GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan has confirmed that Izzy Stradlin was originally supposed to be part of the band's reunion tour.
While GUNS N' ROSES' "Not In This Lifetime" trek features the "classic era" lineup of McKagan, singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash — 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.
Now, in a new interview in the latest edition of Classic Rock magazine, McKagan has offered more information on the circumstances that led to Izzy's absence from the trek.
Duff said: "I don't know what the actual truth is. We definitely wanted him to do it, and I think he entertained the thought, but he never came down and rehearsed. We had amps for him, ready to go. The first month of rehearsal went by... nothing. The second month of rehearsal came by, and we're talking to him: 'We're getting close, Iz.' The third month of rehearsal went by... nothing. I guess he just didn't want to tour this big and for so long."
He added: "I love that dude, but I gotta say that Richard Fortus is a hell of a player and we couldn’t ask for a better guy."
Last year, Izzy 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."
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."
Stradlin, whose real name is Jeffrey Isbell, was born and grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, where he was high school friends and bandmates with singer William Bailey — later known as Axl Rose.
His first and only post-GUNS band, IZZY STRADLIN & THE JU JU HOUNDS, broke up in 1993 after recording one LP. He has since released 10 more solo albums between 1998 and 2010.