Richard Fortus, the guitarist of the hard rock band Guns N’ Roses since 2002, has given an interview to The Radical Pod and recalled the times he joined the band while initially refusing the offer of Axl Rose for the pop star Enrique Iglesias.
During his recent conversation on the podcast, the longest-tenured member of Guns N’ Roses, Richard Fortus has talked about the period when he auditioned to be the guitarist of the band while being the live guitarist of Enrique Iglesias at the same time.
He looked back on those days and remembered he declined the instruction of Axl Rose to start the rehearsals in two weeks since he didn’t want to let Iglesias down in the middle of his tour.
Fortus said that Rose started to get pissed off, as rightfully expected, but he thought about it and accepted to wait for him. Unveiled a memory from 18 years ago, Richard Fortus remarked a highly unusual act of Rose, who is renowned with his contradictory manners.
Here is what Richard Fortus said about the time he joined Guns N’ Roses:
“A couple of days before I left [for the audition], I couldn’t get a hold of anybody, so I just figured in typical GN’R fashion, ‘Yeah, things changed…’
So I get out to LA to do another session, and [bassist] Tommy Stinson and [drummer] Josh Freese were on the session, which was ironic, and I’m like, ‘Hey, I was supposed to actually audition for you.’
They’re like, ‘Oh, you’re the guy from New York! Yeah, Axl found this guy Buckethead and called off all the auditions.’ So, cut to two years later, Tommy and I went out that night and became best friends, like, The Replacements were always one of my favorite bands.”
“The first time I saw them I think I was 14 or 15, and they were opening for someone, so we hit it off, and you know, did a bunch of other stuff together. And then next time Guns needed somebody, they called me.
So, I was on tour in Europe with Enrique Iglesias, and I flew, we did two or three shows at Royal Albert Hall [in London, UK], and then on the last show, I had a car waiting, got off stage, jumped in the car, flew to Los Angeles – because we had two days off – did the audition, stayed up all night talking to Axl [Rose], got back on a plane, and flew back to Europe.
At the airport, at LAX, I’m sitting there waiting for my flight – I’d been up for like 30-something hours straight – and I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my plane, and this guy comes up to me and goes, ‘Excuse me, sir, are you who I think you are?’
I’m like, ‘Probably not.’ And he said, ‘You’re not Izzy Stradlin…?’ Nobody ever said that to me in my life, and I sort of look around thinking I’m being punked, and I said, ‘No, I’m not, but I think I just took his job.’ And yeah, that was a really strange thing.”
He talked about the reaction of Axl Rose when he returned to Iglesias to finish his tour and said:
“Yeah. Axl had said, ‘Because we’re going to start rehearsals in two weeks…’, and I said, ‘Man, I can’t start in two weeks.’ And he looked at me like, ‘Are you fucking crazy?‘
And I was like, ‘I’m in the middle of this tour, I can’t leave the tour,’ and he started to get pissed off, and then he thought about it and he goes, ‘OK, we’ll wait for you because I know you won’t do it to me.’ So, that was 18 years ago.”
You can check out the rest of the interview below.
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