A rhythm guitarist rarely gets the recognition he deserves or the spotlight that the lead guitarist gets. This is especially noticeable when you are in a band where the lead guitarist is Slash. But Izzy Stradlin was not interested in the spotlight but in the creative work itself.
Let's get to know this talented guitarist, writer, and musician:
1. He Was Born On April 8th, 1962. His full name is "Jeffrey Dean Isbell", he adopted the nickname "Izzy" from high school, because of his last name. He later added the Stradlin.
2. His parents divorced when he was 8 and he was mostly influenced by his grandmother who was a drummer in a jazz band. This is what made him ask his parents to buy him a drum set at a very young age.
3. When he was in high school he formed a band together with a guy named William Bruce Bailey who later changed his name to Axl Rose. Not much came out of that cover band and they just played together for fun.
4. In the early 80s he moved to Los Angeles to seek his future in the music world and joined as a drummer in a punk band called "Naughty Women". After a few months, his drums were stolen, so he moved on to another punk band called "The Atoms", this time as a bass player. From there he moved to a heavy rock band called "Shire" and there he started taking the role of rhythm guitar.
5. In 1983, he and his longtime friend Axl formed the band "Hollywood Rose". The band recorded a demo with five songs: "Killing Time", "Anything Goes", "Rocker", "Shadow of Your Love", and "Reckless Life".
6. In March 1985 Izzy co-founded with Axl and other members of the band "L.A. Guns" a new band called "Guns N 'Roses" with the final line-up consisting of Izzy, Axl, Slash, Duff McKagan, and Steven Adler.
(Photo: Ross Marino)
7. During the first two years the band performed and wrote material that would later enter their masterpiece albums. Izzy was a co-writer and became a significant part of the songwriting.
8. In December 1986, the band released their first EP "Live?! * @ Like a Suicide", to get the record labels interested. The EP included 4 tracks, two of which were covers and two original songs that Izzy was a full partner in writing.
9. In July 1987 the band released their debut album "Appetite for Destruction" which was not so successful in its first year but then became one of the best-selling albums of all time. This time too, Izzy was a full partner in writing the songs and even wrote the immortal "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Paradise City" himself.
10. In November 1988 the band released their second EP "G N 'R Lies", which is considered a full album by many.
11. After the success of the album the band began to gain momentum and with the success came the troubles. The band members used to live a life of revelry with heavy drug and alcohol consumption. At one point Axl even threatened the rest of the band members that he would leave if they did not stop. In 1989 Izzy was arrested for (please note) peeing on a plane and not in the toilets, so he decided he was quitting alcohol and drugs and moved in with his mother in Indiana.
12. Two years later and with a new drummer named Matt Sorum, the band released in September 1991 the double, crazy, powerful, and masterful double album "Use Your Illusion I & II". Here, too, Izzy co-wrote immortal songs like "Don't Cry" and even (unlike in the past) took the lead role in singing four songs: "Dust N 'Bones", "You Ain't the First", "Double Talkin' Jive", and - 14 Years ".
13. Immediately upon the release of the album, the band embarked on a 28-month tour, which was considered the longest tour at the time. But in November of that year, Izzy left the band!!!!!
14. We and probably you also are wondering HOW??? How can it be that you are leaving a band of this magnitude? With amazing talent and contribution to the band? With such insane success? how??????
So there were several reasons for that:
15. Izzy was clean from drugs and alcohol but the rest of the band (except Axl) still went on with a life of debauchery, which no longer suited Izzy and he was not willing to be a part of it anymore.
16. Axl's hostile takeover began to gain momentum and he began to do with the band as he pleased, without consulting or consenting with the rest of the band, like firing the band manager, adding new musicians like Dizzy Reed, and coming up to the stage two hours later, when the whole band waiting for him. Izzy did not like the conduct and did not want to be influenced by it, he said that when he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol it was easier for him to absorb the bullshit, but after he became sober he was no longer able to take it.
17. The breaking point was the contract Axl submitted to Izzy to continue to be part of the band. This contract turned Izzy, from a full-fledged co-writer, creator, and royalty member, into an inferior deputy who gets much less, with a significantly low share compared to the rest of the band. Izzy who did not agree to sign the contract left the band.
18. It's hard not to think what would have happened if Izzy was not leaving, how much good music could we have had...
19. Izzy returned to his hometown and formed a new band called "Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds". In October 1992 they released their only album bearing the band's name which has a rough and heavy blues style.
20. For the next 6 years he spent his time in his long-time hobby, car racing, traveling around the world. In March 1998 Izzy released his second solo album "117°' which took him more than two years to write. His friend from Guns, Duff, contributes his talent to that album.
21. In December 1999, Izzy released his third album, "Ride On", with Duff helping his old friend here as well.
22. With the same band, Izzy released two more albums, "River" in 2001 and "On Down the Road" in 2002.
23. That same year, members of Guns, Duff, Matt, and Slash asked Izzy to become the rhythm guitarist in their new band "Velvet Revolver", Izzy co-created their first album but did not agree to join the band as a full member.
24. In 2005 Izzy released his sixth album "Like a Dog" only after a fan got 1000 signatures in support of the release of the album, which was delayed to release from 2003. The album was released as a digital copy only via i-Tunes.
25. A year later Izzy contacted his old friend Axl and expressed his desire to join the band and enjoy as they did in the old days. He joined Guns' new lineup and made 13 appearances with them. He said it took him three weeks to recover from a six-week tour with the band.
26. He released his seventh album "Miami" in May 2007 and in November of that year he released his eighth album "Fire", an acoustic album.
27. Izzy has released three more albums in which he re-collaborated with Duff, "Concrete" in 2008, "Smoke" in 2009, and "Wave of Heat" in 2010.
28. In April 2012 he was inducted into the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" along with the other members of Guns, but he did not attend the event.
29. A few years later Izzy performed again with Guns on several shows but refused to be part of the big reunion that took place in 2016 because the band members did not agree to share the same piece of the pie.
You can listen to Izzy's latest album "Wave Of Heat" - Spotify