Izzy Stradlin was always my favorite. While he could have seemed like the lukewarm water between Axl Rose’s fire and Slash’s ice, to me he was also the guy who embodied the straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll groove at the heart of Guns n’ Roses.
He was also arguably the best songwriter in the band, which was why their first move after he left was to do a covers album, and their second move was to break up.
But of course, all of that was in the future, because in September, 1991 — in the middle of a three-month release period that solidified 1991 as my favorite year ever for music — Guns n’ Roses were the biggest fucking thing on the planet, thanks to their larger-than-life decision to release what was essentially two double albums on the same day.
I remember going to Tower Records to buy the Illusion twins the evening they came out — though not at midnight, because in September of 1991, I probably wasn’t in any shape to go anywhere at midnight — and coming across an indie-rock friend of mine (who might be reading this exact post), who asked me why I was there. And when I told him it was to buy Guns n’ Roses, he looked at me like I was kidding.
But, of course, I wasn’t, and songs like the Izzy Stradlin-sung “Double Talkin’ Jive” more than justified my decision.
Like so many of the songs on Use Your Illusion I, “Double Talkin’ Jive” comes absolutely roaring out of the gate, with a huge riff in one speaker and Matt Sorum’s utterly unforgiving beat powering the song, and slams into a stop-time chorus where Izzy — backed by Axl — believably sings about a life that he probably never led:
Double talkin’ jive
Get the money motherfucker
‘Cause I got no more patience
No more patience
Barely a minute in, we’ve had a couple of verses and choruses so Slash takes over for a long long guitar solo that — with Sorum egging him on — soars and soars and soars until it finally fades into a classical guitar segment that reminds me of Black Sabbath at the end of “Symptom of The Universe”
On one level, it’s probably a bit of a throwaway, but on another level, it’s all so well thought out and so incredibly well-played that it never failed to thrill, especially when you figure that the classical guitar segment was also supposed to be a bit of a chill room for the next song, the epic “Novemeber Rain”
“Double Talkin’ Jive”
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