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2014.05.16 - Interview with Dizzy in The Columbus Dispatch

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2014.05.16 - Interview with Dizzy in The Columbus Dispatch Empty 2014.05.16 - Interview with Dizzy in The Columbus Dispatch

Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 16, 2014 1:54 pm

Guns N’ Roses to transform 'Rock on the Range' fest into ‘Paradise City’

A decade ago, anticipation surrounding the delayed Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy reached a fever pitch.

The makers of Dr Pepper pledged a free can of the soft drink to every American if the long-awaited release came out by the end of 2008.

A blogger who leaked the tracks online was met by FBI agents at his front door.

China, naturally, banned the record.

Production costs reportedly eclipsed $13 million over 14 years.

For the biggest rock band of MTV’s golden age — who took us to paradise city, extolled the jungle’s deviant delights and mourned a loss (for just shy of nine minutes) in the cold November rain — the fuss seemed appropriate.

But the arrival of Democracy was met with so-so sales and critical reception. Frontman Axl Rose remained notorious for starting concerts late — or failing to show up. New music hasn’t surfaced since.

Was the extended silence a career-killer?

“That record came out when it was ready to come out; that’s all there is to it,” said longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed, 50. “We did the best we could. I think as time goes on, people will see that it was, in fact, an amazing record.”

Time, turbulence and competitors’ talent have affected the Guns N’ Roses brand. All other founding members (Slash and Duff McKagan among them) have either quit or been fired. Bitter from past disputes, Rose refused to join his peers in 2012 when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Still, there’s an appetite for reconstruction: Change, Reed said, has “always made me better."

He spoke in advance of the band’s Friday-night headlining set at Rock on the Range in Columbus Crew Stadium.

Q: How is Axl doing these days?

A: The guy is singing his a-- off. He sounds better than ever. He can still command a crowd. In so many ways, it doesn’t matter who’s behind him. When he sings those songs, it’s Guns N’ Roses.

Q: You’re the band’s longest-serving member other than Axl. Does a rotating cast affect how you perform?

A: We’ve been so lucky to have some of the greatest musicians around in this band. If things get a little tough, which they do sometimes when you’re on tour, I just tell myself when I get onstage: This does not suck. This is awesome.

Q: How did you join the group?

A: I had been living on people’s couches for five years, just out here (in Los Angeles) trying to make it happen. I had met everyone in Guns N’ Roses and became friendly with them long before they got their first record deal.

When I did get the call, it was magic. The realities of what it takes to play music on that level sank in real quick. It was a very exciting time to be in Hollywood, to join a band at the peak of the whole music scene. It was one of those fairy tales.

Q: How do you process playing for audiences who weren’t alive when, say, Sweet Child o’ Mine ruled the charts?

A: I’m just glad it’s living on, man. I think it’s great. Every once in a while, a little flash of nostalgia will go through my brain, and then I’ll wake up and realize I’m in the present.

We do whatever it takes to put on the best show, deliver and do the songs justice.

Q: Fans might put less weight on Democracy cuts. Does that bother you?

A: I still think that it’s a record where you can’t sit down and listen in one sitting. I’m very proud of it. I grew a lot as a musician, as a writer, a creator. It was a good experience.

Q: Many music festivals are heavily rooted in electronic fare. What is rock’s place in 2014?

A: The main source of rock ’n’ roll music has obviously changed. It’s not the radio anymore; it’s not music videos. It’s the Internet. In so many ways, that’s great because now there’s endless choice.

Think of all the bands we never heard back in the day. Maybe someone at the label didn’t like the way the guitar player looked.

But you can get lost in this endless wave. To get your point across, you still have to go play in front of people. That reality is never going to change. That makes it real.

Q: As a rocker, you took unlikely inspiration from another keyboard player: your grandmother. Did she ever get to see you succeed?

A: I remember one of our last conversations. She couldn’t speak very well at that point. She was in a hospital and had a picture that was in one of the rock magazines hanging up on the wall. She pointed to it and gave me the thumbs-up.

I don’t think she had seen my tattoos yet; I’d put on long sleeves.

Q: We just had Cher in town — supposedly on her farewell lap — and Motley Crue is booked here in July touting its “final tour.” Is your own retirement ahead.

A: No, man, I’m going to do this as long as my body and my mind are able to do it. I’m not forging steel; I’m not a coal miner.

Guns N’ Roses is my No. 1 thing, as long as people will have me.
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