Former Guns N’ Roses Manager Says Izzy Stradlin Came VERY Close to Joining the Reunion
With all due respect to Steven Adler and Matt Sorum (and Gilby Clarke, I guess), the most noticeable absence from the Guns N’ Roses reunion has been, without a doubt, that of rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin. In defense of Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan, Izzy is not exactly an electric live performer; in that regard, Richard Fortus, the Chinese Democracy era guitarist who has replaced Stradlin, is certainly superior. But Stradlin was a key songwriter for the band, and I think most fans would still trade Fortus for him any day of the week.
Stradlin previously said that he didn’t participate in the reunion because his bandmates “didn’t want to split the loot equally”… but how close did he get to actually rejoining his old band?
To hear Alan Niven tell it, pretty close. Niven was GN’R’s manager during the Appetite for Destruction/GN’R Lies era, before he was usurped by his assistant, Doug Goldstein; when Stradlin quit the band after the release of Use Your Illusion, he retained Niven as his new manager, which seemed like a real “fuck you” to his former bandmates. My point being, I’m not sure how credible a source Niven is; he may have inside knowledge or he may be talking out of his ass. But he recently went on a podcast called Appetite for Distortion and told this story:
“[Izzy] did get as far as flying out and doing a soundcheck, and he left after a soundcheck, he didn’t want to have anything to do with it.
“It was last year, it was somewhere out in the midwest, when they were doing stadiums. Obviously had it gone well and everybody had been happy, and there had been a little bit of brotherhood, I’m sure he would have stayed with it. But something must have really upset him, because he left after the soundcheck, and never turned up for another one or an appearance. I would think right now he is probably a little pissed off.”
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess this took place in Cincinnati, which is where Adler joined the band for a couple of songs. Seeing all five original members of GN’R on stage together again would have been more than a treat; it would have made it worth it to live in fucking Cincinnati. So you gotta wonder who said what to blow it.