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For Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus, Pale Divine reunion will be a family affair

Richard Fortus (far left) and other members of the former band Pale Divine will reconvene at the Pageant on New Year’s Eve.
Pale Divine
Richard Fortus (far left) and other members of the former band Pale Divine will reconvene at the Pageant on New Year’s Eve.

Beginning in the late 1980s, Pale Divine drew crowds of St. Louis fans to music hubs along Laclede’s Landing, its members kings of the local scene. The band would pack the house at Mississippi Nights and Kennedy’s 2nd Street.

Those venues are no more, and Pale Divine (which started out as the Eyes in 1984) broke up in the early ’90s — not too long after releasing its major label debut album via Atlantic Records.

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Evie Hemphill / St. Louis Public Radio
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Guitarist Richard Fortus, a St. Louis native, discussed his latest endeavors — and how his 13-year-old daughter Clover is making waves in the local scene.

“Had we continued on the path that we were on prior to that, building a grassroots following, [we] would have probably found more success,” guitarist Richard Fortus, a longtime member of Guns N’ Roses, told host Sarah Fenske on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air.

But the group will reconvene for a reunion show at the Pageant this month — something Fortus said Pale Divine tries to do at least every few years.

“[The breakup of the band] took a lot of time to heal, as marriages often do, before you’re at a point where you can be friends, realistically,” Fortus said. “And that did happen with us. I mean, it took a long time. … [But] you know what, those guys are my biggest supporters, and yeah, we’re really good friends.”

This time around feels particularly special, as the band celebrates 30 years since its 1991 album “Straight to Goodbye.” In addition, Fortus’ 13-year-old daughter Clover will be among the opening acts with her band, Poster Logic.

Guns N’ Roses guitarist returns to the band that launched him this New Year’s: Pale Divine
Listen as Richard Fortus talks with host Sarah Fenske about why the beloved St. Louis band broke up — and why The Psychedelic Furs recorded their most recent album in St. Louis.

“She writes all the material,” Fortus said. “And all that kid does is sit in a room and write.”

Both of the guitarist's daughters are also featured as vocalists in a couple of the songs on the Psychedelic Furs’ 2020 album “Made of Rain,” which Fortus produced in St. Louis at Sawhorse Studios.

Fortus explained that the vocals for the track “Hide the Medicine” were originally recorded in New York, but lead singer Richard Butler wasn’t happy with them. “So he flew back here,” Fortus recalled. “He came to me and said, ‘I really hear, like, a child's choir singing this answering line.’... And I said, ‘Well, you know, the girls both sing.’ And he’s like, ‘Can we try it?’”

As for Pale Divine’s upcoming New Year’s Eve show, in addition to Poster Logic, the original members of the Finns will be performing as well.

“They’re another band from that same time that used to open for us quite a bit and play shows with us,” Fortus said.

Related Event
What: New Year’s Eve with Pale Divine | The Eyes Reunion Show
When: Doors open 8 p.m. Dec. 31
Where: The Pageant (6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63112)
Tickets are available via Ticketmaster. Masks are required, along with photo IDs and proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test result within 72 hours of the event.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Kayla Drake. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Evie is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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