Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses does a marathon interview.
Duff, Gilby, Axl, Slash & Dizzy.
A member of our World Famous Metal Sludge Gossip Boards whose online name is Madagascar88 posted this marathon interview. He did this with Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses just in the last few days.
We’ll let him tell in his own words how this all went down, and then it’s off to GnR land with Dizzy. Madagascar88 will be in Use Your Illusion I yellow, the occasional Metal Sludge comment in red, and Dizzy Read will be in white.
I’ve been building on this story for a while now on the mygnr and HTGTH (here today gone to hell) boards but here it is for the Sludgers:
So yea… possibly the best weekend of my life. Dizzy Reed came to Cornell this past weekend for two nights in order to pledge my fraternity as an honorary brother. He was awesome- took everything really well… hell the guy jammed with a freshman guitar player and ended up doing almost an entire show playing many G’n’R hits. When he wasn’t playing- the Dizz-man was just having a good time. Along with spending time to meet fans & college chicks alike, Dizzy made time to sign autographs, appear in countless photographs and interact with music fanatics that treated him like the second-coming of Christ. Dizwald also went to the bars both nights with the guys of the frat and made toasts that made the weekend truly memorable because of how much fun both he and the brothers of the house had. But anyway, admist the chaos, I managed to speak to Dizzy during car rides, lunchbreaks and a 30-minute Q&A. Here are some of his responses.
What is the status on Chinese Democracy?
"I know what you guys know. I’m pretty excited about the fact that it might come out this year. But that’s all I know."
(but guys, don’t give up because from talking to him over the weekend- there’s one thing coming up that gives me reason to believe that the staging for the release is underway)
What is up with Slash giving the release date on CD as March 2006?
"Slash did? Well… he didn’t get that information from me. But umm… hey that’s exciting."
What are your views/opinions on Velvet Revolver?
"I think that their t-shirts are cool."
What are your thoughts on the Da Vinci Code soundtrack rumor that there will be a G’n’R track on it?
"I don’t know anything about it."
Is there a finalized tracklist? I heard that there will be 32 songs of which 26 are complete…?
"Well… I actually thought that there are more… but if Axl says there are 32 then I guess. But what’s already in the bank is unbelievable material. There’s a lot. There’s at least three dozen. There’s a shitload of stuff. We’ve actually been doing stuff… we haven’t been sittin’ around. There really is a lot of stuff."
What would you say is the general sound of the album?
"Sound. You know… the thing about it is that there are so many different areas and the other thing is that through time guys have come and gone that as different members of the band- everyone brought 2 or 3 songs such that there are multiple musical genres and situtations. Umm.. it’s kind of a smorgasbord. Everyone works on it and when Axl sings on it- it’s magical. So… there’s gonna be a little something for everybody on it. It mixes rock with all that modern… rock elements… to do this."
Do you think the record will appeal to fans? The sound that is.
"You can’t please everybody. The quality of the songs goes a long ways. If you can play the song on the piano or just on a lone guitar and it still sounds great- then the song stands out on its own. All the songs are like that so I think the songs will carry the record. You know what? There are probably already a million people who have their minds made up that there gonna hate the album. You know- fuck those people. They probably will buy it… who knows? And I think a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised too. Or you know… maybe noone will buy it- you know? You can’t predict the future. It’s the tunnel theory of ever-changing things- you never know."
What do you think is the reason for the delay in the album release?
"You know… there is no primary reason… its really a variety of reasons. Umm.. there’s just absolutely no one thing. I’m certainly not gonna go say that its all because Axl’s a perfectionist or you know… things are just always coming and going… and the other thing is I guess there’s never really been a deadline or any pressure. Axl and the rest of us will put the best thing out."
Obviously, Geffen is getting a little impatient… they did release the Greatest Hits album in order to entice you guys to release the album…
"Well… at this point I don’t even know… I don’t really deal on the business end of things. They’ll just have to wait like everybody else."
How long have you actually known Axl Rose?
"Umm… I’m trying to remember… I’d say 20 years… we met in Hollywood when I first moved there and… he just liked the way I played the piano. At the time, in the 80s, most of the keyboard players that were playing at the time were kind of classically-trained and you know… they were good but they would not have fitted in with Guns N’ Roses songs. And I think he realized that I would be able to play and add something that would raise the songs."
