Richard Fortus says that being part of GUNS N' ROSES' "Not In This Lifetime" tour has been "beyond [his] wildest dreams."
Only singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan from GN'R's "Appetite For Destruction"-era lineup are taking part in the band's current reunion. They are being joined by Fortus, keyboardist Dizzy Reed, and drummer Frank Ferrer. Also appearing with them is second keyboardist Melissa Reese.
Fortus, who joined GUNS N' ROSES in 2001 and became the band's longest-serving post-Slash guitarist, tells Honky Tonk (see video below): "I've been in the band fourteen, fifteen years and it's now… When we were preparing for this tour, we knew how important this was gonna be, as far as historically. This was a big deal, and we had to make it as perfect as we possibly could. And we really put a lot of time into rehearsing — more than we'd ever done before — for this tour, because we knew how important it was. So there's an air of importance of… We knew it had to be great. We knew the world was watching. And it's been amazing. It's been so great. It's been really fantasic. It's beyond my wildest dreams. I never thought it would be as crazy as it's been as far as the reception [from] the fans. And it's such an honor to be a part of this."
Fortus also praised Axl as "very loyal" and "very generous," explaining that the reclusive singer "likes to have people that have his back."
According to Fortus, the feeling in the GUNS N' ROSES camp is more positive than it has been in a number of years. "Within the band, it's great," he said. "It's better than it's ever been since I've been in the band. And some of my best friends have been in this band — Tommy [Stinson] and Dizzy [Reed] and Robin [Finck]… Those are really close friends of mine. But now the vibe is better than ever. Everybody gets along great."
The St. Louis native got his big break when his band PALE DIVINE opened for THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS. This led to Fortus forming the band LOVE SPIT LOVE with PSYCHEDELIC FURS frontman Richard Butler and future GN'R drummer Frank Ferrer. In 2000, Fortus and Ferrer became touring members of the reformed PSYCHEDELIC FURS before Fortus hooked up with GUNS N' ROSES. Ferrer himself joined GN'R in 2006.
GUNS N' ROSES is coming back to North America this summer for at least another 15 stadium dates starting on July 27 in St. Louis.
The band kicked off its reunion trek last April with a club show in Hollywood and appearances in Las Vegas and at California's Coachella festival.