There might be only one person who really knows why Izzy Stradlin didn't return to Guns N' Roses for its 'Not in This Lifetime' tour with his fellow classic GNR-era band mates Slash and Duff McKagan, and it's not McKagan.
McKagan recently confirmed that it took a while, but Stradlin did indeed resurface as the band was preparing for its record-breaking reunion. Things looked good initially.
The bassist tells Classic Rock magazine that Stradlin made contact with GNR after the revamped version of the band had been rehearsing for about a month.
"We had amps for him, ready to go..." McKagan recalled. "...The second month of rehearsal came by, and we're talking to him: 'We're getting close, Iz.'"
But then Stradlin disappeared.
"I guess he just didn't want to tour this big and for so long," McKagan surmised. "I love that dude, but I gotta say that [GNR guitarist] Richard Fortus is a hell of a player and we couldn't ask for a better guy."
Axl Rose has also insisted that he was surprised that Stradlin did not take part in the reunion. Three years and a half a billion dollars later, it seems like GNR is happy as can be with its current lineup.
Slash has said he's ultimately pleased that Rose didn't have to replace the entire GNR lineup to make the reunion work. The band plans to begin work on new music later this year.
About two years into the 'Not in This Lifetime tour' in 2018, Stradlin released his first official statement regarding his absence. The guitarist and songwriter for many of the band's most successful early singles, acknowledged that the reunion was a massive success. Now just wasn't the time for him.
"My non-participation was simply not being able to reach a happy middle ground through the negotiation process," he told the Wall Street Journal. "That's life; sometimes things don't work out."
An earlier post on Stradlin's non-verified Twitter account wrote more tersely that his band mates didn't want to "split the loot equally."
Since leaving Guns N' Roses in 1991 for various reasons — including disputes over royalties and his band mates' substance abuse — Stradlin released 11 solo albums. Since 2010, Stradlin has been more keen than ever about maintaining his privacy.
Former GNR manager Alan Niven made news last year when he revealed that Stradlin actually showed up at a GNR gig, apparently with the intension of performing but ended up leaving before the show.
"Something must have really upset him because he left after the soundcheck, and never turned up for another one or an appearance." Niven explained.
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