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Interviews

Dizzy Reed (Guns n' Roses)

by: MICK BURGESS - 2012-5-7 22:39:59

email: mick@ metalexpressradio.com

Dizzy Reed (Guns n' Roses)

You`ll be over in the UK in a few weeks to play a series of shows.  Are you looking forward to getting back over here?

Of course, I always look forward to coming over to the UK.

What sort of show can we expect from you this time?  Will you be bringing the big Rock production or will you be doing the more stripped down show and concentrate more on the music?

I think we`ll have more of an expanded set list than last time.  It`ll be between 2 and 3 hours of kick ass Rock `n` Roll.

The first time you played with Guns n` Roses  in England was  in 1992 with Soundgarden and Faith No More.   What do you remember about that tour?

I remember that it was a really fun, cool tour and I remember that the beer there is just great.

You also appeared at the Freddie Mercury Tribute show at Wembley Stadium that year?  How did you feel being part of such an event?

That was magic, it was so special.  Looking back it was so cool being part of that.  We`d already played at Wembley Stadium a few times over a short period so we felt almost like the house band there.  I didn`t quite grasp at the time what we would become a part of.  Once I saw what was happening it was just incredible. I was so happy to be there to pay tribute to such a legendary person and also to help promote AIDS awareness to a global audience.

When you were back stage what did you think when you saw such legendary names as Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, David Bowie and Elton John?

Where we were hanging out everybody was milling about and there was Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin and the guys from Def Leppard so it was very cool to be there.  It was just great to be able to celebrate the music of Queen with so many big artists.

Last time you played at the Metro Arena, Newcastle you not only had Sebastian Bach guesting on stage with you but also Izzy Stradlin too.  Do you have any plans to feature any special guest appearances on this tour?

You know, I`m never really part of the whole special guest thing so they are just as special to me as I have no idea who`ll be playing.  It`s great for us and it`s pretty awesome for the fans so bring them on, bring on the special guests.

What about the songs.  Will you be doing everything from Appetite For Destruction up to Chinese Democracy and everything in between?

There`ll be a good spread of music from our catalogue.  Since the last time we played there`ll be more songs from the Illusion era of the band.  People seem to like hearing those.  We never have a set, set list.  There`s some spontaneity involved every night.  We have a master list and if there`s a song that we haven`t played for a while we might just give it a run out.   We change things around every night so it keeps things fresh for us and the crew and for the people too.  Hopefully they`ll get their own special show every night that is different to the previous nights of the tour.

Are there any that you particularly want to do?

I honestly love playing all the songs, I really mean that.  I love playing the piano stuff obviously like “November Rain” but I do love all of the stuff.

The current line-up that features Axl Rose and yourself alongside Tommy Stinson, Richard Fortus, Ron Thal and Frank Ferrer have been constants in the band for over 10 years. Do you think that this shows that there is a strong harmony within the band?

Absolutely, we`re a real tight unit and I like to think that it shows too.  That`s not taking anything away from the guys that have come along more recently like DJ Ashba.

Over the years the band has mainly operated with two guitarists whether that was Slash and Izzy or Gilby Clarke.  You`ve currently got Ron and Richard along with DJ Ashba.  Why does the band need a third guitarist?

I think at some point there was the need for three guitar players and it just worked so well that I think it would be hard to go back to two now.  They all contribute different parts to the show and it adds to the overall sound of the band.  The main thing I see with that is that I think we have three of the best guitar players in the world.  It`s a treat for me to see them play and I know it`ll be a treat for those that come to the shows too. Everyone is in a cool place about it.  We are far enough along in our careers to see the big picture and we can leave our egos at the door and enjoy being in Guns n` Roses.  The guys work so hard to work together and that`s so important.  A lot of bands don`t see that when they are starting out but you do have to be a unit, you have to work together and this is a prime example of once you do that and you have that level of musicianship then it`s going to be better than everything else in the long run.  I appreciate the hard work that they`ve all put in. So what people will see are three of the greatest guitar players in the world in a great band playing great songs.

DJ Ashba has a wealth of song writing experience ranging from Motley Crue to Neil Diamond.  He`s going to be something of an asset when you start working on new songs?

