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2001.06.DD - Interview Izzy

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2001.06.DD - Interview Izzy

Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 04, 2012 1:16 am

Hard Rock Interview With Izzy
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This one was typed out and translated from French
(using software) by Torawashi at the Izzy Board. She
said that anyone's free to use it on their website but
just be sure to give her credit which I think is
well-earned.

HARD ROCK, JUNE 2001

IZZY STRADLIN

THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE

It has been quite a while since we'd had news of Izzy
Stradlin. It's so with enjoyment that we saw him again
in Paris, in perfect physical shape. Nothing could
please us more, even if some of his attitudes (he
sniffles every thirty seconds) and lapses of memory
come to make his speech a little confused. Pleasant,
like every ex-Gunner whom Hard-Rock Mag has met, it's
absolutely without forcing him that we returned to his
rich past within the biggest band in the world.


Hard Rock: Since the album Izzy Stradlin And The Ju Ju
Hounds, one Cannot say that one heard a lot about you.
What did you do since?


Izzy Stradlin: I toured almost everywhere to promote
the album. Then, I settled down around Barcelona some
months, to separate myself from everything: no
telephone, no management, no record label... Then I
left for Copenhagen, to return finally to Indiana...
Woah, I don't remember everything, but I travelled a
lot, in fact. In April, 1995, I came back to work with
Duff in Los Angeles. Duff was the bass player of Guns
N' Roses (EDITOR'S NOTE: this precision is given by
Izzy with all the seriousness in the world!). At that
moment, I felt good with L.A. However, when I started
to work on my second solo album, 117°, the things were
strange with my record label, Geffen: I didn't know
anybody any more! In three years, all the employees
had changed. I'd given some interviews in Europe and
with Japan, everything went well, but when I started
to speak to the American journalists, who are really
very bad compared to the others, I said myself: "Hey!
I'm not going to talk to the press any more, that
doesn't interest me any more." I decided to leave on
my motorcycle to visit California. For two years.
There's some very beautiful things in this State.
Certainly, it's not maybe as beautiful as the Alps,
but I really enjoyed walking. Just with my backpack,
my tent, my bike and my cards.


And music in all that?


Eh well, I I didn't make any! It's only in 1998 or
1999, I don't know any more, that we attacked Ride On.
It came out only in Japan and we gave some concerts
over there. Then, I geared directly on this new album,
River. The concerts in Japan really got us fishing
again.[?] We composed some titles over there, others
in Seattle, where Duff lives, and a reggae title in
Los Angeles.


What do you like about reggae? Already, on your first
solo album, some pieces were in this style...


I love this kind of music. People have the impression
that that's nothing to do with rock 'n' roll, but...
Listen... (EDITOR'S NOTE: at this moment, Izzy seizes
his guitar, the most recent model SG Angus Young,
plays a part ofChuck Berry's riff and explains why if
the rhythm of the reggae is divided by two compared to
the rock' roll, the harmonic progression is the same.
For me, everything is clear because I know as much
about music theory as I do about plate tectonics.)
Reggae relaxes me.


Why did you abandon the name of the Ju Ju Hounds for
the benefit of Izzy Stradlin?


On 117°, I changed rhythm sections, so, simply, I
found that it was more logical to change the name of
my band.



Why this title, River? Is it to mark a contrast with
117° that wanted to be an evocation of the desert?


Uh, I've never thought of it like that but it's funny.
On River, here's the title "River" and it turns out
that it's my favorite of the album.


Between your departure from the countryside,
Lafayette, Indiana, as a perfect stranger and today,
how do you think you've evolved as a human being?


I hope to have evolved, but I'm not even sure! People
who grow up in big cities evolve faster. It's
certainly your case if you were born in Paris. There
where I lived, it was really very small, and I wanted
to leave to Los Angeles to make music because it was
my childhood dream...


Did Guns N' Roses' success make you lose your head a
little?


Yes, a little. I didn't really know what to expect, I
just wanted to play in a rock band... We didn't even
imagine that one day we could play outside of Los
Angeles! And I can assure you that by being simple
people, as it was in our case, there was absolutely no
way to get ready for that success. The only rockstar
side that we had, was getting stoned! We were really
very limited as far as a clean life [?], then, when we
began to be successful, that got worse. By coming back
from tour, we all bought ourselves houses, we got even
more stoned... But, one day when I had to be clear, I
said to myself: "Izzy, there's something wrong, we're
screwing around!" This was by 1988 or 1989. I made the
decision to go back to Indiana and to see my old
friends again... Before the tour, we didn't have a
penny. On our return, our bank accounts were full,
everyone wanted to sell us drugs, firearms, in short,
crazy stuff.


Before the recording of Use Your Illusion, had the
idea to leave the band already come to your mind?


