Izzy Stradlin was the member (and co-founder) of Guns N’ Roses that presumably could handle his heroin use. He left Guns N’ Roses in 1991 and has led his own band or solo efforts since.
Izzy was born and grew up in Lafayette, Indiana where he was friends with William Bailey, later known as Axl Rose. In 1980 Stradlin moved to Los Angeles and joined the punk band Naughty Women. After a brief stint with Naughty Women, Stradlin would play with The Atoms and Shire before forming Hollywood Rose with his childhood friend Axl Rose. In 1984 the band recorded a five-song demo and also during this time (Stradlin) formed the short-lived band Stalin. In 1985 Stradlin, founded Guns N’ Roses with Rose and several members of L.A. Guns. The band released the epic ‘Appetite for Destruction’ album in 1987. Stradlin wrote or co-wrote most of the songs as well as “Patience” off the follow-up album ‘Lies.’ The band blue up as did tensions around drug use. Around 1989 Stradlin took some time off and sobered up. In 1991 Guns N’ Roses released the ‘Use Your Illusion’ albums. Stradlin co-wrote many of the songs, but now sober, was not happy with the band shenanigans and left the band in 1991.
Stradlin went home and formed Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, which included Rick Richards (guitar), Jimmy Ashhurst (bass) and Charlie Quintana (drums). They released their first album in 1992 and toured Europe, Australia and North America. After the tour Stradlin put music off, instead focused on motor racing. They released a video for “Shuffle It All”, putting Stradlin’s bluesy rock and love of post boy hats, vests and trains on full display.
In 1995 Izzy returned, and in 1998 released his second solo album. It took over two years to record and featured former band mates Duff McKagan and Rick Richards. His third album was titled ‘Ride On’ and to promote the release Stradlin played shows in Japan. Stradlin’s solo band would go on to release two more albums, ‘River’ (2001) and ‘On Down the Road’ released in 2002. After his fifth solo release Stradlin was approached by his former Guns N’ Roses band mates to join a new super group named Velvet Revolver. Stradlin assisted with some initial song writing, but ultimately did not want to work with a lead singer, instead suggesting that he and Stradlin could share vocal duties. It was as if Stradlin could see into the future. Regardless, he did share the stage for a few shows with Scott Weiland and Velvet Revolver before leaving the super group life behind.
In 2005, Izzy released ‘Like a Dog’ as well as re-released his previous music through iTunes. In May 2006, thirteen years after his last performance with Guns N’ Roses, Stradlin made a guest appearance with the new Guns, ending up playing 13 shows during the band’s summer European tour that year. In 2007, his seventh album, ‘Miami’ was released through iTunes and in 2008 released an iTunes-only albums titled ‘Fire, the Acoustic Album’ and ‘Concrete.’ McKagan also played on some of the tracks and continued to play on the 2009 ‘Smoke’ and ‘Wave of Heat’ which followed in 2010. In 2010 Stradlin also appeared as a guest guitarist on his former band mate Slash’s first solo album.
In 2012 Stradlin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Guns N’ Roses. He did not attend, but did join the new Guns on stage a month later, performing songs that had not been performed live since his departure in 1991. Also, in 2012 Stradlin released the iTunes-only single and video for “Baby-Rann.” The video is gritty, with a classic Stradlin guitar slide, sunglasses, and a kick-ass hat. Over the years Izzy has straddled (pun intended) the line between punk and blues; “Baby-Rann” is that perfect blend, a straight up rocker with Stradlin’s “fuck you” uncompromising sound. While enjoying the groovy guitar solo at 1:35 my mind wanders…did Joey Huffman (on organ) forget his sunglasses? “My baby ran away to Vietnam…” No frills. No filler. Just ROCK and ROLL!
Izzy Stradlin is a true punk rocker at heart. It hasn’t always been glamorous for Stradlin; however, leaving Guns N’ Roses in 1991 at their height, and instead lead an under-the-radar no bullshit solo career is about as punk as it gets…