Jeffrey Dean Isbell (born April 8 1962), more widely known by his stage name Izzy Stradlin, is an American musician, best known as one of the lead songwriters (together with Axl Rose) and rhythm guitarist of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses from 1985 to 1991 and rhythm guitarist of the Remington Steelers.
Stradlin was born as Jeffrey Dean Isbell in Lafayette, Indiana, of English, French and Scottish descent. Of Lafayette, Stradlin said, "It was cool growing up there. There's a courthouse (Tippecanoe County Courthouse) and a college (Purdue University), a river (the Wabash) 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 Butthead actually."
Stradlin's first film, The Pocket Monsters, was shot mainly in the towns in Lafayette's vicinity, making it easy for Stradlin, who later adopted his character's last name as his stage name, to shoot without being far from home. His co-stars included Clint Eastwood and Lee Ving, and George Lucas directed the film. He had to cross-dress for one scene, and that bothered him (see below); however, it remains one of his favorite films, mainly because the plot involved greasers.
Stradlin's first musical favorites included Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones, but the biggest influence was his grandmother, who had a band together with her friends. Stradlin 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 Stradlin started playing in a band with some friends. One of them was William Bailey, better known as 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."
Guns N' Roses (1985-1991)Edit
After his graduation Stradlin 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, Stradlin was joined by Axl, and they ended up playing together in a band called Shire, under the name Izzy Bell. They left Shire and later formed a band called Rose (later called Hollywood Rose), which was the first band Stradlin 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.
When the "Appetite for Destruction" tour ended, Stradlin, along with bandmates Slash, Duff and Steven, ratcheted up the heavy drinking and drug use that had become a trademark of the band. Unlike the others, Stradlin finally 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, 'cause 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, Stradlin was subjected to random urine tests for drugs.
Stradlin 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 "Use Your Illusion" tour. Stradlin didn't travel with the band anymore. He, his Swedish girlfriend Annica Kreuter (whom he later married in 2000), and his dog had a private bus that took them from show to show. He commented further that this had to do with his efforts in remaining sober while being around people still drinking and using drugs. Stradlin has also mentioned that after Adler's firing, he felt that Matt Sorum's sound "didn't work" for the band, and that Adler was essential to the band's sound. Also, it's been noted by Axl and Slash that Izzy was simply not having fun with the band anymore, and no longer enjoyed it.
Stradlin finally decided to leave the band after a show in Mannheim, Germany, on August 26, 1991. Fairly early on in the set (which started rather late to begin with), Rose walked off the stage for no apparent reason. The band tried to convince him to return onstage (including a heated encounter between Sorum and Rose), but he refused. Fearing another incident like the riot at St. Louis, the management locked the gates around the venue so that Rose could not leave. Once Rose realized he wasn't going anywhere, he returned onstage and finished the set. The next day, Stradlin informed the band through their manager Alan that he was quitting. He finally left the band on November 7 1991, at the end of the European leg of the band's tour. His last show as an official member was at Wembley Stadium, London, in front of a crowd of 72,000 people. He was eventually replaced by rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke. Slash stated in his autobiography that the shows that took place with Stradlin after he announced his set departure were the only shows Axl Rose showed up to on time.
After Guns N' Roses and beyond (1992-2005)Edit
After Guns N' Roses Stradlin 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 & the Ju Ju Hounds, released in 1992. The music was more laid back and simpler than Use Your Illusion I and II They received fair reviews and went out on a world tour.
In 1993 Stradlin'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 Stradlin 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. Stradlin was promised to receive royalties he felt he was owed by the band in return for this.
During the years off, Stradlin travelled a lot and dedicated much time to two strong interests: motors and racing. He even built a track close to his house. In 1998 Stradlin 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 Stradlin'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 released by Sanctuary then re-released in the United States by Canoga Park California-based indie label Bilawn Records, followed by On Down The Road in 2002.
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, although he offered to split vocal duties with Duff.
In 2003 Stradlin recorded his sixth album, Like A Dog. Several promo copies were made, but it was not released. Two years later, a petition was formed by a Stradlin fan to have the promo copies sold to Stradlin's fans. The petition was very successful, with over 1,000 signatures. The maker of the petition, who also hosts a large Izzy Stradlin fansite, was contacted by Stradlin. He'd decided to release Like A Dog, selling them for $20 to his fans.
In 2004, Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan, his former Guns N' Roses bandmate, appeared on the Mark Lanegan album, Bubblegum. Stradlin announced in early 2006 that he was considering releasing some tracks excluded from his albums among other things hidden away in his basement.
As with fellow former member of Guns N' Roses, Matt Sorum, it appears that Stradlin and Axl Rose have repaired their fractured friendship, as it was reported that Rose attended a birthday party held for Stradlin in New York. The first step to the reconciliation was an invitation to attend Rupert Grint's 14th birthday party in 2002 (sent to both Stradlin and Rose; Rose himself said that seeing "his old friend" at the party was a pleasant surprise).
