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Izzy Stradlin 101: Everything You Need to Know About Guns N’ Roses’ Former Guitarist

Izzy Stradlin
Jon Kopaloff, Getty Images

Izzy Stradlin, Guns N’ Roses guitarist: March 1985 – November 1991

Guns N’ Roses Discography: Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide (1986); Appetite for Destruction (1987); G N’ R Lies (1988); Use Your Illusion I & II (1991)

Non-G N’R Discography: Hollywood Rose, The Roots of Guns N’ Roses; Solo, Izzy Stradlin and the Juju Hounds, 117°, Ride On, River, On Down the Road, Like a Dog, Miami, Fire, the Acoustic Album, Concrete, Smoke, Wave of Heat

Pre-Guns N’ Roses: Long before they were Izzy Stradlin and Axl Rose, Jeff Isbell and William Bailey were childhood friends and bandmates in Lafayette, Ind. After graduating high school in 1979, Stradlin moved to Los Angeles, where he jumped into the city’s punk scene. He drummed for a couple of bands (Naughty Women, the Atoms) before switching both instruments (guitar) and genre (heavy metal) with his next band, Shire.

In 1983, Stradlin reconnected with Rose, and the two buddies formed Hollywood Rose. Aside from a brief stint in London and his own band, Stalin, Hollywood Rose was Stradlin’s home until early 1985, when the two friends formed Guns N’ Roses.

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Post-Guns N’ Roses: Sobriety seems to have been the primary factor in Stradlin quitting his own band, but other factors cited include Rose’s increasing tardiness (“I didn’t like the complications that became such a part of daily life in Guns N’ Roses. Sometimes for the simplest things to happen would take days,” Stradlin told Musician in 1992) and drummer Steven Adler‘s termination. He wasted no time getting back to work, releasing Izzy Stradlin and the Juju Hounds less than a year after leaving GNR. Since then, he’s released 10 solo albums, the last of which was 2010’s Wave of Heat.

Right Now:  Stradlin keeps the lowest public profile of any of the original Gunners, spending little time touring or promoting his albums and more time doing whatever the heck he wants. He works when he wants to and otherwise stays out of the public eye. The most recent project we’ve heard about is some August 2015 studio work with Duff McKagan.

GNR Reunions: Stradlin has never been too far away from the GNR camp. When Gilby Clarke broke his wrist in 1993, Stradlin filled in for five shows. For two weeks back in 2002 he worked with Slash, McKagan and GNR 2.0 drummer Matt Sorum during an early phase of Velvet Revolver. He’s joined later incarnations of the Gunners onstage many times since 2006, when he played a couple dozen dates with his old band.

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