I`ve known DJ for a while and he`s such a talented writer with great ideas.  He`s been so inspiring to me as well to see how much he puts into it and has such an incredible song writing resume. I grew up listening to Neil Diamond, my Dad loved his music and his songs are embedded in my whole soul really.  Neil Diamond is truly one of the greatest songwriters we`ve ever had and to get those credentials of writing with him and for him is super impressive to me.  That`s just one aspect of what DJ brings to the table and he offers a lot and he`s a great performer and great to be around too.

You have played keyboards with Guns n Roses since the Use Your Illusion albums in 1990. The band started out as mainly a guitar based  Rock`n`Roll band.  Why do you think they felt the need to bring in a keyboard player. 

I think that the band just wanted to expand their horizons  and be able to play a greater variety of music than they did when they started out.  The keyboards just give the band an added dimension.

It`s difficult to see how “November Rain”, “Estranged” or” Civil War” would have turned out if the musical base of the band hadn`t been widened.

Those songs were written on the piano and if you took the piano away there would be a lot of empty space and a lot of drum sticks clicking together, that`d be about it  They`re great songs and great to play.

You`re now also joined on stage by Chris Pitman as a second keyboard player.  What has he added to the band?

I think if you go through the songs we`ve done over the years, especially the newer songs but also the Use Your Illusion material, then you would realize that I only have two hands.  Chris brings an incredible amount of himself and creativity to the songs.  It`s a good thing to look over and see him doing his thing on stage.

Richard Fortus stepped into Thin Lizzy for a tour last year during a break from your touring schedule.  Did his involvement with Thin Lizzy have anything to do with Lizzy being added to your UK tour as Special Guests?

I don`t know really but Ricky Warwick, their singer, is a very good friend of mine and I`m so happy for him that he`s doing that gig as I  don`t think there`s anybody better to do that.  I can`t wait to see them play.  I heard from Richard how great they are playing at the moment, but I guess he`s a little biased.  I just can`t wait to see them for myself.  It`s great for us but for the fans it`ll be incredible.

Do you think Richard may pop out on stage for a song or two with Thin Lizzy?

Well if he doesn`t then I`m going to get up on stage with them.

Your latest album Chinese Democracy, was a long time coming.  Did you think that there was a time when it might never have been released?

I knew we`d get there in the end.  We just wanted to be sure that we had the best songs that we possibly could and we wanted everything to be right and I think we achieved that.

You were there right from the start of the recording process.  How did the finished album differ to those earlier recordings?

There were so many ideas and songs that were tossed about and arranged and those initial ideas were developed over time sometimes into something very different from the original ideas but I think they picked the right songs and it worked great.  There`s a lot going on and it takes a few listens to truly appreciate what`s going on there but I think the songs are cool and I think the album still sounds great.

Having recorded so many tracks for the album, and recorded many different versions with different band members do you think that at some point in the future you`ll consider releasing a boxed set for the fans chronicling the development of the album from start to finish?

I`m writing that down right now as that`s such a great idea.  In this day and age there`s so many tracks available online and there may be too many possibilities for people to hear but I think there`s a tale to be told and it would be great to tell the story in some way.  I hope that people enjoy the album as much as we enjoyed making it and I really can`t wait to come over and play those songs live.

On Chinese Democracy you co-wrote “I.R.S”, “There Was A Time” and “Street Of Dreams”.  How did you go about writing with Axl? 

There was no set formula.  People who were in the band at the time tossed ideas around and we`d add parts or drop parts.  People would try things on their own and we all contributed in our way and developed the songs into what they eventually turned out like on the album. With “Street Of Dreams” we were just playing around with it and one day I sat down and developed the bridge part and the intro and that became part of the finished song.  There was a lot of work to put it together but I think the material worked out really well

What are your plans for the rest of the year?  Will you be playing some festivals this summer?

I`ll keep truckin` along with Guns n’ Roses and keep doing what I`m doing.  I`ll be doing some of my own shows in the Mid-West where I`ll be playing some of my new songs from my solo album that I`m hoping to put out sometime this year. Ricky Warwick from Thin Lizzy wrote a song with me.   I  just want to keep working, keep Rockin’ and just stay healthy and stay alive and that`s my plans for the rest of the year and I`ll see you all in the UK in May when Guns n’ Roses comes to your town.

Guns n' Roses 7 date UK tour starts on 19th May at the Echo Arena, Liverpool and ends at the O2 Arena, London on 1st June.

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