Former GUNS N' ROSES members Slash and Duff McKagan recently spoke to Guitar World magazine about ex-GNR guitarist Izzy Stradlin's brief involvement with their current project, VELVET REVOLVER.
According to Slash, when Stradlin suddenly started showing up at rehearsals during the early songwriting sessions for VELVET REVOLVER, current VR second guitarist Dave Kushner began to wonder if his days in the band were numbered. "Izzy just came out of nowhere, as Izzy does," Slash says, laughing. "Poor Dave. Izzy's sitting there, this ominous presence, and Dave's thinkin', That's the original guitarist from GUNS N' ROSES. Am I still gonna have a job? But we're real loyal people. It wasn't like, 'Hey, Dave, we're gonna work on some songs with Izzy — call us back in a couple of weeks!' When Izzy was there, we just played with three guitarists."
Stradlin hung out and jammed with his old mates for several weeks, but Slash and McKagan both say there was never any real possibility of their old guitarist joining their new band. "The Izzy thing probably got misconstrued a little bit," says McKagan. "I think he wanted to come in, like, 'Let's go out on tour right away! I've got eight songs, let's go! We'll do some covers — Duff and I will sing!' [laughs] But Matt [Sorum] and Slash and I were more like, 'If we're gonna do this, we're gonna have to do it so it's amazing.' I've heard a lot of fans saying, 'Why don't you have Izzy in the band now?' Well, this isn't cut out for him — he's more of a guy who will be here one day and be gone the next, and you won't know where he's gone to. But he added a new energy that we probably needed at that point." "You have to understand our relationship with Izzy," Slash explains. "Izzy's always been the guy who's sort of there and sort of not there. Duff and I have seen Izzy periodically — I've played on his records a couple of times, and Duff has done the same thing. And then he called up right when we were in the midst of writing, and he actually came over and brought a couple of songs with him. And then we just started hanging out and jamming, and we wrote, like, 10 or so songs. It was just a lot of fun, but he didn't want to deal with the fuckin' long haul at all. As soon as we started to physically audition singers, we didn't see him again." Slash laughs. "He's so fucking shattered from his experience [with Axl Rose] that he refuses to ever do anything involving a singer again!"