Happy Birthday Izzy Stradlin, Forgotten Guns N' Roses Lead Vocalist

Categories: Weird Holidays

izzys1.jpg
Today is the 51st birthday of Izzy Stradlin, who most simply remember as the rhythm guitarist in Guns N' Roses. But if that's all you know about him, it's really sad, because a lot of what made GN'R the band it was was due to Stradlin's inspired writing. His dedication to fusing punk and Rolling Stones-esque rock is what managed to turn a project that could have just been another hair band in the '80s to one of the most significant acts ever.

It's partly his own fault, this relative anonymity. Stradlin has always been a low key guy, and in later years has been damn near reclusive. In a band with Slash and Axl, pretty much anyone would fade into the background. He found life on the road too hard to keep himself drug free, not to mention the ever increasing madness of Rose, and he quit the band during its 1991 tour.

Since then he's done some mildly successful solo work, and even helped craft songs for both Velvet Revolver and the Axl-only Guns. He seems perfectly content to be involved in rock and roll as long as he doesn't have to go out on the road. Stradlin remains a brilliant songwriter and a talented guitarist, but nobody ever talks about his lead-vocal contributions to Guns. Y'all musta forgot about...

Rewind:

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"14 Years" is one of the rarest songs in the world... it's a tribute to how much someone appreciated the company of Axl Rose. Stradlin wrote the tune as a testament to their long friendship and creative partnership, and took lead vocals on both the recording and live performances. Rose handled the chorus. When Izzy left the band, it was no longer performed on stage, but when Stradlin joined Rose back on stage last year he busted it out once again.

It's a bittersweet tune, and more than a few verses sound like Gwen Stefani-level digs. That said, look at Axl's face in that video when it cuts to him in the chorus! He sports the greatest, "When you're right, you're right" grin you've ever seen. Lyrically, it's not Stradlin's best work, but the sheer honesty of it makes it memorable.


"Double Talkin' Jive"
Now "Double Talkin' Jive" is a criminally underrated Guns tune, and one of Izzy Stradlin's most overlooked works of genius. Stradlin wrote the song after finding actual human body parts in a garbage can outside of the recording student, and it's a wonderful mixture of Appetite energy and Illusion experimentation.

That's the album cut up there because I wanted you to hear Stradlin absolutely kill that vocal line, but Rose always sang it live. Even after Stradlin left, the tune was still a regular part of the set... a fact Rose handled with just about as much grace and dignity as you can imagine.



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22 comments
NotYou
NotYou

http://diaryofamanicurist.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-day-with-izzy-stradlin.html

my response to that -

I think you're clueless - that's statutory rape of a minor ... and hey, guess what? you weren't the only one. he did that to lots of girls. you are one of the many he preyed on.. only youre lucky he didn't try to destroy your life to shut you up or have his sick ass EX following you around. his ex who was also a MINOR..

this guy shouldn't be praised -

he needs to GO TO JAIL !!

NotYou
NotYou

I think youre stupid, he's a creep. you have no idea how many underage girls he preyed on when he was in his late 20's. he should go to jail for statutory rape of multiple minors including the ones he stalked. multiple minors, multiple --- that's sick... I wouldn't let him near my children. I heard he dated a woman with a preteen and wouldn't doubt if he ogled her and creeped on her

IzzyFaninHouston
IzzyFaninHouston

Thanks for this article. I've always been a huge Izzy fan. He is a fantastic rhythm guitarist - a great brain for music. I loved the Ju Ju Hounds, but have found good tracks on him many of his "post-hound" albums. Axl is a great front man. Slash is a trans-generational guitarist. Duff rocks, but the song writing stopped when Izzy left. There's a reason he has a ton of albums on iTunes - he's prolific. For those who comment on his lack of commercial success, when all is said and done, Izzy can still go down as on of the great American folk/rock song writers of all time.

IzzyFaninHouston
IzzyFaninHouston

Thanks for this article. I've always been a huge Izzy fan. He is a fantastic rhythm guitarist - a great brain for music. I loved the Ju Ju Hounds, but have found good tracks on him many of his "post-hound" albums. Axl is a great front man. Slash is a trans-generational guitarist. Duff rocks, but the song writing stopped when Izzy left. There's a reason he has a ton of albums on iTunes - he's prolific. For those who comment on his lack of commercial success, when all is said and done, Izzy can still go down as on of the great American folk/rock song writers of all time.

kinseyholley
kinseyholley

I'm with Bob. Juju Hounds is one of my favorite albums ever; all I need to hear is the opening chords of Shuffle it All, and I'm back in my apartment off Woodway, sitting on the couch and cramming for grad school finals while MTV keeps me company. [Insert old person's complaint about how back in the day, MTV played music videos...]  Also, the man was seriously hot and he's aging well--a hell of a lot better than Axl, who's now as unattractive on the outside as he's always been on the inside.

askelsabo
askelsabo

Well, compared to Axl Rose, wich has FOUR vocal ranges, Izzy is not that good. If we compare him to most of todays singers, like Justin Bieber and shit, then he is god. Lets just agree to disagree. 


askelsabo
askelsabo

Not really lead vocalist though.. He sang lead vocals on some songs, but he has never been lead vocalist in GNR.

Marshall Preddy
Marshall Preddy

I love the first Izzy record (Izzy Stradlin' and the Ju-Ju Hounds) more than, well, most things.

ClassicRockBob
ClassicRockBob

Very underrated musician. "Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds" is one of my favorite records from the '90s, and instantly brings me back to a specific period in my life every time I hear. 

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@askelsabo Just so we're clear, I never meant to imply he was better than Axl. He's not. Just that his contributions ion this area are often overlooked despite being pretty good. 

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@askelsabo It's a semantics issue, but I wanted to celebrate his contributions as a lead vocalist. 

askelsabo
askelsabo

@JefWithOneF @askelsabo Of course, but as i have stated, i dont think his singing is better than average. So i just decided to compare him to someone. 

askelsabo
askelsabo

@JefWithOneF @askelsabo Lets face it, his contributions as a lead vocalist is not that much. He sang lead vocals on four songs in GNR, and since GNR he has released over ten albums, but NONE was ever a hit. Izzy Stradlin will always be known as rythm guitarist in GNR, no one think of him as a vocalist.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@askelsabo @JefWithOneF I respectfully disagree. I have always thought his delivery in "Dust in Bones" was one of the best vocal performances on the whole album. Admittedly, my favorite GnR track is "Coma," so I am probably not a good example. 


askelsabo
askelsabo

@JefWithOneF @askelsabo Double Talking Jive is actually okay, with a kickass start and a awesome ending. But, 14 years must be one of the most boring tracks i have heard, exept for You Ain't the First. 

But if we focus on Izzy, the tracks are not any good because he is singing. His vocals are average, if not under average. 

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@askelsabo "14 Years" is great, though admittedly "You Ain't the First" isn't the strongest. There's no denying "Doouble Talkin' Jove" and "Dust and Bones" though

askelsabo
askelsabo

@JefWithOneF @askelsabo Compared to the rest of the album, no. You aint the first and 14 years must be the two worst tracks Gnr has ever released.


JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@askelsabo @JefWithOneF I'm just saying that the times he took leads in GnR were worth commenting on because they are some very good tracks is all.

askelsabo
askelsabo

@JefWithOneF @askelsabo I was talking about Izzys solo albums where he have been singing lead vocals. None have been a hit, so his efforts as lead vocalist has been worse than useless.

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