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2001.06.DD - Hard Rock Magazine - The Hitchhiker's Guide (Izzy)

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2001.06.DD - Hard Rock Magazine - The Hitchhiker's Guide (Izzy) Empty 2001.06.DD - Hard Rock Magazine - The Hitchhiker's Guide (Izzy)

Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 04, 2012 2:16 pm

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.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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 of Chuck 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 couldn'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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Post by puddledumpling on Sun May 06, 2012 2:24 am

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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Post by Blackstar on Sun Apr 26, 2020 12:26 pm

Probably better translation:
https://www.trance-mission.com/hard-rock-jun-2001

----------------

IZZY STRADLIN: TRAVELER'S GUIDE

BY OLIVIER ROUHET
HARD ROCK MAGAZINE; JUNE 2001

Translated by @h.elise


It's been a long time since we heard from Izzy Stradlin. Therefore we were pleased to meet him again in Paris, in perfect physical shape. Nothing could've made us happier, even if some of his attitudes (he sniffs every 30 seconds) and his memory loss sometimes makes what he says sound confusing. Friendly, like all the ex-Gunners that Hard-Rock Mag met, it's without forcing him that we look back on his rich past within the once biggest band in the world.

Hard-Rock: We can't say that we've heard a lot about you since "Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds". What have you been up to?

Izzy Stradlin: I toured a little everywhere to promote the album. Then I moved to the Barcelona area for a few months, to get away from everything; no phone, no management, no record label... Then I went to Copenhagen, and then I finally came back to Indiana... Woah, I don't remember everything, but I traveled a lot actually.

In April 1995, I started working with Duff again in Los Angeles. Duff was the bassist for Guns N' Roses (ed: Izzy gives us this precision in all seriousness!) At this point, I felt good in LA. However, when I started working on my second solo album, 117°, things were weird with my record label, Geffen: I didn't know anyone anymore! In three years, all the employees changed.

I did a few interviews in Europe and Japan, everything was going well, but when I started talking to American journalists, who are really bad compared to the others, I said to myself, "Hey! I'm not gonna speak to the press anymore. I'm not interested anymore."

I decided to visit California on my motorcycle. For two years. There are many beautiful things in this state. Sure, maybe it's not as beautiful as the Alps, but I had fun. Alone with my backpack, my tent, my bike, and my maps.​

What about the music?

Well, I didn't make music! It was only 1998 or 1999, I don't remember, that we started Ride On. It came out only in Japan and we played a few shows there. Then I started this new album, River, right away. The shows in Japan really invigorated us. We composed a few tracks there, others in Seattle - where Duff lives -, and a reggae track in Los Angeles.

What do you like about reggae? Some songs on your first solo album sounded reggae already.

I love this genre of music. People think it doesn't have anything to do with rock n' roll, but ... listen. (ed.: at this point, Izzy grabs his guitar- the very last SG Angus Young - starts a Chuck Berry riff and explains that if the rhythm in reggae is divided by two compared to rock n' roll, the harmonic progression is the same. To me, everything's clear because I know as much about music theory as I do about tectonic plates.) Reggae calms me.

Why did you change the name from Ju Ju Hounds to Izzy Stradlin?

On 117°, I changed the rhythm section so naturally, I thought it was logical to change the name of my band.​

Why this title, River? Is it to contrast with 117°,which was an evocation of the desert?

Hmm... I never thought about it like that, but it's funny. On River, there's a track called River and it happens to be my favorite on the album.

Between your departure from Lafayette, Indiana, as a complete stranger, and today: how do you think you've evolved as a human?

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

Did the success of Guns N' Roses make you go crazy 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 think that one day we would play outside of Los Angeles! And I can tell you that us being simple guys, which we were, there was absolutely no way we could prepare for success. The only rockstar thing we did was get wasted! We were really borderline regarding our lifestyle, so when we got famous it got worse. When we came back from tour, we all bought houses and we got wasted even more... But one day when I was probably sober, I told myself, "Izzy, something's wrong. We're screwing up!" It was around 1988 or 1989. I made the decision to come back to Indiana and see my old friends again... Before the tour, we didn't have any money. When we came back our bank accounts were full and everybody wanted to sell us drugs, guns; it was crazy.

Did the idea of leaving the band cross your mind before the recording of Use Your Illusion?

