37 am

Richard: No, no, no. I was on tour with Enrique Iglesias and this was like during his heyday of like when he was massive and like Hero had just come out and we did that whole, 9/11 has just happened, and we did that Tribute To Heroes. And it was just huge. And so I've been doing this tour with him for year and a half or two years, and [?] Albert Hall in London. And I had got a call... Well, originally I got the call before then. I was in New York and I was going out, they called me said, "Hey, would you be interested," the management called me and said, "Would you be interested in auditioning for Guns N' Roses?" and I didn't know anybody in the camp but I was like, "Yeah, sure, guess so." I said, "Well, I'm gonna be in LA next week, maybe we could do it then?" and they said, "Oh, perfect." So we set it up. A couple days before I called to get information on where it's gonna be and all that and I never get a call back so I thought it was weird. So I out to LA to do this other session to this other album and on this session was Tommy Stinson and Josh Freese, who were both playing with GN'R at that time. And I was like, "I can't believe you guys are [?] because I was supposed to come over coming to audition for GN'R," and they said, "Oh, you're the guy from New York, oh right! Okay," and they go, "Oh, that's so funny, well Axl found this guy Buckethead and we just called off all the auditions." And I said, "Okay, cool." So Tommy and I went out that night, became best buddies, you know, best friend. Now two years later I get a call from Tommy going, "Hey man, can you come audition for Guns?" "Sure. Let me figure it out cuz I'm in Europe." So I sorted it out, I got off stage from the last show at Royal Albert Hall, had a car waiting, went to the airport, flew to LA, got off the plane, went straight to the audition, did the audition, hung out with Axl all night, talking and listening to music in his car, and then went back to the airport and flew back to finish the tour.

CG: Holy shit. Hold on, flew from the UK, straight to LA and then straight into the audition?

Richard: Yeah, back to Ireland to pick up... you know, because I had two days off or one day and a half off or whatever, you know. It was my only window. And then Axl that at the audition, we're hanging out, he's like, "So we're gonna start rehearsing in two weeks cuz we got this thing coming up," and I was like, "Woah, woah, I can't leave the tour that I'm on," and he was like, "What?" [laughs] Like, "I'm asking you to join Guns N' Roses and you can't leave the Enrique Iglesias tour?" And he you thought about it for a second and he goes, "Okay, we'll wait because I know you won't do it to me."

CG: Yeah, yeah, of course.

Richard: Yeah, cuz you have to honor your commitments, right?

CG: Absolutely.

Richard: Which, you know, has gotten me into trouble in the past because if I say I'm gonna do something, you know, even if it's a free gig, you know, I had to cancel the tour one time because I'd committed to doing a a gig for no money but I gave him my word, I told him I'd do it. You know, so I've always tried to run by that.

CG: I mean, you got to do it what... when you wake up and look in the mirror, man, you got, it's a lot easier to just be consistent with that, you know.

Richard: I remember hearing a story about - I won't bring up names - but somebody was playing with this band, this friend of mine, playing with a friend of mine's band, and it was a successful band. They're playing and they're in the middle of the tour, he gets a call from Rod Stewart and decides he's gonna leave and go do that gig, and totally screwed this band over, because they're in the middle of a tour and he leaves. And you hear stories about that and, you know, once you do that a couple of times people just won't hire you. And that guy now has that reputation, you know. There's certain players that are great players but they're just unscrupulous in that way and people won't hire them for obvious reasons.

CG: Sure, I totally get that, man. Hey, I don't know if you could answer this but would it be possible, I mean, you've been involved in a lot of cool projects, is it possible for you to pick like the top three experiences you've had musically? Either because of the work you did personally or the hang, the richness of the experience, the personalities involved?

Richard: Touring-wise playing with Thin Lizzy was like, you know, to play guitar harmonies with Scott Gorham was pretty, pretty up there. Man, I've had so many great experiences, I've been really lucky, but that one is one that sticks out. Like, every night was just so much fun to play those songs that were so important to me as a young kid. You know, when I was first falling in love with rock and roll. You know, that was huge. And when I was with the Dead Daisies and we toured with Charlie Drayton playing drums and Darryl Jones on bass, that was also just an incredible experience. Every night was just [?].

CG: I'm sorry, man, you broke up just the last thing.

Richard: I just said that was so much fun, it was like an adventure in music every night because it was different every night.

CG: Because of the tightness of those guys in the rhythm section?

Richard: Just because it was so pure and so, you know, it was driven, you know, the same songs would be different every night and have a different feel because that's how [?] roll, that's how Charlie rolls, you know, and so it's very purist, where he's coming from that night, what he's feeling, what he's feeling from the crowd, and that's what it became. So it was very organic in that sense and that was such an incredible learning experience.

CG: In what way?

Richard: Just because you're, you know, music is a conversation when it's at its purest form and that's what that was every night. It was a communication between all of us, it was sort of like what you and I are doing right now. And it's a conversation that happens in public for people to witness.

CG: That's a great... you know, I've never really heard that put like that but that is a really good analogy. It's a conversation in public for other people to witness.

Richard: But it's so rare nowadays. I suppose you have it with  your jam bands and that was, I guess, the attraction of like bands like the Grateful Dead and things like that because that's - albeit long-winded conversations-

CG: [laughs]

Richard: And the same with jazz, you know.

CG: But jazz is maybe in a different language.

Richard: You've got a head, right, you've got the the melody, you've got the theme, and then it's... So you riff off of that theme, you're discussing, you've got a question written down that you're gonna ask me, so you're asking me that question, we could have this conversation, you know,
everyday for the next couple of months and the answers would be different, you know, and you would try to elicit a different response because you don't want to hear the same stories again. Okay? So that's what Charlie does,  and he really drives when he's, you know, he drives the engine so he's gonna lead it in a different way cuz he wants to hear a different response, you know.

CG: Yeah, that's really cool. That makes your life be so much more interesting then.

Richard: Man, tell me about, that's the beauty of Guns N' Roses. I mean, that's why that band for me is so much fun to play with and it's so different than when you're in a situation where you're playing the same songs in the exact same way every night. And that's so much of what music has become. And that sad. But, you know, then there's bands that don't do it that way, there's bands like, you know, The Flaming Lips or bands like Tame Impala, you know, where they are trying to keep that going, you know. In Guns N' Roses there are those moments that are open-ended questions, that are open-ended conversations, and then there are the things that are the same every night, you know, but those moments somehow open it up and make it... I don't know, it affects the entire night.

CG: In a good way, right?

Richard: Yeah, in a way that even the parts that are exactly the same are still more... we're in tune with each other as far as supporting each other and who is taking the focus or who's directing the conversation at that point, you know what I mean? I think we're more supportive because we're all listening. And we're tuned in.... man, I've done so many tours where, you know, you're playing to tracks and it's not really a conversation, no-one's really necessarily listening to each other, we're listening to what they need to hear, to be tight with what's going on.

CG: Yeah, I get it. That sucks. I saw a concert and I'm not gonna say who it is on the air, but I saw a concert recently and it was like that, it was horrible, man. You know, like the guitar player, who I really love, I've never seen him live before. It was really disappointing cuz like there was zero emotion coming out of him, was just like collecting tolls, you know, like his motions were so mechanical it was like, "Oh my god." I just said, you know, "I hope this is an off night for the guy or maybe something's going on or maybe he's feeling ill or something like that," but I was like, "Oh my god, this is really disappointing." You could tell, like you just said, it wasn't authentic, it was like-

Richard: Right, he's sort of phoning it in, man. But, you know what, it's the situation. I mean, I've done gigs like that and I'll tell you those gigs are the ones that feel like a job. You know. And sometimes those tours are with bands that the other players are phenomenal players but for whatever reason they're, you know... people want to hear pop tours, you know, they want to hear it sound like the record and they want to hear, you know, little variations and but they're the same every night, they're completely scripted and, you know. Those those gigs it feels like a job.

CG: It is. I mean, and look I think we all - in whatever business you're in - some gigs you have to take just to pay the bills, you know. That's just the reality of it that not every gig, I think no matter what you do, is gonna be like, "Oh wow, this is exciting." Not every single-

Richard: No, but you don't know when you get into it, you know, so you commit to doing a tour because of the people that are involved, do you think, "Okay, cool," you know, "it's gonna be cool because I'm gonna learn something, because I'm gonna be playing with these guys," and, you know, "they're great players," so you know. And then you get into it and after a couple of weeks you're like, "Yeah, this is," you know, "this is a job," and you know then hopefully you are able to move on and do something else, you know, or you don't. I don't know, I guess I've been very fortunate in that way when I've gotten into situations like that. I have not found it difficult to get myself out.

