Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus is speaking out and letting it all come out, saying Poison isn’t exactly ‘legit’ in a new interview. As he has rocked his way through the music industry – hand banging, jumping, leaping, and belting out some mean tunes, the rocker is explaining just how much the industry has changed. He has also stated that he feels the music industry has flipped. What does he mean exactly?
According to Insider, Guns N’ Roses rhythm guitarist said he used to lump GN’R “with all the other 1980s hair metal” as a kid, and painted a brutally honest picture of what being a professional musician means in today’s world. A far cry from the 1980’s and 1990’s for certain.
The soft-spoken Richard Fortus may not be the first musician that comes to peoples’ minds at the mention of the infamous Guns N’ Roses, but he has nevertheless proven to be an essential part of the band ever since he first joined them in the year of our Lord, 2002 – and is, in fact, the third longest-serving member after Axl Rose and keyboardist Dizzy Reed. How about that.
And while his style (both sonic and visual) makes Richard Fortus fit perfectly within the larger picture of GN’R (proven by over two decades he’s been with the band), the guitarist tells Headliner in a new interview that he wasn’t always a fan of the legendary LA outfit. Asked what it’s like working with fellow ax-wielder Slash and bassist Duff McKagan, Fortus said:
“Slash and Duff and I all come from similar musical backgrounds and have a lot of the same influences. We get along very well, and the funny thing is, I wasn’t that into Guns N’ Roses as a kid because I lumped them in with all the other ’80s hair metal.
“I suppose I realised they were more legit than bands like Poison, but they weren’t on my radar then. Once I got into the band, I realized how much we have in common.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Fortus was asked to share some advice for up-and-coming young musicians, to which he replied:
“Don’t go into the music business at all! [Laughs.] I was lucky enough to catch the tail end of session work when there were actual recording budgets. During most of my early career, most of the revenue came from record sales and touring was done to support the record.
“Now, it’s flipped. If you manage to make any money at all it’s going to be from live shows and merchandise, and your record is one more piece of promo to support that. So, if anything I’d say gravitate towards touring work.
“I have two daughters and my 15-year-old is in a band. They write songs, record and do gigs. My wife and I stress to her all the time that music is an amazing creative outlet whether you make money at it or not.
“But I also recognise that some people don’t do this as a choice. They do it because they have no other choice. It’s who they are. It’s certainly who I was, staying up half the night as a teenager, listening, analysing, transcribing and copping riffs. If you’re in that boat, learn software like Pro Tools. Be a recording engineer on top of playing an instrument or singing. Put out as much music as you can.”