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Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


2014.07.21 - One on One with Mitch Lafon - Interview with Dizzy

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2014.07.21 - One on One with Mitch Lafon - Interview with Dizzy Empty 2014.07.21 - One on One with Mitch Lafon - Interview with Dizzy

Post by Soulmonster Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:51 am


Mitch Lafon: Welcome to another episode of One On One. I'm your host, Mitch Lafon, and I'm joined this week by Talking Metal's Mark Strigl. Good day, Sir.

Mark Strigl: Hey, how are you, Mitch?

ML: Good. Always, always good when we do these shows. A lot of fun. And today it's a triple header.

MS: Yes.

ML: We're going to talk Dizzy Read of Guns N' Roses. They've got a new DVD called Appetite for Democracy, Live at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas. We've got Ernie C of Body Count, somebody that you interviewed recently as well.


ML: OK, so should we start with Dizzy?

MS: Yeah, let's go for it.

ML: Yeah, let's go with Dizzy. This is fun. You know, Dizzy came on and talked about that new DVD that they recorded. But also we had a chance to speak about the Montreal riots, a show that took place in August of, I think, 92, a show that I was at. And of course it made the news because James Hetfield of Metallica went up in smoke, caught on fire thanks to the pyrotechnics, Guns N' Roses came out, cut their set short after three or four songs, and then the riots ensued. And you know, I was there, Dizzy was there. We discussed our perspectives of that event.

MS: Right on. I wanna hear this.

ML: Which is gonna be interesting. So let's let's just go and listen to what Dizzy had to say.

[cut to recording]

ML: Good, so we're we're we're talking Guns N' Roses today.

Dizzy: Yes, indeed.

ML: So, you know, let's just get right into the new Blu-Ray DVD. The whole thing, the Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas shows. How is it preparing for a residency different than just doing sort of a normal touring, you know, from one town to another?

Dizzy: I guess, you know, the main difference obviously is is the travel, and there's less of it. So you can bring more stuff because you don't have to pack it up everyday, and just try to make yourself, you know, feel at home. And I really enjoyed doing the residencies myself. But it's just a... yeah, I mean, when you're younger and you first start rolling around in the bus, whatever, you just think, "Man, this is the life!" But it starts to take its toll after a while, flying too, especially these days. It's really difficult. So you know, if you eliminate that aspect there's a certain comfortability that's there. And I think the band just... it's, you can build momentum more, I think, by, you know, a couple shows into it everything's kind of rolling along like right away as opposed to the... you know, the room's not changing, the venue is not changing every night, so maybe like, you know, sometimes when that happens you go from indoors to outdoors and you know, all of a sudden you have, you know, it doesn't sound the same in your ears or in the monitors. You know, you don't really get that with what you're doing that stuff. And you know what? There's a casino outside and there's Jägermeister and you can just, you can have a blast.

ML: Do you notice a difference at all in the audience? Because, you know, when you're on tour and you're going from city to city, you expect that it's the fans, you know, the Guns N' Roses fans, that show up. Here it's sort of the fans plus sort of some Las Vegas tourists that are sort of milling around. Did you notice any difference?

Dizzy: You know, not a big difference. I think the main thing is that, you know, when you're in Vegas, I think most of the people there, not all the people, but they don't have to get up and go to work in the morning, they don't have to go home, they don't have to worry about the babysitter or the kids, because they're there having a good time and to see a show.

ML: Alright.

Dizzy: You know, everywhere else they're there to have a good time at the show, but, you know, it's back to reality the next day for everybody making Vegas, in most cases, you know, they have a couple more days without pretending there's somebody else before they go back to whatever they're doing.

ML: They really do. You joined GN'R back in 1990. How did you get into the band? I mean, you know, here they were, they were this five piece, you know, guitar, drums, classic sort of rock band in terms of configuration. How did they say, "Wow, we need a keyboard?"

Dizzy: Well, I'd been friends with and known, you know, the guys since before they got their their record deal. I was in another band, we lived next door to each other in Hollywood and Axl heard me play one night and and he said, you know, "I wanna"... he had a a master vision, the master plan, for the band, before they got signed and that was to evolve that way. And he told me, [?] he goes, "We have like an acoustic record or EP and then, you know, the big record," "then the acoustic record," sorry, "and then we are going to do a double album and add a keyboard player and it's going to be you". And he stuck to his word.

ML:  Yeah, 24 years with the band and you've sort of seen, you know, the highest highs on the User Your Illusion tour, and then you've seen, you know, going through the 90s and then up to now, what were some of the changes that marked you the most in terms of being with the band?

Dizzy: Oh well, first of all, the Use Your Illusion tour wasn't all high highs. There were some moment that I'd rather forget but only a couple. But I think, it's been a wild ride, man. You know, it wasn't easy, you know, people left. And there's there has been a lot of that over the years. But, you know, the first time that happened, I thought, "My God, this is it." You know, I thought it was but then I saw that that's not necessarily the case, that you have to move on. Just like with life, you have to overcome these things and find a way to get through it, and you do. And, you know, love or hate it, you move on and you strive to be the best you can be. No matter what. And I think this band is a good representation of all of that.

