Welcome back to episode 128 of the podcast - legendary guitarist Richard Fortus. I talked with Richard way back in season one about the original lineup of Guns N' Roses getting back together and getting ready to embark on the Not In This Lifetime Tour. Richard returns to talk about how amazing the tour went, and how magical it is to play with that band. in fact, they are constantly riffing and recording new ideas during soundcheck, and it would be a shame if we don't hear a new album from Guns N' Roses in the future. Richard also talks about producing the next album from The Psychedelic Furs, and creating a one of a kind "acoustic electronic" album with musician BT. Also, hear about how much Richard really enjoys a good cup of coffee and his love for Pink Floyd.
Jeff: So, let's kick it off, Richard. Welcome back to the show. It's been a while since we've had you on. The last time, actually, you were on the show, we were just talking about how incredible it was, everybody getting back together in GNR. You guys were getting ready to go out on the road for Not in This Lifetime. It feels like it's been a lifetime since I've talked to you. That tour has just been incredible for you guys. Is it everything you expected it to be in more?
Richard Fortus: It's way more than I was expecting.
Jeff: Yeah? How come? How so?
Richard Fortus: I don't know. I guess I just didn't ... Going into it, I don't think I realized what the reception was going to be.
Richard Fortus: That it was going to be that big.
Jeff: I mean, really? It's Guns N' Roses.
Richard Fortus: I don't know. Actually, I don't really remember exactly what I was expecting. I was just sort of riding the wave. Yeah, I remember the first few shows we were just wow. It was pretty over the top.
Richard Fortus: The reviews were great, and people were just so welcoming and so excited about it. It's been really great.
Jeff: Well, I can speak for all of humanity and say we missed the hell out of Guns N' Roses on a giant tour like this. It was great to just see all you guys back together in full force. On that respect then I got to ask, you said it was a little bit surprising. Is there any moment from this tour that stands out to you that is like an oh shit moment, or maybe just something that surprised you?
Richard Fortus: What was the castle in ... Slaying Castle, doing that festival, which I'd done previously with Thin Lizzy. I don't remember if I had done it with Guns or not, but flying in, in the helicopter to that and seeing this sea of people was really overwhelming. It was so big, and I think we set attendance records, but there's a massive hill and then it goes down on the other side. And there were people on the other side of the hill that couldn't see the stage, but they had these giant video screens set up, which is just so bizarre to me.
Jeff: Wow. Okay, but walk it back though. You flew in on a helicopter. Did the helicopter land on the stage?
Richard Fortus: No, no, backstage, because there's such a big ... I mean it's a traffic jam for miles and miles and miles, so it's just ...
Jeff: Right, right.
Richard Fortus: There's no way to get in.
Jeff: Hey, that's the most rock star way to get in I guess, right?
Richard Fortus: I guess so.
Jeff: Unless a submarine or something.
Richard Fortus: But it's pretty incredible to see that many people, and then to know that there are people over the range that you can't see when you're on stage.
Jeff: That's absolutely incredible. Again, when I had you on the show the first time you were talking about how magical it was with all these guys coming back into the fold. You all kind of coalesced almost immediately, and those first couple of shows just felt good. Your words were just, "Everybody felt like they were on point and everything was kind of clicking." Did that just get better throughout the tour?
Richard Fortus: Absolutely. Yeah.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, we got better the more we practiced.
Jeff: That's incredible. That's incredible. Then I have to ask, because I know you've talked about it in the press, a new album, is this really going to happen?
Richard Fortus: Yeah, I can't talk about that.
Jeff: That's okay. It's okay.
Richard Fortus: I hope so.
Jeff: I mean that's exciting. I want to ask, without getting into what you can't talk about, when you guys are practicing and you guys are on the road and performing and stuff that, do you kick around new ideas? Do you-
Richard Fortus: Sure. [crosstalk 00:04:07]-
Jeff: Yeah? What is that writing process like?
Richard Fortus: ... because we soundcheck every day for a long time. We'll jam on different ideas that people come in with and we'll start playing something and we record all that just to have for a reference.
Richard Fortus: Yeah.
