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1993.06.DD - Pop & Rock - Welcome to Hell (Dizzy)

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1993.06.DD - Pop & Rock - Welcome to Hell (Dizzy) Empty 1993.06.DD - Pop & Rock - Welcome to Hell (Dizzy)

Post by Blackstar on Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:31 am

A Greek magazine from my archive.
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Translation:
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Welcome to hell

INTERVIEW
GUNS N’ ROSES

 
By Maria Efthymiatou
 
It’s 1:00 a.m. in Athens, and my phone rings in the still of night. Only this time, it’s not a friend calling me in a state of emotional turmoil. On the other end of the line it's no one else than Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses, calling from Mexico - another stop on the "Use Your Illusion" tour. Exhausted by the endless touring and ongoing duties, Dizzy takes a short break to talk to Pop & Rock about the most "dangerous", the most popular, and yet the most misunderstood rock 'n' roll band on the planet.
 
As strange as it may sound to a lot of people, at this moment Guns N’ Roses is the biggest rock n' roll band in the world - a rock sensation that the world hadn’t experienced since the Stones. Guns N’ Roses stepped on a red carpet rolled out by the music industry in order to establish themselves, but as soon as they reached a point where they no longer needed its help, they started playing the game in their own terms. Many people probably saw that as a case of unprofessionalism. But here we are, as it ended up being something like a theatrical whim, cleverly and masterfully set to expand the appeal to the portion of rock fans who build their worship upon the fantasy of a rebellious anti-conformist rock star, the victim of a repressed adolescence.
 
"This album contains language which some listeners may find objectionable. They can F?! * OFF and buy something from the New Age section" . I felt a wild joy when I read the "warning" sticker on the "Use Your Illusion" CD. They had to accept censorship, and they did it in this unusual way: "Τhese rascals nailed it,” I said, along with millions of other people in the world. We don’t put any more thought into it. We’re just pleased at the idea of ​​a stance that perfectly matches the songs and their content: "I don’t know if it was the songs themselves or the attitude that mostly caused our fame to grow,"  says Dizzy."Probably a combination of both. I hope it was the music that played the biggest part, the songs themselves. Of course our attitude is very important too, because a band becomes popular when real people feel they can identify with its members.
 
But this band became popular also because of the reputation that accompanies its concerts: "Yeah, I think we're doing a pretty good show. Sometimes there are a few idiots in the audience who try to ruin it for us and for everybody else, but this happens only once in a while.”  
 
Dizzy is referring, apparently, to the incidents in St. Louis and Montreal. In the press, everything is blown out of proportion; Guns N’ Roses has to be portrayed as a bunch of obnoxious brats, who allowed fame to eliminate any ounce of morality left in them. Dizzy, however, doesn’t seem to have suffered any kind of... damage, so I dare ask him how the Gunners can be so sure that a portion of the audience, that followed the band until recently, won’t be put off by this image and provocative attitude. There are people who aren’t excited by extreme behaviour. Isn’t the game a bit too risky?
 
"Here's how I see it: When journalists see a movie or a band they don’t like, they present it in a way that makes you want to check it out too! Many of them just make stuff up, and that’s a shame. That's why I tell people that they shouldn’t always believe what they read. Publicity isn’t  always beneficial, so I don’t agree with the old motto that goes, ‘Any publicity is good publicity.’ We have personal lives, too, and we don’t like getting slandered in the press. That’s why we’re all wary. Of course, a way to show ourselves as we really are is to give interviews to the right people – like you."
 
G'N'R's most controversial reaction to the misinforming press came through "Get In The Ring." Then the group's management declined requests for interviews and refused to give concert invitations to some of the most popular music publications in the US and Britain, because they published inaccuracies: "Many journalists are honest and trustworthy. But others make up their own stories and print them. Sometimes they make us laugh; but, in general, we take them seriously and get pissed off."
 
So what's the most ridiculous thing you've read about Guns' N Roses?
 
