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2005.02.03 - Interview with Dizzy in Greenwich Time

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:18 pm

While Guns N' Roses Waits, Dizzy Reed Unleashes Hollywood Bulldozer

Ray Hogan
Staff Writer

When Axl Rose reassembles Guns N' Roses for the seemingly eternally awaited "Chinese Democracy," it will be with a new cast of characters.

Except for Dizzy Reed.

In a fierce display of allegiance, the keyboardist has stuck by the singer through an aborted tour, numerous lineup changes and an album that is more than 10 years in the making.

"I want to see this thing through," Reed says. "I'm going to support him, he gave me my start, and I really want to see this happen. I believe in what we're doing."

In the meantime, Reed is leading his own band, Hollywood Bulldozer (also known as Hookers & Blow), which comes to Jimmy's Seaside on Saturday.

Hollywood Bulldozer has its roots at the Cat Club, a bar on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, Calif., owned by the Stray Cats' Slim Jim Phantom where local musicians jam on cover tunes for nothing more than the fun of it. The group's repertoire includes songs by Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult and, of course, Guns N' Roses. The band also allows Reed the opportunity to relax.

"The main purpose of this band is to go out and have a good time, and make sure everyone there has a good time," Reed says. "Playing with Guns N' Roses in front of all those people, there's an incredible amount of pressure."

Reed's band is made up of guitarist Scotty Griffin, singer/guitarist Matt Starr, bassist Tsuzumi Okai and drummer Troy Patrick Farrell. Hitting the road is a way for them to be to be received in a way that rarely happens in Los Angeles.

"When you do stuff in Hollywood, it's not cool to be into something or show you're having a good time," he says. "When you leave Los Angeles and get into other places, people appreciate music more. It's always been that way. (When) that was the place to be and nobody would cheer for the band. Everyone would stand there with their arms crossed."

Reed moved to Los Angeles with his Denver-based band, The Wild, nearly 20 years ago. In the mid-1980s, hard rock and heavy metal ruled Sunset Strip and most of the surrounding area. Original hard-rock acts like Quiet Riot, Van Halen and Motley Crue still held sway, but the scene started to bubble with new bands that took the trashier glam look to new highs and, sometimes, the music to new lows.

"It was all about finding the next big thing and Los Angeles was the hot spot at that point in time. That's where you had to go," Reed says. "Everyone ended up in L.A. at some point in time and most of the bands chose to come out here and conquer the club scene and show the record companies they were the next big thing. There was an insane energy but a lot of people kind of took the wrong direction. It was also a self-destructive time period."

It was the confluence of energy and decadence that allowed Guns N' Roses to take over the rock scene with a purity that had disappeared from hard rock, when image began to supersede music.

The Wild was using its rehearsal studio as a crash pad and Guns N' Roses was practicing next door. Axl Rose mentioned that the band would be adding a keyboardist and he wanted it to be Reed. It would be four years, but by the beginning of 1991 Reed was a member of Guns N' Roses and he soon appeared with the group in front of 120,000 fans at the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil in January. On Sept. 19, "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II" would ship 4.2 million copies, making the discs the biggest debut(s) in pop music history.

He knew long before he joined that Guns N' Roses was an extraordinary group.

"I saw great stage presence and characters that were larger than life," he says. "They had good songs, too, but (most) couldn't tell because they were the loudest band in town. There was a certain dark energy. Being around them, I knew they were real."

The group eventually sunk under its own weight with members essentially quitting one at a time. Guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum found great success last year with their band, Velvet Revolver, and its debut, "Contraband." Reed is coy when it comes to "Chinese Democracy," saying only, "I haven't heard anything" when it comes to a possible release date. Until then, he'll continue with Hollywood Bulldozer, which is entering its second year of playing the songs its members grew up with.
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