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1991.MM.DD - Unknown source - Interview with Izzy

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1991.MM.DD - Unknown source - Interview with Izzy Empty 1991.MM.DD - Unknown source - Interview with Izzy

Post by Soulmonster on Fri 27 Apr 2012 - 13:15

Month? 1991
An Interview With Izzy
[An Interview with Mr. Izzy Stradlin]
by: Mike Greenblatt

Q: How'd it feel those first few band practices with this lineup? Was the chemistry there?

A: Oh yeah, we hit off. We rehearsed for three days and went right out on a club tour. We did a punk thing. Duff had booking connections in Seattle so off we went. We loaded all our stuff in this big car and only made it about 200 miles out of L.A. before the car broke down. We had hardly any money but we slung our guitars over our shoulders and hitchhiked with all our stuff. Boy, what a road trip for our very first one! But the crowd response was good and that's when we really took off. We were doing a little bit of everything -- Elvis Presley tunes, blues, you name it! We didn't give a damn about anyone or anything. We just wanted to play.

Q: Slash was explaining to me about how you guys can get so crazy onstage yet keep it so tight.

A: It's from constant touring. You develop that tightness. When you're playing you lose track of any sense of real timing and a subconscious thing sets in. It's like your body's playing but your head's not there ... your head's a million miles away from earth. Hopefully, it all works.

Q: When I saw you, you were improvising madly, Slash was really working out, Axl was dancing around all while Steven and Duff were plugging away seemingly in their own world. Yet at a certain point, you five stopped on a dime!

A: It's amazing to me. That night at The Felt Forum in New York when you saw us was a particularly good night. I mean, sometimes we make bad mistakes onstage too. I remember in the old days we'd go so nuts we'd fall right off the stage on purpose. You can't stay too tight when you do that!

Q: I saw kids getting crunched up to the foot of the stage and having to be rescued by security guards. I saw kids hurling themselves on top of other people right in front of you. Does that happen at every gig?

A: Oh, that was one of the more mellow gigs. In Europe, it's like a football game. Kids are flying through the air and landing onstage all the time.

Q: How can you keep playing?

A: It's not easy. Many times I'll be playing and some big kid will be hurling through the air at 100 miles per hour at me. I can't imagine what that must look like from the audience. But I'm sure it adds excitement to the show. When these kids go flying past me and I never see them coming, it gives me a rush of adrenaline like you wouldn't believe.

Q: That's downright dangerous!

A: Sure it is. But it's also on the edge and that's what makes good rock 'n' roll.

Q: That' what I like too. You never know what's gonna happen at a Guns N' Roses concert.

A: We don't even know ourselves from one minute to the next. We don't even use a song list anymore.

Q: When Axl rode the bicycle across the stage, people freaked!

A: I had no idea he would do that. It caught me by surprise.

Q: Did you purposely set out to marry hard-as-hell rock with a punk feel?

A: It's that punk thing that motivates us. I love the energy of those early punk bands.

Q: They no doubt shook up the rock world even though a lot of them couldn't even play their instruments. What was great is that they stuck up their middle fingers to the rock establishment. You guys are great because you flaunt that same rebellion plus you can also play.

A: That's true. It was a case of attitude over substance with a lot of those bands but I still like 'em. We take out our aggressions while we're playing. It's like therapy. It's such a high.

Q: Do you crash when you get offstage?

A: The feeling stays with you long after you leave that stage. It makes you not able to sleep and keeps you pumped up for hours afterwards. There's no feeling like it in the world. On an average tour day, I try to get about four or five hours of sleep. Sometimes it's just not possible so I'll sleep only two or three hours and then on an offday, I'll sleep all day! That gets your body back to normal.

Q: Has the band disciplined itself for life on the road? You tour so extensively ... you really have to take care of yourself.

A: We're not at all as crazy as we used to be. Now we know what we have to do and we do it. What's fun is getting to meet all the people whose music we listen to. It's a gas! We met Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick ... he was the greatest! He hung out with us when we played Rockford, Illinois and he got totally plastered! No more tequila for you, Rick! When he pulled that stuff out, I knew there'd be problems. What a wild guy!

Q: Who are some of the people who you'd like to meet?

A: The guys in the Rolling Stones ... we haven't met them yet. Ian Hunter. People like that.

Q: Is there really gonna be a 15-minute song on your next album filled with synthesizers and strings?

A: (laughing) Could be. There's talk. We constantly disagree and keep changing from one day to the next.

Q: One of the new songs, "I Used To Love Her But I Had To Kill Her," should elicit some sharp response from women's groups.

A: Let 'em howl.

Q: The Stones got blasted for Black & Blue.

A: Right, right. I remember that. "I Used To Love Her But I Had To Kill Her" is a joke. I was sitting around listening to the radio and some guy was whining about a broad who was treating him bad. I wanted to take the radio and smash it against the wall. Such self-pity! What a wimp! So we rewrote the same song we heard with a better ending, it's a real New York type song.
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