Tag Archives: Izzy

GUNS N’ ROSES AND LIVE AT THE RITZ. RESPECT!

There are not many bands which have been the source of so many conversations, discussions and theories as Guns N’ Roses. Their career as a solid band was too brief, if we consider they were solid at some point, which I doubt, yet impressive. Their legacy based on Appetite for Destruction, Lies (Live Like a Suicide) and even the Use Your Illusion I&II (and The Spaghetti Incident joke, which I love) can kick many bands’ more extended discographies right away.

This post is open for discussion regarding the Illusions as probably many of you are shaking your heads in disagreement, thinking they are shitty albums or they should be reduced to one, but you won’t change my mind. Feel welcome and comment, anyway. You’d really make my day.

ritz

Back to an earlier stage, and while listening to Appetite for Destruction, which, for many who don’t know yet I must remark it’s still my favorite album, I feel like talking about one of the wildest live performances I’ve even seen, if not the best. I’m talking about the classic Live at the Ritz, directed by Scott Kalvert for MTV.

Every time I watch this killing show I wonder why MTV never released it on DVD as they did with the Unplugged sessions. It’s a shame we gotta watch ultra low quality videos on youtube or TV crappy downloads. You don’t have to be a genius to foresee a commercial blockbuster by issuing one of the most spontaneous and wildest show of Guns N’ Roses just about to become the ultimate rock band on Earth. As simple as that.

Recorded early in 1988 in NYC, GN’R were really close to their turning point in their career. They were prominent and popular, but still not as successful as they turn thanks to the explosion of Sweet Child O’ Mine caused by the massive broadcasting of the video by MTV itself.

Probably many fortunate who attended GN’R live shows in clubs won’t regard this performance in the same way as I do, but I still remember when Joe played the video back in 1994 and I was overwhelmed. I’d have sold my soul for attending that show.

Perfect setlist to remember: opening with It’s so Easy and closing with the brilliant Rocket Queen, not forgetting Mr. Brownstone, Nightrain, Outta Get Me,  Aerosmith’s Mamma Kin cover, and what became the main singles of Appetite For Destruction. In essence it was a reckless show.

slash ritz

The stage was on fire. Axl’s snakedancing at its finest, Steven Popcorn Adler totally high on cocaine smiling every time he noticed a camera was around, Duff sweating like swine in his leather jacket and ruling with backing vocals and his punk rock mean attitude on bass (love it!), Izzy smoking cigarette after cigarette in his Keith Richards pose, accompanied by a raw guitar sound, and Slash completely stoned, making mistakes when playing, confessing not being on drugs to the audience (ha! You did drugs till Velvet Revolver era according to your bio)…the atmosphere was so wild audience started to get crazy and jump onto stage to be reduced by security staff members. Insane!

 Personally what shocked and caught me the most was Axl’s aggressive attitude on stage, spreading a halo of pure violence which at some moments I identify as threatening. Never seen him like this again. Full of rage, controlling the band, you could already notice he acted as he felt like, leaving the band alone in the middle of Rocket Queen trying to go on until he decided to be back.

The band is fresh, somehow innocent, interacting with the audience, something which would cause lots of trouble afterwards when Axl became paranoid, constantly feeling harassed by fans, driving him to those weird outbursts which drove to sudden end of the shows. Having still fresh in mind the infamous St. Louis riots, Ritz is so far from that!

What happened after this show it’s already history. Labeled as the Most Dangerous Band in the World, they couldn’t cope with their fame, wealth and other pressures. Mighty Axl’s neurotic behavior were uncontrollable, massive drug abuse by several members of the band was unbearable, and 5 years after this performance, Guns n’ Roses band concept had radically changed for good. From Rags to Riches is perfectly applied to this band. What happened next, such decline and fall, it’s hard to explain. But I still love Guns N’ Roses all the same.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR STRADLIN!

It was sad to remember death anniversaries on my last post, but somehow necessary. Today it’s completely the opposite.

I find appropriate quoting my favorite band’s song One in a Million, to confess something I’ve been doing for years

Some say I’m crazy, I guess I’ll always be.

I write down my personal heroes’ birthdays, especially rock artists. Guns n’ Roses, Elvis, Ryan Adams, Ginger, Glenn Danzig, Johnny Thunders

It’s midnight right now, but the 8th has been a celebration day. It’s been 50 years (OMFG!) since Jeffrey Dean Isbell, better known as Izzy Stradlin, came to this world.

When you think of Guns n’ Roses, Axl and Slash come first, but many fans think beyond these two charismatic characters, the real talent was in Stradlin. He co-wrote most songs of Appetite for Destruction, and despite his departure during the Illusions era, his legacy was simply stunning.

Stradlin left Guns n’ Roses after passing through a successful  detox procedure. Once clean, the guitarist didn’t feel strong enough as to hang out in a band surrounded by drugs and alcohol, nor didn’t feel like enduring any sort of tension usually started by Axl Rose. Thinking of his departure, you soon realize it basically meant the point at which Guns n’ Roses started collapsing. Stradlin is the only Gunner who gets on well with everyone, including Axl, avoids polemic, lawsuits, and gossip in general. Moreover, he hasn’t published any autobiography yet, which I’m positive it’d be the most interesting and objective.

