Guns N' Roses is - hands down - the biggest rock band to ever play the House of Blues in Atlantic City.
When the Axl Rose-led rock outfit performs Friday, Feb. 24, it will be the biggest show in the HOB since Eminem took the stage opening weekend in 2005.
When Guns makes its Atlantic City debut this weekend, it will be without Slash, Duff and the guys, but it will be with Rose, longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed, keyboardist Chris Pitman, guitarists Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, DJ Ashba and Richard Fortus, bassist Tommy Stinson and drummer Frank Ferrer, many whom helped Rose finally finish the long-anticipated "Chinese Democracy."
The Los Angeles-based rockers, known for hits that include "Welcome to the Jungle," "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Paradise City," "November Rain," "Better" and more, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, which has percolated rumors that the band's former members may reunite with Axl and Reed.
Reed took the time to talk about the recent "Up Close and Personal Tour," a relatively short trek of small venues, and much more.
Q: So you have been with the band the longest outside of Axl - what's the secret to your longevity?
A: I think I just appreciate the fact that I do this for a living. Every day I get up is not only another day of being alive, but I play rock 'n' roll music for a living and this fantastic band gave me my shot. When I met them, they were the biggest thing going at the time, and the next thing you know, I am in the band.
Being in a band is like being married to three or four or five other guys. You are in each others' faces constantly. I am not making any direct references to anyone, but there are egos in bands in general. You have to put that aside and look at the bigger picture.
I am always ready to go and put everything into the band that I can. I appreciate the band and what it has done for me and I realize how lucky I am. I just think I get along with people … my ex-wife might disagree.
Q: What's the craziest thing to happen on tour recently?
A: I honestly think I have seen it all over the years. I have to admit we are a little less rambunctious these days. The crowd is a bit less crazy, too. The things that stand out to me are when we play a new song from "Chinese" or a classic nugget and I see the people really appreciating it and being as happy as they are. That's a great feeling. There were times before "Chinese" came out - before the Internet leaks - and you would look out when we were playing songs from it and we got these looks like, "What is that?" Now that the record is out, they know them all. And that's cool.
Q: Have you gotten used to Axl appearing on stage late, even though the crowd is restless?
A: One of the first things I do when we have a wardrobe person backstage - a lot of them come out and the first thing they do is hang a clock - is take the clock out. When I was a kid, we would camp out all night or for two days to see Jeff Beck or whoever. And whenever I was camping and wearing a watch, everyone would ask me what time it was? Every 10 minutes, someone would ask me. That would make those 24 hours go by slow. So I stopped wearing a watch.
But we have been pretty close - at least by our standards - of going on around the time we are expected to. But I will say everyone gets their money's worth. We play for three hours or more. It's going to be a late night. Make sure you have a babysitter. And if you have to get up early, take the day off. My brother came to see us in Denver and he told his boss, "If you don't give me the day off, I'm quitting." He got the day off.
Q: Axl is perceived as a control freak, but does he welcome your artistic input?
A: He encourages it. He sees us as a band and feels we are a band. And we feel it is a band. He wants things done as a band and it has always been that way. People can look at it however they want. I feel like I am in a band. A great band. Does he have final say? Absolutely. He is the one who is going to sing it.
Q: So how does this mini tour differ from the big tour?
A: Hopefully, we will try some new stuff. I am always prepared to do that. But more importantly, they are cool dates because they are small places. It's different when you are so much closer to people. I like being close to the band. I don't run around, so it's cool for me. It gets us back to our roots in a weird sort of way.
Q: Do you plan on checking out A.C.?
A: I am so looking forward to it. I make the time now. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time in nightclubs then slept all day and thought, "Well, we'll be back next year." But you never know.
Who Will Be at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony?
Q: When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction happens, who will be there?
Dizzy Reed: Well, I can make a whole bunch of jokes right now, but when I get the itinerary and I get the schedule, I will be there. I have no problem doing whatever with whomever. We'll see what happens when it happens.