CG: That's great. Let me ask you this, you're a super optimistic guy so I don't want to bring your head down but what were some of the lower points or the more challenging times of your career? And how did you manage to get through them? And how did you manage to like, you know, fight off any sort of negative messages that you might have been receiving at the time?

Richard: You know, I've been really very, very fortunate in that I haven't really struggled, you know. I mean, I might not have been making a lot of money but I was working all the time. And to me, not working is a struggle. So I guess it's never felt like I've never had to work a real job. You know, I've never had to wait tables or, you know, I've never had to do anything like that since I was a kid, since I had been a professional musician. And I've always gone to bigger gigs, I guess, you know.

CG: That's fantastic. So let me ask you this-

Richard: Actually, that's not true, that's not true. I've done smaller tours but they were because I wanted to do them, if that make sense.

CG: No, totally, makes sense. So let me ask you this, why do you think that is? If there is a "why". Maybe it's just, you know, this is your destiny kind of thing and that's it and you just put your head down and did what you're supposed to do and, you know, it all worked out, which happens once in a while. But do you think there's a reason why?

Richard: Oh, I don't know. You know, I never lived beyond my means, I always kept my not very low, so I didn't have to struggle for gigs and, you know, when I was doing sessions for a while in New York I was making more money. I couldn't afford a tour because I was making too much money in the studios. And then I started my own business where - because I was doing a lot of jingle work - I was doing a lot of sessions for commercials and things like that and then I was like, "Man." Then I started getting asked to demo on my own for commercials, and then I landed a couple of really big ones, and then I so I had this company and that's what we did. And meanwhile I was still doing sessions for different people and I was able to work around those with my own business, you know, but I couldn't afford to go on the road because it just didn't-

CG: It would cost you money.

Richard: Right. And in certain circumstances like with Love Spit Love or the Furs I would find a way to do it because I love doing it, it's a nice balance, you know. But yeah it was difficult for me and I turned down a lot of tours. But I don't know, I enjoy both elements, you know, recording and being on the road equally, I think.

CG: Do you still do the licensing? Are you still doing stuff like that?

Richard: No, it's few and far between. And the money is just... now what you get for a commercial when it goes final is what we used to get for demos. It's just a totally different world, you know, to what it was back then.

CG: Hey, let's talk gear for a few minutes.

Richard: But I wanted to say, but I think the reason for that is because there are so many musicians now that are doing it and undercutting each other because everybody has a studio in their house and, you know, even if you're in an apartment in New York you still have a studio because all you need is a computer, a couple of good mic[?] and a couple of good mics and, you know, you can do it all in the box. And people are saying, "Hey, I'll do it for five grand," "I'll do it for three grand," you know, and so, you know, that's just what it's become.

CG: I understand that. Yeah, I think it's unfortunate, I think it's like that in every business. You always have people that are just like giving stuff away and it really, you know, devalues the product.

Richard: Yeah, and all the guys that were doing what I did, you know, making a living playing sessions, you know, they're not, you know, surviving doing that anymore because it's just that work is not there, the labels don't have budgets like they used to, you know, and so it just trickles down.

CG: And you said when you lived in the city, you lived in Lower East Side, right?

Richard: Yeah, I still love my apartment on the Lower East Side. Yeah, I own it, I rent it out right now, but I still go back to New York quite a bit for work, just to do sessions.

CG: For session work? That's great. I love the city, man, the energy there is just off the charts.

Richard: Most of my album session work is done at home now and really it's ideal because I've got, you know, a Pro Tools rig and, I mean, I've had one for the last 20 years but now I can do sessions, I've got great microphone, I've got great preamps, I've got every guitar amp known to man, I've got a guitar collection, I've got a million pedal, so it's all here. And, you know, when you go to do a session you've got to pick.

CG: And you got to schlep all that stuff with you.