He’s never been a stunning character, in the sense that he’s never been seeking for attention. Quite the opposite, although his solo career has never stopped, and he’s delivered 11 solo albums, his success has been humble and quiet. I have to insist his two first albums are absolutely a MUST, and the rest contain very enjoyable tunes too.

Stuck to his philosophy, apparently he’s recently confirmed he’s not attending the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction on the 14th. This is sad news as many of us were dreaming of the moment the original Guns n’ Roses lineup would be together for some minutes, allowing us a second dream of the possibility of a reunion. Heard the news, we stop dreaming, and again, we realize any reunion thoughts have to be under Stradlin’s approval at the end of the day.

I still remember how much I cried, with my friends Jaume and Sofia, when he jumped onto the stage of Razzmatazz to join Velvet Revolver for a couple of songs …an evening to remember.

Considering it’s still the 8th of April in the US, I take the opportunity to wish my favorite Gunner a happy 50 birthday, and pay him tribute by listening some of his songs. Stradlin, you fuckin’ rock!

BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS!

The aim of this blog is not echoing relevant news related to music or films, neither is to lecture nor enlighten the reader with my (lack of) knowledge. I’m here to talk about what’s going on around me, to tell personal experiences and stories, show you the things which move me, excite me or piss me off.  As simple as that.

Once this is has been clarified, I gotta talk about recent awesome news I got acquainted with yesterday. Might not be important for you, but means lot to me.

Few months ago, we all were surprised by the announcement of the induction of Guns N’ Roses into the classic and iconic Rock And  Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland. The rules mark bands can be eligible to be part of this Hall, 25 years after their debut album released, and induction nominees are voted by a special committee.

Well, this year we are to celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest (hard) rock albums in history, and personal favorite gotta say, the unique and awesome Appetite for Destruction. While writing this, I’m having goosebumps, so imagine.

Well, considering the current situation of Axl’s Guns N’ Roses, the former members’ projects and the tense (absence of) relationship among some of them, the whole world started to question who’d turn up to the event, original lineup, current lineup with Axl and his puppets, the so-called eternal substitutes Sorum and Clarke… everything was a mystery, and again, Guns N’ Roses started to be an active subject for rock n’ roll press and media, as back in the good ol’ days.

And it was yesterday when all the doubts were cleared, and media spread the word: Classic Guns n’ Roses Line-Up to turn up for the induction in Cleveland, on April 14th.

Can’t wait for the picture, it’s gonna be something to be carefully studied when available. Jeeez!

Another question still remains to be confirmed: will they perform at the event? Aaaaah! Too soon to know, everything is possible whenever Axl is involved, so, let’s set the countdown and stay alert for the breaking news.

It is SHOWTIME!

ALBUM OF WEEK 39 – IZZY STRADLIN & THE JU JU HOUNDS

The prospect of an upcoming birthday-celebration party animal weekend got me out of the blues finally. Whenever there are interesting plans ahead I immediately get excited and nervous, and the good vibes start.

This is another album I always relate to positive state of mind, party and good mood, and remind me of good ol’ times.

Izzy Stradlin & The Ju Ju Hounds was the debut album of Stradlin after departing from the mighty Guns n’ Roses. Once recovered from his addictions, he was so sober as to be unable to cope with the band anymore. He left the band, moved back to Lafayette, his hometown, and started to take things easier.

Supported by Georgia Satellites’ Rick Richards on lead guitar, and Charlie Quintana on drums (wow!), and free from the typical mainstream pressures, Stradlin worked on new compositions, more rock classic influenced, with roots, away from the anger and appetite for destruction so present in Guns n’ Roses early stuff.

To be honest, this first album made me realize that Izzy was the brains in his former band, and noticed he was the main music writer there. Some  songs have GN’R essence present somehow. Having followed his solo career, this is definitely, the transition album to what he was to become.

Somebody Knockin’ is, for me, one of the best album starters ever, fresh, powerful, catchy and classic, with some lines with lots of sense. It’s like whenever I play this, I feel like happy, relieved and energic. Really, I love this tune.

Personally I find the covers as interesting and awesome as the rest of songs. On one hand, Pressure Drop, originally by the Maytals, and famous by The Clash, combining hard rock fast part, that I was telling you GN’R sounding like, with reggae, and the classic and marvelous Take a Look at the Guy, with Ron Wood also playing and singing. That’s great! Izzy has never hidden his passion for the Stones, in fact he was the most classic influenced in the band, and covering Wood, featuring the very same Wood, is just a blast.

Of course the rest of songs deserve all the respect, Shuffle It All, Cuttin’ the Rug, Come on Now Inside… you never get tired of this album and need to play it minimum twice in a row.

Two weeks ago, a close friend, Sofia, came home to spend the night for pizza, beers and a long chat. We played Stradlin’s following album, 117º, my personal favorite, I gotta say. Probably because of such a great time we had, I felt like listening to it last week. That, and another beer time with another friend, Joaquin. He chose this album too for the evening soundtrack. I’m glad for having friends having such great taste, as much passionate about rock as I am. God bless!