The General Bourke Hotel, Parramatta, Australia
October 1992

 

 

This is a part of an article from RIP, April 1993 Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds: Single-Gun Theory by Murray Engleheart

Three shows into the Ju Ju Hounds' Australian tour The General Bourke Hotel, west of Sydney, was packed. Reggae pulsed gently from the PA, and punters in Slayer and GN'R T-shirts mingled with the curious. At 11:45 the Hounds hit the stage and, without the keyboard orchestration that was an element of their studio work, proceeded to peel paint from the walls and skin from ear canals. Pauses between songs were felled with chants of, "Izzy, Izzy, Izzy," and you could tell the guy almost wnted to run behind the amps and pinch himself before throwing one more cooling drink over those at the front. Rick Richards' commanding, overdriven guitar powered the band through Howlin' Wolf's "Highway 49," a blistering version of "Pressure Drop," "Came Unglued," "Cuttin' a Rug" and "Somebody Knocking." The band's reggae element was well represented by "Crackin' Up" and "Can't Hear 'Em," and they probably would have been content to stay in that grove for the entire evening. The inclusion in th encore of the '60s classic "Pipeline" confirmed my Johnny Thunders theories, as he covered that song on his *So Alone* album. The set clicked in at a flat-out hour and fifteen or maybe hour and twenty minutes. Not bad for a man who had been extremely ill a few days before.

"I got sick in London, really, really sick," Izzy explained after the show, a cassette player that filled the room with more reggae sitting on the chair beside him. "I was just run down, I suppose. I'm just kicking it now. I saw a Chinese herbalist. This guy did shiatsu on me and shit. Today he worked me over big time. It's kind of painful actually. I think the whole thing with those guys is that they clean you out and let your body heal itself as opposed to having you eat a bunch of drugs to try to combat what your body would do anyway. It's working. I had some acupuncture, too, in Japan. I'd never tried that before. It was kinda strange."

The previous night someone had grabbed Izzy's hat during the show which is just about as blasphemous as attempting to nab AC/DC's Brian Johnson's skull warmer. The incident began innocently enough--or so it seemed.
"He got up onstage like three times right?" Izzy related. "I was like, that's cool. He's having some fun, he's dancing, showing off for his buddies. The fourth time he got up, he grabbed my hat, and everybody just attacked him. It's my only hat I got on tour, so I figure fuck that!"

Finding the guy shouldn't be too difficult, either, not with hunks of his hair all over the monitors. "I just grabbed him by the back of the head, because I'm playing guitar with one hand," Izzy continued. "I grabbed him, and all his hair came out and got tangled up in my guitar. It was like a bunch of hay. I felt kind of bad, you know. Fuck, a chunk of scalp hanging off. That must have hurt, man."

Izzy Stradlin is a warm, funny guy, but you can't pick people's fans for them--like the dude who stood next to me during the night's show and told his friends that no one could have as much fun as Stradlin seemed to be and be straight. Fact is, he's clean these days, though his doctor told him to give up cigarettes. The guitarist is a keen surfer, and he commented to somebody that last time he was in Sydney, he didn't even know we had beaches.