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Duff McKagan: We wanted Izzy to be part of Guns N’ Roses reunion

The classic Guns N' Roses lineup (Image credit: Getty Images)

Since Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan got back together in 2016 for the start of Guns N' Roses (opens in new tab)' Not In This Lifetime tour, fans have been asking why guitarist Izzy Stradlin wasn’t involved.

Speaking with the The Wall Street Journal back in May last year, Izzy said: “My non-participation was simply not being able to reach a happy middle ground through the negotiation process.”

Now, in a new interview in the latest edition of Classic Rock magazine, bassist McKagan has shed more light on the situation from the point of the band.

He says: “I don’t know what the actual truth is. We definitely wanted him to do it, and I think he entertained the thought, but he never came down and rehearsed.

“We had amps for him, ready to go. The first month of rehearsal went by... nothing. The second month of rehearsal came by, and we’re talking to him: ‘We’re getting close, Iz.’

“The third month of rehearsal went by... nothing. I guess he just didn’t want to tour this big and for so long. 

We definitely wanted him to do it, and I think he entertained the thought

Duff McKagan

“I love that dude, but I gotta say that Richard Fortus is a hell of a player and we couldn’t ask for a better guy.”

Another hot topic of conversation is about a possible new Guns N’ Roses album. Both Richard Fortus and Slash have mentioned it in the past, while McKagan himself reported in February: “Oh, it's real.” (opens in new tab)

Asked by Classic Rock if there was any update on the record, Duff responds: “You never know with this band. That’s where I’ve landed on this thing. But the stuff’s cookin’. Everybody’s on top of their game at this point, musicianship-wise and songwriting-wise.

“We have this tour under our belts where we played a ton together. We know our strengths. We’re now looking forward to what’s next, for sure, with Guns N’ Roses. 

“And after making this solo record, which is kind of mellow, I look forward to getting back to rocking the fuck out. So there’s my answer.”

McKagan will release his solo album Tenderness on May 31 and has launched the songs Chip Away, Don’t Look Behind You (opens in new tab) and the title track from the record.

The full interview with McKagan can be found in the latest issue of Classic Rock, which is on sale now (opens in new tab).

Classic Rock 262

Duff McKagan: Tenderness (opens in new tab)
Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan will release his new solo album titled Tenderness later this month. It was produced by Shooter Jennings who also appears on the record.

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.