OJAI, CA (CelebrityAccess) — Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist and founding member of the group is a notable absence in the band’s current, record-breaking reunion tour but in a rare public quote to the Wall Street Journal, he offers a little insight into why.
In a seemingly carefully worded email to the WSJ, Stradlin wrote: “The current GNR tour has been a great success for the guys. My nonparticipation was simply not being able to reach a happy middle ground through the negotiation process,” Mr. Stradlin said in an email. “That’s life, sometimes things don’t work out.”
Per the Journal, he did not respond to requests for clarification or further comment.
Fernando Lebeis, manager for Guns N’ Roses, declined to comment to the WSJ on the tour negotiations but said “Izzy is a dear friend.”
Stradlin, aka Jeff Isbell, launched his music career in 1980 and helped to form GN’R in 1985. The band’s early success was bolstered by Stradlin’s guitar and his songwriting, including hits such as “Sweet Child of Mine” and “Patience.” GN’R’s 1987 album “Appetite For Destruction” selling 8 million copies in the U.S. in just two years.
Stradlin was recognized as a driving force behind the band, with frontman Axl Rose calling him “Mr. Invisible” and in his 2011 biography, GN’R bassist Duff McKagan said of Stradlin ““Izzy was probably the most significant force” in the band’s success.
However, Stradlin struggled with addiction that only worsened with the band’s success and after he was arrested for urinating on an airplane in 1989, he gave up alcohol and drugs but found it increasingly difficult to collaborate with his bandmates.
In 1991, he left the band but remained active in music. He founded the short-lived Ju Ju Hounds, but the band broke up after just one album. Since then, Stradlin has gone on to release numerous solo albums but has largely flown under the radar.
Today, Stradlin, now 56 years old, lives in Ojai, California.