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The repeated onstage lateness of Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose has always taken fans to breaking point, and it’s usually at that very point that Axl arrives on stage to rapturous applause. Now, Guns N’ Roses and The Dead Daises guitarist Richard Fortus has explained why Axl is so tardy.
Interviewed on a recent edition of the One On One With Mitch Lafon podcast, Fortus told the Canadian journalist that GNR work differently to other bands, because of the way Axl does things.
Fortus began by talking about the delays in releasing new Gunners material. “He won’t whore himself out,” the guitarist said of Rose. “He won’t do anything for business or money; it’s just about the music. And he won’t defend himself in the press, because he doesn’t think it matters; it’s just about the music — that’s all he cares about.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people in this business, and I’ve never seen, or met, anybody that was motivatd purely by that — by the desire to make art.”
He continued: “The last few years, it’s been very… It’s not like a lot of bands, where it’s like clockwork. It’s different, and it’s never gonna be that, because that’s not who [Axl] is. But, man, you know, he’s the real deal. He is the real deal. And he lives it, and, like I said, all he cares about is the music.”
Interestingly, Fortus admitted that he originally thought Axl — who has been named the greatest singer of all time by some — was strategically planning out his late stage entrances, but later discovered it was something a little more complicated.
“For the longest time, when I first started with the band even, I thought it was by design. I thought, ‘He has this worked out.’ ‘Cause, you know, it’s two hours after we’re supposed to start, three hours… and people are… stadiums full of people just booing. And the second he’d walk out on stage, all that energy, all that… on the verge of chaos, of just imploding and everyone just rioting, right at that moment he walks out on stage, and all of that negative energy just goes totally up right into the palm of his hand. I mean, it’s phenomenal to watch. And I thought it was by design; I thought that he had figured out some type of way to judge the moment, but it’s not. [Laughs] It’s not.
“It’s just… That’s just what he is. He’s not gonna walk out on stage until he is… It’s not like he’s sitting back watching TV and eating potato chips. Man, he goes through a lot to walk out on stage. Just everything… with being himself… to get into the right place within himself.”
In his interview Fortus also plays down any chances of GNR tours in the near future, despite the fact that the group have been sporadically working on new material.
Guns N’ Roses last toured Australia in 2013, with fellow American rockers ZZ Top. Prior to the tour, promoter Andrew McManus even promised that Axl Rose would hit the stage right on time, despite the fact he can often be fashionably late by a good few hours.
Listen to Fortus’ full interview, beginning at around the 31:40 mark, in the player below.
Image: Guns N Roses Live In Sydney 12/03/13 / Photo: Peter Coates