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2002.11.12 - The Dispatch - New Guns N' Roses Lineup Is Solid, Says Keyboardist (Dizzy)

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2002.11.12 - The Dispatch - New Guns N' Roses Lineup Is Solid, Says Keyboardist (Dizzy)  Empty 2002.11.12 - The Dispatch - New Guns N' Roses Lineup Is Solid, Says Keyboardist (Dizzy)

Post by Blackstar on Thu May 21, 2020 8:24 pm

It's no illusion: New Guns N' Roses lineup is solid, says keyboardist

Tim Seward
Staff writer

Guns N' Roses will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at The Mark of the Quad Cities, Moline. Tickets ($35, $45) are on sale at The Mark box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and by phone at (563) 326-1111. CKY and Mixmaster Mike will open the show.

Keyboard player Dizzy Reed didn't know ''Mr. Brownstone'' in the mid-1980s, but he knew some guys in the band Guns N' Roses. Now, he knows everyone who has played with the hard-rock band and its songs, including ''Brownstone.''

Outside of frontman Axl Rose, Mr. Reed is the only member of Guns to have played with Duff McKagan, Slash and Izzy Stradlin of the former lineup and Buckethead, Chris Pittman and Tommy Stinson of the new lineup.

The new lineup is heading to The Mark of the Quad Cities Sunday evening as part of the ''Chinese Democracy'' tour, the first jaunt for the band in nearly 10 years.

''Both bands are great,'' Mr. Reed said Monday from his hotel room in Boise, Idaho. ''I think with the band, the players, we have now, we have more depth. We are a lot deeper, and everyone comes to rock. It works. The old was then, the new is now. This is what it is.''

What Guns has is an almost completely different lineup. Slash is gone, replaced by Buckethead (so called because he dons a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head while performing). Tommy Stinson, formerly of the Replacements, replaced Mr. McKagan. Brian ''Brain'' Mantia of Primus has taken over the drum kit while Matt Sorum/Steven Adler are out. Guitarists Robin Finck and Richard Fortus are new to the fold while Mr. Stradlin and his first replacement, Gilby Clarke, are gone.

In fact, Axl Rose is the only Gunner remaining from the original lineup. Mr. Rose, one of the most enigmatic and controversial rockers the United States has produced, hand-picked the new lineup, many of whom have been in the studio since the ''Democracy'' sessions began in '95. (The new album isn't due until some time next year).

Guns N' Roses, which ranks No. 36 in all-time record sales for American artists, has played a few venues with the current lineup, mostly overseas.

The band played to sold-out venues in England, China, Brazil and Japan and have received critical acclaim. At the latter, GN'R broke attendance and merchandising records.

Mr. Reed, who joined the band for the ''Use Your Illusion'' albums, is excited about the current lineup and is happy with its initial success.

''With all of the changes, it was very painful and emotional,'' Mr. Reed said of the past nine years. ''It was really up and down. We were taking one step forward and two steps back. But playing in front of 250,000 people (2001 in Rio) is a good way to come back.

''A packed house is good for the ego. The people (overseas) were way into it from the first note to the last note of the songs. They were wanting for more. It was a great way to prepare for (North America).''

The opening show of the North American leg didn't exactly get off on the right foot. Scheduled last Thursday, the tour opener in Vancouver, B.C., was canceled at the last minute. Mr. Rose hadn't made it to the venue by 7:30 p.m. because of a delay at Los Angeles International Airport. According to Mr. Reed, the people behind-the-scenes in Vancouver pushed the panic button too soon.

''The people who run the building pulled the plug,'' Mr. Reed said. ''Some of us were already there, and we found out over the public-address speakers. It's unfortunate and sad that people got hurt. It sucks very, very badly, but hopefully we can make it back.''

Some critics say Guns N' Roses isn't back. The knock is that the current lineup is more like the ''Axl Rose Project.'' Mr. Reed is confident audiences will go away happy.

''There are going to be skeptics,'' Mr. Reed said. ''If Slash was still in the band, there'd still be skeptics. But if Slash is what (audiences) want to see, then don't come. This band goes out and kicks a-- and if that's what you want than this will be one of the best concerts ever.''

One of the best career moments for Mr. Reed was becoming a Gunner. Back in the mid-'80s, Mr. Reed was living in a Hollywood studio next door to Guns N' Roses. He remained friends with the band after their time there.

After the band hit it big with ''Appetite for Destruction,'' Mr. Rose approached Mr. Reed, letting him know that he was in the band's future.

''He said 'Our long-term plan is to have a keyboard player and it's going to be you,''' Mr. Reed said. ''I ran into him a little later, and he said 'It's almost time; be ready.'"

Mr. Reed was ready. In 1990, he joined the lineup and immediately began recording for ''Use Your Illusion I'' and ''Use Your Illusion II.'' The two albums zoomed up the charts, holding the No. 1 and No. 2 spots at the same time, the first time an artist had done that in nearly 20 years.

Mr. Reed has had his hand in every GN'R project since, including the ''The Spaghetti Incident'' album, the ''Sympathy for the Devil'' cover for the ''Interview With a Vampire'' soundtrack and ''Oh My God,'' an original song for the ''End of Days'' soundtrack.

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