Best known as the keyboardist for the rock band Guns N’ Roses, the American musician and occasional actor Dizzy Reed was born on June 18, 1963 in Hinsdale, Illinois. He was raised in Colorado. Reed was described as reclusive and introverted, however he has since denied this. 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 band
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. Reed met the original lineup of Guns N’ Roses in 1985 while 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.
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 “Estranged”, “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 newer 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.” When not playing keyboards or piano, Reed frequently provides backup on percussion and vocals during live Guns N’ Roses performances. He is also known for playing percussions during live performances of songs such as “Mr Brownstone”,”Nightrain”, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Rocket Queen”.
Reed 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. However, since he joined the band in 1990, five years after its formation in 1985, he cannot be described as an original member. 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. As well as singing during Guns N’ Roses live performances, Reed also serves as a backing vocalist. He sang 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?”.
Outside of Guns N’ Roses, Reed played on albums for his former bandmates Slash, Duff McKagan, and Gilby Clarke. He also guested on former Guns N’ Roses bassist Tommy Stinson’s 2004 solo effort Village Gorilla Head. 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 2006, and Celebrity Art Show. 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 was a member of The Dead Daisies alongside Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus, both left the band in 2015 to focus on Guns N’ Roses.
Aside from lead singer Axl Rose, Reed was the longest-standing and only member of Guns N’ Roses to remain from the band’s Use Your Illusion era, until early 2016 when guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan returned to the band. In 2012, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Guns N’ Roses, although he did not attend the ceremony. He was also a member of the Australian-American supergroup The Dead Daisies with his Guns N’ Roses bandmate Richard Fortus, ex-Whitesnake member Marco Mendoza, ex-Mötley Crüe frontman John Corabi and session drummer Brian Tichy.