"Oh God, there’s been so much stuff that I don’t know where to start. There was a story in Argentina – the inspiration of some guy, who wrote that Axl had brought the Argentinian flag out on stage during our show in France! Cute, huh? Anyone can write some bullshit... But why would they do that? An Argentinian flag in France? It just doesn’t make sense. He also wrote that we’d have to get our boots off before leaving Argentina, because we couldn’t enter the States after having stepped on the Argentinian shit - something like that, haha ​​(!!!)".
 
It’s obvious that Dizzy is more easy-going than Axl in dealing with all the hype surrounding Guns N’ Roses. Maybe it’s a matter of different personalities, but it’s impossible for Axl Rose not to trumpet his eccentric views on any issue, challenging anyone who dares to disagree. It could be said that he’s engaged in a continuous effort to scandalise – and he succeeds more often than not.  His lyrics constantly contain attacks, either aimed at those who he believes have done him wrong, or even just in general, with a childish rage vented on all directions.
 
Few fans care if this charismatic frontman grew up in a problematic family or has a complex about women. When rock 'n' roll speaks, it sweeps everything away and leaves no room for Freudian analysis. There comes a point, though, where a line is crossed, and some people take it personally (see "One In A Million"); and one wonders if the other members of the band stand up against it. Has there ever been any disagreement about the lyrics or the selection of the songs?"Everyone has a right to their opinion. I think the whole story with One In A Million was kind of exaggerated. I think some people took it more seriously than they should, maybe because they were looking for an excuse to dislike the band even more - maybe because they were jealous of us. They took it too far. It happens with many bands - people take their lyrics more seriously than they should. They take everything literally, but it’s just songs. Of course, if you think that there’s a hidden message and you go kill someone, that’s wrong. As far as lyrics go, I think they relate to the person who sings them - in our case, Axl. A solo guitar is Slash's thing, a piano solo is my thing. The words are Axl’s job, so we don’t interfere. We’re six people in the band,  and disagreements are inevitable. It’s like in a marriage; when a guy and a woman live together, it’s impossible that there are no fights. Same with us, we go everywhere together. Nine or ten months a year we’re on tour! We argue sometimes, but nothing serious."
 
So there’s democracy in Guns N' Roses?
 
"Yeah, in a way. There should be. Everyone knows what his role is and keeps to it. We don’t have ego issues." GN'R may be the most popular rock 'n' roll band in the world currently, with sales reaching 45 million copies for the four albums ("Appetite For Destruction", "GN’R Lies” "and" Use Your Illusion I & II"), but the beginning is always rough. Dizzy Reed was added to the lineup in 1990 (along with drummer Matt Sorum - Gilby Clarke replaced Izzy Stradlin later), but he has known the founding members of the band since the beginning of their career in the mid-1980s. I took the opportunity to ask him about those days.
 
"Both the band and myself went through some hard times. When I first met the guys, I was in another band in Hollywood and we were all living in the same place. We worked in the same studio. At that time, Guns N’ Roses was very successful [in the club scene] and everyone said that they’d manage to get signed and make it.  So I wanted to be part of it too... It must’ve been 1986 but I wasn’t in position then to figure out what year we were in, ha! Anyway, they made it, and they called me and asked me to go on tour with them. But two days before I was supposed to go, I had a bad car accident and broke my hand. So I didn’t go. But we kept in touch and we’d see each other in clubs here and there; and years later, when they started recording “Use Your Illusion," Axl got ahold of me and asked me if I was still interested in joining the band. Anyway, to go back to the old days, that studio I was telling you about – we lived in a room that didn’t have a bathroom. There was only a toilet out in the parking lot and everybody went there. I really felt disgusted to go there. Then I remember that we had those big parties. There was a faucet in one corner of the parking lot, so we got those big glasses and went there, all of us together, to fill them up and wash ourselves! But the hardest thing was getting food. Sometimes, girls we’d met at some club the night before came to the studio, and the first thing we said to them was to bring us a cheeseburger or something! You got to have some nerve to ask other people to buy you something to eat. I also remember the big parties in the parking lot. It was a really good place for that, because there was a big brick wall that separated the studio from the street. Of course we didn’t like it so much when the police raided!"
 
