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Q&A with Richard Fortus - July 27, 2009

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Q&A with Richard Fortus - July 27, 2009 Empty Q&A with Richard Fortus - July 27, 2009

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:52 pm

A Q&A session with Richard Fortus:

When did you start playing the guitar and what made you do it?
I started on guitar at around 12 and with great trepidation. I'd started on violin when I was about 4 and had my hands full with 4 strings and was very unsure about adding 2 more to the equation. However, I was in love with the rock and violin wasn't cutting it.

What are you currently listening to on your music player?
Always changing, but right now the recent releases I'm listening to from....
Sonic Youth
Fleet Foxes
Grizzly Bear
M. Ward
The Shins
Black Moth Super Rainbow
Black lips
The Big Pink
Of Montreal
White Rabbits
Atlas Sound
(ok, i'll stop)

What do you find more rewarding, composing music scores for TV and movies, or songwriting for albums?
Don't really prefer one to the other. I'm addicted to seeing my vision through and then standing back and saying "yeah, that doesn't suck". Always striving for that. I usually find it easier to spark off of something, be it visual or conceptual.

What equipment did you use on Chinese Democracy?

Too much gear to remember or mention! I will tell you some of my favorite gear.....
Divided By 13 (ftr37 and rsa23)
My old '73 Jose-modded 100 watt Marshall (my favorite Marshall ever, and i have a lot). Voodoo Amps did an amazing job cloning this amp for me. They are incredibly meticulous. So now, I essentially have 4 of these!
Blankenship Vari-plex (even better plexi than my real plexi's!)
Tweed Gibson Explorer (beats my tweed Deluxe every time)
Tweed high power twin
Park Rock Head
Kelly Amps! They were an off-shoot of the old Selmers in the 60's. Even cooler than Selmers
GUITARS- (recent acquisitions)
'68 Gibson Trini Lopez
'73 Fender Starcaster 'white' (purchased from one of my favorite guitarists- Ted Turner of Wishbone Ash)
New Linhof tele (my favorite sounding tele I own. Even beats my '51 Nocaster!)
'60 slab board Strat
'62 white Jaguar
'71 Guild 12 string
PEDALS- oooohhhh jeez, I don't have enough time to even begin to get in to this!

What do you prefer in a guitarist or musician in general, technical prowess or feel?
I'm impressed by technical prowess (for a minute), but I never have a desire to listen to anyone unless they are really speaking to me. Most players with incredible technical skill are more interested in showing what they can do as opposed to saying something worth listening to. You're technical ability only needs to be good enough to get your point across. I'd much rather listen to an eloquent speaker than to someone showing off his vocabulary, but if you got both, well... you're Jeff Beck!

What's your favorite guitar and amplifier and why?
This is a tough one. Sort of like asking "what's your favorite color". I like to paint with a broad pallette! I go through phases. Right now, I'm really in to Jazzmasters and my new Starcaster, but I'll always be a sucker for a nice 335 or a Tele.
The /13 amps are truly modern classics. I am a nut about gear and tone. I love vintage gear and have a pretty good collection of amps and gtrs. I almost always favor older gear, but the /13's almost always beat out my vintage amps. I have old AC30's, Plexi's, Hiwatt, tweeds, etc.. I am pretty good with knowing which amp to go to to get the sound i hear in my head. My /13's probably get used more than any other amp i own.

As a professional session musician, what makes you stand out among your colleagues?
I have been obsessed with music since I was really young. I breathed, ate, slept and dreamt music for as long as I can remember. I'm always searching out new music, anything that I can even get a spark of inspiration from. So I have a very good knowledge of music history and therefore, a lot to drawn upon. Plus, my tastes are very varied.

What hobbies do you have outside of music?
I love to run. I am a long distance runner. When I'm on the road, I run 10 to 20 k a day. Keeps me grounded.

If you were to pick a single concert from history, which would you have paid most to attend?
Hmmmm, maybe Hendrix at Winterland or one of the New Barbarian shows, or maybe Humble Pie at the Fillmore, or The Stooges at the Electric Circus!

How did you like working with (great Aussie rock band) The Divinyls?
Chrissy is the real deal. Wow is she something. I absolutely adore her. Charley Drayton is one of my closest friends in the world and probably my favorite musician to work with. Every time I work with that cat, I learn something. He's the heaviest of heavies. Working with them was sheer magic.

Have you seen Brüno, and did you like it?

Didn't see it yet. I don't have the opportunity to see many films in the theater since I've got two little girls. However, I think Sasha Baron-Cohen is a comic genius and have loved everything he's done.

Ever waved glowsticks at a techno party?
I've done a lot of things at raves, but don't think I ever held a glowstick. I toured with my good friend BT for a while. Great experience. One of my favorite tours ever.

Which concert did you attend last as part of the audience?
I saw the Wiggles this afternoon. 3rd row!!

Have we had too much indie music now?

Indie in the states means any music not on a major label. So.... NO! I like people that make music because they have to, not to make $. I think the ratio of "indie" bands that are doing that as opposed to trying to become successful is far greater than major label bands.

How do you get the guitar to make a noise when you hit it on stage? I've been trying to do it and just hurt myself xD
Ahhhh, it's all on tape! I'm not even plugged in!

How high do you value the ability, as a guitarist, to be able to read music?
Depends on what kind of guitarist you want to be. It ain't necessary to read if you want to make music.

What's your favorite track from Chinese Democracy; what about GNR in general?
Favorite track from CD is probably Chinese, but it's hard to say and changes often. As far as a favorite Gn'R track... It's one YOU haven't heard yet!

We are more than 6 billion humans on this planet and as a result thousands of species go extinct each year, the climate is increasing, people are dying from malnutrition, undernutrition, wars are raging, etc -- should we on a long term scale attempt to control the population growth and perhaps stabilize it at a lower number?
We ARE controlling the population growth by allowing all that you mention. We always have in various ways. Human nature i suppose. I think that mother earth will stabilize the population on her own in the near future. We are in for a very bumpy ride in our immediate future I am afraid.

What do you prefer to play, lead or rythm?

"Wars do not determine who is right or wrong, only who is left", do you agree with this quote from Bertrand Russell?

Hey, I may be an American, but I'm not as greedy nor as egomaniacal as our leaders have been.

My wife recently bought a violin, but she gave it up early allthough she picked it up quickly. Any specific advice for this particular instrument?
I hate to say this, but I really believe that you pretty much have to learn an instrument when you are young (still in school). I believe this because it is the only time in your life when you can really truly dedicate yourself to it. More importantly, you have to love the instrument more than anything else in life.

Do you ever learn songs by using TAB/sheet music or always by ear?
I don't have a choice usually.

What future projects will you be involved in?

Right now I'm working on a piece of music for a new Swedish movie. I'm also going to be scoring a new horror movie that I'm very excited about. I'm currently working on a record with Toni Halliday from Curve. We are still writing it. Also doing a record with Angela McCluskey that is very cool. The whole record sounds like a 60's French pop record. Think Serge Gainsborg/Francois Hardy/Sylvie Vartan/Jacques Dutronc. She has one of the greatest voices I've ever heard. Very fun stuff. Also doing a country album with a band called Country Bones and doing a record with a very cool Norwegian band called Saivu. See, I told you my tastes were varied!
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