Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and keyboard player for the legendary Guns N’ Roses, Dizzy Reed sat down to talk with Metal Wani’s Carl O’Rourke about his debut solo album ‘Rock And Roll Ain’t Easy’, why it took a decade to record and some upcoming plans with Guns N’ Roses.
Unarguably a busy man, Dizzy shared some reasons as to why it took over ten years for his first solo record to happen.
“There was a period of time I was at home, I started writing some songs. I had some vocal ideas that sort of stuck in my head and made some demos and then like, one of my favorite activities is to get drunk and play my demos for friends and, so, that happened! There was a few people like Del James who co-produced the record with me, Richard Fortus who plays a lot of guitar on it, Mike Duda who does a lot of bass on it , and they kind of sort of encouraged me to maybe get in the studio and record the stuff for real. But we didn’t really have the resources at the time. I was out on tour with somebody, I think it was The Psychedelic Furs, got a call from Del saying he found a studio where we could go in and record on a spec deal which is sort of like, you know, they get paid when we get paid. And it kind of went from there.”
“We didn’t have a band but we knew a lot of people that were willing to come down and play on a song or two, or three or four or whatever, and that’s what happened. I don’t think any of us realised when we started that it was gonna take as long as it did just to track the stuff. And again, you know when you’re doing something on spec time, you’re in on down time when the studio was not working and so it’s a little bit more difficult to schedule. You can’t really like, block it out and plus we had our day jobs and what not. So the tracking took a couple of years and then we ran into some difficulties with the masters and what not, and it kept getting put on the back burner. That’s basically what happened.”
On persevering, Dizzy said,
“I gave up on it so many times but my, between you know, my wife and Del and Richard and a few other people, they encouraged me to see it through and eventually everything sort of fell into place.”
‘Rock And Roll Ain’t Easy’ is a multi generational record that echoes several styles of Rock, asked whether this was his intent, Dizzy said,
“Basically, it starts with the songs. To me, having a, and I had some help in writing the songs with Del, especially lyrically.” He added “My point is that, a good song, you should be able to play it on the guitar and sing it and have it sound just as good or on the piano and sing and have it sound just as good. And I do appreciate that you perceive it as multi generational because, i think good music too should, it should translate from generation to generation. Sonically, I think what, we were just doing what we know, you know ,what we grew up doing and how we, how we got into the music business and that we wanted to just set up the instruments and just record them live in the studio and then go from there. So I think it was almost, it was all organic, there’s no computer generated music on the record.”
On how he benefited from working with Guns N’ Roses and Axl Rose over the years, he shared his thoughts.
“One of the great things about, one of the many great things about having this opportunity to have been in Guns N’ Roses all these years, especially with me working with Axl, is you know ,keeping your perception open to everything as it evolves, as music changes and seeing how you can evolve along with that without stepping out of that, what’s gonna work for you, I guess.
With Guns N’ Roses, a solo debut, a cover band named Hookers & Blow, Reed has an exceptionally busy period of time ahead of him. He shared some insight as to what that might entail.
“You never know. I mean just a couple weeks ago, well about a month ago I got a call asking if I could go fly to Boston to play three shows with Joe Perry and Brad Whitford from Aerosmith. They need someone to fill in because their guy was busy so i looked at my calendar and said yeah it’s clear, I’ll be there! [laughs] That was amazing, that was really, really fun. So that popped up outta nowhere and so, that’s good and I don’t wanna jinx it, but hopefully things like that will keep happening.”
Dizzy added, concluding,
“I’ve got the record, and, I’m not sure what’s in store for Guns. I know we got some more touring to do later this year as well and that’s always my number one priority. So I’ll set down whatever I’m doing and get to business with that whenever i can. So we’ll see. As far as plans for outside of my own personal solo stuff I never know. I’m always the last to know. You’ll know before I do! [Laughs]”