SLASH & IZZY STRADLIN
Like The Runaways, a lot of the appeal in the G’n ’f ’n’ R axe attack was visual: Slash in his trademark shades and top hat reeling out the solos, and Stradlin exuding effortless cool on his low-slung Les Paul. But there was also a seamless chemistry that made the band’s debut album such a masterpiece of rock excess.
You can tell, too, because the records that feature Stradlin and Slash are – not coincidentally – the good ones. It helped that Stradlin was also one of the band’s strongest songwriters. “Patience” was his, “You Could Be Mine” was Axl Rose’s lyrics over his music, and it was he that first identified that a string-skipping finger warm-up that Slash was faffing about with at rehearsal sounded like a killer riff, adding the chords that were to become “Sweet Child O’ Mine”.
Stradlin quit mid-tour in 1991 in an attempt to overcome his rolling addictions, to be replaced with Gilby Clarke. Slash and Clarke were both gone from the band by 1996, allowing Rose to fulfil his dream of turning the most dangerous US band of a generation into a bloated parody of itself.
Slash returned a few years ago as Rose attempted to recreate the old band, but Stradlin declined the offer. Sometimes it’s best just to let the past be the past.