In a new LA Weekly interview, Slash discussed playing with Richard Fortus, who fills Izzy Stradlin’s rhythm guitar role in Guns N’ Roses.

Slash also has enjoyed forging a guitar partnership with Fortus, somebody he describes as “awesome.” Which is great because, let’s face it, it could all have been a bit awkward.

“He and I complement each other really well,” Slash says. “I think Rich has brought out some of my best guitar playing, just playing with him, because he’s so accomplished technically and all that. We wanted to get it focused more in a feel for what Appetite really sounded like. We just slowly but surely evolved into something that captured that but still seems new and fresh. It’s been an interesting ride and a lot of fun.”

“There’s a reason that Slash is a legend,” Fortus says. “As a guitarist, the players that I always held in the highest regard are those that took chances. Those that stretched out every night and never played the same thing twice. Hendrix, Beck, Van Halen — those guys kept pushing and stretching their limits on a nightly basis. Slash is exactly that. I have the incredible good fortune of being able to listen to him nightly and stand inches from him, and have a musical conversation with him. He’s definitely made me a better musician.”

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus discussed Izzy Stradlin in a December 2016 KSHE interview. Alternative Nation transcribed his comments.

“On my way back to the U.K. to finish that tour, I was sitting at LAX, and this guy comes up to me and says, ‘Excuse me sir, are you who I think you are?’ Of course I said, ‘Probably not.’ He said, ‘You’re not Izzy Stradlin?’ Nobody had ever said that to me before, and I looked around like, is this a joke? I said, ‘No I’m not, but I think I just took his gig.’ He just sort of looked at me like, thanks for being a jerk.”

“Yeah, I don’t know. It was just a funny thing that happened.”

He also told the full story of how he joined Guns N’ Roses.

“I was actually on tour, believe it or not, with Enrique Iglesias. I was in the middle of a tour in Europe, I had gotten a call. Tommy Stinson was a friend of mine, Brain was a friend, or was it Josh Freese [at the time]? Anyways, I had played with those guys, and worked with them doing studio work. They had called and said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in auditioning?’ I said sure. So I found a three day window, after I finished our last show at the Albert Hall, I had a car waiting, went straight to the airport, flew to LA, did the audition.”

“Everybody in the band, Axl was there. Then I hung out with Axl all night, talking, listening to music in his car and stuff like that.”

“He pretty much told me that night [that I was in the band]. We spoke about it, and he said, ‘Well, we’re going to start rehearsals in two weeks.’ I was like, ‘I can’t start in two weeks, I’m in the middle of a tour.’ He looked at me like, are you kidding me? He thought about it for a second, and he goes, ‘Well, we’ll wait for you, because I know you won’t do it for me.

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