Richard: Yeah, have it carted there, you know. And in New York, you know, that was... it was a major issue because they had a cartage company that would take, they'd be taking one set of amps to one studio, you know, amps and guitars, and then I'd travel with, you know, assorted pedals, and then I'd have to run back to my studio grab more pedals that I wanted to use for the next session while the cartage company was setting up the gear at the next play. And that's just sort of how it worked, you know. And in the morning I'd spend the day going over what was gonna go where, what gear I wanted to go where with my cartage company, and yeah, it was just different times.

CG: Yeah, logistics is tough in New York, man, for doing just about anything.

Richard: But, you know, I had it worked out, I had a system. But now, man, it's so much easier just to have all my gear at home in a live room and, you know, you can pick out what you want. But anyway, that leads us to gear.

CG: You got some awesome, awesome guitars. What would you say right now - not for studio work, I mean just the guitar you like - what's your go-to guitar?

Richard: Okay, it's in my hands right. I just bought this '53 Goldtop that is my favorite thing in the world, like I'm so madly in love with this guitar.

CG: Get out, of all the Les Pauls you have, you just got your favorite one now?

Richard: It's a '53 - well, I mean, this week - it's a '53 and it's, you know, so it's just so alive and so incredible sounding.

CG: I want to turn on the camera just to see this for one sec and then we'll turn it back off. I want to see it. Oh, nice, man!

Richard: Wrap around and look how clean it is.

CG: That's so clean. I cannot believe it's still full gold and everything.

Richard: It is so vibe-y, it's just so much fun to play. I can't stop, it's just amazing. Man, I sat in with the Live guys last night and I wanted to bring this so badly and I couldn't because I was going to play with them and then I was gonna go see Robert Plant who's playing at this club [?] but I didn't want to leave this in my car in my neighborhood in St. Louis where everybody's gear gets stolen.

CG: Wow, what a beautiful guitar.

Richard: Yeah, let me turn this back off because it already started chopping.

CG: So let me ask you, where did you get that? In St. Louis?

Richard: No, I got it from CME, from Chicago Music Exchange.

CG: Wow, awesome, congratulations, man. I hope you have many years of playing it. That's a beautiful guitar.

Richard: I actually I bought another guitar not long ago from them as well. Man, I find some great stuff through those guys and they're such great people. I love that place.

CG: Do you just have like a an ongoing open list with them? Like, "If this comes in, call me," "If that comes in-"

Richard: The owners are really good friends of mine and so, yeah, when I, you know, if I'm looking for something, I put it out there, and yeah, they just come across so much great stuff. But I bought a '66 or, no sorry, '64 Casino, Epiphone Casino-

[cut gear talk]

Richard: It's impossible to put on the spot and think of like...

CG: Hey man, what a great problem to have, good for you.

Richard: Dude, I got to jam with Angus Young.

CG: Did you really?

Richard: Nobody can say that. I've played with them many times, yeah.

CG: What's he like when you're playing with him energy-wise?

Richard: All you're doing is supporting him, you know, you're supporting the song and him. He's a little bit of ball of energy, man, he's Angus Young, he's a force.

CG: Yeah, he really is.

Richard: Yeah, it's incredible. I mean, the first time we played with him he came out in the suit. And, man, I'm looking at Duff and Slash and we're all looking, and Frank, and we're all looking at each other like, "Oh, my god, we're playing with Angus!"

CG: Frank Sidorus?

Richard: Frank Ferrer, our drummer. And, you know, I've been playing with Frank since '94... no, before that, because he he was in a band called the Beautiful and they supported my first band, Pale Divine, in the Midwest on some shows, right? And then I was walking down the street, I was working with Butler on that Love Spit Love album, the first Love Spit Love album, we were writing it, we were auditioning drummers to put together a band to record the album. And I was walking down the street and I saw him closing up St. Mark's Leather, this shoe shop and I'm like, "Hey!" he's like, "Hey, man! What's going on?" "I'm good, what's going on with the Beautiful?" he's like, "We just broke up," and I said, "Really? We're looking for drummers." Yeah, and so we played... he got that gig, Love Spit Love. And then we started the Furs up again, he came played with the Furs, then he toured with the Dead Daisies, he toured with - we had a band together called Honky Toast that was on Epic - that's a really cool record... We've done so much stuff together.

CG: But how nutty is it, and I mean, this is just how life works, but it always boggles my mind that if you would have left or he would have closed up that shop five minutes later like none of that might not even have happened.

Richard: That's the beauty of life.