Jeff: Oh, wow. So, you guys are constantly reinventing and re-imagining and just putting stuff out there. That must make it fun.
Richard Fortus: Well, we're just constantly making music.
Richard Fortus: I mean, it's what we do. So when were sound checking, we'll just make music ...
Jeff: Oh, well, that's [crosstalk 00:04:43].
Richard Fortus: ... and kick around ideas.
Jeff: Well, I do hope that it does coalesce into new music recorded from you guys. Because, like you said, you got better throughout this entire tour and you guys are clicking on a different level now. It would be incredible to be able to hear that on a recording.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, the band is too good for us not to do a record, right?
Richard Fortus: It's really, it's just such a magical thing to play with those guys. It's just too good to not record it.
Jeff: It totally is. It totally is. On a personal side, after playing this tour and really opening up that back catalog and just playing all sorts of stuff, from your personal perspective, do you have a favorite moment on stage, a favorite song you get to play? Or maybe a moment in a song that you really, when it gets to that point in the set, it's your favorite one?
Richard Fortus: Yeah. There's a moment in the set where a Slash and I play a cover of Wish You Were Here, and the two of us just start. It's just the two of us at first and then everybody comes in, and it's completely different every night. And it's a real conversation between the two of us musically. I mean as a guitar player, getting to do that with Slash it's pretty awesome.
Jeff: Oh my gosh, yeah. Are you a Pink Floyd fan?
Richard Fortus: I'm a total Pink Floyd fan.
Jeff: I kind of want to go onto that.
Richard Fortus: Especially the Syd Barrett era. [crosstalk 00:06:11].
Jeff: I was going to say, first I was going to ask what era? Then I was going to say what ... because everybody is different. I'm also a big Floyd fan as well, and everybody has a different perspective. What drew you into Floyd to become a fan? What really opened up your eyes to that band?
Richard Fortus: The first album that I ever ... I inherited my aunt's a record collection when she became a born again Christian, so I got all of her secular record.
Richard Fortus: In that collection was Wish You Were Here, which ... or, Welcome to the Machine, that album, and I was just completely blown away. Then as I got deeper into it, albums like Echo. And then earlier stuff like Piper At the Gates of Dawn, and then the Syd Barrett solo stuff, The Madcap Laughs and that I just love that stuff.
Jeff: Oh, it's so good. I got to ask too, because you're a man of the world and has played with just it seems like everybody, have you ever met those guys?
Richard Fortus: I have.
Jeff: Or, gotten a chance to-
Richard Fortus: I've met Roger and David.
Jeff: Did you get to share the stage with them at all or just meet them [crosstalk 00:07:18]?
Richard Fortus: No, no. One of my closest friends is the keyboard player. He's been with Pink Floyd, he joined Pink Floyd when he was 18.
Jeff: Oh, wow.
Richard Fortus: And he wrote that song Learning to Fly. He's the only guy that goes back and forth between Gilmore and Waters.
Jeff: Oh, my gosh.
Richard Fortus: So, he plays with both of them. Yeah.
Jeff: That's a good gig.
Richard Fortus: Yeah. Right?
Jeff: That's amazing. Oh, that's awesome. That's awesome. Well, I'm so excited that GNR's doing as well as you guys are doing. I just want to say again, I really do hope we just get more music, more tours, all the everything from you guys because-
Richard Fortus: Me too. Me too.
Jeff: ... the world needs more Guns. On the other side of it, speaking in the news and I wanted to ask you if maybe this is something you can't talk about or you can? I heard a rumor that you were going to be working with Psychedelic Furs again.
Richard Fortus: I'm actually working on it right now. I'm actually a producing their new album.
Jeff: Their new album. That is cool. So, okay, can we talk a little bit about the difference between ... Because you played with the Furs for a while, and now-
Richard Fortus: For a long time.
Jeff: Yeah. And now you're sitting in the producer chair. Is it a completely different monster, or does it feel like coming home?
Richard Fortus: It feels like home. I mean they're like family. I co-produced the last Love Spit Love album, the second Love Spit Love album, so it's not that dissimilar to them. It's pretty much the same type of deal. And I love working with Richard, the singer. He's always been such a mentor to me, and really ...
