Asking the question “What type of guitar player is Richard Fortus?” is potentially dangerous, because trying to answer it just might cause one’s word processor to run out of hyphens. Fortus is currently playing the dream gig of standing onstage next to Axl and Slash in Guns N’ Roses, whom he joined in 2001. He has recorded, toured, or done both with marquee artists across literally every style of modern music, including Rihanna, Enrique Iglesias, Thin Lizzy, Fiona Apple, BT, and Crystal Method. He’s been a full-on band member of The Psychedelic Furs and more recently supergroup The Dead Daisies. His film score contributions include Monster and The Fast and the Furious franchise. He joined Celestion for a far-ranging conversation about his genre-defying career, influences, musical values, gear, and how Celestion speakers — especially the Alnico Cream, G12H family, and Gold — have been his musical partner during his entire journey.
Even before his teens, Fortus’ musical tastes were eclectic. “As young as 11 or 12, I was obsessed with players like Robert Fripp, Jeff Beck, Steve Howe, early Santana, and Peter Frampton,” he recalls. “My first band, The Eyes, would play our childlike versions of songs by bands like Return To Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the Dregs. Then when I turned 14 or 15, I heard The Clash and everything changed after that. It all became less ‘muso’ and more about songwriting and energy. We started covering bands like The Police, U2, The Damned, and The Psychedelic Furs.”
“I feel like Celestion is part of my voice,” says Fortus at the end of the interview. “I have a real affinity for British amps, so much that I had 240-volt power installed in my studio so I can run them as they were meant to be run. Beyond the tubes and transformers, the biggest part of that sound is Celestion.”
Read a full-length interview with Richard Fortus on the Celestion blog here, and learn more about Celestion’s guitar loudspeakers here.