On February 23rd I got a Tweet from somebody claiming to be former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin that I instantly assumed was bullshit. Not only is Stradlin reclusive and notoriously media-shy, but no member of the classic GN’R lineup has uttered a word about the reunion in public, even Steven Adler. The thought that Izzy, of all people, would be the one to break that silence, and through Twitter, seemed absolutely absurd. “Hi Izzy!” I wrote back to @IzzyStradlin999. “I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to doubt the veracity of this account,” I joked. “Who would lie on the Internet?”
I figured that would be the end of it, but @IzzyStradlin999 began quickly responding to my messages, claiming he had sent an e-mail to a rarely-used Rolling Stone editors account. As I began hunting around for means to even access that message, a tiny bit of my skepticism began melting away. After all, his profile pic looked like a new image. Then I found the e-mail (“At this point in time I will not be playing at any of the April 2016 GNR shows”) and saw the e-mail address was one he used in the early 2000s when communicating with fans.
We began chatting via Direct Message and that night I sent him my office phone number. “Cheers,” he wrote back. “Left u message.” As soon as I heard the voicemail I knew it was him, and when I compared it to old interviews on YouTube I had absolutely no doubt. Still, I needed more definitive proof before I could post an article. I didn’t want to be the moron that got Catfish’d by a fake Izzy Stradlin. I asked if he’d FaceTime for 15 seconds or even just send a photo where he holds up his Twitter name on a sheet of paper. He didn’t respond and un-followed me on Twitter, deleting all of his messages to me.
I continued to badger him to no avail and eventually grew so desperate I reached out to audio analysis experts to see if they could compare the voicemail to Izzy old interviews and definitively say it was him. But then on Monday night he DM’d me a 20-second video of him playing the 1971 Jonathan Edwards song “Sunshine.” He also posted it on his public Twitter account. At this point there was virtually no doubt it was him and we posted the story.
We didn’t want to just sit on audio of one of rock’s mysterious figures, though, so we put together this animation of the voicemail. Enjoy. Guns N’ Roses fans, notice that he says, “At this point in time I’m not involved in the actual shows.” That doesn’t mean he won’t be involved at a later point in time. Hopefully, if that happens, he’ll let us all know on Twitter. He might even have a verified account by then.