Apparently… Axl dedicated ‘Nightrain’ to ‘Dizzy and his band’ way back in 1986.. was that you?
"Yea… I think they just signed a deal with Live like a suicide and were touring and wanted to add a keyboard player too. And my band- we were doing a little tour then around the southwest and I broke my hand in a car accident… so around that time… because nightrain was my favorite G’n’R song at the time… Axl dedicated the song to me at that concert."
The Wild in 1988 was Bobby Holiday, Johnny, Lord Sid, Dizwald Zin & J.J. Bolt.
What are your current relations to the other Gunners?
"Uhh… I’ve only seen Matt recently [because Matt Sorum is apparently the only Gunner who goes out] and Steven when he played with the Starfuckers one night at the Cat Club where I play on Thursdays. Other than that, I haven’t talked to anyone else… well, I talked to Izzy a couple years ago- he was at a recording studio playing some of his new stuff."
Building on this, from talking to him at lunch & whatnot… Dizzy had a LOT to say about the former Gunners. Keep in mind these are paraphrases…
On Izzy: ‘You have to understand that Izzy is one of those people that does whatever he wants. You know… when I joined the band, he sometimes… just didn’t show up. Examples include during the recording of the music video for "Don’t Cry" and the music video for "You Could Be Mine" at the end in the scene where the band exits the studio and sees Arnold. [we watch the 'You Could be Mine' music video and Dizzy comments... "hey... where's Izzy? o wait... yea, he wasn't there"] Obviously part of the reason that Izzy left might have been the fact that he and Axl didn’t get along towards the end… but thats just part of it. I mean… about the Ju Ju Hounds… I have a friend who was the guitarist for that band back in the early 90s and he was always complaining about how Izzy would just not show up for shows. [I comment that Izzy is turning into Axl... which puts a frown on Dizzy's face] And… just as a musician… Izzy used to be a great songwriter- his contribution to Guns N’ Roses first album are phenomenal. But, its almost like the guy has lost the fire… I mean I saw the guy a couple years back in the studio… and he was showing me a song he had just written called "Toothpuller" – it was literally about him visiting the dentist and getting a tooth pulled out. [Dizzy then sings some of the lyrics] I mean… this is a guy who wrote some badass songs and now he’s writing about getting his tooth pulled… I mean come on… can you imagine Axl singing that live?’ [I next ask him about rumors that Izzy had been paying visits to Axl's Malibu mansion over the last few years and had been rejected at the door several times] Yea… he’s always doing that- he’d done it a few times actually. [I ask him if its because Izzy wants back in G'n'R] No… I mean I’m not sure… the guy sort of just does his own thing… he did join us back during the Use Your Illusion tour briefly… Gilby had hurt himself and so he stepped in for a couple of dates… I mean, the guy’s really weird is the best way to describe it… in ’91, we were playing some shows in England… like one day we were having the times of our lives playing a sold-out Wembley and the next day… I talk to Izzy and he’s like: "I’m leaving the band" and I’m like "what!?" and he’s like: "Dizzy… I’m leaving the band." I personally don’t understand him to any extent.
On Steven: ‘Wow… what to say about this guy… I just recently played with Steven with the Starfuckers… actually it was both him and C.C. Deville of Poison. It was like this really hyped up concert because here’s two big names playing with us… and let me tell you… at the concert… you could hear a pin drop. C.C. DeVille was terrible.. the guy can’t play for the life of him… and Steven… he can’t even hold a beat anymore let alone play drums. We’d look bad and the guy was literally smoking crack while on stage during the songs. It was possibly the worst concert of my life… I mean… there’s only so many times that a guy can die from an overdose and come back alive…
On Jani Lane of Warrant: ‘Let me tell you about Jani Lane… I just recently performed with this guy.. he was at the Raven’s Heart benefit show [I think this is the concert he mentioned] And he literally had to be carried on stage because he was so drugged up… he couldn’t sing.. like at all… it was like a comic act.. because he was just on stage making a fool of himself.. everyone at the show was laughing and you know… I felt bad for him [when asked about the VH1 show that shows that he's sober] TV’s TV man.. the guy’s no different now.. that was just for a bit of publicity. I mean he recently calls me on my cell completely fucked up and is like: "MEET ME AT _____ tomorrow!" and I’m like: "wait.. who is this?" and he’s like: "what?" and I’m like: "who is this?" and he’s like: "ITS JANI" and hangs up… and he actually expects me to talk to his management about playing with him.
