Richard Fortus Defends Slash After Nuno Bettencourt’s Rihanna Comments, Nuno Fires Back
Nuno Bettencourt recently discussed the challenges of playing guitar for a pop star, and during the discussion, he said even Slash would have a hard time doing so. Fellow Guns N' Roses guitarist Richard Fortus defended Slash on social media after reading the comments, prompting Bettencourt to fire back at him in a post of his own.
The initial remarks in question were made by Bettencourt during an interview with Planet Rock. The Extreme guitarist, who also plays for Rihanna, explained the difficulties of playing for artists with a diverse sound.
“Let me tell you something, what I had to do night after night… put on a reggae hat (for one song) with a reggae feel, and go into R&B, then go into some punk rock and pop rock that she did, and then club tracks. All sorts of (things), all those different feels," Bettencourt said. "I’m sorry, most of the guitar players who I admire could not in their lifetime play that gig. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Slash is one of the greatest rock guitar players of all time but I guarantee – and he’d be the first to tell you – that if he jumps up and he’s got play a clean intro to ‘Rude Boy’ from Rihanna, it ain’t happening.”
A few days after the interview was published, Fortus, who's been in Guns N' Roses since 2002 and has thus played with Slash since 2016, posted a screenshot of one of the articles on his Instagram. The headline he posted read, "Nuno Bettencourt says most guitarists 'could not in their lifetime' play with Rihanna — even Slash."
"I have to respectfully disagree," Fortus wrote in the caption of his post. "[Bettencourt] is one of the greats, for sure. However, there is very little Slash couldn’t do on guitar (if he wanted to). I toured with Rihanna prior to Nuno and I’ve spent a lot of time playing with Slash. This gig wouldn’t be a struggle for him."
The day after Fortus' post went up on Instagram, Bettencourt took to his own social media to address the Guns N' Roses guitarist's argument. Read his full statement below.
Welp… I new this was eventually coming.
You can’t be blessed and be on multiple guitar magazine covers at a shocking 56 years old, get this much attention for your playing and new album as a rock guitarist without another guitarist stirring up some shit.
Im responding to this not cause I give a shit about what this guitarist thinks about me but, instead, because I’d hate to think my few words offended a hero of mine, @slash and possibly fuck up my relationship with him.
@4tus I’ve “respectively” never heard you play one note in my 56 years of being alive and only know your name from the Rihanna camp and as a replacement player in Guns.
I’m sure you’re a decent player, but did you really need to repost a headline that made me look like I am badmouthing a fellow player, Slash.
As if I’d ever think Slash isn’t capable of playing any Rihanna song in his sleep.
Let’s get something fucking straight.
To me, Slash is one of the greatest rock guitarists of my generation and of all time. PERIOD.
And @4tus if you knew me at all and where my heart is you’d know that what I meant in this statement was not about slash or his capability, It was about Rock guitarists like myself or Slash switching genres and the awkwardness of playing these feels.
No SHIT Slash can play these songs, thank you so much for pointing that out as if we didn’t already know that.
But for me as a predominant ROCK guitarist, Im obviously not as talented as you and found it a challenge to nail all the different pockets and guitar tones of genres like Reggae, R&B, Electronic Dance, Trap and pop.
As far as you shining a light on my ridiculous statement that Slash would “struggle”, yes a poor word choice on my part, I personally would hope that Slash who is a peer and influence would be more mature enough to understand what I truly meant as a guitarist by that comment.
In mentioning Slash as an iconic Rock example, I meant in general a rock guitarist would find it, NOT A STRUGGLE, but feel like a fish out of water as a player.
THATS ALL I MEANT.
I’ve had NOTHING but respect and admiration for @gunsnroses and @slash.
Apologies if I’ve unintentionally offended anyone.