Remember the days when Axl Rose would purposely leave his audiences waiting for hours? Neither does he. The notorious hard rock diva is all about the music, according to his current G N’ R guitarist Richard Fortus, and his tardiness isn’t by design. On Feb. 18, Ultimate Classic Rock posted Fortus’ recent guest spot on Canadian rock journalist Mitch Lafon’s podcast, in which he talked about the hard rock icon’s integrity when it comes to his craft.
“I’ve never met anybody that has so much genuine musical integrity,” Fortus said of the G N’ R frontman. “He won’t whore himself out, he won’t do anything for business or money; it’s just about the music. 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.”
The guitarist added that he has never met anybody who’s been so motivated by the desire to make art, pointing out that Rose has turned down huge deals to do money-spinning tours with his former bandmates Slash, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler. “The offers for money have been outrageous,” said Fortus. “But he would never do a reunion unless it was for something besides money.”
And while Rose has a rep for being a bit of a diva on tour, Fortus hinted that the “Welcome to the Jungle” singer is just misunderstood. “It’s not like a lot of bands, where it’s like clockwork,” he said. “That’s not who [Axl] is. .. He is the real deal. And he lives it, and, like I said, all he cares about is the music. “
Fortus went on to describe a typical G N’ R concert, where it’s three hours after the show is supposed to start and people in the audience are booing. “And the second he’d walk out on stage … all of that negative energy just goes totally up right into the palm of his hand. I mean, it’s phenomenal to watch,” he said.
While Fortus first thought the rock singer had figured out some type of way to “judge the moment,” he soon realized that’s just the way Rose is, and he’s not going to walk onstage until he’s ready. “It’s not like he’s sitting back watching TV and eating potato chips,” Fortus explained. “Man, he goes through a lot to walk out on stage. Just everything… with being himself… to get into the right place within himself.”
Of course, Axl himself has admitted that he’s not a punctual person. In a 2013 interview posted on Adelaide Now, Rose apologized to anyone he’s ever inconvenienced in any way. But he was quick to add that concert tour show start times are not realistic.
“In general I usually don’t really go by or live my life by a clock and outside of touring I don’t really ask anyone else to,” he explained. “It’s not out of lack of respect for anyone or intentional. I can say I haven’t been late because I was watching a sporting event or something equally as ridiculous. The reasons have all been in one way or another show-related or having to do with those involved with the show in some fashion. It’s just my reality and I try and work on it.”