On Matt Nelson of Nelson: ‘Saw him recently at a concert. He came up to me and was like "hi… I’m Matt Nelson. Was wondering if you knew any keyboardists who might be up for playing with me and my band at ____ [I forget the show name]. And obviously the guy’s pointing at asking me if I wanted to play so I talk to him for a while and its literally minutes before I realize that this guys Matt Nelson of the band Nelson ’cause I mean he has like short hair now… and then he starts talking about Axl… he says: "Dizzy… you know- me and Axl are very alike" and Im like… "Really? how…?" and he’s like: "I dated Erin Everly right when he was going through their divorce" and I’m like "holy shit… ’cause I didn’t even know that. and so of course I couldn’t do that to Axl… to play with this guy"’
Who was better for Axl? Erin Everly or Stephanie Seymour?
"You know… this is a degree of privacy and that’s his own personal business."
I hear that Axl’s still having trouble getting over his breakup with Stephanie Seymour because he perceived her to be perfect for him… is that true?
"I haven’t heard him talk about her in quite a while… but it could be true… it’s his personal relationship"
Dizzy Reed on getting ready to be evicted from his pad after struggling in the Hollywood scene and joining Gn’R: "I finally got a hold of Axl and I go: "Dude, it’s like, you know, tomorrow there’s not gonna be a place to get a hold of me. Next day I got a call said: "Dude, congratulations! You’re in the band."
What was the deal with Dave Navarro joining the band following Izzy’s departure?
Umm… he was supposed to play with us [concerts]… and for rehearsals… he never showed up for rehearsals. he agreed to… I don’t know if he agreed to or not… but we set up rehearsals.. we had Madison Square Garden coming up and a bunch of other shows. 2 nights went by and he never showed up so… we had to get somebody else so we got Gilby.
On April 1, 2005 – on April Fool’s Day, a small clip of the song ‘IRS’ was posted on the internet. What was your response to the whole ordeal and what do you think happened?
I… I only know what I’ve heard. I heard something about Mike Piazza… playing it on a radio station. [shrugs] [I chime in and comment "Eddie Trunks Radio Station] yea… it was so bizarre… like I don’t know how he would’ve got ahold of it. [I chime in adding that I thought Axl gave Mike the clip almost as a birthday gift] … um.. that’s possible. I don’t know. I mean Mike seemed really cool when I met… really nice- he signed a baseball for my son…
So how did Hookers N Blow come along?
Hookers N Blow… I play at this place called the Cat Club on Thursdays. And I also do this thing with Happenin’ Harry and the Half-tons [?] which are Sundays at the Cat Club and Wednesdays at this place called the ____. And a couple of the guys that sit in on those sessions approached me about doing some shows on the East coast… umm.. this guy Matt Starr and Alex Grossi- they’re both from Connecticut and so I’m I say… sure let’s do it. Now when they were booking some shows they wanted to call it the "Dizzy Reed band" … I’m like ‘that’s so gay’ and so they ask "well… what do you wanna call it then" and I’m like "I dont know… Hookers N Blow" so… it just kind of went from there. And its actually been very successful – very fun doing it.
What is your favorite song to cover with Hookers N Blow?
I like playing all the Guns stuff but do some really cool versions of like… "Time of the Season"… it’s so much fun to play. We do some Motorhead… and uhh… god what else do we do… all the 70s stuff you know… its great cause thats what I like… Rolling Stones, Bowie, the Who.. we got some Beatles, 60s stuff too. You know we throw in a couple Guns N’ Roses songs otherwise a lot of the clubs wouldn’t let us out alive.
[Sergey the pledge asks:] I heard you guys also do some Aerosmith?
Yes… we do some Aerosmith… uhh… Mama Kin, Dream On.. and uh… I think that’s it. I love the cover of Ziggy Stardust.
