Izzy Stradlin has blamed his non-involvement with the GUNS N’ ROSES reunion tour on the fact that he and the other guys in the band were unable “to reach a happy middle ground through the negotiation process.”
While GUNS N’ ROSES‘ “Not In This Lifetime” trek features the “classic era” lineup of singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan — with the occasional guest appearance by drummer Steven Adler — Stradlin has not taken part in any shows on the tour, with unconfirmed reports claiming that he turned down a five-figure fee to play with GUNS N’ ROSES at the April 2016 reunion shows.
Although he has mostly avoided commenting publicly on his absence from the reunion lineup, the guitarist addressed his lack of participation in the GN’R reunion in a brand new statement to The Wall Street Journal. He wrote: “The current GN’R 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. That’s life. Sometimes things don’t work out.”
Stradlin co-founded GUNS N’ ROSES with childhood friend Rose in 1985. He was major contributor to the band’s classic 1987 debut LP “Appetite For Destruction” and the two “Use Your Illusion” albums in 1991, but quit the group that same year. The guitarist has maintained a low profile over the years, resurfacing periodically to make several surprise appearances at GUNS N’ ROSES shows, including during the band’s residency in Las Vegas in 2012.
Rose told Brazil’s Globo TV in a 2016 interview that wasn’t optimistic about Stradlin rejoining his former bandmates. “I don’t really know what to say about Izzy,” Axl said. “It’s like you could have a conversation and think it’s one way and the next day it’s another way. And I’m not trying to take any shots at Izzy. It’s just his thing is kind of his thing, whatever that is.”
In response, Izzy called Rose‘s comments “bullshit” and explained that the band didn’t want to “split the loot equally.”
Earlier this year, one-time GUNS manager Alan Niven claimed during an appearance on the “Appetite For Distortion” podcast that Stradlin came close to joining the “Not In This Lifetime” reunion tour on at least one stop.
Stradlin allegedly showed up for a soundcheck rehearsal in Nashville, but things fell apart at the last minute. Adler was there as well and did play — if Stradlin had performed, it would have been the first time the founding GUNS lineup played together in 26 years.
Niven explained: “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’s probably a little pissed off.”
In his 2011 autobiography, “It’s So Easy: And Other Lies”, McKagan wrote that “Izzy was probably the most significant force” in the classic lineup of GUNS N’ ROSES. “Without his initial vision and songwriting cues, there would have been no GUNS N’ ROSES.”
Stradlin‘s last solo album, 2010’s “Wave Of Heat”, featured a guest appearance by McKagan.
Joining Rose, Slash and McKagan on the “Not In This Lifetime” tour are drummer Frank Ferrer, keyboardist Dizzy Reed, guitarist Richard Fortus and second keyboardist Melissa Reese.