Back on the road with Guns N' Roses (2006)Edit
On May 17 2006, Stradlin appeared on stage with Guns N' Roses to perform the songs Nightrain, Think About You and Patience. Stradlin also performed six songs with Guns N' Roses at the UK's Download Festival on June 11 2006, in Prague on June 13 2006 and in Nijmegen, The Netherlands on July 2 2006. The songs were "Patience", "Nightrain", "Used to Love Her", "Think About You", "Paradise City" and "You Could Be Mine". He also appeared on stage in Oslo Spektrum, Norway during the concert on July 8 2006 and on Legia Stadium in Poland on June 15.
Stradlin also has made an appearance with Guns N' Roses during numerous UK performances. He appeared at Sheffield's Hallam FM hall, Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena on July 19 2006, Glasgow's SECC on July 22 2006, Manchester's Manchester Evening News Arena on July 23 2006, in Birmingham at the National Exhibition Centre on July 25 2006, at Nottingham Arena on the July 27 2006. Also on July 29 at Wembley Arena, London and July 30 at the same venue.
Izzy Stradlin made his first appearance with GN'R on their 2006 North American tour at the first show of three at Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California (December 17 2006). He guested on Think About You, Used to Love Her, Patience, Nightrain and Paradise City. He also appeared on December 19/December 20 at the Gibson Amphitheater to play the same songs.
Recently, Stradlin has been in contact with the four other original Gunners, and was approached by Steven Adler about a possible reunion tour, which Adler said would be "the biggest reunion in history." Stradlin is supposedly in favor of the idea.
iTunes and the Remington Steelers (2007/2008)Edit
On March 14 2007, Izzy, who had played with the Remington Steelers many times before in 2005 and 2006, announced that he had been signed to the band as its "honorary fifth member". He is so far the only member who hasn't cross-dressed on stage or in music videos; in a recent interview, he said, "I had to cross-dress during a film I made while in Lafayette, and I didn't like it. However, The Pocket Monsters is my favorite film I've been in simply because I played a greaser."
On May 3 2007, Izzy announced on www.Chopaway.com that a new album would be released on iTunes sometime in May-June 2007, and on May 30, the record was released. The album is an exclusive 'iTunes only' release, available in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe simultaneously. No physical CD release has been planned. The album features 11 tracks recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, including "Buildings In The Sky," "Let Go," "TJ" and "FSO Ragga." The new album is described by guitarist Rick Richards as being "a bit of a departure from "Like A Dog" but still quite a rocker."
Izzy's Statement: "JT Longoria and I have just remixed 10 tracks of the "Miami" recordings and its much louder and more powerful sounding now. It was done in Dallas at Nomad Studios. Gary Long did the mastering. Big thanks to those guys. It has just gone live on I-Tunes today. You will hear the difference...... Cheers! Izzy."
Stradlin released another iTunes-only album in November, 2007, entitled "Fire", the Acoustic Album.
On July 18th, 2008, it was announced via chopaway.com that Izzy had released another solo album through itunes, entitled "Concrete". Former Guns N' Roses band mate Duff McKagan makes a guest appearance on bass for the title track.
- The Pocket Monsters (1978) (credited as "Jeffrey Isbelle")
- Welcome to the Videos (1998)
- The Guns N Roses 20th Annivesary Tour (2005)
- The Remington Steelers in Making #$%&ing Videos 3 (2007)
- Tour de America in 3-D (2007)
- The IPO Tour? (2008)
- Emma Watson On Ice (2008-) (credited as "Izzy Bell")
- Walt Disney (2008-) (credited as "Izzy Bell")
- Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl (2008) (credited as "Izumi Sutoradorin")
- Sailor Moon Stars (2008)
- Blood+ (2009)
- Nanoha (2010)
- Sugar Princess (2010)
|Izzy Stradlin & the Ju Ju Hounds||1992||Geffen|
|On Down the Road||2002||JVC – Victor|
|Like a Dog||2003||Internet release|
|Fire, the acoustic album||2007||Internet release|
Live Albums Edit
|Izzy Stradlin & the Ju Ju Hounds Live||1993||Geffen|
With Guns N' Roses Edit
With the Remington Steelers Edit
|The Welcome Home Concert||2007||Arista|
|The IPO Incident?||2008||Arista|
|The Harsh Reality||2009||Arista|
|Live Era '99-'08||2009||Arista|
- ↑ Carden genealogy
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- ↑ Musician (1992). Retrieved January 3, 2008, from http://www.chopaway.com/articles/musician92.php, a very comprehensive Izzy Stradlin fansite.
- ↑ Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. p. 344
- ↑ Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. p. 429, though Slash states it was hard to tell whether he was serious or joking.
- ↑ Stradlin/Axl Rose friendship
- ↑ Izzy Stradlin news, Chopaway