So what was your favorite Guns N’ Roses show ever… whether it be with the new band or the old?
hmm.. I’m gonna have to go with the new lineup. The last show that we did which was Madison Square Garden was definitely my favorite show although there’s so many… I mean we’re talking about hundreds of shows… you know there were some great moments. Ronny Wood came up and played with us in… Tokyo. He came and played at the Tokyo Dome. And another time… Gilby had… and I wouldn’t say its one of my favorite moments but… Gilby had broken his wrist and we had some European dates coming up so we ended up asking Izzy to come fill in while Gilby’s wrist healed. Gilby flew out to meet us in London and we were playing Milton Keynes… its this big outdoor venue they have there… and Ronny Wood was there ’cause we had seen him in Ireland too. It’s funny cause you think of Izzy and Gilby like they’re two prototypes of the rhythm guitar guy… they got the same haircut, the same vibe and everything… they’re both great players- they’re all great players… while Gilby was out, we had him play whenever he could… and Ron Wood was playing and Izzy… so we had all three of those guys were on stage together at the same time playing ‘Knockin’ on Heavens Door’ and I was like… "o wow"… I’m like in the Ron Wood club so… that was a fun moment.
Happenin’ Harry, Jerry Cantrell and Dizzy Reed.
What was it like to play the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in ’92?
You know… it was a pretty special event… it felt like… you could feel the energy and vibe.. and just all the people were really… like you could really it from the crowd- very caring and just we need to do something about this horrible disease. and just the fact that all those people were able to come together and play the show was kind of microcosm of what was going on… in the world at the time. It was pretty incredible. We could only play two songs… so we played two songs and flew out.
All right… this guy almost spammed me with mail ’cause he wanted you to read it so much… here… it says… from "fuck your enemy"… he says… this is his letter to you…
"Dizzy. I’d really like it if you could tell Axl how much love the fans have for him and how much we await his return. We got really happy and excited at just seeing current pictures of him.. We have waited patiently in hope of Guns N’ Roses to tour again and bring out Chinese Democracy. Axl Rose and GN’R you have a huge fan-base with much love and respect and you always will. All I’m asking is for you to be aware of this and maybe give us a little information about the status of the band/album. Thank you."
o ok… umm… is that guy [in "fuck your enemy"s avatar] pointing a gun at me? [I respond: "haha yea... this is a threat by the way"]
Dizzy sees something on the computer screen which is what I’m reading these questions off of… he says: "wait… what does that say?" and moves in real close… [I read it off "Ok... so this guy asks... If the Broncos beat the Steelers this weekend they go to the Super Bowl. Well... I guess thats more of a statement than a question..."] Dizzy laughs… "umm… thanks for reminding me"
What is like sharing the keyboards nowadays with Chris Pittman?
Uhh… you know.. he adds so much to the band. He’s a good guy to get along with. I’ve never had a problem with him of any kind. I’m a team player man… I’m always up for whats best for the whole raw picture. on tour.. you know… he just accents what we do so… I’m all for it.
You and Chris wrote the song Silkworms, is that correct?
Umm… it was passed back and forth on our computers. [I chime in "computers?"] yea.. you know, we do a lot of work now on computers. We pass it back and forth and I had a couple riffs so… yea.
Is that song [Silkworms] expected to be on the album?
No. It kind of went away. I mean we actually played it a few times live… but… I’m sure it’ll up at some point.
What do you miss most from the old Guns N’ Roses?
I miss being in my 20s… [I wait like I'm expecting a real answer] [Dizzy smiles:] … that’s what I miss most…
What is your opinion about the new Guns N’ Roses?
"I think in a lot of ways its a better band than the old band. the best band… the lineup that we had in 2002 is the best band that I ever played with. [I chime in: "in terms of technical skill?"] skill.. and yea… the whole performance- everything."
Top Row: Axl Rose & Matt Sorum.
Bottom Row: Duff, Dizzy Reed, Slash & Izzy.
Who is your best friend in Guns N’ Roses right now? Who do you hang out with the most… see the most, etc…?
I don’t really hang out with anybody. Umm… you know we talk from time to time on the phone… for the most part- I hang out with my kids… and the guys I actually play with on Thursdays- I see them more cause we have a weekly thing so. I love all the guys though- they’re all really cool.
Is there a plan for G’n’R to tour again this year? I hear rumors you guys might be appearing at Rock in Rio this year… you know… another random rumor.
If the record comes out… I hope we tour.
What is the story behind the 2002 tour abruptly stopping- you know after the Madison Square Garden shows?
Sorry- I can’t talk about that.
Are you pursuing a film career? Any films in the works? Any in the future?
umm.. I’ve been delving into a little acting, yes. i hope i do some cool things in the future- that’d be great… so… look for me in movies- yes.
What was the deal with Buckethead departing in March 2004? You know… right before Rock in Rio Lisbon.
[Dizzy starts to answer... I interject:] And why does he wear a bucket on his head?
That question I can’t answer but the other I can just say its issues, issues, issues… that’s it.
I guess this is more of a private question but is Axl in good emotional health to able to tour again?
Yes. Of course he is. Yes. [5 sec delay while I look for the next question on fan board] Why wouldn’t he be?
[as I'm pulling up the next question... Dizzy interjects staring at the computer screen (we're on the mygnr questions thread I created a while back):] Guns N’ Donuts! wow- I haven’t seen that one.
What do you think about modern day music?
like all music from… forever… I think 95 percent of its crap, 4 percent of its probably good and 1 percent of its great. That’s how its been for popular music… modern… for all of time.
What do you think of the rock scene though nowadays?
I think the record labels have pretty much squashed any kind of rock scene. I mean umm… the underground stuff is cool. The independent stuff is good.. its cool. It can be by the trunkload- it doesn’t have to be for everybody. Everyone else is too busy being forcefed through the clearchanneling… by MTV and all their shit… and they don’t wanna lose money so they just keep forcefeeding you.. like one or two songs and then they throw it away. That’s how it is and its unfortunate.
Have you yourself ever considered leaving Guns N’ Roses?
Umm… no. Never.
What was the last time that all the members of the band were together in the same location?
Umm… Madison Square Garden.. 2002. [Dizzy laughs]
[I chime in: "I saw a picture recently I think from 2005 of everyone in the band but Axl hanging out in what looks like a streetcorner or garage"]
Dizzy: From 2005?
Me: ummm.. not sure… it was probably taken before.
Dizzy: Yea… it must’ve been before.
Is the current band expected to do covers of the members former bands songs? You know… Replacements, Hookers N Blow, Nine Inch Nails…?
Hookers N Blow is a cover band so that’d be ultimately redundant.. [everyone the room laughs] Umm.. you know.. I don’t think those songs have any place in Guns N’ Roses… it’d be weird so… No.
There are rumors that Shaq- Shaquille O’Neal rapped on the album at Axl’s request.
I don’t know if anything’s happened since… but I jammed with Shaq. At one point I was down at this rehearsal… this rehearsal place in Santa Monica writing songs with Paul [Tobias]. And my friend Syd was playing drums- just drumming for us. We were basically just writing and recording stuff- writing and recording constantly, just basically waiting for everyone else to basically show up. And there are these satellite recording studios around that soundstage and they do a lot of commercials and back when Shaq was still with the Orlando Magic- he was doing a Taco Bell commercial next door so he heard that we were next door so he wanted to come say hi… but there like the only one there is Dizzy so he says ‘well, I’ll say hi to Dizzy’ so the door opens and this gigantic man comes in and I’m like ‘who the hell’s that?’ and he’s like ‘hey dizzy!’ and he’s getting closer and closer and bigger and bigger- I realize its fuckin’ Shaquille O’Neal. Holy shit. So.. we talked for a little bit and then he asked me to play my keyboard and I said ‘sure’ and he sat down and disintegrated my stool… smashed it into little pieces [everyone laughs]… granted shaking Shaq’s hand is like shaking a frying pan [I ask what that means] … well.. I mean its so big [Dizzy shows how difficult it would be to shake a frying pan] Anyway, so he breaks my stool into little pieces and he looks at me and goes ‘man, I broke Guns N’ Roses’ stool.’ And I say ‘yea, we’ll send you a bill for that later’ and he doesn’t say anything and so I’m like "just kidding…" And so we got him another stool and he sits down and starts playing this… polysynth [?] sound… this riff on my keyboards… and it was really cool. And so… I look over at the drummer and motion for him to.. you know… get a hiphop beat going… and Syd goes into this groove… and Shaq started vibin’ on it and Paul started playing guitar… and Shaq looks over at me… and like this magic thing happened- he says ‘take over’ and so I watch what he’s playing and I sat down and started playing it. And he got this groove- this vibe going and he and his buddies grabbed the mic and started doing this rap. And our engineer Tommy was rolling tape the entire time… so… and I mean it was really cool… I mean the time he was just joking around and they started dancing and they danced their way out of the studio and we kept playing the beat ’cause it was cool and they came back in, sort of like an encore, and did some more stuff. like Shaq started doing the worm- I mean if you’ve ever seen a 7 foot… 300 pound guy do the worm… its the most amazing thing. And they bailed. It was the most amazing thing. And I mean I don’t know if anything’s happened since then but that’s probably where that story comes from.
