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Guns N' Roses Guitarist Explains Axl Rose's Motivations

07/23/2015
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Guns N' Roses guitarist Richard Fortus shared his beliefs about what motivates the band's frontman Axl Rose, in a new interview with Rock.About.com's Bob Schallau.

Richard Fortus spoke with Schallau about the supergroup The Dead Daisies' new album "Revolución" and conversation naturally turned to his other group Guns N' Roses.

While Fortus said that the band's future plans are "up in the air" at the moment, he also discussed frontman and bandleader Axl Rose's motivations. He said, "Axl has always been cool with me and he's a hell of a musician. Some people are just really musical. They just are music and he is music personified, he really is. He's just one of the cats that just lives it. He always thinks musically. He listens - which is what makes him a great musician. Music is all that matters to him. I've never met anyone with as much musical and artistic integrity as Axl Rose.

"People talk about not doing stuff for money, but he really will not do something strictly for money. He's all about the music. It's gotta be about the music. That's why he doesn't do interviews, because it's not about the music. And to him that's the only thing that matters. I think that's incredibly admirable. Axl encompasses in a lot of ways what's missing from rock n' roll now - his mystique and he's an enigma.

"And he won't talk. He won't defend himself. People like Slash know that. They know Axl's not going to defend himself in the press. So they'll say whatever they want about him knowing he's not going to refute it. Because early on he got screwed over so much by journalists over and over again to the point where he won't do it. People are gonna say whatever the f--- they want to say. But he's at a place where it's not about anything other than the music. That's all he cares about and you don't see that anymore."

Fortus also discussed what his audition for the band was like back in 2001. He said, "I had received a call to asking me if I was interested in auditioning for GNR. I was heading out to L.A. in a few weeks at the time and I said 'Yeah sure. I'm going to be out there anyway doing a record so I'll do it at this time.' They said, 'Great.' I had spoken back and forth with their management and I didn't hear anything back from them, so I thought, 'It's not happening.' Then I got out to L.A. and Tommy Stinson [The Replacements] and Josh Freese [A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails], who were the bass player and drummer with GNR at the time, were the rhythm section for the album I was hired to play on.

"So I said, 'Hey! I was supposed to come audition for you guys this week. Funny that we're playing on the same session.' They said, 'Oh yeah! You're the guy! Well Axl found this guy Buckethead and he called off all the auditions.' We did the record and Tommy and I became best friends and we ended up doing a bunch of other stuff together. And Josh and I did some stuff together. But next time GNR needed somebody about a year later they called me again. At that time I was on tour in Europe. I had two days off and I flew to L.A. from London. I got off the plane did the audition, got to hang out with Axl talking about music, and then got back on the plane, went back to Europe and finished the tour I was on. After that tour ended I started with GNR in 2001."

Read the full interview here.

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