CG: It's fucking ama... When I hear stuff like that-

Richard: It just doesn't... I don't know, man, you know, it's almost as if I expect it in way. Like, my life has been so much like.

CG: That's great, man, that's really cool.

Richard: And I'm surrounded by people that that happens to all the time [laughs]. I know it sounds weird but...

CG: No, it doesn't. It doesn't. I think that a lot of that has to do with your outlook on what you expect out of the world, you know? And how comfortable... not like expect as in entitled but like how confident you are that the universe is just gonna take care of you, that everything's gonna work out.

Richard: Exactly, that's exactly it.

CG: Do you remember the first record you ever purchased?

Richard: I remember... Well, the first ones were Columbia Records and Tapes-

CG: The Columbia Music Club?

Richard: Yeah. I convinced my mom to give me the $12 or whatever and I'm as a little kid and I remember I bought Aerosmith Rocks - cuz you could pick 12, right?

CG: I got Rocks from them also.

Richard: I got Beach Boys Pet Sounds, I got Simon and Garfunkle-

CG: Bridge Over Troubled Water?

Richard: I think it was a greatest hits. What else? Oh, KISS Alive I. So I think that those were like the first ones. What else was in that group? But then I remember when Love Gun came out I walked to the store, I'd been saving money and I walked up to the store, bought it, it was the dead of summer, right? And on so I walked up, got it, put down my twelve dollars, whatever it was, got home, opened the record and it was completely warped because of the sun [laughs]

CG: Remember that when you put a warped record, and that would really suck, as you put a warp record and you'd like actually watch it, it would be so horrifying-

Richard: And you try and weight the needle down with like a quarter or something.

CG: Or then you try to put it in the sun underneath a stack of books and thinking it would fix it.

Richard: No, I never tried that.

CG: I used to do shit like that.

Richard: It never worked though?

[laughs]

CG: No. If I asked you to pick top three, I mean, just for now, man, desert island discs, no particular order and knowing it could change tomorrow? I know this is tough.

Richard: I mean, just like off the top of my head I'd say Pet Sounds, Beggars Banquet and, man... I don't know, man, Wired or Blow By Blow comes to mind but it would probably be a Beatles record... or, jesus.

CG: Man, it's just three [?] you're getting carried away.

Richard: Physical Graffiti.

CG: Great record. A lot of people have picked that one actually. A lot of people pick Beggars Banquet. I think it's the first time I've heard Pet Sounds.

Richard: Really?

CG: Surprisingly, yeah.

Richard: Oh god, that record still makes me cry. It came on last night when we were driving, it's just like, "God," I'm just always completely floored by the beauty of that record.

CG: Is that a... Sloop John B is on that, right?

Richard: No.

CG: Oh, it's not? I love that Beach Boys song.

Richard: Yes, that's a great song.

CG: What's the most important things that you've learned about yourself throughout your career experience and through life in general?

Richard: I don't know, I mean, again, I think if you ask me ten minutes from now it would be different, but what we were just talking about about being open to the universe and knowing that I'm gonna be alright, you know, knowing that I'm always gonna be in the presence of like-minded individuals.

CG: You had a good childhood, I would imagine, right? Because generally when that comes so naturally to you that's what it means... or maybe not?

Richard: I don't know. You know, it's funny cuz I was talking to my kid's therapist about that and she's like, "How did you get to be this way?" because she knows my mom, and I don't know, I don't know. I guess I did have a... I think you just are who you are, you know, and as a parent I think you can relate to that, right? My kids are who they all are, they've always been who they were. It didn't have anything to do with me. I mean, of course elements, but they are who they are.

CG: Yeah, but don't you think that like the environment you grow up in has a huge influence on how you process, you know, your coping skills, or your outlook on things?

Richard: Yeah, I guess so.

CG: Your expectations of things? Not that you can't change those moving forward.

Richard: Yeah, I guess so.

CG:  I'm pretty good, you know, sort of reading people and when I have seen people that, you know, have this very not forced attitude, the way you are, you're like very easy about it, you know, not entitled but it's not forced either, you know, "Hey, I'm comfortable, I know that everything's gonna work out." Generally I've noticed that that usually comes from a super stable childhood. Now, maybe yours wasn't and you just somehow switched that around?

Richard: No, you know, I'm not, I definitely didn't have a difficult childhood, I don't think. You know, I grew up in the suburbs, we were all delinquents, you know. But that was just sort of the time, you know, with drugs and...

CG: Yeah, but that's you decision, right? You know, what I'm talking about is like the environment-

Richard: [?] the delinquency, that was just, it was a me decision for sure, you know.

CG: Yeah, I mean unless it was a response to like there was fucked-up shit going on at home and you had to escape-

Richard: No, no. So, you're probably right.

CG: Well, that's just something I've observed, you know. And you have it like very natural, man. What's the word? It's very natural for you, you're calm about it, you know, you're wired into your DNA like that, it's almost...

Richard: Yeah, it is what it is, right?

CG: Yeah, yeah, but it's good, you know, it's good the way it is I think for you. Tell me something about yourself that people would either be surprised to hear or might find a little odd.

Richard: I don't know cuz I don't know how... I don't know what anybody thinks about me. I don't know, that's a tough one. Yeah, I mean, what would you say? What would with something about you that your listeners don't know about you? That would surprise them?

CG: It's a good question, Rich.

Richard: I didn't ask it, you did.

[laughs]

CG: You asked it to me. You just put the mirror up. Something about me that... Man, there's a lot. I had very bad communication skills when I was younger. Horrible. I didn't know how to get along with anybody, literally anybody.

Richard: Really? You were an only child?

CG: No, I was the oldest of three. Terrible upbringing. So I had to learn how to like sort of do all that on my own. Like now I can talk to like a soap dish and like have them talk, have the dish talk back, but yeah-

Richard: I'm a perfect example of that soap dish.

[laughs]

CG: So that would probably be surprising that I did not know how to speak, really bad communication skills, didn't know how to deal with people at all.

Richard: Oh, that is surprising.

CG: Yeah, probably I figured that would be surprising.

Richard: Wow, that's a trip. Yeah, you know, it's weird, I've been asked that before. I don't know, It's so hard for me to think about what people, how people perceive me or, you know-

CG: Oh yeah, yeah.

Richard: And it's weird because we were... It's so difficult for me to really get my head around the fact that I stand on stage in front of 80,000 people a night, like that's just so difficult [laughs]

CG: In what way?

Richard: It's just to think that there are that many people looking at you at one given moment. And trying to figure out like and in making evaluations or thinking about what kind of person you are, what you know, how mysterious it may be. I don't know, it's strange, you know.

CG: Yeah, it's funny because I was talking to another artist and they were saying something about it's really weird because when you meet people, like you know, like at VIP type things or just whatever, he said a lot of times, or the people you see in the street, the people have this relationship with you which, like, may not have anything to do with, you know, who they really are.

Richard: Yeah, it's bizarre. Cuz people always say, "Wow, I never thought you would be so nice, you're like a normal guy." What the fuck does that mean?

CG: That's the answer to your question [laughs]

Richard: So you you take that into consideration then you think about there's, you know, 60 to 80 thousand, whatever people, they'll all have this whatever their images of you based on the YouTube videos that they watched and based on the, you know, how they perceive you onstage and how that reflects your character, it's interesting.

CG: It is interesting, man. And I think like for me, one of the things the reasons I think that this show has worked is because I have none of those images because I know that we're all like you're super well... you have a craft that you've excelled in but, you know, you have the same things going on in your life that I do and everybody else does, you know-

Richard: That's right!

CG: You want your kids to be healthy. All right, three questions left. Happiest moment or time in your life?

Richard: When my daughters were born.

CG: Most important thing your dad and mom taught you?

Richard: You know, I think the thing that sticks with me is that my father once said to me, he said, "You are blessed because you're able to do what you love and you would be doing it for free if you weren't getting paid for it."

CG: And mom, anything in particular she said?

Richard: No.

CG: All right, man, last question. Can you talk about a specific experience that changed your life a little bit or altered the way you think about things?

Richard: Well, I mean, being a parent definitely changes everything because you're living for somebody else, not for yourself anymore.

CG: Oh man, Richard, I can't thank you enough for your time. This has been great. I really appreciate everything, man. And anything you want to promote or anything like that?

Richard: No, no. I'm excited for you interview Ricky, though.

CG: Thanks. I just made a note and I gotta send you his interview when it comes out, man. Everybody, thanks for listening.
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