Slash: “I was resentful when Izzy left Guns N’ Roses. He thought we were going to die”

Izzy and Slash
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Slash admits that he felt “resentful” when Izzy Stradlin quit Guns N’ Roses in 1991, and says that the band and their former guitarist “couldn’t meet eye to eye” in order for Stradlin to return to the fold for GN’R’s 2016 reunion. 

Slash is the cover star of the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, and during a wide-ranging, in-depth interview with writer Paul Elliott, the guitarist discusses his feelings on Stradlin walking away from the Los Angeles group following the release of the Use Your Illusion albums in 1991, citing the drama and substance abuse issues within the band as factors in his decision to quit.

“At that time, the fact that he quit wasn’t an issue,” Slash insists. “There was no judgement about any of that. I don’t think anybody judged anybody else on how they behaved outside of being able to show up and do the gig. I was admittedly resentful of that whole trip with Izzy leaving, because whatever had gone on for him that forced that sudden change, I was like, man, I died eighteen times prior to that! It didn’t faze me! 

“But when he quit, he was looking at us going: ‘These guys are gonna fucking die!’ My whole attitude was like: ‘I’ll get on with it. Don’t fucking worry. I’ll manage.’ So there was a certain kind of resentment there – of not really understanding or appreciating where Izzy was coming from. In hindsight, I still sort of feel the same way, I guess, about that. Like, don’t worry about me.”

Later in the interview, Elliott raises the point that Stradlin was originally rumoured to be part of the current Guns N’ Roses reunion but withdrew, just as he did after initially being involved in Velvet Revolver alongside Slash, Duff McKagan and former GN’R drummer Matt Sorum. Elliott asks ‘Did he explain why he didn’t want to be a part of it again?’

“I haven’t really talked to him since then,” Slash responds. “There were a lot of different issues that I’m not really going to get into. We wanted it to work out, but we couldn’t seem to meet eye to eye on the whole thing. So it just never happened.”

One thing that the guitarist states is happening, however, is a new Guns N’ Roses album.

“There’s new Guns material coming out as we speak, and we’ll probably keep putting it out until the entire record’s worth of stuff is done and then put it out solid,” he says. “It’s cool. I’m enjoying working on the stuff and having a good time doing it.”

For much more from Slash, pick up the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, which is out now. 

Classic Rock issue 297

(Image credit: Future)
Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.