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2012.02.17 - Interview with Dizzy - Gazzette.net

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2012.02.17 - Interview with Dizzy - Gazzette.net

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:13 pm

Arena band Guns N’ Roses returns to The Jungle
Band will perform at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Feb. 23
by Topher Forhecz, STAFF WRITER

In his 22 years with Guns N’ Roses, keyboardist Dizzy Reed often is the overlooked observer in the band’s headline-grabbing history.

Since joining GNR in 1990 during sessions for what would become the albums “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II,” Reed has been privy to the inner workings of a band defined both by its arena-sized hits such as “November Rain” and ”Paradise City” as well as its rotating lineup, unpredictable live shows and enigmatic frontman Axl Rose.

When Guns N’ Roses arrives at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Thursday night, it will continue what Reed describes as the “annex” of their first string of shows in five years in the United States.

In step with “the greatest band I’ve ever been in as far as lineup,” Reed spoke with The Gazette about the long-awaited 2008 album “Chinese Democracy,” GNR’s future and its upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A&E: Why did it take five years for the band to get to the states?

DR: That’s a good question. I think logistically, I don’t really know. I don’t have much to do with that. I think at some point I probably said to myself, “Hey man, how come we haven’t played the states?” I guess the timing wasn’t right as far as production or whatnot. Maybe they weren’t ready, I don’t know. But I got to say this: I can’t think of any show where the people weren’t really appreciative and happy that we were there and getting into it and getting into the songs from “Chinese Democracy,” as well as the older songs and that’s a great feeling for everybody.

A&E: Speaking of “Chinese Democracy,” that was the first time you received songwriting credits. How has your role in the band evolved over time?

DR: Since I came on, I think I’ve always added what I could creatively. I guess when “Use Your Illusions” was being recorded, all that stuff had already been written but I just added whatever I could creatively to make the songs better or, at least, in my opinion, make them better. You have to do something that adds to the song and nothing that takes away or clutters things up. There’s a fine line. From the very beginning I’ve just been chucking ideas into the hat and some of them stick, so that’s good. A lot of people think they can write songs and not everybody can. And I don’t claim to be a great songwriter, but that’s what I do when I’m not playing live. I work on songs and ... now everyone ... in their own right, is somewhat of an accomplished [songwriter]. Everyone’s going to be adding ideas. Part of the process is sort of having the whole band sort of add to it if they can. That’s what makes it a band makes it a band effort and at the end of the day, if you got a great song and Axl sings it, it’s Guns N’ Roses at that point to me.

A&E: Does Axl lead the charge when in the studio?

DR: For some songs, sure, but I know if we spend time and put together cool ideas and send it his way, and it’s cool, he appreciates it. So some things go a little bit further, maybe. And some things don’t, you know? Everyone brings things in, it just depends. At the end of the day, he’s going to sing it, so it’s got to flow the way he wants it to and the way he feels comfortable and the way he does put what he puts on it.

A&E: What was it like recording and working on “Chinese Democracy” compared to the 1993 covers album “The Spaghetti Incident?”?

DR: A lot of the basics for that record were actually tracked when we tracked “Use Your Illusions,” and then we added some things later and then sort of did overdubs and whatnot back in ‘93, I think, and put it out. And then shortly thereafter ... we started writing more songs and that was sort of the intro to the beginning of the intro to the writing of “Chinese Democracy.” So I don’t think any other album would compare to the process that went into putting things together for “Chinese Democracy” for this band or any other band. It’s funny you would mention that. That’s the entire gamut right there as far as recording projects.

A&E: It just seems like “Chinese Democracy” was such a meticulous effort that took a long time.

DR: From a production standpoint, a lot went into it. There’s orchestration, there’s incredible programming and cool keyboard parts and lots of amazing guitar solos, whereas “Spaghetti Incident?” was pretty much a barebones band. It’s funny, a lot of people forget about that record but I always thought it was pretty cool.

A&E: I heard you guys are working on new material.

DR: I keep hearing that, so I’m going to go along with that and say, “Yeah.”

Watch Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome To The Jungle” live

A&E: Is that news to you?

DR: No, no. There’s been talk. I know that [guitarist] DJ [Ashba] and Axl have been kicking back and forth some stuff and we talked about it a little bit, but I’ve heard that there’s plans... to sit down at some point in time ...and start working some stuff up. So if that happens, great. I don’t want to jinx it though.

A&E: The band is set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. Do you feel like it has anything else left to prove?

DR: Myself, personally, I’m always going to feel like I have something to prove. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame certainly isn’t the end of the line. I think it’s a great thing. It’s really cool for all the people who have supported the band over the years. And I try not to think about it because I don’t want to get too freaked out, but just focus on the shows coming up. And when that day comes and gets closer, then I’ll start thinking about it a little more.

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