Richard Fortus: My first band was supporting the Furs on tour, and he saw something in me and asked me to ... As we became closer friends, he asked me to come up and ... Because he knew I played violin and cello, so I would sit in with those guys and then started playing with them. Then he asked me to come up and help him write a solo album, which turned into Love Spit Love.
Jeff: Love Spit Love, right. I've got to ask then too, are you lending any musical talent to this, or are you just solely producing?
Richard Fortus: Well, it's mainly those guys, so I'll do some, if there's some supporting guitar stuff that-
Jeff: [crosstalk 00:09:56] cool.
Richard Fortus: ... I'm not around the guitar player, I'll just throw stuff down. A lot of keyboard stuff and things like that.
Jeff: No violin or cello or anything?
Richard Fortus: I am, yeah.
Jeff: Yes! Excellent! Excellent. No, that's awesome. How does this come to be, do they have the material and then call you up and are like, "Yeah, we want you to produce this record"? Or, I know you guys are family, so was it just a conversation that came to be like, "Oh, I'm going to produce this for you guys anyways," kind of thing? How'd that [crosstalk 00:10:29]-
Richard Fortus: No, Richard asked me if I would be interested in doing it.
Jeff: Oh, awesome.
Richard Fortus: I mean it's not something I'm doing to get wealthy. It's a labor of love.
Jeff: Of course.
Richard Fortus: I mean that band was so important to me, not only in my career, but just as a music fan. They were one of my favorite bands when I was ... The first time I saw them, I think I was 15.
Richard Fortus: And it was a really important band to me. So to be able to work with them and have such a close relationship with Richard, really ... I mean if he asks me to do anything, it's hard to say no, especially something so ... This is such an honor to be asked to do this, so I'm really putting everything I have into it.
Jeff: That's so rad.
Richard Fortus: Because I don't want to let him down.
Jeff: Of course, of course. And it's great because a lot of times bands will have a producer that's just disconnected from who they are or what they are. And to have someone like you sitting in that chair, and not only just doing the work, but doing it from a point of love of the band and of the material, I think that's just going to create a higher level of final product. I think that's really exciting.
Richard Fortus: It can go both ways because when you bring somebody on that is a fan or that has a history with the band, you run the ... Because, as an artist, especially in their case, they don't want to repeat themselves. They don't want to do Talk Talk Talk or Midnight to Midnight again. They want to do something new that's exciting that's where they're at now, that represents where they are at.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, so when you do work with a producer that has had no history with the band, you can bring in something completely unique. I guess there's good and bad, so I'm trying to keep that in mind as I work on this to ... Because when I initially came onto the project, I had this vision of what I thought the record should be. And as we got into it, I realized that wasn't what their vision was, and it really needed ... So, I guess it's a combination of both, hopefully. So hopefully, we-
Jeff: That's excellent.
Richard Fortus: ... we both create something unique through our own ideas.
Jeff: Yeah. Will we see this in 2019, you think?
Richard Fortus: Yeah.
Richard Fortus: Oh-
Richard Fortus: ... probably early '20.
Jeff: Okay. Okay, that's-
Richard Fortus: There probably will be something else though this year.
Jeff: Oh, cool.
Richard Fortus: Like single.
Jeff: Like a single? Excellent.
Richard Fortus: [crosstalk 00:13:24].
Jeff: Oh, that's exciting. It's exciting for the Furs too because they've been around for so long, they've done so much in the music, Zeitgeists and rock and roll and Psychedelia and everything that they've put their hands on. It's funny, just in the last couple of years, they've actually gotten back into the pop culture aspect of it. What was the song? The Ghost of You was in Stranger Things.
Richard Fortus: Oh, okay.
Jeff: Yeah. It's so great to see a band have the longevity that they've had, and continue to excite people [crosstalk 00:14:02]-
Richard Fortus: Yeah, they haven't recorded anything in quite a while, so-
Jeff: I know, I'm excited.
Richard Fortus: ... it is pretty exciting.
Jeff: So you're doing this from your home studio, you're producing this?
Richard Fortus: No, I'm just doing some mixing and stuff like that here.
