On April 8th, 1962, Izzy Stradlin was born in Lafayette, Indiana. We all know he went on to become the original guitarist for Guns N’ Roses, but here are 20 things you might not know about the now 59-year-old rocker:
1. Izzy’s real name is actually Jeffrey Dean Isbell. In high school, he went by Izzy because of his last name. As far as where Stradlin came from, it’s rumored to be a sexual reference.
2. Izzy’s father was an engraver and his mother worked for a phone company. They divorced when Izzy was eight.
3. When asked about what he did growing up, Izzy said that because he lived in a small town, there wasn’t much to do, adding, “We rode bikes, smoked pot, got into trouble – it was pretty Beavis and But-Head actually.”
4. Izzy’s biggest musical influence was his dad’s mother, who played drums in a swing jazz band.
5. Izzy’s first instrument was not a guitar – it was drums.
6. Izzy formed his first band with his high school buddies, including William Bailey, who would later go by the name Axl Rose. They played cover songs in a garage.
7. Izzy graduated high school with a D average, but was the only original member of Guns N’ Roses get his high school diploma.
8. Stradlin moved to LA after high school and joined a punk band called Naughty Women. Their first show was a bad experience for Izzy – audience members jumped on stage and started attacking them.
9. Izzy’s next band was The Atoms, but while a part of that group, someone stole his drum kit from his car so he switched to bass. He then joined a heavy metal band called Shire and started playing rhythm guitar.
10. After Shire, Stradlin formed the GN’R precursor Hollywood Rose in 1983with Axl, who had also moved to LA.
11. During the peak of his drug use, Izzy famously was arrested in 1989 for urinating on the floor of an airplane, verbally abusing a flight attendant and smoking in the non-smoking section. He was sentenced to one-year probation and during that time, he sobered up.
12. Stradlin once explained that his sobriety had a lot to do with his leaving Guns N’ Roses in 1991 saying, “When you’re f***ed up, you’re more likely to put up with things you wouldn’t normally put up with.”
13. After leaving GN’R, Izzy went back to Lafayette, Indiana and formed Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds. They put out one album in 1992, which was self-titled.
14. In 1995, Izzy released his first-ever album not under a band name. It was called117° and he followed it up in 1999 with Ride On.
15. Izzy was asked to join Velvet Revolver, which featured GN’R alumni like Slash, Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan. He helped with songwriting as the band formed but later bowed out because he didn’t want to deal with life on the road and he didn’t want to work with a lead singer.
16. Stradlin’s last few albums have been released through iTunes. His latest was 2010’s Wave of Heat.
17. Izzy did not attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2012 when Guns N’ Roses was honored.
18. Izzy’s favorite actor is Malcolm McDowell
19. Izzy’s favorite food is Indian cuisine.
20. The first concert Izzy ever went to was David Cassidy, but the first band he was a big fan of was Three Dog Night.
Happy birthday Izzy!