Leslie Michele Derrough of GlideMagazine.com recently conducted an interview with GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist Richard Fortus. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
GlideMagazine.com: You’re very passionate about music.
Fortus: There is too much good music out there. There are too many people out there that deserve to be heard. There’s genuine and there’s not genuine. If you’re truly a musician, you’re a messenger, you’re channeling, you’re a conduit, you’re a receptor. The energy of the universe, wherever you’re pulling your energy from, be it anger or love or whatever, it’s coming through you. It’s got to. Watch Axl [Rose] tonight. He’s there and he is in that space and you see when he gets to that space. You feel it. Any musician is that way. Watch Jeff Beck. When it happens and it clicks, it’s like a bolt of lightning hits you. And a lot of people don’t realize what’s going on. They just know that, I like this. And if this is your passion, you see it in other people and that’s what you’re drawn to. There is so much great music out there. But some musicians just miss it. Like they will put this with this and I like that about that and why isn’t it happening? Because they can’t lose themselves in the music. They’re worried about what they look like. They’re worried about what they’re going to say in between the next songs and it’s the same every night and it’s a shtick, it’s an act. I can tell you watched ALICE COOPER and you like AEROSMITH and GUNS N’ ROSES. And it’s sort of like you see where he’s pulling from, but it’s obvious. It’s like he’s trying but he’s not channeling, he’s not just letting that energy flow through him. He’s generating it and therefore it comes across as contrived. Music to me should be 100% passion-driven. If it’s not sincere and genuine, then it doesn’t resonate with me. I mean, that’s the primary and paramount thing that I am interested in. I have to believe in it, I have to believe that the person that it is coming through truly feels it and that it’s genuine and heartfelt and not contrived and not something they are thinking about, but something they are feeling. And it’s honest. It’s got to move you, it’s got to be from that place. And when I don’t resonate with something it is generally because I don’t believe in it, it doesn’t feel genuine to me, doesn’t feel real. It feels contrived and I think that’s what people generally have a problem with pop music. Most of the time pop music is completely contrived, it’s crafted and not felt. That’s why GUNS N’ ROSES has been as successful as it has been, because it’s genuine.
GlideMagazine.com: How does it make you feel when people constantly criticize GUNS and your bandmates so unfairly?
Fortus: I get it. I understand people want what they remember the band as being. A lot of times, people have a hard time accepting. Fans of FLEETWOOD MAC before they got Stevie Nicks, if they were fans of Peter Green, they didn’t get it. Most of those people, it took them a long time to accept FLEETWOOD MAC as a different band because it wasn’t Peter Green. The same deal with the SANTANA band and all the changes that band went through. For people to accept VAN HALEN with Sammy Hagar singing, even though that was their most successful time and they sold more records with Sammy Hagar, a lot of people that liked VAN HALEN from the beginning didn’t want to hear anything but David Lee Roth on it. Same thing with GENESIS. I have a hard time listening to GENESIS with Phil Collins singing after Peter Gabriel. It just goes on and on, the list is quite long. And I think it’s harder when you change singers, because it’s such a huge voice of the music and really that’s like the most personal aspect and connection to a band is generally through the singer. And when you change that, it changes the character of the band. And in the same respect, changing anybody else makes it different as well. And it’s a different band. A lot of people accept it and a lot of people don’t. And that’s OK.
Read the entire interview at GlideMagazine.com.