In an age where musicians are often easily described and defined, Richard Fortus stands apart by blending his depth of musical experience with his enthusiasm for performing. Richard is well known in the music industry for being perfect for both live music and recording situations, and has shown to be incredible versatile while performing and recording with all styles of artists. From TV commercials and show themes to movie soundtracks and video games, Richard has always found a way to bring a perfect sound to all his projects.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Richard got started with music very early by studying Violin at age 4 and drums at age 5. He studied at the Conservatory of the Arts in St. Louis and Southern Illinois University, and also played with various youth symphonies in St. Louis.
Richard formed “The Eyes” as his first band in 1984, releasing the single “Freedom in a Cage” while developing a cult following in the Midwest. In 1990, the band changed their name to Pale Divine and signed with Atlantic Records, releasing “Straight to Goodbye” in 1991.
Pale Divine toured supporting the Psychedelic Furs, beginning a long standing relationship between Richard Fortus and Furs’ singer Richard Butler. In 1992, Richard joined the Furs on tour again, this time as member. Richard Butler and Rich formed a band on their own, called Love Spit Love. Their eponymous album was released in 1994 on Imago/RCA Records. Richard Fortus co-wrote and co-produced Trysome Eatsome for the band’s second album release, on Maverick Records. Richard Butler and Rich continue to work together to this day.
In the late 90s Richard began a collaboration with Composer / Artist BT. They have recorded film scores, records, and also toured together in 2000. Around this time Richard was becoming one of the most in-demand first-call session musicians in New York City. He also because a partner in the music production company Compound, where he’s provided music for TV commercials and show themes, movie trailers, video games, industrial films, and more. Around this time, Richard worked with photographer Michael Halsband and provided the soundtrack to the film “Surf Movie.” A follow up to the well-received film is in the works, and Richard will again be providing the soundtrack.
In 2001, Richard joined legendary hard rock band Guns N’ Roses and began touring with the band and recording for the band’s long awaited “Chinese Democracy” record. The album was released to great anticipation in 2008 and Richard has continued to tour with the band in support of the record. They have played sold out shows on nearly every continent in front of millions upon millions of fans.
During his Guns N’ Roses downtime over the last 10 years, Richard has found time to always be performing and recording. From Enrique Iglesias to Rihanna to Thin Lizzy to Nena, he’s played all over the world with a dizzying array of artists. He also recorded for the Repo! The Genetic Opera, Role Models, Monster, and The Fast and the Furious soundtracks. Angela McCluskey, Jesse Malin, Fiona Apple, Tommy Stinson and the Crystal Method are just a few of the artists whose albums Richard had contributed to. In 2011, Richard lived a lifelong dream, joining and performing with the legendary Thin Lizzy.
Photo by M-Castro