ARTIST: Dizzy Reed
ALBUM NAME: ‘Rock ‘N Roll Ain’t Easy’
RELEASE DATE: February 2018
COUNTRY: United States
CITY: L.A, USA
None of us are a stranger to the undeniable talent that is Dizzy Reed, being that he is not only the keyboardist but part of the essential glue that holds the legendary band Guns` N Roses together since the year 1990. Many may be used to seeing Dizzy in the background banging away on a variety of keys and even the occasional drum, so it is refreshing to finally see and hear him as the main attraction.
Having grown up with the sounds of Reed’s keys blaring in my teenage angsty room from albums such as Appetite for Destruction, when the opportunity arose for me to review his long awaited debut solo album Rock` N Roll Ain’t Easy, an album that has been 10 years in the making, all ideas of admirable behaviour was sent flying out the window. I was quite prepared to throw down with my team mates in order to snatch up the chance to do this review of one of my childhood musical heroes.
There is no feeling more exhilarating than hitting the play button on the first track of an album you have been dying to get your hands, or in this case thumbs on. And oh, how exhilarating it is! The first track `This Don’t Look Like Vegas’ greets you with a grungy Foo Fighters sounding guitar by the likes of Ricky Warwick and Mayuko Okai. You are then led into the thrill of the drums by Mike Dupke and finally the star of the show, Dizzy’s keys, which make you want to headbang in the most unexpected way. If ever it was possible to make any form of piano type instrument sound rock and roll, Dizzy has definitely achieved it. When isolating the sound of the keys, one can really hear the spirit of rock and rolls first wild man aka The Killer, Jerry Lewis in this song as well as throughout the whole album. One heck of a solo from Guns N’Roses band mate Richard Fortus rounds off this welcoming to Dizzy’s jungle.
The lyrics “what have you become” in the second track ` Mother Theresa’ are repeated numerous times as if begging an answer to this question. My answer to your question Dizzy is that like a fine wine your talent just keeps getting better with age. ` Cheers 2 R Oblivion ‘presents a more pop like sound to Dizzys style, the perfect display of this artist’s versatility. Midway through the song however that classic Dizzy keyboard sound and heavy rock guitar sneaks up on you, just to remind you of who you are listening to. The song finishes up with an uncharacteristically beautiful and soft melody.
Dizzy’s skills on the keys and vocal ability really lead the melody of `fragile water’ along. After all this is Dizzy’s show and we are all just too privileged to be sitting in the audience of it. `Dirty bomb’ the fifth track on this album is a fun, tongue in cheek tune sure to get that foot tapping away. ‘Mystery In Exile’ has a surprising punk feel to it that remind me of what it felt like to be a teenager. The lyrics here make mention of a storm that is coming, a storm that I believe to be the success of Dizzy’s album.
` I celebrate’ start you off with an epic guitar riff and fills you up with a deep groan of Mike Duda’s bass. We are given some extra colour here with tantalising bongos and screeching guitar solos in this tune. Track eight `understanding’ is best enjoyed with whiskey on the rocks while appreciating the sweet down and dirty sound of Dizzy’s vocals. `Crestfallen’ is a slow starting hard rock ballad describing the corrupt nature of love, which explodes your senses with a lengthy 30 second beast of a guitar solo that you just want to close your eyes and appreciate. The tenth song from Rock ‘N Roll Ain’t Easy `Forgotten cases’ draws you in with the bluesy base tones and keys and keeps you going with its catchy chorus. A song that just makes you want to “stand up shout and let it all out”.
The final song ` Rock `N Roll Ain’t Easy’ addresses the albums namesake and manages to speak to everyone at their core. Although the song is about the trial and tribulations of a career in rock and roll, it is also about the everyday ups and downs of life that we are all familiar with, heartbreak, depression, financial struggle and trying to find your place in this crazy world after it has chewed you up and spat you out more times than you care to count. The most serious song which throws you full force into the deep end of this epic album, a sure surprise. The song reminds us of the advice once given to Dizzy that although you may be beaten down to never stop fighting for the things you want.
In closing this is an absolutely infectious album, a must have in your rock collection, the more you listen the more you want to listen. You can easily pick up the fusion of some inevitable influences from the likes of Guns `N Roses itself and even reminiscence of old school Slippery When Wet Bon Jovi. This however just adds to the deliciousness of this album which has the magic to transport you straight back into the decade of bad hair days, hangovers and pants tight enough to put your manhood in question. Long live rock and roll and long live Dizzy!
Jess sat down for an ON THE LINE chat with ‘Dizzy’ Reed. Click on the link below to have a listen: