Easy Stradlin’

"I don't care if anyone hears me..."Related to my post about steel-string and slide players yesterday, is the songwriter Izzy Stradlin. Izzy is most well-known for being in Guns N’ Roses during their hey-day: from 1986-1992. But don’t write him off because you dislike GNR. Izzy’s songwriting provided the ballsy, blues-rock, country aspect of their sound, found on songs like “It’s So Easy”, “Dust N Bones” and so forth. Izzy was also the one member of the band who remained mostly drug and controversy-free.

Since leaving Guns N’ Roses in 1992, Izzy has released several solo albums which are all very good “desert rock” albums. I say desert rock to describe the range of influences that come together in his sound: memphis blues, country and slide, hard rock, folk, and surf rock. Izzy’s music is minimalist, catchy, to-the-point, and always feels a little bit melancholy and dangerous. Nothing too overwhelming — it’s rather nice actually. Even when the chord progressions are predictable, something shines through the delivery.

At the moment I only own his first two solo albums: Izzy Stradlin & the Ju-ju Hounds and 117 Degrees. Here’s a recording of him from the nationally syndicated radio show, Rock Line, playing a song with guitarist Rick Richards, a well-accomplished slide, steel-string and blues player. One collaboration that I think would be amazing would be to see either Marty Friedman or Michael Lee Firkins playing on some of Izzy’s songs (and as far as I can tell, Izzy’s stuff sells pretty well in Japan!).

It would be unfair to write Izzy off simply because you dislike Guns N’ Roses or Axl Rose. Izzy has distanced himself in the last 15 years from the sound and attitude of those days and his own music has a discerned substance in its own right. In a lot of ways, Izzy was responsible for a lot of the crossover appeal and success of Guns N’ Roses, helping to give it a low-down dirty rock sound that people often over-attribute to Slash. But compare Izzy’s solo work to Slash’s Velvet Revolver, and it’s pretty clear where the real meat of the talent lies.


Izzy Stradlin – Sweet Caress – On Down the Road

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~ by chaosrexmachinae on January 29, 2009.

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