|The first Guns n' Roses album since 1993's The Spaghetti Incident? now seems possible this year, according to a recent article in Spin magazine. And keyboardist Dizzy Reed will be the only former bandmember besides leader Axl Rose to appear on the LP.
Reed was born Darren Reed 36 years ago today in Hinsdale, Ill. He joined hard-rockers Guns n' Roses in 1991 when the band was one of the most popular acts in the world, having created a huge splash with their 1987 debut LP, Appetite for Destruction, which included the hit "Welcome to the Jungle".
Guns n' Roses had trouble adjusting to life as kings of rock 'n' roll. The band fired original drummer Steven Adler, supposedly for drug abuse, in 1990. They began the following year by debuting new drummer Matt Sorum and Reed, their first official keyboardist, in concert.
Rose said of Reed's addition to GNR: "I found out he was going to be put on the streets ... so I called [our manager] and I say, 'Secure this guy, hire him, write up the contracts. Put him on a salary and give him an advance so he can get an apartment.' "
Reed had previously played with Los Angeles band Wild. His first recorded appearance as part of GNR was on the group's simultaneously released 1991 albums Use Your Illusion I and II. The LPs, which debuted with the largest initial shipping in pop history (4.2 million copies), continued Guns n' Roses' earlier success with hit singles that included "You Could Be Mine" and the ballad "November Rain." Reed's addition enabled the band to expand its sound, particularly on the albums' ballads.
Following the success of those albums, Guns n' Roses fell apart, though they managed to release one more album, The Spaghetti Incident?, an LP of punk covers. Guitarist and songwriter Izzy Stradlin quit at the end of 1991 and was replaced by Kill for Thrills' Gilby Clarke.
Rose and lead guitarist Slash reportedly disagreed over the plans for the band's future. Despite playing at the 1992 Freddie Mercury tribute concert at England's Wembley Stadium and touring for a few months, GNR was the subject of widespread breakup rumors. The last output of the band to date is a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil," from the soundtrack to the 1994 film "Interview With the Vampire."
Since 1996 there have been sporadic media reports that GNR might record again. At one point, Rose was said to be reviving Guns n' Roses without the other bandmembers.
While fans await the new GNR LP, a new song from the group is tentatively scheduled to appear in "Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2," the upcoming sequel to the early '80s animated movie "Heavy Metal."
Other birthdays: Paul McCartney, 57; Alison Moyet, 38; and Nathan "Alex Vanderpool" Morris (Boyz II Men), 27.
-- Frank Tortorici