Nuno Bettencourt Doesn’t Appreciate Richard Fortus’ Feedback
Bettencourt has been Rihanna's onstage guitarist since 2009; Fortus toured with the pop star before that and has performed alongside Slash in Guns N' Roses for over seven years. In a recent Planet Rock interview, Bettencourt noted that most guitarists couldn't handle the Rihanna gig and specifically mentioned Slash as somebody who would struggle in that setting.
“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," Bettencourt explained. "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.”
Fortus, who played with both Rihanna and Slash, responded online to Bettencourt. "I have to respectfully disagree," he said. "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."
That didn't sit well with Bettencourt, who posted a 399-word reply to Fortus' original 52-word post. "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," the Extreme guitarist said. "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." You can read the post below.
He went on to clarify his previous comments from the Planet Rock interview. "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, I'm 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. That's all I meant."
Bettencourt concluded his post by stating that he has nothing but respect and admiration for Guns N' Roses and Slash and apologized if he offended anybody with his original comments. "f 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," he explained. "It was about rock guitarists like myself or Slash switching genres and the awkwardness of playing these feels."