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Hookers N' Blow in Hartford, CT

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Friday, March 9, 2007 @ 11:31 PM

At The Webster Theatre

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GNR keyboard player Dizzy Reed's side project Hookers N’ Blow is currently touring the East Coast and invaded New England this week to perform a string of selected shows which began at the Webster Theatre in Hartford, Ct. Earlier this month Hookers N’ Blow performed at The Cat Club in a very special NAMM Week performance.

It has been an interesting month for the band. The L.A. rockers were forced to cancel a few East Coast shows in Buffalo and Pennsylvania due to blizzard conditions. But have no fear, you just can't keep a good musician down for too long and neither rain, snow, or natural disaster will keep the force of mother nature known as Hookers N’ Blow out of commission for too long.

If anyone knows Hookers N’ Blow, they know this band has got to have the best road stories around. If you remember last year, the boys survived a near fatal car crash in April, when a drunk driver hit them on the way to their show. Luckily, the band is doing well and survived the devastating wreck.

On my way to the show Sunday, there was a ten-mile traffic pileup on the other side of the Mass pike. I found out the next day this was due to the fact that a bus on the way to the Mohegan had caught fire. It goes to show you, that you just never know what is going to take place, once you are on the highway. I am lucky I was on the other side of the Mass pike, or I would have been stuck in traffic all night and missed the show.

One hour later, I pulled up to the parking lot of the Webster Theatre in Hartford just as my friends Hookers N’ Blow arrived from a 12 hour drive from Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a Holiday weekend and the band was ready to kick things into high gear.

A Hookers N’ Blow concert always revolves around a cast of revolving characters to keep things fresh. This time around "The Far From Over" HNB line-up included Dizzy Reed of GNR on vocals and keyboards, Alex Grossi (Quiet Riot) on guitar, Troy Patrick Farrell (White Lion) on drums, and Mike Duda (W.A.S.P.) on bass.

The band hit the stage at 10 P.M. and performed a 90-minute set of classic hits that ranged from early Stones to GNR. Opening with the GNR tune, "It's So Easy", Dizzy and HNB were ready to get the party started. Slamming into "Ziggy Stardust", the band sounded tight and ready to rock.

Now what would a Hookers N’ Blow show be with out lots of girls. The girls from The Electric Blue strip club showed up, and jumped onstage to dance to The Rolling Stones song, "Brown Sugar." One girl even managed to throw her lingerie at Dizzy.

The rhythm section proved to be very exciting, as Mike Duda was laying down the funky bass grooves, along with the expertise drumming of Troy Patrick Farrell. I knew W.A.S.P. had a much heavier style and different vibe than HNB, so I was interested to see how this would come into play and affect the songs that are usually performed at a Hookers N’ Blow show. Actually, the heavier groove added a much fuller sound to the band, and gave it a cutting edge kind of groove.

Guitarist Alex Grossi, is an established musician, and has a style that is very 80's oriented but at the same time very modern. Alex is also endorsed by PRS and performed with his Pink Glitter guitar that has a great sound, as the talented shredder banged out the famous opening riffs of "Sweet Child Of Mine".

One of the greatest things about going to see Hookers N’ Blow is their amazing road stories, the band could easily write a book about life on the road and make it a best seller.

Dizzy was in good spirits as he said, “It is really cold here in New England. I am from Hollywood and I have to learn how to drive in the snow.” Dizzy Reed also had a funny road story that he shared with the audience. Dizzy said, “Well we just drove 12 hours from Cincinnati. After our show in Ohio, it was 3 A.M. and we stopped at MacDonald’s. What is MacDonald’s famous for? Hamburgers right? Well, they told us they had run out of Hamburgers, so I had to get a Big Mac. I complained, and called The White House. They said call back on Tuesday, today is a Holiday." As you can tell, there is never a dull moment with these guys.

I recently got to see GNR perform in Worcester. It was so inspiring to see perform 100 percent with both bands. Whether, Dizzy is playing to 10 thousand people, or at a club show such as Hookers N’ Blow, he can really tickle the ivories with his bluesy rock infused keyboard playing. Hookers N’ Blow also performed a cool version of "Don't Cry", in which I really enjoyed keyboard presentation.

One of the best parts of the night was when the band opted to do a rocking acoustic version of, ”I Use To Love Her", and "Knockin On Heavens Door". Dizzy picked up the acoustic guitar, as the band jammed.

I had the opportunity to ask drummer Troy Patrick Farrell how Hookers N’ Blow got their name. This is what he said: “You know, I have to say; “ultimate party band” doesn’t work for me. When you’re called, Hookers N’ Blow, you don’t really need any more words to describe us. It’s just that. Plus it’s hard to say Hookers N’ Blow, which sounds so vile, and “ultimate party band”, which sounds so happy in the same phrase! Dizzy came up with the name. I heard that it was said on an episode of the Soprano’s, but can’t confirm that. I remember when we 1st got the artwork for the logo, we weren’t sure if we were going to use it. It’s the 1st logo you can actually snort! Dizzy is a big Stones fan, that’s really the only reason we play so much of that.”