ML: I think actually the band is fantastic as it is right now, I have to admit. You know, you read the press and you see a lot of negative stuff about, "Oh, they come on too late," and, you know, "This guy's not there and that guy's not there." But what they forget to focus on is that you play 3 1/2 hours. You do nearly 40 songs. If you spent any money on a ticket, every single penny is accounted for. I mean, you get value, right?

Dizzy: Sure.

ML: It's a fantastic show. Does it get a bit tiresome on the body to actually do those three hour shows?

Dizzy: You know, not for me. I kind of stopped moving around a long time ago [laughter]. I do the best I can, and do what I do for the keyboards, play a little percussion and stuff. But for the other guys, you know, I think you have to pace yourself certainly, obviously, you have to, even I do. There's no question about that. But if I ever find myself like feeling like complaining and stuff, I just remember that, you know, the E Street Band played for five hours without any breaks and they're older than we are. So if they can do it-

ML: You can do it, too.

Dizzy: We have no excuses.

ML: You know, you mentioned that the Use Your Illusion tour had some highs but also some lows. One particular low was probably the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. What do you recall of that event?

Dizzy: You know, that particular... that was a bummer, obviously, that was the night that we were touring with Metallica and I know that was the night that the singer-

ML: Lit up. Yeah.

Dizzy: - got burnt really bad. And so, you know, the way that all went down, it wasn't very cool. I just remember that we were, you know, we wanted to come back and give them the full show and give them their money's worth. Obviously Metallica couldn't finish their set. I think that would have been the way to go, but some people didn't like that. And I'm not sure exactly. I know that in a lot of cases, not all cases, but the press sort of blows up, blows things out of proportion and likes to call it a riot. I know there was some bad things that happened there, but...

ML: Yeah, I was at that show actually. And it was quite an event. But I do remember when Axl put the mic down and and walked off stage that my buddy and I, we just went, "OK, we're going home, we are not sticking around for what's coming next."

Dizzy: Yeah. I do remember that we had full intention of, you know, we just wanted to come back and give them the full show and [?]. The biggest problem about that was that we just, we didn't, we weren't able to play Montreal again for several years and then we finally did-

ML: 14 years later.

Dizzy: It was an awesome moment, I remember. Especially for Axl and for me, to be able to finally come back there and play. And the fans were very appreciative and that's kind of an emotional moment, actually.

ML: Yeah, you know, I was actually, I was at the Olympic Stadium show and I was at your return at the Bell Center. What was it like coming back, stepping into the Montreal Bell Center, knowing that, you know, there have been a couple of petitions of 'don't have them play here again' and 'they should be banned'. And yet you came in and you did, I think, a 3 and 1/2 hour show, and Axl even made some some comments about, "Hey Montreal, I didn't think you'd have me back," or something like that. Is there any-

Dizzy: Yeah, it was like vindication in a lot of ways because I think that everyone blames us for everything that happened and there was no, you know, basically we're just trying to do the right thing way back then and it was just completely misconceived and blown out of proportion so to come back and to get that feedback from the fans, that was, you know, kind of set things right.

ML: They really did.

Dizzy: That's all you can really ask for. You know, that's just [?] when things like that happen.

ML: And of course you came back another time after that at The Metropolis, and that was, I think, last year and it was definitely the best show I saw all of last year. And I see 100-150 shows a year. It was just absolutely phenomenal. But where does the band go from here? There's a lot of talk, "Well, you did Chinese Democracy and you haven't done anything else." You know, what are the plans for the future for the band?

Dizzy: You know, there's nothing real definite. I know that there's a lot of music that's got to be finished up and there's a lot of music that's [?] close to be done that, you know, needs to be put out. And then, you know, we got to get back out there and play some more shows, maybe do another residency. But in the meantime, you know, people can watch the DVD.

ML: Yeah.

Dizzy: And just, you know, that can hold you off until until we get back out there.

ML: It really can. Are we allowed to talk a little bit about the Dead Daisies as well?

Dizzy: I don't see. I mean, that's what I'm doing right now.

Someone: Absolutely. Go for it. Of course.

ML: Let's talk Dead Daisies a bit. You're going to be opening for Kiss and you've, you've teamed up with Jon [Stevens], who sang for a brief moment with INXS. Tell me a little bit about how the band got together?

