Darren Arthur Reed (born June 18, 1963), known by his stage name Dizzy Reed, is an American contemporary rock musician, and occasional actor. He is best known for his tenure as the keyboardist, pianist and percussionist for the rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he has played, toured, and recorded since 1990. Aside from frontman Axl Rose, Reed is the longest-standing and only member of Guns N' Roses to remain from the band's Use Your Illusion era. 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.
Reed was born as Darren Arthur Reed on June 18, 1963 in Hinsdale, Illinois, and was raised in Colorado. 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.
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 "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 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. 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. 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?".
Work outside Guns N' Roses:
Outside of Guns N' Roses, Reed played on albums for his former bandmates 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 2006, and Celebrity Art Show (2008).
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 divorced after 20 years of marriage, to wife Lisa, an author and Special Education Teacher for ten years. He filed for divorce in 2010. They have two daughters. Skye, born in 1992 and Shade born in 1996. He also has one son from a previous relationship, Justin Gunn-Reed, born in 1988. Shade is working on an album of her own with Reed and it is expected to be out in 2014.
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.
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