So those were some of the "dark" times that Guns N’ Roses avoid talking about today. And there’s more, as Dizzy continues to recount the... bad moments from the time he first met Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff Mc Kagan and Steven Adler – and, of course, he doesn’t fail to refer to the magic word "booze": the most effective aphrodisiac of a real rock 'n' roll party.
 
"I remember a friend of ours, Jo-Jo, had a Mustang and every Friday and Saturday night loaded it with a hundred cans of beer that he had kept cold on ice. So after the bars closed at 2:00, he would come to the parking lot around 3:00 and sell them to us... Three bucks for Budweiser, four bucks for the other beers! When the police came and asked who was in charge there, Jo-Jo would lock his car and we’d all play dump: "We don’t know, here’s the parking lot."
 
At this point I interrupted Dizzy – These moments don’t sound so “bad” to me...
 
"Yeah, sure, the parties were fun. But it’s no fun at all to have nothing to eat. I think it's still like that in Hollywood, but thankfully there are some good people who’ll help you get by."
 
Many people had predicted that Guns 'N' Roses would self-destruct, but their prophecies were proven wrong. The band didn’t break up, Slash didn’t kick the bucket from some overdose, and those who were unable to keep up with the others were left behind. Now the remaining members are supposed to be "clean," but I asked Dizzy if their self-destructive phase was a stage they had to go through in order to mature and become aware of the situations.
 
"If other people get high with drugs and booze, it doesn’t mean that it’s a mandatory stage for everyone. No one makes us do stuff that’s excessive; I think it’s up to each person. Sadly, it’s a choice that many people in Hollywood make. It’s a way of life in Los Angeles. We still like to have a good time, but we don’t overindulge like we did in the past.  It’s a bit difficult to resist when you become successful and you can find anything for free. It’s only when you start to lose friends that you realise what’s happening. You realise that the risk is too big and that you’re lucky to be alive!»
 
There’s also a big difference between having a good time and becoming a victim of some addiction...
 
"And a big difference between being alive and being dead!"
.
On May 24, 1993, the day of the Guns N' Roses concert in Athens, it will be exactly two years since the beginning of the "Use Your Illusion" world tour. The marathon tour will wrap up in July, and it's really great that Greece has finally been included in the schedule of this endless tour... I asked Dizzy if the band's phenomenal fame or the expectations of tens of thousands of fans every night have ever made him feel uneasy.
 
Guns N Roses fought a lot to reach this level of success. So there was enough time to adjust to it slowly over a period of six to seven years. The first big shock for me, personally, was at Rock in Rio, where we played in front of 150,000 people. But the other guys helped me, they explained to me what it would be like. Now none of us feel bad ... I wish we could talk to all the people who come to our shows, but unfortunately that’s impossible, so we just get a beer out on stage and say "Cheers!" Nothing can replace the feeling of going out on stage and playing in front of thousands of people. The most difficult thing is at the end of the show, when we feel so uplifted and we want to go on. Sometimes we want to go back out on stage, just to maintain that feeling. With rock 'n' roll you stay forever young.... "
 
So doesn’t Dizzy Reed ever get worn out?
 
"That’s not true! I feel worn out as we speak. We’ve been touring USA and Canada non-stop in the last two months. I miss my home, my wife, my kids, my dogs, my cats...”  
 
I reminded him that he’ll have to hold on for a little while longer:  
 
"I know. I don’t have a problem with touring. What bothers me is the continuous travelling to be in a different city every night... You want to go to a club, you get into a taxi, the driver asks where you’re going, and you’re like, “I don’t know!” You don’t even know which hotel you’re staying at or what your room is.  It’s weird. It isn’t natural. It isn’t normal!
Blackstar
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