Yes, that'd had to cross my mind several times. But I
didn't think of it every day. It's true that,
sometimes, the situation was grotesque: Axl left the
stage after the second song, and I said to myself:
"Pfff...We look like idiots!" But the idea to leave
wasn't deeply anchored in me. Music continued to unite
us. Slash, Steven, Duff and I lived very close to each
other geographically and we played a lot. So I wanted
to make another record, which we did: it was a double
or a triple, I don't know anymore (EDITOR'S NOTE:
there Izzy is again, perfectly serious while declaring
that!)...


What was the last straw, which made you leave the
band?


After the first part of the Use Your Illusion tour,
Axl wanted to make me sign a contract which put me
aside a little, which meant that I was less paid. I
couldn't believe it. This contract came from a guy who
I grew up with. We'd always taken Guns N' Roses as a
friends' thing and, at one go, roughly, the singer
said to me: "now, we're doing business." Why was I
going to continue? Where was the fun? That was the
last straw, but there'd been antecedents which had
made me flip: during our first concert in London
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Donnington), kids died during the
show. What the fuck is that? Is that rock 'n' roll?
It's to have fun and then read in the newspaper of an
airport that kids died during your concert? It's fun
to play in stadiums every evening and to start a riot
in Saint Louis because the singer threw a fit? You
really manage at some point to say to yourself: "none
of this is funny anymore." Axl didn't do his job of
frontman anymore. And, besides, the others were
totally smashed, I didn't even manage to make them
learn covers: we would have been able to pass the time
when Axl leaves the scene, to entertain the kids.
Instead we came up with a drum solo. What's more
annoying than a drum solo?


I imagine that you were his closest friend in group
given that you'd both grown up in Lafayette. You
couln't manage to reason with him?


When he began to gain some money and to get laid, he
wasn't controllable any more. Everybody was too
wasted. I still managed to control myself, but I saw
Steven, Slash and Duff literally killing themselves
before my eyes. I don't even know any more if Steven
was still in the group in fact: what was that bullshit
anyway? A musician is fired from Guns N' Roses because
he's on drugs while the group spent all of their time
on that? I stopped everything a year before leaving
the band. So, during this year, I attended the
spectacle of my friends killing themselves. I didn't
want to be an accomplice to that, I didn't want to
wake up one day next to Slash's corpse telling myself
that indirectly, I'd participated in it. And so, I
left.


But you returned to help carry out some shows a little
later when Gilby Clarke broke his hand...


It's simple. I'd returned to Indiana, I lived
peacefully, and one day, Axl called me. He asked me
whether, effectively, I could help them on some
concerts. I asked where these shows would take place,
and it answered in Istanbul, in Athens, in London...
you think that I hesitated (laughter)?! I love to
travel and see new countries! Besides, Alan Niven, my
manager, who was also that of Guns in the beginning,
explained to me that the band still owed me some
money. He advised me to accept to make them pay what
they still owed me. It's only afterwards that I
realized that Alan was going to get 20% of this sum
(laughter)! I did these shows and I didn't enjoy
myself a lot because Duff and Slash were always still
wasted. I don't want to pretend I'm a saint, 'cause I
did everything, but when you're clean, there's nothing
funny about seeing your friends like that.


While being surrounded by stoned guys, how did you
manage to stop?


I was helped a lot by the police! I was on probation
during one year in Los Angeles because I pissed in
aisle of a plane! I had to go to see a psychologist
every week, and, constantly, I could be controlled by
the cops, namely that they could check my urine to see
if I'd been drinking or taking drugs. And if you get
it all wrong, if they discover that you've fucked up,
you go directly to jail for quite some time. I didn't
want that. So I had to stop. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith
also me helped a lot during this period: he told me
his stories, and if, on the base, that can be funny,
at the bottom, it's more flippant than the other
matter. [?]


You always see, Steven, Slash, and Duff?


Yes, I spoke to them on the phone three days ago. I
even had lunch with Steven last week. He is clean,
today, but he is affected physically and mentally.
Slash is well. Duff is very well: he just participated
in the fucking Hawaiian marathon! A Goddamn marathon!
Not bad for a guy whose pancreas exploded because he
drank three and a half liters of vodka a day! He's in
my band, which is really cool. The only one who
doesn't speak with anybody, is Axl. He doesn't call
people on the phone. I like to drive my motorcycle and
I know where he lives. Once in 1995, I went to ring
the doorbell at his place, and he opened the door. We
hugged, he made me visit his house and we talked. It
was cool, we reminiced several times after that. But,
one day, on the phone, I found the Axl of the 90's. He
took notes of what I said, and then, no more news.
Since then, I've gone to his house for a laugh: I ring
the doorbell and there is always someone telling me
that he is not there! I'm happy, in any case, that he
had concerts in the beginning of the year in Las Vegas
and Rio. I'm happy that his microphone worked okay.
Who knows, he might have left the stage otherwise (laughs)!
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Re: 2001.06.DD - Interview Izzy

Post by puddledumpling on Sat May 05, 2012 1:24 pm

Angry Izzy.
I don't blame him at all but I wish he did current interviews to help this period become water well under the bridge.
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