Jeff: Oh, nice, nice. Oh, that's exciting. That keeps you busy too. One of the things that we were talking about previously, and I wanted to touch base with you on, you had said that you ... This was now about a year and a half ago that I talked to you that you, that you were itching to get into some sort of experimental project.
Jeff: You didn't have anything lined up, but you really wanted to be doing something, maybe solo, maybe with a band. Did that ever coalesce?
Richard Fortus: Okay, so I recently did this album that I'm super excited about. I recorded an artist named BT, electronic artist. I've done a lot of stuff with him in the past. We've done a lot of work, done a lot of movie scores together, and done a lot of different new outcomes and things like that.
Richard Fortus: This is the first really collaborative band type of situation where it's really a collaboration between the two of us from beginning to end. Nothing like this has ever been done before. It's a really interesting project. What we did was we came in with ... we both had looping devices. We came into this, I don't know, 120 year old church, the Stone Church, beautiful room.
Richard Fortus: And it's a recording studio now, but they specialize in immersive mixes. They do mainly classical stuff, so they'll make up the entire room with 30 something mics all over the room. What we did was, because it was electronic and I'm playing electric guitar, so I had two amplifiers and then we had ... What? 28 speakers, JBL speakers, monitors, all placed all over this room, this incredible church, right?
Jeff: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Richard Fortus: And then mics everywhere. So it's the first acoustically recorded electronic album, really.
Jeff: That's mind blowing.
Richard Fortus: And it's for the Dolby Atmos system, so it will be completely immersive. Yeah, I'm really excited about it. It was an amazing project and we're still going to be mixing that probably at Skywalker.
Jeff: Oh, at Skywalker Sound, really? That's exciting.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, because they're the only facility that could handle it.
Jeff: Wow. So, just for, actually for myself too, but for our listeners as well, can you explain a little bit, doing a project like this specifically for that Dolby sound?
Richard Fortus: For Atmos, it's-
Jeff: Or Atmos, yeah. I'm sorry.
Richard Fortus: Well, it's made up of ... I don't know how many speakers they use. It's just, it's incredible, so you're completely immersed in the audio. It's amazing to listen to, to be in that-
Richard Fortus: ... that type of listing environment. But also, if you've been to IMAX movies, that's that same type of thing. The Atmos takes it another step further, and there are theaters now that have Atmos systems in them.
Jeff: That's incredible. So where did you guys come up with the idea to do something this? Because this is, again, it's mind blowing.
Richard Fortus: I think BT was talking to the engineer that owns that studio, and it's not far from where he lives. It's actually in Virginia, and he lives in Maryland, so they came up with this idea. I think they were looking to work together, and then BT and I were looking to do something together, so it just sort of evolved that way.
Jeff: Wow. And as a fellow violinist, I got to ask, you're in a church recording, did you break out the violin?
Richard Fortus: I didn't. No, I didn't.
Richard Fortus: I wish that I would have, but I had a huge array of pedals and this big board, and then these loopers, and it was really cool. It's going to be incredible.
Jeff: That's so cool. The only reason I asked that is, a old band of mine, I got to record actually in an old church. We did my violin tracks where they put room mics up on the ceiling, 30 foot vaulted ceilings. And then-
Richard Fortus: Yeah, we did the same thing, yeah.
Jeff: Yeah, and then recorded my acoustic violin over that, and it was ... Ah, it gave me chills being able to do something like that.
Richard Fortus: Yeah. And we also had a giant ... There's a giant pipe organ in the room.
Jeff: Oh, wow.
Richard Fortus: It was so much fun.
Jeff: Outside of the audio recording, did you document this at all with photos or videos?
Richard Fortus: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we did some video as well.
Jeff: Excellent. That's really exciting. Can you tell me anything else about it? Maybe the name of the record? How many tracks are on it?
Richard Fortus: Well, I-
Jeff: I don't want to get you in trouble.
Richard Fortus: No, no, no, no. It's not a matter of getting in trouble. The project's called Fortran.
Jeff: Fortran. All right.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, like coding Fortran.
Jeff: Yep. Yep. I love it.
