In a wide-ranging interview seen in the video below, GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Richard Fortus shares his long history with Gretsch guitars and discusses his involvement in the band's current "Not In This Lifetime" reunion tour.
Fortus, who joined GUNS N' ROSES in 2001 and became the band's longest-serving post-Slash guitarist, says: "I've been playing with GUNS N' ROSES for, like, what, fifteen years now, and it's been an incredible experience. And the work ethic that these guys have is amazing. And I think I've rehearsed more in this last year with that band than I have in the previous fourteen years put together. It's been really intense and very focused and a great learning experience as well as a great honor to play with those guys."
The "Not In This Lifetime" tour features classic lineup members Slash, Duff McKagan (bass) and Axl Rose (vocals) backed by Fortus, drummer Frank Ferrer, keyboardist Dizzy Reed and new second keyboardist Melissa Reese.
Regarding how he joined GUNS N' ROSES, Fortus told Reverb.com: "I came into GUNS N' ROSES because some of my friends were in the band. Josh Freese was playing drums, Tommy Stinson was playing bass… Robin Finck [was on guitar]… It was, like, 'Yeah, sign me up. Let's do this.' And it was great during that time to play with those guys and to make 'Chinese Democracy'. It was a fun experience, 'cause we were all such great friends. I also identify a lot with [former GUNS N' ROSES guitarist] Izzy [Stradlin], personally and musically and what he does and where he came from. There's a lot of similarities. We, actually, when we were together, when we've played together, we have a lot of fun playing old [THE ROLLING] STONES stuff, AEROSMITH… We came up with the same type of stuff. So I think I approach it in a similar way that he did, where I tend to go for a lower-gain type of sound, maybe a bit more 'vintage-y' than Slash's high-gain sound. And I think that's sort of where he just naturally went as well. So I think there's similarities in that."