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Famous Like Me > Composer > S > Izzy Stradlin

Profile of Izzy Stradlin on Famous Like Me

Name: Izzy Stradlin  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 8th April 1962
Place of Birth: Lafayette, Indiana, USA
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Izzy Stradlin, circa 1992

Izzy Stradlin (b. April 8, 1962, in Lafayette, Indiana) is an American musician best known as the rhythm guitarist of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses. He wrote / co-wrote some of the bands biggest hits with lead singer Axl Rose including Patience, You Could Be Mine ,Used to Love Her, Bad Obsession, Pretty Tied Up and Paradise City (chorus). Over the course of the four albums that Stradlin performed on, he teamed with lead guitarist Slash to churn out riffs rivaling the Stones/Aerosmith at their best.

Izzy Stradlin grew up in Lafayette as Jeffrey Isbell. Of Lafayette, Izzy said, "It was cool growing up there. There's a courthouse and a college, a river and railroad tracks. It's a small town, so there wasn't much to do. We rode bikes, smoked pot, got into trouble - it was pretty 'Beavis and Butt-head,' actually."

Izzy's first musical favorites included Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin, but the biggest influence was his grandmother, who had a band together with her friends. Izzy talked his parents into buying him a drum kit. He would stay with the drums until 1983, when he chose to switch to guitar, since it was easier to write songs on,- and songwriters had a better chance of making money. In high school Izzy started playing in a band with some friends. One of them was William Bailey, better known as W. Axl Rose. "We were long-haired guys in high school. You were either a jock or a stoner. We weren't jocks, so we ended up hanging out together. We'd play covers in the garage. There were no clubs to play at, so we never made it out of the garage. Axl was really shy about singing back then. But I always knew he was a singer."

After his graduation Izzy decided that Indiana wasn't enough if he wanted to pursue a musical career. He packed his drum kit into his car and headed for Los Angeles. He tried his luck as drummer with a couple of bands, then switched to bass for a short while. After a few years in Los Angeles, Izzy was joined by Axl, and they ended up playing together in a band they called Rose, which was the first band Izzy played guitar in. In 1984, he briefly left to join Sunset Strip staple, London (whose revolving membership included Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe as well as Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. amongst its ranks). However, he returned to playing with Rose in time for the band to finish the year by playing a show at the 'Dancing Waters' club in Los Angeles.

Rose became Hollywood Rose, and then broke up before re-uniting and morphing into Guns N' Roses. The early history of the band is confusing, but in June of 1985 the classical lineup of Guns N' Roses embarked on their first tour. The infamous "Hell Tour" that took them up along the US west coast to Seattle, hometown of bass guitar player Duff McKagan.

When the "Appetite for Destruction" tour ended, Izzy, along with bandmates Slash, Duff and Steven, went into a period of heavy drinking and drug use. Unlike the other three, Izzy managed to overcome the temptation of continuous intoxication and cleaned up. He has said that touring with Aerosmith in 1988 was a big source of inspiration: "It was like, thank God we got to meet some people that weren't fucked up! I'd go out to watch and they'd sound fucking amazing! I thought, we're gonna have to really pull this shit together to keep up, 'cos they were right, you know? And with us, even then, it was like the music was already taking a back seat to all the other shit..." What finally made him take the decision to give up drugs was an infamous incident on board an airplane in which he was arrested for urinating in the galley of the plane. After that incident, Izzy was subjected to random urine tests for drugs.

Izzy was often seen as the silent one in the "most dangerous band in the world", and this became a lot more noticeable during the 1991 "Get In The Ring Motherfucker" tour. Izzy didn't travel with the band anymore. He, his wife and his dog (as seen in the SCOM video) had a private bus that took them from show to show. He commented further that this had to do with his efforts in remaining being sober while being around people still using.

Izzy left the band in November, 1991. He went back to Indiana and started recording the songs that ended up on his first solo album with his band the Ju Ju Hounds, Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds. The music was more laid back and simpler than the Illusions albums (Use Your Illusion I and II), which many people considered to be overproduced. They received fair reviews and went out on a world tour.

In 1993 Izzy's replacement in GN'R, Gilby Clarke, hurt his wrist in a motorcycle accident and the band's upcoming European tour was in jeopardy. A quick solution was needed, and Izzy was able to fill the gap. However, after his tour obligations were met, he promptly returned to Indiana to take time away from the music industry.

During these years off, he travelled a lot and dedicated a lot of time to two strong interests: motors and racing. He even built a track close to his house. In 1998 Izzy returned to the music scene with his second solo album, 117°. As before, he had little interest in promoting the album — he agreed only to do a few interviews — and played few live performances. It turned out that it would be Izzy's last release on the Geffen label. In the big merge of the label into Dreamworks, Stradlin and many others were dropped (along with Duff McKagan). In 1999 his third solo album Ride On, a Japan-only album, was released on the Universal Victor label. This time Stradlin actually did a small tour in Japan as promotion. A fourth album called River came out in 2001.

Several of his former bandmates asked him to join Velvet Revolver when it was in its formative stage but he declined due to his unwillingness to work with a lead singer, and his aversion to the life on the road.

In 2004, Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan, his former Guns N' Roses bandmate, appeared on the Mark Lanegan album Bubblegum.


  • Izzy Stradlin & the Ju Ju Hounds (1992) US #102
  • 117° (1998)
  • Ride On (1999)
  • River (2001)
  • On Down The Road (2002)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Izzy Stradlin