"Happy 49th Birthday"
Dizzy Reed (born Darren Arthur Reed; June 18, 1963) is a contemporary rock musician, and occasional actor. He is best known for his tenure as the keyboardist & pianist for the rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he has played, toured and recorded since 1990. Aside from front-man Axl Rose, Reed is the longest standing and only member of Guns N' Roses to remain from the band's Use Your Illusion era.
Reed was born as Darren Arthur Reed on June 18, 1963 in Hinsdale, Illinois, and was raised in Colorado. As a child, Reed was described as reclusive and introverted. His grandmother began teaching him to play the organ when he was a young child, and before he was out of elementary school, he formed small local bands. At the age of fifteen, he took up keyboard playing as a release from the constant bullying he endured at school.
As an adult, Reed pursued a music career in Los Angeles. He was a founding member of the club band The Wild in the late 1980s, with whom he spent five years. He also replaced August Worchell as the guitarist of the group Johnny Crash although the band split up shortly after he joined.
(The Wild in 1988 was Bobby Holiday, Johnny, Lord Sid, Dizwald Zin & J.J. Bolt.)
(Old Skool shot of Dizzy & Sid during The Wild heyday!)
Reed met the original lineup of Guns N' Roses in 1985; his band, The Wild, rehearsed in a neighboring studio. He kept in touch, and in 1990 was invited by friend Axl Rose to join the group for the recording of the two Use Your Illusion albums.
In spite of the rough start, Reed soon became an accepted member of the group and his work was heard on the majority of tracks on both albums. As a member of Guns N' Roses, Reed has become well known for his keyboard, piano and backing vocal work during live performances, music videos and on such songs as "Dust N' Bones", "Live and Let Die", "Bad Obsession" "November Rain", "Garden of Eden", "Don't Damn Me", "Bad Apples", "Civil War", "14 Years", "Yesterdays", "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", "Get in the Ring", "Pretty Tied Up" and "Locomotive", as well his contributions to some of the band's new tracks, including "Chinese Democracy", "Shacklers Revenge", "Better", "Street of Dreams" "If the World", "There Was a Time", "Catcher in the Rye", "Scraped", "Riad N' the Bedouins", "I.R.S" and "Prostitute", and when not playing keyboards or piano, Reed frequently provides backup on percussion and vocals during live Guns N' Roses performances. He's also known for playing percussion's during live performances of songs such as "Mr Brownstone","Nightrain", "Welcome to the Jungle" or "Rocket Queen".
Dizzy continues to record and play live with the current Guns N' Roses line-up, and has now been a member of Guns N' Roses longer than any other member besides Axl Rose. Since he joined the band in 1990, five years after its formation in 1985, he cannot be described as an original member. However, apart from Rose, he remains the only remaining link to the Use Your Illusion era and Guns N' Roses's heyday in the early 1990s. Although Reed did not co write any songs during the Illusion sessions, for Chinese Democracy he co wrote "Street of Dreams" with Axl Rose and Tommy Stinson and "There Was a Time" and "I.R.S" with Rose and Paul Tobias, as well as the non-album single "Oh My God" with Rose and Tobias.
It has also been confirmed that the unfinished demo that did not make the cut on Chinese Democracy called "Silkworms" was written by Reed himself and the bands other keyboardist Chris Pitman.
(Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman watching Skunk Anansie.)
As well as singing during Guns N' Roses live performances, Reed also serves as a backing vocalist, more notably with the current lineup than the old lineup, he sung backing vocals on a few songs on the Use Your Illusion albums, notable examples were "November Rain", "Garden of Eden", "Bad Apples" and "Civil War" as well as "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" from "The Spaghetti Incident?" which was a Duff solo track where Dizzy was the only other member of the band that sung on that track. On Chinese Democracy, one of Reed's biggest roles in the band today is serving as a backing vocalist.
Work outside Guns N' Roses
Outside of Guns N' Roses, Reed played on albums for his former band-mates Slash, Duff McKagan, and Gilby Clarke. He also guested on current Guns N' Roses bassist Tommy Stinson's 2004 solo effort Village Gorilla Head.
He Also toured with Alice Cooper in 2002.
Reed is additionally a fan of Larry Norman, a pioneer of Christian music, and played on Norman's Copper Wires album. Most recently, he has composed music for the film scores The Still Life, released in August 2007, and Celebrity Art Show (2008).
(Frank Ferrer, Del James, and Dizzy Reed in the studio.)
When he is not touring or recording with Guns N' Roses, Reed frequently tours with his hard rock cover band Hookers N' Blow, in which he plays keyboard and guitar and occasionally sings lead vocals. For his work with Hookers N' Blow, Reed was named Outstanding Keyboardist of the Year at the 2007 Rock City Awards ("Rockies"). Hookers N' Blow was also named Best Cover Band.
Reed has also dabbled in acting, appearing as 'Mumbles' in the 2005 film Charlie's Death Wish.
Reed has been married to Lisa, an author and teacher, since 1991. They have two children. When not touring, he likes to unwind by spending time with his wife, describing himself as very faithful to her and his children.
In 2005, Reed took the unusual step of seeking admission to a college fraternity well after the traditional age of inductees, and on January 22, 2006 was admitted to the Cornell University chapter of Zeta Psi.
(Psi chapter of the Zeta Psi ...)