The Avalon, Chicago, IL
Stradlin's Hounds Dig In for 1st Show
From: Chicago Sun-Times
Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds; Rights of the Accused 9:30 tonight Avalon Niteclub, 959 W. Belmont Cover, $6 (312) 472-3020
Guitarist Izzy Stradlin, a founding member and primary songwriter of Guns N' Roses, will perform publicly for the first time tonight with his new band, the Ju Ju Hounds, at the Avalon Niteclub.
A high school buddy of singer Axl Rose, Stradlin was known as the quiet, sober member of Guns N' Roses. He rarely gave interviews and often traveled separately from the band, but he wrote some of its best songs, including "Patience" and "Mr. Brownstone."
Stradlin quit the group suddenly last November as it was preparing to tour in support of "Use Your Illusion I & II." He returned home to Lafayette, Ind., and spent a lot of time riding his motorcycle until he began working on new songs with his friend, bassist Jimmy Ashhurst.
"The best thing about this is, it's not a complicated thing," Stradlin said in his record company bio. "It was fun."
Most of the band's self-titled Geffen debut was recorded in Chicago. The album will be released Oct. 13, and the group has been in town for the past few weeks filming a video and rehearsing for a European tour that begins next week. The Ju Ju Hounds' set in the intimate confines of the Avalon will be their only appearance in the United States before a major tour begins next year.
"This should end the rumor that Izzy didn't like to tour and didn't like to do videos," said Denise Cox, the band's publicist.
"Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds" is a (STAR) (STAR) (STAR) (STAR)-star disc that rocks harder than most of the two bloated "Use Your Illusion" albums and easily ranks with the best music Guns N' Roses has recorded. Stradlin wrote eight of the 10 songs, which combine the heroin-blues feel of the Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main Street" with the punk aggression of the New York Dolls.
The album is rounded off with a furious cover of Toots & the Maytals' "Pressure Drop," which breaks down into the original's reggae groove at the end, and Ronnie Wood's "Take a Look at the Guy," which features a duet between Stradlin and Wood and includes Wood's former Faces bandmate Ian McLagan on organ.
Although the album features a host of other guests ranging from Maxine Waters on backing vocals to Nicky Hopkins on keyboards, the Ju Ju Hounds perform as a no-nonsense quartet onstage. Stradlin, in dreadlocks, plays rhythm guitar and sings in a voice that recalls Keith Richards' endearing rasp. Ashhurst adds backing vocals, former Georgia Satellites guitarist Rick Richards plays lead guitar and Charlie "Chalo" Quintana, a veteran of Bob Dylan's touring band, drums.
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Izzy Stradlin Live Makes A Difference
Former Guns N` Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin gave his first concert with his new incarnation, Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, at Avalon Wednesday night, and Axl Rose wasn`t missed one bit.
Stradlin played nine of the 10 songs on his band`s self-titled album, due out Oct. 13. And though the tunes were played fairly true to the album, Stradlin`s mixture of power pop, rock and blues took on a new meaning live.
Stradlin, in his trademark poorboy cap and looking uncannily like the `70s Keith Richards, walked out to cheers and launched into the rocker ``Bucket of Trouble.``
Before long, he was deep into the Lynyrd Skynyrd-style ``Cuttin` the Rug`` and the first single, ``Shuffle It All,`` which opened with a ``Walk on the Wide Side`` riff and turned into a guitar free-for-all when backing ax-man Rick Richards (formerly of Georgia Satellites) joined in.
Both guitarists were excellent, achieving a tone Slash couldn`t dream of approaching in the stadiums that GNR now plays. Unlike on the songs he wrote with GNR (``Patience,`` ``Double Talkin`Jive``), Stradlin`s new material shuns both acoustic ballads and his much-talked-about punk influences. Instead it focuses shamelessly on blues chord progressions and riffs and vocals that seem to come straight from the Rolling Stones, most notably from the Richards-sung tunes like ``Before They Make Me Run`` or ``Wanna Hold You.``
The rhythm section of drummer Charlie Quintana (Cruzados) and bassist Jimmy Ashhurst (Broken Homes) were unbreakably tight but, like the guitarists, they were unable to move on the cramped stage.
And though some of the die-hard GNR fans shuffled away when they realized no ``Welcome to the Jungle`` would be heard, the core of people left enjoyed a band that has the potential to be the next Black Crowes (but with a lot more talent). If that doesn`t happen, however, they would still be one heck of a bar band.
Singer Michael Jackson reportedly would like to star in the screen version of "Phantom of the Opera" and met with playwright Andrew Lloyd Webber recently to talk about the project. Local Lore . . . Rocker Izzy Stradlin, a former Guns N' Roses band member who just put out a solo album, played unannounced Wednesday night at Avalon on Belmont and rocked the house. Actor Gary ("Buddy Holly") Busey, who's in town filming "Rookie of the Year," showed up at China Club Wednesday night with Chicago Teamster-turned-actor Eddie "Bo" Smith, of "Mo' Money" fame and sat in the kitchen with China Club grand poohbah B.J. Murray. Busey ate Chinese, played guitar, sang Buddy Holly songs and admired staff members' tattoos. Sneedlings . . .
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