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18th September 2004 - Dizzy Reed's Hollywood Bulldozer

Chinese Democracy, the long, long, long-awaited Guns N' Roses album has become the Ark of the Covenant of the music world. Every year rumors begin to circulate that the record is nearing completion and will soon be unleashed upon the listening republic. Each year that Chinese Democracy fails to manifest itself, expectations inflate exponentially, creating a well-publicized imbroglio for what used to be the biggest metal band in the world.

That said, Chinese Democracy is currently nearing completion. At least that's what Dizzy Reed hears. The only surviving member of Guns 'N Roses' heyday -- aside from its volatile, ego-driven leader, Axl Rose, Reed's tenure in the band dates back to 1990. The keyboard/guitar player came from the same Sunset Strip metal scene as GN'R -- his band the Wild even shared a rehearsal space next door. By the time GN'R started recording 1990's sister albums, Use Your Illusion I & II (the follow-up to 1987's breakthrough album Appetite For Destruction), Rose had recruited Reed to play keys for the band.

Guns N' Roses tribulations since then have been career-shattering, or so one would think. Members Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin and Matt Sorum left GN'R acrimoniously in the mid-'90s, and have recently regrouped as Velvet Revolver. After disappearing for five years, Rose and Reed emerged with a new lineup, featuring Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails), Tommy Stinson (Replacements), Brian Mantia (Primus), and the mask-wearing enigma known as Buckethead -- who also recently quit the band. After failed attempts at touring (thwarted by Rose's frequent no-shows), GN'R decided to go on hiatus until the release of Chinese Democracy, whenever that may be.

In the meantime Reed is staying busy with his cover band, Dizzy Reed's Hollywood Bulldozer, coming to town on Monday, Sept. 20.

Where are you right now?
Right now we have the day off. We're staying in Vernon, Connecticut.

How has the tour been going?
This is our fourth night. People have been really digging it, really getting it. We just played at a frat house in Princeton.

So how and when did Hollywood Bulldozer come together?
We've been together since the beginning of this year. A lot of us played together at a lot of different venues in Hollywood. And eventually we decided it would be fun if we took it out. A couple of the guys are from Connecticut and New England, so we're taking it a step further and doing the East Coast thing.

Are you originally from L.A.?
I was born in Chicago, grew up in Colorado and now I live in Southern California.

Your bandmate in Guns N' Roses, Tommy Stinson, just released his solo album. Do you have any plans to do the same?
As soon as this interview is done we'll be getting in the van to go see Tommy play in Cambridge. I do have plans to do the same in the future. I will definitely be putting together some demos soon.

What's the status with Chinese Democracy?
Actually, Chinese Democracy is very close to coming out. I've heard a few of the tracks and it sounds amazing. There are a few more things to do then it'll be ready. They were originally shooting for November, but it may be February now. It's gonna be great.

Do you do any GN'R covers with Hollywood Bulldozer?
We do songs from the '70s. Every now and then we'll do one, but it's pretty hard to do a Guns song without Axl. He's one of the best, one of the greatest.

Why a cover band? What appealed to you about that?
What I'm doing now is fun. There's something very romantic about it. There's no pressure. You know, when you're doing Guns there's pressure.

How were you the only member of Guns to stay on Axl's good side?
I believe in him, and I believe in what he's doing. I don't know what happened to the other guys. They quit one at a time. That's something I want people to know. They weren't kicked out of the band. They made the decision to leave and they had plenty of opportunities to come back. They walked out on us. And I didn't. I chose to stay, for a lot of reasons. I was at the point where I had put so many years of writing into it. I wanted to see it through. Axl gave me the chance to be in that band, and I am always going to be grateful for that.

You rehearsed right next to Guns N' Roses back in the day, right?
Yeah, we had a rehearsal space next to them. We lived there and would have crazy after-parties. This was before they had even gotten signed, but you could see Guns N' Roses were gonna be huge. Being around them you could tell. Axl had told me he wanted a keyboard player and he wanted it to be me. People talk like that all the time … but he kept his word.

Do you ever get nostalgic for the good ol' days on Sunset Strip?
When I moved out to the suburbs, I stopped going to Hollywood for years. Recently I started playing at the Cat Club with the Starf**kers, so now I'm up there a lot more. I'm next to the Whiskey. It's so different. It's so dead. People who weren't there during the '80s don't get it. You can't explain it to them. There were thousands of bands from all over the world trying to make it there on the Sunset Strip. 'Cause that's what you had to do. It was crazy. But going back to your original question, yeah, sometimes I get nostalgic. But it was tough. None of us had jobs, we were constantly having to find a place to sleep and something to eat. But you had nothing to lose. Everyone was going for it.

Was music a big part of your childhood?
Oh yeah. I started a band when I started playing in sixth grade, we did the prom and stuff like that.

So you were the cool kids in school?
We were kind of the novelty act. We knew "Freebird."

Source : Richmond.com

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