The Maitland Mercury recently conducted an interview with GUNS N’ ROSES keyboardist Dizzy Reed. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Maitland Mercury: When GUNS N’ ROSES released “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II” simultaneously in 1991, you became the biggest rock band on the planet. What are your strongest memories of that time?
Reed: It was definitely a pinch-myself-every-once-in-a-while situation to see if I was dreaming. But it I had known them before they even got signed and Axl [Rose, GUNS N’ ROSES lead singer] had talked about having me in the band from very early on and then to watch them become so gigantic, I was always wondering if it was really going to happen. But he’s a man of his word and when they were ready to start tracking those songs and those albums he called me and I got a phone call a couple of days later from Del James who was putting together the press release and said, “Congratulations, you’re in GUNS N’ ROSES.” When I joined the band, they were chartering this jet that we used to fly around on everywhere for those three years. So I toured with a major band for three years and one day I was sitting around with some of the guys in the crew and they were all telling bus stories — stories about things that happened on the [tour] bus. It got to me and they said, “C’mon, Dizzy, what are some of your bus stories?” and I said, “I’ve never been on a bus.” But, you know what? I’ve been on a shitload of buses since then. I prefer it these days — I like being on the bus and rolling down the highway.
The Maitland Mercury: It has been reported that Axl has written a lot of new material. When might we be able to hear some?
Reed: There’s a lot of material that is in the can and there’s a lot of ideas that we’ve been throwing around. Everyone’s been sending stuff back and forth, and there’s a lot of stuff ready to go. When we’re ready to make that step, it will happen. It will happen quicker than the last album, let’s put it that way.
The Maitland Mercury: What’s it like to work with Axl on writing songs?
Reed: You know, I can’t really imagine what it would be like to not make music the way he does it. Working with him has taught me a lot. He’s a bit of a perfectionist, I guess. Because of that it always brings out the best in everyone that’s working there [in the studio], and also out of me. You need some tension to make the best recordings you can make. It’s easy to get something that sounds kick-ass and just roll with it and say, “Hey, there it is. We’re done.” But everything should have a second go around — or three — to make sure it’s right. I think Axl‘s work ethic has really rubbed off on me.
The Maitland Mercury: Are there a lot of misconceptions out there about what Axl is like as a person?
Reed: Absolutely. Of course. Unfortunately, in the world we’re living in — especially today — negativity sells. That’s all people want to know about. When you make it to the top of the heap, everybody wants to knock you off. Things have always been like that. The more a person fights that, then the more it gets thrown back at them. If you took anybody and just presented all the negative things about them — a lot of them untrue or exaggerated — then you’re not going to think too highly of that person. So there’s misconceptions, definitely.
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