Richard Fortus: But, as far as how many songs, it's going to be ... I don't know what we're going to do yet with that. We have a lot of material.
Jeff: Wow. That is exciting. So you haven't even made it to the mixing portion of that yet, or you're just starting that?
Richard Fortus: No, we have not. We just recorded. We just did finish the tracking.
Jeff: Oh, my gosh. Now, doing something like that, that's innovative, that is not a normal, I'm in a rock band and I'm going to go record this rock record kind of thing. You're doing something that is completely off-the-cuff and different. Do you have to map that out going into the studio and being like, "Okay, today we have to knock out ..."? Because you're looping, you've got all these speakers, you've got all this sound quality. Is it a lot tougher to wrap your brain around the recording process?
Richard Fortus: Yes.
Richard Fortus: Yeah. We did a lot of math.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, yeah.
Richard Fortus: Because we were working in really odd time signatures, so yeah.
Jeff: Wow. It sounds like a science experiment.
Richard Fortus: It definitely was.
Jeff: Oh, my God.
Richard Fortus: The music science experiment for sure.
Jeff: That is going to be exciting. Where do you see the final product existing? Are you going to do [crosstalk 00:20:46]?
Richard Fortus: I have no idea. I guess it's going to be on Blu-ray Disc. I don't know, because it's-
Richard Fortus: And who's ... I don't know that yet. Those are details that are beyond my pay scale.
Jeff: Because, I mean obviously, it's going to sound great in headphones, it's going to sound great as a finished product, but you guys are creating it for an experience.
Richard Fortus: Right.
Jeff: It would be amazing to be able to sit in a theater and have this just wash over an audience kind of thing or something.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, we'll probably do a tour like, either where we try and recreate some of this live, or in a situation like that. I don't know. I don't know. We've thrown around all sorts of ideas, so we'll see how that come to fruition.
Jeff: I am so fricking excited. If you ended up doing that with whatever you do, I'll make sure you keep caffeinated as you're doing all that stuff too.
Richard Fortus: Awesome. Yeah.
Jeff: That is-
Richard Fortus: Always important.
Jeff: That is really great. So between all your projects, between all the bands that you're in and all the projects you're doing and all that stuff, do you still carve out time to practice? Or do you use everything you do as practice basically?
Richard Fortus: No, I still practice.
Richard Fortus: Yeah.
Jeff: How much a day do you practice? Do you do it every day?
Richard Fortus: That's a good question. I generally practice at night, because I'll practice ... If I'm home, when my wife and I are sitting watching television or we're sitting outside and I'll practice then, where something I'm trying to learn or whatever, because I'm always trying to learn new stuff.
Jeff: Right. Well, that's good.
Richard Fortus: But, as far as a time, I don't know, it really just depends on the day. And when I'm on the road I practice all the time because I'm sitting in my hotel room or a lot of times.
Jeff: Right. So what else are you going to do? And that's the thing, it's like I've talked to a lot of musicians and they're like, "It really is two camps. There are guys who are out on the road constantly in a lot of different projects." And they're like, "I don't have time to practice. Everything I do is honing my craft."
Jeff: But personally speaking, I think that personal growth can't be obtained unless you're doing that. Unless you're sitting down by yourself or with your wife, like you said, or whatever, just going through the motions. Making sure that you're, I don't know, helping to maintain that level of awesome. I think it's important.
Richard Fortus: Yeah. Well, I mean, yeah, to grow it is. Yeah.
Jeff: Yeah, for sure. For sure. So one of the questions I never got the chance to ask you last time, from someone who's been in the business for as long as you have, and has seen the music business grow, change, evolve into what it is now, whatever it is now, what-
Richard Fortus: Or, what's left of it.
Jeff: Or, what's left of it, right. You broke in as a musician in a completely different way than someone today would be able to do that. Would you have any advice to someone who wants to become a musician? Not the person whose like, "I want to be the next Slash," or "I want to be the next Dave Grohl," or "I want to be the next Pink Floyd, and be the most famous person in the world."
Jeff: But someone from your standpoint who is like, "I want to put the work in and leave a legacy and be the best guitarist I can be, to be the best musician I can be." But someone who is just starting out to break into the business now. Would you have any advice for someone like that?
Richard Fortus: It's interesting, because the landscape is so different.
Jeff: It is.
Richard Fortus: Anyone can get their music out there and get it available to people. The problem is, is that there's so much available because everyone can make it available.
Jeff: Yeah, that's true.
Richard Fortus: So anyone can record on GarageBand and put it on SoundCloud and hope for the best. Or try and promote it and get social media to pay attention to it. It's just such a different thing. When I was a kid, you'd go out and put up flyers for your band playing and try and get gigs, and it was a different thing.
Richard Fortus: Like, my younger daughter now, she's 11, and she is recording all the time and writing songs. She sits in a room and plays guitar and write songs and plays piano and write songs. And she's just starting to record those on her own little setup. And trying to figure out how to get music out to people with YouTube channels and SoundCloud and stuff like that. So it's a different landscape.
Jeff: Yeah. No, you're totally right. Speaking of that landscape as-
Richard Fortus: And people don't go out, do they?
Richard Fortus: They don't support live music. It's-
Jeff: No. It's a shame.
Richard Fortus: I think a lot of that has to do with only the fact that everything has become so niche. It's become so compartmentalized and there's so many little boxes that you have to fit into to try and find a market in that way. When I was a kid, you had to sign with ... When I was really young, the goal was to sign with a major label.
Richard Fortus: Because, they could get you to the next level. Then there were indie labels, they could get you to that intermediate stage and that. Now, it's the wild west. I mean, there's just so much ... so many avenues out there, and record labels are just ... It's so strange. It's just so different.
Jeff: No, I hear you. And kind of on that same idea, what would you say is the state specifically of rock and roll today? There's a lot of different ideas and a lot of people that have weighed in on it. What is your thought on the state of rock and roll?
Richard Fortus: Of rock and roll?
Richard Fortus: I mean, there's always going to be great bands. There's always going to be people that are doing interesting things, whether it's a young kid like Billie Eilish, or it's a band like Rival Sons, and I love both of those guys. I think Rival Sons is one of my favorite new rock bands out, and they're not new. They've been out for a while.
Richard Fortus: The first time I saw them, I was like, yeah, sort of the Zeppelin type thing, and it was like okay. But the next time I saw them, they'd grown. They'd become their own thing, and really are a phenomenal force I think right now in music.
Jeff: Yeah. I [crosstalk 00:28:19]-
Richard Fortus: But then there's bands like Blackberry Smoke, which are doing that southern rock type thing. And are very genuine, and are really, really good at it. It's very believable and authentic. They've been around for a long time and they've just stuck to their guns. Now, it's great to see them starting to become popular. They're actually opening for Slash right now in South American.
Jeff: That's right. I was going to say, the name sounded super familiar, like on a flyer I just saw. That's totally crazy.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, but they're good friends of mine too, and they're really excited to be doing those shows with him. He's a fan of theirs as well.
Jeff: Oh, yeah. That just makes it the best as well. So, to come full circle then, Slash is on tour right now with The Conspirators. Then what's next for you and Guns? You guys, I know we're just announced as the headliner on Austin City Limits in October.
Richard Fortus: Yeah.
Jeff: That's exciting. Have you guys ever done Austin City before?
Richard Fortus: No, no. No, I have not.
Jeff: I know you've done a ton of festivals throughout your career. But go with Guns N' Roses specifically, do you guys attack a festival different than a tour? Do you do different stuff?
Richard Fortus: Not really.
Jeff: Yeah, just bring Guns N' Roses and-
Richard Fortus: Yeah, that's just what we do.
Jeff: Yeah. Heck, yeah. Heck, yeah. But, that's also part of, you guys are going to go back out on the road. Oops. You guys are going to go back out on the road, and through a lot of 2019, right? Am I correct in saying that/
Richard Fortus: We go back ... Wait. We do out in September?
Richard Fortus: Sorry. September or end of August. No, sorry, September.
Richard Fortus: We'll be out in September and October.
Jeff: Okay, cool. And that's everybody coming back, because like I said, I know Slash is out. I know Duff's coming out with his solo record, so I'm sure there's probably-
Richard Fortus: Yeah, it's really good. Have you heard Duff's stuff?
Jeff: I've heard the teases that we've gotten.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, I think there's three songs available right now.
Jeff: Three songs. Yeah, I'm-
Richard Fortus: They're so good. They're really great.
Jeff: Which makes me so excited for the full record. I can't wait for it. And I'm sure he's going to do some stuff on that too, which is exciting. That's what makes it so exciting for you guys. You guys are all busy with a thousand things, and you're just adding so much to rock and, and to music in general.
Richard Fortus: But, there's a couple of shows that are announced now that they're ... ACL and there's another festival in Tennessee, I think.
Jeff: Yeah. I guess-
Richard Fortus: So, hopefully, we'll add more.
Jeff: I guess, outside of that, we've got this new Psychedelic Furs record to be excited about that you're producing. And this incredible math/science experiment that's going to take the world by storm. Is there anything else that you're working on that we didn't talk about?
Richard Fortus: I didn't say anything about it taking the world by storm.
Jeff: Well, I think it's going to.
Richard Fortus: [crosstalk 00:31:26].
Jeff: I don't know. Stuff like that, that's mind blowing and new and innovative, I think has the potential to really open a lot of people's eyes.
Richard Fortus: I have no idea if anyone will care at all, but it's something that we really wanted to do.
Jeff: I that's [crosstalk 00:31:46]-
Richard Fortus: So, hopefully somebody gets it, but ...
Jeff: I think that some of the best stuff. When it's stuff that you really want to do and really put out there, I think that makes some of the best stuff.
Richard Fortus: I've been doing these shows with this band called Headtronics, which is myself, DJ Logic, Freekbass, and Steve Molitz from Particle, from the band Particle. That's a total improvised freeform type experiment too that's a lot of fun.
Jeff: Wow. What is that like? Can you explain?
Richard Fortus: It's amazing. We're doing shows on the east coast this weekend. We're doing, I think DC and Roanoke.
Jeff: Oh, that's so rad.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:32:29].
Jeff: How did that come together?
Richard Fortus: I was friends with Freekbass, and we've been looking to do something together and this project just came up, and yeah.
Jeff: Wow. And that's just live stuff, improvising?
Richard Fortus: Yeah.
Jeff: No recording, no nothing?
Richard Fortus: We've done a few shows already, and it was a lot of fun.
Jeff: Ah, that's so cool. It's inspiring that you keep yourself so busy and you still have a love for it all. I mean, that's rare.
Richard Fortus: You think? I don't know. I can't-
Jeff: I think it is.
Richard Fortus: I mean, you have to keep inspiring yourself. I mean, the thing about doing this band is that it keeps you ... It's challenging. You really have to dig deep and it's good. It makes you better player.
Jeff: That's so rad. Final question, do you think you'll ever retire?
Richard Fortus: Retire. That's funny, my daughter just asked me that the other day. God, I don't know. I mean, I hope I can afford to. You look at Mick Jagger and [crosstalk 00:33:38], and that's amazing to me that they're still touring. I mean, I hope to be doing it when I'm that age.
Jeff: Hey man, if you're still in it for the love of it and you still have fun doing it and you're still healthy, there's no reason.
Richard Fortus: I guess that's why they do it, because that's what they do. They make music.
Jeff: Yeah, and that's what you do. You keep creating. You keep-
Richard Fortus: Exactly, so you sort of have to. I was just talking to my daughters about this. And my little daughter was asking me if I thought I would ever retire. And I'm like, "Man, it's what I love doing, so what am I going to do, retire and do something I don't love?"
Jeff: That's true.
Richard Fortus: I mean it's sort of ... I've been retired my entire life.
Jeff: That's a great way to look at it. Oh, man. Look, Richard-
Richard Fortus: My father used to always say, he'd say, "You're blessed because you'd be doing this for free if you weren't getting paid for it." And that's so true. I mean that's absolutely true.