Dizzy: It was something that, I think, you know, Richard had started doing a couple years ago or last year, whatever it was. And he told me about it and and who was doing it and, you know, Jon Stevens, I'd met actually when he was singing with INXS and you know, he was just, he's just phenomenal singer. And Marco Mendoza is playing bass and, like, I've done like a couple of songs with him, one night in Chicago, we got up and played and, you know. So those are two guys I always wanted to play with. I think Charlie Drayton was playing drums at the time, and another guy [that's] always great to play with him. And so when he told me about this, I said,, you know, "If you ever need a keyboard player, I'm not doing anything." And it turns out I knew their production manager, in front of house guy, real good old friends as well. So when they needed a keyboard player they called to see if I was still and I said, "Yes." And that's how it all started. So we are getting ready to go out with Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd right now. They're ready to go back in the studio and finish up four songs, there's a single coming out, and - I think that's August 5th - and then we go back out with [?] Kiss and Def Leppard. So should be a a wild and wacky summer with the Dead Daisies.

ML: Yeah, not a bad way to get introduced to an audience by opening up her for Def Leopard and and Kiss. You know, you mentioned you're gonna do four songs. Is there plans to make a full length record?

Dizzy: Well, that will [?] already completed three song. I think the plan is to put out an EP and definitely some singles. I know that the first single I think is coming out August 3rd, the song called Face I Love, it's a great song. A lot of emotion and stuff behind that. So it'd be worth checking out, you know, the Daisy's Facebook page and get involved with all that.

ML: Is that sort of the new way to go? You know, the fans these days seem to have a very short attention span. They go to YouTube, they watch one song, they go to iTunes, they buy one song. Is making an album actually still relevant?

Dizzy: Not as much as it used to be, that's for sure. And it's always been hard. It's always been difficult to put out twelve really good songs, worthy of putting out. You know, not every band can do that. Probably 95% of all bands couldn't do it at some point, at least. I think this ten could, but I just don't think it's relevant as much as it used to be. I think, you know, people want product right away and so, you know, singles are the way to go and, you know, if you've got 12 songs then you can put them together as a collection at some point. People can make up their mind at that point.

ML: Yeah, is that sort of a shame though that it's a lost art these days, the album?

Dizzy: I think the album, that art form, that medium, that thing, didn't kind of really started to actually just went away when it became the compact disc, think about it. Yeah, the album was a whole experience. You opened it up and there was these pictures and there was the lyrics and maybe there was a pull out, a fold out, and you put it on and it was magic. And now, you know, if the CD [?] it changed at that point. And CDs are just kind of these cumbersome things that you would find cracked on the floor of your car.

ML: Yeah, but you are right, though, because the album was eight to 10 songs and it was this moment in time and the CD became the 16-17 song marathon. And you needed to sit down and listen to them over a week rather than a day.

Dizzy: Sure, there's a lot of [?]. And obviously at first, especially at, you know, I'm not sure what anyone says, you know, CDs did not sound the same as albums, it just did not sound the same. And, you know, obviously now with all the advanced technology they have, you know, the digital file can be made to sound like anything, so, you know, you can't argue with that these days. But back then, the CD and a Walkman did not sound anything like a a needle in a groove on a Hifi system.

ML: No, they really didn't. Are you gonna are you planning on doing vinyl of Dead Daisies?

Dizzy: I think it's fantastic idea but, you know, right now it's we have like enough for an EP. And for people who don't know that, it's an extended play, which is less than eight songs, I believe. The LP would be the long play, which is more than, so... I think it's a great idea and I know vinyl is making a comeback and it's kind of a trend at this point. And so sure, we'll see, hopefully.

ML: When the band hits the road... You have met Marco Mendoza who played with Thin Lizzy for a while, you have Brian Tisha who played with Foreigner and White Snake, and yourself, and Richard with Guns N' Roses, and Jon with INXS. Is the set list going to be taken from all those classic bands? Is it going to be Guns N' Roses? What exactly are fans gonna see?

Dizzy: I think we have a head turning sort of classic sounding bluesy rock'n'roll, straight up rock'n'roll, thing happening there and I don't think a lot of people are doing it right now. And I think we're doing it pretty well. So I think people are going to be, if they don't know already, I think they'll be pleasantly surprised, at least I hope they will.

ML: Yeah, I think they will. Now I see that our time is running out here. You know, you've been with Axl for 24 years and you were friends with him before. Just, what can you say about Axl? Any words? I mean, he seems to be one of the most misunderstood individuals in rock.

Dizzy: I think so. And I think a lot of it has to do with, you know, he doesn't really... he stopped talking to the press a long time ago. I think he's just been misquoted and misportrayed over the years. And he's a good friend, he's like a brother and a mentor and a lot of other things. So I love him and yeah, that's how I feel about him. That's my perception.

ML: Yeah, absolutely. So there you go. Well, thank you, Dizzy.

Dizzy: You got it, man.

ML: It's been a pleasure.
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2014.07.21 - One on One with Mitch Lafon - Interview with Dizzy Empty Re: 2014.07.21 - One on One with Mitch Lafon - Interview with Dizzy

Post by Soulmonster Thu Dec 22, 2022 10:49 am

Finished transcribing the Dizzy portion of the podcast episode.
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