Welcome back. As we know, the GN’R bus is rolling and to celebrate the ‘return of GN’R’, I’ll be highlighting a couple of my favourite GN’R related projects. Reasons not to bother with ‘The Most Dangerous Band In the World’ (© GN’R 1986), if you will.
So, put away your GN’R sweatbands, Charlie Manson t-shirts, red bandannas, and GN’R records / CDs / tapes (most likely Appetite For Destruction, right?) and set your browser to Discogs / Amazon / Spotify / YouTube (delete where applicable).
Not that I’m anti-Guns N’ Roses or anything.
Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds
When Izzy Stradlin left GN’R in late 1991 or thereabouts he was jaded by the circus that surrounded ‘The Most Dangerous Band In the World’ (© GN’R 1986). The relationships, the excess, and the attention. “Where’s Izzy?” was plastered everywhere on the GN’R stage. Where was he? Well, he was at home. He once told Rolling Stone “once I quit drugs, I couldn’t help looking around and asking myself, ‘Is this all there is?’ I was just tired of it; I needed to get out”.
Shortly afterwards, he resurfaced with Rick Richards, Jimmy Ashhurst, and Charlie Quintana. Their album, Izzy Stradlin & Ju Ju Hounds was recorded over the course of 6 short months and is a ragged and soulful roots rock record in the style of The Rolling Stones (particularly Keith Richards). Actually, to focus solely on the Keef / Rolling Stones influence would be selling it short, as there’s a sprinkling of punk and reggae in there too (which Pressure Drop flirts between effortlessly, as does Cuttin’ The Rug).
There are shadows of Izzy’s contributions to GN’R and the album’s mellow glow and raggedness is the antithesis of the bloated Use Your Illusion shenanigans. Somebody Knockin’ and Shuffle It All are highlights and a fair representation of the album’s vibe. In fact, while Izzy would go on to make more consistent albums than this one, both those songs remain gems in his catalogue.