GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Richard Fortus recently spoke to Premier Guitar about how he brings his own style to the band's classic catalog when performing it live, especially in the years since Slash rejoined the group.
"It's a tricky thing, 'cause you obviously wanna bring your own character to the role, to those songs, but you have to really have some reverence for the song and the original parts," Richard explained (hear audio below). "So it's a fine line, it's a delicate balance that you walk between your own personality and honoring the originality of the song to begin with. And especially with GUNS, because fans are so attached to the 'Appetite [For Destruction]' album — there's not a lot of room for bringing your own thing. But especially since Slash's come back, there's a lot more openness and room for me to inject myself in."
Fortus also talked about how his musical contributions to GUNS have evolved in the two decades since he joined the band.
"It's been very interesting, because, as different players come and go, my parts morph and change to cover different parts," he explained. "So it's constantly evolving. Obviously, when Slash came [back] in, the parts of his that I was playing I wasn't gonna be playing anymore. [Laughs] But he's been incredibly gracious with me as a player.
"When [Slash] first was coming back, mutual friends of ours were, like, 'Man, good luck getting to be on the fifth fret.' [Laughs] But I have not experienced that at all. He's been incredibly gracious and really an inspiration to play with. It's very competitive in a very, very friendly, same-team type of way — always pushing each other — which I am flattered to be in that role, and for him to welcome it."
Fortus 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 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 now reportedly working on a new studio album — the first under the GUNS banner since 2008's "Chinese Democracy" and the first to feature Slash, singer Axl Rose and bassist Duff McKagan since 1993.