Mercurial co-founding Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin has finally, publicly and officially addressed his exclusion from his former band's Not in This Lifetime reunion world tour, which kicked off in 2016.
Stradlin, who is the sole writer or co-writer on many of GNR's biggest hits, rarely does interviews but released a statement on the matter to the Wall Street Journal.
"The current GnR tour has been a great success for the guys," Stradlin said. "My non-participation was simply not being able to reach a happy middle ground through the negotiation process. That's life, sometimes things don't work out."
For the better part of two years, Stradlin left answers about his absence up to rumor and speculation. His only comments to the press regarding the reunion were to confirm that he was not involved.
Axl Rose in 2016 pleaded ignorance as to why Stradlin never agreed to take part in the tour, suggesting that based on his conversations with the guitarist, he thought Stradlin was on board.
When a fan Tweeted at Stradlin's unverified Twitter account some time ago about why he wasn't part of the reunion, the account replied that former bandmates Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan didn't want to "split the loot equally."
Former Guns N' Roses manager Alan Niven said earlier this year that Stadlin came close to appearing with the band, but walked out of soundcheck before one of its shows. Many believe the walk-out was due to the "negotiation process," Stradlin referred to in the above statement — namely that he was insulted by the contract offered to him.
Niven told Alternative Nation that he didn't know why Stradlin was unhappy.
"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," Niven said. "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 is probably a little pissed off.”
Bands not paying members equally for live performances isn't unusual in the world of arena rock. Pay often comes down to equity in a particular band, songwriting credits or a combination of the two. So it wouldn't surprise anyone that Rose, being the band's only constant member since 1985, would get heftier paychecks than the other members.
Furthermore, Slash and McKagan — in addition to being the highest profile members and next biggest draws in the world of Guns N' Roses — were also in the band during its heyday longer than Stradlin. If GNR's pay scale is as simple as "years of service = $$$," that could explain the rumored disparity.
Stradlin wasn't the only notable omission from the reunion. The band's Appetite for Destruction-era drummer Steven Adler was initially slated to do the whole tour before reportedly bowing out of rehearsals due to a back injury.
Adler performed portions of the set with the band at a handful of gigs and has been vociferous his desire to rejoin the band that fired him in 1990.
Stradlin quit Guns N' Roses in 1991 after years of being frustrated with Rose's behavior and after the band reportedly tried to cut his percentage of royalties.
GNR recently announced a massive reissue of the band's groundbreaking debut album, Appetite for Destruction, complete with 49 previously unreleased songs from that era. The box set arrives. June 29.
Guns N' Roses is about to continue its tour this summer in Europe. The band will have September and October off and then return to the road in Asia in November. Get the tour dates here.
Photo: Getty Images