GUNS N' ROSES Keyboardist DIZZY REED On Playing Stadiums: 'You've Got To Kick Ass, Or It's Going To Be Embarrassing As Hell'

February 17, 2018

Longtime GUNS N' ROSES keyboardist Dizzy Reed was recently interviewed by Australia's Wall Of Sound. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

On whether it's difficult to go from playing stadiums with GN'R to club shows as a solo artist:

Dizzy: "I think it's just part of the whole experience. I think it's good to play to intimate crowds. To get ready for that, I just did a tour of, like, 18 shows in a row with my other band, HOOKERS & BLOW, in the States. We took a bus and did clubs all the way across America. I like to get back to that. It's not intimidating at all. I enjoy it. I like being able to talk to the crowd, being able to ask them to put their cell phones down for a minute. [Laughs] I enjoy it."

On his new solo album, "Rock 'N Roll Ain't Easy":

Dizzy: "You have to stick to your guns, and do what's true to yourself and how you feel. You can't give in. There were a lot of obstacles and barriers that I had to overcome. A lot of it was schedule. GUNS N' ROSES is my priority – I'm always going to do that — and with HOOKERS & BLOW, there was a sudden demand for us. It's a business, so you have to do what's right for you in that respect. There were times, I think with this record, where I kind of just wanted to give up, but I didn't, and I persevered. That's part of the whole... it's amazing that it's called 'Rock 'N Roll Ain't Easy', because it wasn't easy to make this record and put it out. I'm proud of the fact that we were able to pull it off, and be able to bring in all these different musicians to play on it and make it sound like a record. We did it old-school — it was all done in the studio; everything was recorded in a live sort of situation. It's something I've always wanted to do, and we did it. It was always in the back of my mind, and it really sort of dragged me down for a long time. There were financial issues, and there were scheduling issues, and then trying to find the right guy to mix it. We shopped it to a few labels, and right away, we got the feedback that they weren't interested, which was kind of weird. They didn't know how to market it, and I was like, 'What about GUNS N' ROSES?' I don't know. Just a suggestion. [Laughs] When we met Mark [Alexander-Erber] at Golden Robot [Records], he had the right ideas for it. He looked at it as a new record, not as something that was sort of connected to a fallback, nostalgia thing. It was a new thing, and that was important."

On the origins of the album's song "Fragile Water":

Dizzy: "Most of the tracks I wrote on guitar, and that's one of the few I actually wrote on piano. It's actually a remake — there's another version of that song called 'The Air', and it was on a movie soundtrack called 'The Still Life', and Adrian [Young] from NO DOUBT came in and played drums to it after we had recorded it. He said, 'If you ever record this song again for real, I want to play drums on it.' So we called him up, and he had a game of golf, but he showed up and nailed it and went and shot his round. We ended up changing the lyrics a little bit and re-titling it 'Fragile Water'."

On whether he still feels any pressure playing with GN'R:

Dizzy: "I think you just get used to it. I've chosen to do this for a living, and that's part of it. I don't think it's any more pressure than having to get those papers to your boss on Friday, or get your story done by a deadline, because I've worked other jobs before, too. I kind of thrive on it, really. I think when my back's against the wall, I'm going to do a better job. Being in front of all those people, you've got no choice — you've got to kick ass, or it's going to be embarrassing as hell. I try my best."

On GN'R's other keyboardist, Melissa Reese:

Dizzy: "She's just got a phenomenal voice. She's a great singer, and she's got classical training on keyboards and piano. Having her on the other side of the stage, knowing that it's making us sound better, is just a pleasure. It really is. She gets along with everybody great, and when you're on tour with somebody, we're all in the same bus. You're around each other all the time, backstage, onstage, on the bus, so you have to have the right personality and the right attitude to fit in, and to know how to deal with that. It's not an easy thing. People who can't do that, they don't last long in the business. That's a big thing, and she does. She's incredible — she's fun to be around, and just so talented. She just adds to the overall scheme of everything, and she's got a modern take on things too, which is fantastic. I think she fits right in, and it's a pleasure to perform with her each night on stage."

On his 27-plus years with GN'R:

Dizzy: "I think the most rewarding thing is, Axl gave me an opportunity early on, and he didn't have to do that. My dedication is to him and to that band. I'm lucky to be able to squeeze this kind of [solo] thing in here and there. That within itself is a reward, of just being able to be a part of it and perform with them and get the recognition from the fans, and to be able to use it as a vehicle to have met other great musicians and done other things, like this, HOOKERS & BLOW and THE DEAD DAISIES. It's been fantastic — it really has."

"Rock 'N Roll Ain't Easy" was released February 16 by Golden Robot Records.

Reed is the longest-serving member of GN'R after singer Axl Rose. He joined the band as a touring member in 1990, during the "Use Your Illusion" era, and has played with most of the original members as well as in all the later editions of the group and the current reunion lineup.

In 2012, Dizzy was inducted into the the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of GUNS N' ROSES.

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