Yeah, it must've crossed my mind a few times. But I didn't think about it every single day. It's true that sometimes things were ridiculous: Axl would leave the stage after the second song and I was thinking, "Man... we look stupid!" But the idea of quitting wasn't deep inside me. The music kept us together. Slash, Steven, Duff, and I weren't living very far from each other and we played a lot. So I wanted to make another record, and we did: it was a double or a triple, I don't even remember (ed.: once again, Izzy is dead serious while saying this!)...

What was the last straw that made you leave the band?

After the first leg of the Use Your Illusion tour, Axl wanted me to sign a contract that was pushing me away a little bit, and that it stated that I would be paid less. I couldn't believe it. This contract was coming from a guy that I grew up with. We always saw Guns N' Roses as a "friends thing" and, all of a sudden, basically the singer was telling me "now, it's a business". Why would I go on? Where was the fun? It was the last straw, but there were things that happened before that scared me: during our first show in London (ed. Donnington), kids died during our set. What the hell is that? Is that what rock n' roll is? Is it having a blast and then finding out in an airport newspaper that kids died during your show? What's the fun in playing stadiums every night and then starting a riot in Saint Louis because the singer loses his shit? You really come to a point where you think "all of this isn't funny anymore". Axl wasn't doing his frontman job anymore. And since the others were completely wasted, I couldn't even get them to learn covers: we could have filled in when Axl would leave the stage, make the kids have fun. So there was a drum solo. What's more boring than a drum solo??

I bet you were his closest friend in the band since you both grew up in Lafayette. You couldn't knock some sense into him?

When he started earning money and getting girls, he couldn't be handled anymore. Everyone was too wasted. I could deal with myself, but I was witnessing Steven, Slash, and Duff literally killing themselves right before my eyes. I don't even remember if Steven was still in the band actually: what the fuck is that by the way? A musician gets fired from Guns N' Roses because he took drugs while the whole band was doing it all the time? As for me, I quit everything a year before leaving the band. So during that year, I witnessed my friends killing themselves. I didn't want to be a witness to that, I didn't want to wake up one morning next to Slash's dead body, telling myself that I indirectly had a part in it. So I left.

But you came back a little later to play some shows when Gilby Clarke broke his hand...

It's simple. I was back in Indiana, I was living my life and one day, Axl called me. He asked me if, indeed, I could help them with a few shows. I asked where those shows were and he said Istanbul, Athens, London... You think I hesitated (laughs)? I like to travel and see new countries! Moreover, Alan Niven, my manager - who also was Guns N' Roses' manager when we started, told me that the band still owed me money. He advised me to accept the invitation in order to get what they owed me. It's only after that that I found out Alan would get 20% of that money (laughs)! I did those shows and I didn't really have fun because Duff and Slash were still as wasted as before. I don't want to act like I was a saint, I also did everything, but when you're sober, there's nothing funny about seeing your friends like that.

You were surrounded by stoners, how did you manage to quit drugs?

The police helped me a lot! I was on probation for a year in LA because I pissed in a plane aisle! I had to go see a therapist every week and could get tested by cops any time and they would check my urine to see if I had been drinking or doing drugs. And if you fail, if they find out that you fucked up, you would go straight to jail for a long time. I didn't want that, so I said stop. Steven Tyler from Aerosmith helped me a lot during this time: he told me his stories, and at first, it can seem a little funny, but it's actually more scary than anything.

Do you still see Steven, Slash, and Duff?

Yes, I talked to them on the phone three days ago. I even had lunch with Steven last week. He's sober today, but he's damaged mentally and physically. Slash is doing fine. Duff is doing great: he just took part in the fucking Hawaii marathon! A marathon for God's sake! Not bad for a guy whose pancreas exploded because he drank 3.5 liters of vodka a day! He's in my band actually, it's really cool. The only one who doesn't speak to anyone is Axl. He doesn't call people back. I like to ride my motorcycle and I know where he lives. One time in 1995, I rang his doorbell and he answered. We hugged, he showed me around his house and we talked. He was cool, we called each other several times after that. But, one day on the phone, I found the 90s Axl again. He was taking notes of what I was saying, and then I didn't hear from him again. Since then, regularly, I go to his house to have a laugh: I ring his doorbell and there's always someone to tell me that he's not there! I'm glad, anyway, that he played some shows in Las Vegas and Rio at the beginning of the year. I'm glad his mic worked. Who knows maybe he would have left the stage (laughs)!
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