Old Skool shot of Dizzy & Sid during The Wild heyday!
Ok, speaking of guest musicians, there are also rumors that Brian May, lead guitarist of Queen, was asked to play some guitar on some of the songs for Chinese Democracy and was afterwards also given an invitation by Axl Rose to join the band as lead guitarist?
I’m not sure about the latter part but yes, Brian did come by and play a couple songs.
There was a cover a while back… I mean, this question can’t really describe it very well but… [Dizzy chimes in: "the bicycle?"] … yea… the bicycle and its in China… is that…?
at one point, that was going to be the cover of the record- I’m not sure if it’s now. This one guy… he was my keyboard tech at the time… Michael… and I mean he was in China at the time and he saw that and took a picture and showed it to Axl.
Why has Axl’s voice changed so much between the Use Your Illusion tours and the 2001/2002 tours?
I don’t think he has personally. I think he still sounds like Axl still. I think that its better… stronger… he’s not having to compete with amps that are thousand [?..] so… that makes it easier, heh.
Does Axl treat you- you being yourself and the rest of the band, as bandmates or employees?
you know- Axl is very much into having a band. and he’s one of the fairest, coolest, nicest guys that I’ve ever met… and that’s just a fact. And I mean he treats us as band members but at the same time with any situation like that… there’s always one person that’s more important and you know is in charge and you have to know whose in charge. In every band, in every successful band, has a leader… he’s the leader.
Going back to that then, is the album more of a collaborative effort or is it the Axl Rose show?
No, it’s collaborative, yes. [Dizzy says this with conviction- responding immediately]
[something on the screen, one of the avatar's on the mygnrforum catches Dizzy's eye again- he stares at it a second and says: "what is that?" ... its an avatar that depicts the members of the new-GnR... he looks through it... "well... there's Tommy, Brain, Richard, me..." - I ask him "well... this is the band so obviously one of these guys is Chris Pittman." Dizzy answers: "but its not. and there's no Robin unless thats Robin with a mustache." I ask him "is that one of the pictures you took when you were doing some modeling?" Dizzy answers "yea."
In terms of the tracklisting on Chinese Democracy, what is your favorite track on the album?
umm... I don't know... last year Brain had this song called 'the General' that was really cool... and another song called "we were lying [not sure if thats the name he said]" … I don’t know [Dizzy shrugs]
Would you be willing to talk about the tracklisting on the album? Not in terms of the actual material but your opinion of the individual songs?
yea… but the thing is that I haven’t heard of it in so long that… I don’t know what changes its going through- what’s happening. I’m not even sure what they’re called [Dizzy laughs]
Dizzy at this point asks for a piss break which I took as sign he didn’t want any more questions. Respecting the fact that I had been basically drilling him for almost an hour now- I call off the interview and we go out to the bars.
The interview link is here: http://www.sp1at.com
A link for the Here today…Gone To Hell website and message boards: http://www.heretodaygonetohell.com/board/index.php?topic=24979.0
Another link for a GnR forum called mygnr forum is right here: http://www.mygnrforum.com/index.php?showtopic=60175&st=0
Some pictures are here: http://www.psiofzetapsi.org
We’d like to give mad props to Madagascar88 for conducting this lengthly, in depth and informative interview with Mr. Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses for all to enjoy.