The party was just getting ready to come to a close, as the band rolled into a medley including the Stones tune, “Sympathy For The Devil" and the Tom Petty tune "American Girl.” One thing is for certain, for those who attend a Hookers N’ Blow show, be prepared to have come early and stay late. You are running on the Hookers N’ Blow watch now, where the good times roll and the weekend never ends.

Hookers N’ Blow Set list:

  • It's So Easy
  • Ziggy Stardust
  • Don't Cry
  • Brown Sugar
  • Surrender
  • Sweet Child O'Mine
  • I Use To Love Her
  • Knockin On Heaven's Door
  • Sympathy For The Devil
  • American Girl
I recently had the opportunity to discuss Hookers N’ Blow with Dizzy Reed.

KNAC.COM: Dizzy, Last time I saw you was in Worcester in November. Happy New Year. Do you have a favorite New Years Eve show that you really enjoyed performing at?

REED: So…New Years Eve 2000, I played at the House of Blues with Guns N’ Roses. It was the first show we had done in almost 8 years and it was the first with the new band. We went on at 3:00 in the morning. It was a total trip but it was so much fun and it felt so good to playing those songs again and some for the new ones that no one had ever heard (and that will be out soon). The show we did the next year at the Hard Rock was a blast too. But my favorite New Years show would have to be around 1990. My old band The Wild got invited to play at Rikki Rachtman’s New Years Eve bash at Madame Wongs in L.A It was a pretty big event, I had been a few times but we hadn’t played. I had just started working with Guns at the time and the Wild was one of the hottest bands in town so the buzz was great. It was one of those magic nights where everything just fell together right. The crowd was way down with what we re doing and all the women seemed so beautiful and they were all dancing and kind of grooving. I don’t know. The after party was the best ever. That always helps. Boy, those were the days.

KNAC.COM: How would you describe Hookers N’ Blow?

REED: When I first joined GNR, they were really big. We were flying around on a jet. There was no time for parties, strictly business. A lot of people think that when you are a Rock Star that it is all fun, but I am a musician too, and I know how hard it is to get to where you want to be. It is a lot of work. It does take a lot of work and discipline. You know most rock stars are their own boss and it is easy to goof off. But we want to have fun too. That is why most guys become musicians, because they didn't want to go to work in the morning. We have fun in Hookers N’ Blow, that is what we do really.

KNAC.COM: How did you get started in music?

REED: I formed my first band in 6th grade in Colorado, where I grew up. I never really took any lessons. My grandmother how to play organ. I kind of picked it up on my own from there. I always played keyboards or piano on the side and I thought there would be more opportunity, if I sang. It kind of paid off.

KNAC.COM: When did you move to Los Angeles?

REED: I moved to L.A. in 1988. I was in a band called The Wild for about 5 years. We met the guys from Guns N’ Roses from early on.

KNAC.COM: How did you meet Axl Rose?

REED: When I first moved to Hollywood and the rest of the band. We hit it off. It was Axl's plan from early on to add a keyboard player and he said you will be it

KNAC.COM: When you are composing music, what inspires you to write a song? Do you listen to different types of music? I know you recently wrote the entire score for the movie the "The Still Life".

REED: I do I listen to everything. I think it is important as a musician to listen to whatever you can. It is pretty easy when you are younger to be close-minded and say metal rules, country rules, hip-hop rules. You should listen to everything and incorp that into what you are playing. It is going to appeal to more people but at the same time, you are learning more about the music. It is going to make your stuff better. I kind have always been that way. My parents were always listening to music. They loved music. My Mom and Dad had a big record collection. My dad listened to Neil Diamond. He got into rock in the seventies, when the band Boston came out with their first record. He fell in love with the song,“More Than A Feeling.” He used to crank that song. Before I joined Guns N' Roses, I told him you got to check out this band they are friends of mine. They checked out the video for “Paradise City.” They freaked out. They went out and bought the album. Then I ended up joining the band. That was really cool. They were fans before I joined the band. The Stones are definitely one of my favorite bands. I particularly like the early Stones from the 1970's and Mick Taylor Era. That is the music I grew up on, and Kiss a lot, a lot of the seventies bands.

KNAC.COM: Back in the day, when you had your band The Wild, did you ever open for GNR?

REED: No they never did. I am not sure why, we had a lot of parties together. We lived in this place that had a studio and Guns lived right next door. We use to have a lot of after hours parties. Axl is great. He is wonderful. He is the reason that I still do this. You know the new band that we have now is in my opinion the best band that I have ever been in.

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