Richard Fortus ‘Wasn’t That Familiar With’ Guns N’ Roses Before Joining in 2002
Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus sat down with Fueled by Death Cast recently to talk about a variety of topics surrounding his musical career, including performing with GN’R for the past 15 years and the reunion nobody expected, which began last April.
“[The band has] morphed through several different incarnations since I’ve been in it and some pretty big changes,” Fortus says. “When I came in, I was really drawn to it because originally it was [drummer] Josh Freese and [bassist] Tommy Stinson and [guitarists] Robin Finck and Buckethead, and those were all guys that I had worked with before and was really excited to play with. I was a huge Replacements [Stinson’s former band] fan and, obviously, a big Nine Inch Nails [Freese’s former band] fan. So working with those guys was really intriguing to me.”
Fortus adds he “wasn’t that familiar with” Guns N’ Roses to begin with, having considered them just another band in the glam movement which took over Los Angeles in the mid-80s.
“I mean, obviously I knew Guns N’ Roses and I knew Appetite [for Destruction], and I knew all the big hits, but I never really owned a record; it just wasn’t my genre…Guns N’ Roses really was separated from that L.A. hair-metal scene, which is who I sort of lumped them in with initially, but once you get into it, you realize it’s much more akin to classic rock and punk rock. So it makes perfect sense that I would relate to it. Once I got into it, it fit really well for me, because that’s my background; equal parts Black Flag and Rolling Stones.”
Regarding the reunion with Slash and McKagan, Fortus says it all came together “very organically” with it basically being a right time, right place scenario as the group needed to fill a couple vacancies while the original members simply made sense.
“We didn’t have a bass player; Tommy had left to go do stuff [with the Replacements], and we didn’t have another guitar player,” Fortus describes. And we said, ‘Well, we know a couple of guys,’ and it just sort of happened in that way. Duff and I knew each other. I don’t know how much Slash was familiar with me or with Frank [Ferrer, drums], but we all got together and sort of felt out how it would be and how it was to play with each other, and it really…you know, some things click, some things don’t. And the three of us definitely clicked… I think we all agree it clicked instantly.”
April 2016 saw Guns N’ Roses kick off their reunion tour dubbed ‘Not in This Lifetime…’ after a comment frontman Axl Rose made about the chances of him rejoining Slash onstage again. Recently, the jaunt surpassed the $230 million dollar mark. Later this month it continues on with shows across Europe before returning to the States in the summer.
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