Jeff: Again, that is the core of doing what you love and being able to impart that on the world. And we're all blessed that you do what you do and create what you create, because it just puts so much awesome stuff into the world. I can't thank you enough for it. And I can't thank you enough for taking time and talking with me today.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, no worries. I really enjoyed our last conversation, so I was happy to talk to you again.
Jeff: Excellent. Well, I'm sure we'll stay in touch, and good luck with everything going on this year.
Richard Fortus: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Richard Fortus: Same to you and keep caffeinated.
Jeff: Definitely. Definitely will. Yeah, have a great rest of the day, man. And you ever need anything, just hit me up.
Richard Fortus: How can we never talked about coffee?
Jeff: I mean a lot of times ... I mean, we can. The coffee talk is so ... I don't know. I don't know. What do you want to talk about? We can talk about coffee.
Richard Fortus: I love coffee. I'm a big fan of yours, so [crosstalk 00:35:56]-
Jeff: All right. I mean, okay, so-
Richard Fortus: I'm a Chemex guy.
Jeff: You're a Chemex guy.
Richard Fortus: Yeah.
Jeff: And you're a big fan of Death Wish. I'll bite on this. Why? Why are you such a big fan of our coffee?
Richard Fortus: Okay. We really haven't talked about it. I've talked to some of the other guys about it, but I used to buy beans. I would stock up on beans when we'd go to South America. We'd go to Columbia and I'd go to all the real fancy places to buy the beans and bring them home. My suitcase would smell like coffee for the next year.
Jeff: That's the best.
Richard Fortus: And I would stock up, right? Whenever I'd be in South America. Actually, all of the world, wherever there was somewhere there were beans that were supposed to be great, I'd buy and bring them home, and you guys ruined that all. Because, I mean legitimately, I remember coming home from South America the last time and going, "It's just not as good."
Richard Fortus: And that's completely legit. I've got nothing to sell, so.
Jeff: Right, right. No. I believe [crosstalk 00:37:10].
Richard Fortus: It's pretty cool that you guys are that ... I know that the hype is the strongest, or the whatever-
Jeff: The world's strongest coffee, yeah.
Richard Fortus: Strongest coffee, but it's the world's most delicious coffee in my opinion. I mean, it's just really great tasting coffee. I think I'm immune to stimulants at this point in my life.
Jeff: I hear you.
Richard Fortus: But it's just great tasting coffee.
Jeff: Well, thank you so much. We do pride ourselves on that. Because I mean, ever since we started it is-
Richard Fortus: You obviously must.
Jeff: Well, ever since we started, it's opened up this floodgate of lots of companies professing the most caffeine content, the most all this stuff. And a lot of them, if you do your research, a lot of them actually add caffeine to the beans, and that's bad. That's going to give you a stomachache. It 100% makes the acidity higher.
Jeff: We pride ourselves on not only fair trade and organic coffee, and we source our beans in a very good way. But we also, the way that we roast them, we make sure that it makes this good tasting, low acidic coffee. It's great when I hear somebody like you, who's literally traveled the world looking for a great cup of coffee and goes to South America, which is the coffee Mecca, getting this coffee, and has such nice to say about our product.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, I'm a big fan.
Richard Fortus: Do you like Turkish coffee?
Jeff: Yes, I do.
Richard Fortus: That's it.
Jeff: Like, I-
Richard Fortus: This is the great thing about traveling the world, is that I get to experience all the great coffees of the world.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. One of the things I love about Turkish coffee is the same thing kind of I love about Chemex, is it's this chemistry of creating the cup of coffee. It's not just your drip method. It's interesting.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, it's all about the bloom, and the right temperature. The water has to be the right temperature.
Jeff: It's awesome. It's awesome that you're such a fan of coffee and coffee culture.
Richard Fortus: Yeah, it's the process, you replace one vice with another.
Jeff: Exactly. Exactly, and there's no better advice than coffee.
Richard Fortus: Exactly.
Richard Fortus: There's nothing wrong with coffee.
Jeff: Exactly. Well, again, man, it was amazing to talk with you.
Richard Fortus: My pleasure.
Jeff: Thank you so, so much. And like I said, anything you need just make sure you hit me up, and I'm sure it will be talking again soon.