skip navigation
Izzy Stradlin

Izzy Stradlin

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Izzy Stradlin - NOT AVAILABLE

Find what your looking for faster use the search field below to shop for titles.

SEARCH TCM.COM/SHOP


OR ... Click here to VOTE > for this person to be released on Home Video



Also Known As: Jeffrey Dean Isbell, Jeffrey Isbell Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Though not as immediately recognizable as singer Axl Rose or guitarist Slash, Izzy Stradlin was a key member of the controversial hard rock group Guns N' Roses from its inception in 1983 to his departure in 1991 before launching a modest career as a solo artist. Stradlin served as not only the band's rhythm guitarist, but wrote or contributed lyrics to many of its biggest hits, including "Sweet Child o' Mine," "Paradise City," "You Could Be Mine" and many others. Stradlin also bolstered the group's outlaw image with his gypsy-inspired image and blues-drenched guitar licks, both of which were owed to his admiration for the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards. Stradlin also shared his idol's appetite for drugs and alcohol, which nearly upended his life; after gaining sobriety in 1990, Stradlin parted ways with Guns N' Roses, which had spun out of control due to unchecked substance abuse within the group and Rose's ego. From 1992 on, Stradlin maintained a prolific if occasionally anonymous solo career, producing a steady stream of albums for which he gave few interviews and even fewer live performances. If his presence on the rock scene had diminished since his days in Guns N' Roses, Izzy Stradlin's...

Though not as immediately recognizable as singer Axl Rose or guitarist Slash, Izzy Stradlin was a key member of the controversial hard rock group Guns N' Roses from its inception in 1983 to his departure in 1991 before launching a modest career as a solo artist. Stradlin served as not only the band's rhythm guitarist, but wrote or contributed lyrics to many of its biggest hits, including "Sweet Child o' Mine," "Paradise City," "You Could Be Mine" and many others. Stradlin also bolstered the group's outlaw image with his gypsy-inspired image and blues-drenched guitar licks, both of which were owed to his admiration for the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards. Stradlin also shared his idol's appetite for drugs and alcohol, which nearly upended his life; after gaining sobriety in 1990, Stradlin parted ways with Guns N' Roses, which had spun out of control due to unchecked substance abuse within the group and Rose's ego. From 1992 on, Stradlin maintained a prolific if occasionally anonymous solo career, producing a steady stream of albums for which he gave few interviews and even fewer live performances. If his presence on the rock scene had diminished since his days in Guns N' Roses, Izzy Stradlin's contributions to the group, which produced some of the best, most bracing rock of the 1980s and 1990s, remained untouched.

Born Jeffrey Dean Isbell in Lafayette, IN on April 8, 1962, he was the son of middle-class parents who divorced when he was eight years old. Music became a means of escape from the day-to-day drudgery of schoolwork and life in a small Midwestern town. Though he would later make a name for himself as a guitarist, Stradlin's instrument of choice for most of his early life was the drums, which he picked up after seeing his grandmother keep the beat for a swing jazz group. He absorbed the sounds of early '70s rock, from Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd to Alice Cooper, eventually forming his own band while in high school. The group was doomed from the start - there were no clubs in the area, so they performed exclusively in a garage - but it served as his first collaboration with Axl Rose, who was then known as William Bailey, an angry, troubled schoolmate he met in driver's education class.

Determined to get out of Lafayette and make a name for himself in the music business, he headed to Los Angeles after graduation. He made his way through a series of bands, from the hapless glam-rock outfit Naughty Women to the more metal-sounding Shire. Along the way, he lost his drum kit and switched to bass before settling on rhythm guitar, which aided him in his desire to write more original material. The proliferation of drugs in the rock-n-roll underground proved a major distraction for his ambitions, and he was soon saddled with a debilitating heroin addiction.

In 1983, Rose joined Stradlin in Los Angeles, where they formed Hollywood Rose. The group managed to record a five-song demo before disbanding, after which Stradlin served time in London, a glam-metal outfit whose previous members included Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx and Blackie Lawless of WASP. After four months, he was back with Rose in a reformed Hollywood Rose, which, after a flurry of lineup changes, featured guitarist Saul "Slash" Hudson and his friend, drummer Steven Adler, as well as bassist Duff McKagan, a Seattle-area music veteran. The new group, which soon changed its name to Guns N' Roses (GNR), began storming the Sunset Strip club scene, earning a reputation for its harder-edged sound, which drew influences from punk and hard rock. By 1986, their reputation as one of the fiercest live acts in the city drew the attention of Geffen Records, which signed them to a record deal that year.

Stradlin provided music or lyrics to nearly all of the songs on Guns N' Roses' debut album, Appetite for Destruction (1987), which went on to sell over 28 million copies worldwide. The success of the record boosted the band from clubs to stadiums, where their penchant for onstage mayhem and off-stage excess reached epic proportions. By 1988, Stradlin's heroin addiction had returned in full force, which prompted the increasingly egomaniacal Rose to call him, Slash and Adler out in public over their drug use. After receiving a year's probation for urinating in public aboard an airplane, Stradlin saw that his life had grown perilously out of control. He returned to Indiana, where he underwent a painful, self-imposed detoxification to rid himself of drugs and alcohol.

Once sober, Stradlin found it difficult to work with the increasingly fractious members of GNR. He managed to contribute lyrics to a pair of songs on Use Your Illusion I and II (1991), the band's sprawling, two-disc follow-up to Appetite, but distanced himself from the group during the grueling two-year tour in support of the records, often traveling by bus or van to live dates while his bandmates flew by private jet. By the end of GNR's European tour in November 1991, Stradlin had reached his breaking point. Rose's consistent late arrivals to shows and combative behavior towards audiences, which resulted in a full-scale riot at a show in St. Louis, MO that summer, were major contributing factors in his decision to leave the band in August. The GNR camp officially announced his departure on Nov. 7, 1991.

Stradlin launched his solo career with 1992's Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, a critically acclaimed collection of blues-influenced rock that featured Georgia Satellites guitarist Rick Richards and veteran punk drummer Charlie Quintana in the band's lineup. Despite positive reviews, the Ju Ju Hounds were short-lived, due in part to Stradlin's growing disinterest in touring. The band called it quits in 1993, shortly before Stradlin surprised many by rejoining Guns N' Roses for five shows in Europe and the Middle East as a stand-in for his own replacement, Gilby Clarke.

In 1995, Stradlin began work on his second solo effort, 117° with former GNR bassist Duff McKagan, but the material would not see the light for another three years. He did little to promote the record, giving no interviews and making no live appearances, which led to his expulsion from Geffen following its merger with Interscope Records. Stradlin would grow increasingly more reclusive as the '90s wore on; though he continued to record solo efforts, including 1999's Ride On and 2000's The River, he gave few live concerts, and turned down a chance to join McKagan, Slash and Matt Sorum in the supergroup Velvet Revolver. He preferred to divide his time between the recording studio and his new passion, motor racing, which inspired him to build a quarter-mile race track near his home in Indiana. In 2006, Stradlin settled his differences with Rose and temporarily joined Guns N' Roses for a string of shows during its summer European tour. He later reported that the three weeks of live performances left him exhausted, so he soon returned to his solo career. Between 2007 and 2010, he released a series of albums through iTunes, including 2008's Concrete and 2010's Wave of Heat, both of which featured McKagan on bass and vocals.

By Paul Gaita

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute