The Dead Daisies’ Richard Fortus Talks ‘Face I Love’ EP, Summer Tour Plans + More
The Dead Daisies may be a band moniker that’s still somewhat fresh to you, but you’re likely familiar with the members. Fronted by one-time INXS vocalist Jon Stevens, the band also currently includes members of Guns N’ Roses (Richard Fortus and Dizzy Reed), Thin Lizzy (Marco Mendoza), Whitesnake (Brian Tichy) and Mink (David Lowy). Having toured as part of the Uproar Festival and released a self-titled album in 2013, the band is now turning their attention to new music with an EP titled ‘Face I Love.’
Loudwire had a chance to speak with The Dead Daisies guitarist Richard Fortus about the lure of the band for him, their upcoming album and touring plans and more. Check out our chat with Richard Fortus below.
Richard, first off congrats on The Dead Daisies album. It’s just a great straight-up rock album, and I’ve loved what I’ve heard.
Thanks! I’m really proud and excited about it. Thanks for listening to it.
Obviously, you’ve had a chance to play in several bands over the years, and The Dead Daisies has an impressive group of players in it. Can you talk about how you came to join the band and what first drew you to the music?
Charley Drayton called me about it. He sent me the album that David [Lowy] and Jon [Stevens] did together and told me that they were putting a band together to support it. Whenever Charley Drayton calls, I go — mainly because I know I’m going to learn something. I know that I will walk away a better musician. I loved Jon’s voice and it seemed like a fun project.
My first impression of The Dead Daisies is that while it is a rock band, there’s that bluesy vibe to it as well that gives it an extra kick. Can you talk how much of your own musical influences factor into the sound that comes from The Dead Daisies?
It’s decidedly retro. We set out to make classic sounding rock ‘n’ roll. It’s directly and unabashedly influenced by all the great music that we grew up listening to in the ’70s and ’80s. We are not looking to reinvent the wheel, yet by combining all of our influences, I believe we’ve come up with some very unique songs that somehow still sound familiar.
While the band members are all rock vets and you already have a history with Dizzy [Reed], there was no guarantee that this would work. But as we can hear on record, it definitely has. Take me back to the beginnings of this group and can you tell me when you knew this band was starting to connect musically — whether it be in the studio or just playing live?
Oh man, as soon I heard Jon’s voice, I was excited to write with him. Dizzy and I had worked quite a bit together as had Marco [Mendoza] and I. I knew we would come up with some great stuff. The writing and recording process has been so natural and organic. The songs just seem to flow when we get together.
You’ve got a new song coming soon with the track ‘Face I Love.’ I’ve seen some fan-shot footage of the band playing it live at a recent show and it looks like it’s going to be a special track. Tell me a little bit about the song itself, how it came together and what it’s been like to get it out there in front of an audience.
I’d had the main riff for years. It came together very very easily and quickly. The first few times we played it in front of an audience, we knew we had a winner. People really seem to respond instantly to it. It sort of reminds me of so many of my favorite bands — everyone from AC/DC to the Faces, Humble Pie, Free … all of my favorite ’70s bands.
I also see the band is doing a special promotion for ‘Face I Love’ complete with fans sharing photos and an app. If you want to share what it is the band is doing with the song and how fans can get involved.
It’s a Facebook app. You upload a photo of the “face you love” and it goes in to a huge mosaic of the Dead Daisies skull logo, which will then be used as the album cover, video and tour poster.
With ‘Face I Love’ being a new song, any additional new music on the horizon? I think I saw mention of an EP, but will there be a full-length to follow?
The EP is coming out next month with four songs on it and then we are just finishing up vocals on four more. That will be out in the fall. I guess that after we get three EP’s out, we’ll bundle them all for a super low price! It’s so great to always be working on new stuff and getting it out ASAP.
The Dead Daisies have used their connections well when it comes to playing live. From Uproar last year to playing with Aerosmith and ZZ Top, that’s a great start for a band. This summer we’ll see you playing on two great bills — one with Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd and the other one with KISS and Def Leppard. You’ve got to feel like you’re living right playing with such legends. Give us your thoughts on both tours this summer.
Bad Company / Skynyrd is gonna be amazing. I’m so psyched to play with both of those bands. They were such an influence on me. I saw Bad Company when I was 12-years-old. Paul Rodgers has always been one of my favorite singers. I am a huge Free fan as well.
I’m friends with all of the Def Leppard guys and their crew. When I was with Thin Lizzy, we supported them through Europe. They are all great guys. So I’m really looking forward to that run as well. I think that we will walk away from these tours with a lot of new fans!
With over a year of touring under the belt now, what Dead Daisies songs have come to the forefront as your favorites to play live. What’s striking a chord with you right now?
I think that ‘Face I Love’ and ‘Your Karma’ from the new EP are both great live songs. I also think that ‘Washington’ and ‘Lock n’ Load’ from the first record both go down well every night as well.
You’ve made your name in recent years as part of Guns N’ Roses. Can you perhaps compare and/or contrast what GN’R and The Dead Daisies provide you creatively as a musician. What are some of the best things about both gigs?
Well, I’ve been with GN’R for almost 13 years now. Some of my closest friends are in that band. Writing with GN’R seems completely different than with the Daisies. WIth GN’R, Axl likes to assemble different pieces together. He’ll pull different things from different people and somehow make them all fit together. He’s really genius with that. WIth the Daisies, the songs sort of write themselves. Things just flow and we aren’t really precious about them. They just sort of appear.
I have more room to stretch out with the Daisies. Mainly because there are fewer people in the band, so there is more sonic space. I also enjoy the way all the pieces have to fit perfectly together with GN’R. Also, GN’R's shows are different every night. We never know what we are going to play when we walk onstage. We have a rough outline, but things change all the time. It’s a fun challenge.
And finally, the summer is pretty much spoken for with your touring, but anything on the horizon you want to mention about Dead Daisies and what the future holds?
There are plans of touring with some other big acts next year. I’m sure we’ll just continue to keep churning out music and it seems like we are continuing to grow with every new batch of songs. It’s such a blast to work with these guys and to see the band growing and winning over new fans every night. I think this will be a very big year for us.
Richard, thanks again for your time. All the best with Dead Daisies and GN’R.
Thanks for taking an interest in us. Hope to see you soon.
Many thanks to The Dead Daisies’ Richard Fortus for the interview. You can pre-order their upcoming ‘Face I Love’ EP via iTunes. The Dead Daisies self-titled album is also available here. And be sure to catch The Dead Daisies on tour this summer. Their full itinerary can be found here.