With the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction and everything surrounding it happening this weekend in Cleveland, Ohio, the opinions and statements from the original members of inductees Guns N’ Roses continue to come in. Before I get into my take on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, here’s the latest from Izzy Stradlin via Duff McKagan’s Seattle Weekly column today (Apr. 13): “Izzy asked me to do him a favor and sort of get this out for him. Izzy don’t Tweet, etc.
I have waited up to this point to see what would become of the GNR induction into RRHOF. I would like to say THANK YOU and GRACIAS to RRHOF for the acknowledgement of our works over the years as a band. BIG THANKS to all my bandmates who helped get us to where we are today. And, of course, THANK YOU to all of the people on this planet (including, but not limited to, the entire universe and beyond, etc., etc., etc.) who have supported Guns N’ Roses from day one. Adios, Amigos!
LONG LIVE ROCK N ROLL!
By now many of you have read the post from Axl Rose declining acceptance for induction in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I’ve read it a few times, and I have to agree with Axl, and maybe by his non acceptance, the Hall will pull their head out of their asses and really start inducting true rock artists. There are so many influential and revered rockers that need to be in: Rush, Deep Purple, KISS, Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Yes, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Bad Company, Peter Frampton, Jethro Tull, Heart, Bon Jovi, Journey, Foreigner, Cheap Trick, Mott The Hoople, ELO, Steppenwolf, Steve Marriott, The Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Steve Miller Band, T. Rex, Def Leppard, The Moody Blues, Chicago, MC5, Peter Gabriel, Linda Rondstadt, Gram Parsons, Lou Reed, The Doobie Brothers, Soundgarden, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Cars, The New York Dolls, Procol Harum, Pat Benatar, Motley Crue, Todd Rundgren, Dire Straits, Pantera, Blue Oyster Cult, Ozzy Osbourne (solo), Boston, and Styx should all be in before ABBA right?
I’m glad for the true rock artists that have been inducted thus far, but it makes no sense for Metallica to be inducted before iconic bands that influenced them are in. It is past ‘a joke’ by now, and just sad. There have been many, many complaints about the ‘elitist’ board that votes on who to induct, and how they do it.
Rolling Stone founder and editor Jann Wenner co-founded the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation back in 1983, and there are correlations between his magazine and the Rock Hall. While Rolling Stone still has fantastic writers, interviews, photos and profiles, it still puts shit like Britney Spears on the cover to sell magazines. They lost many readers to other magazines over the years, and Wenner needed to get that market share back, which he eventually did. Wenner Media also publishes the entertainment magazine, US Weekly, and there has always seemed to me to be a underlining cross pollunization between the two magazines. It was also Wenner’s decision to allow Rap, Hip-Hop and Disco into the Hall, which is just bullshit. I respect those artists that have made significant contributions to music in general, but they should have their own hall of fame. Despite that, I will still be watching and I congratulate the inductees. Double edged sword I guess.
Here’s Axl’s open letter to the hall posted on Guns N’ Roses facebook page and the latest news and quotes from Duff McKagan and Slash in regards to the induction ceremonies this weekend.
To: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Guns N’ Roses Fans and Whom It May Concern,
When the nominations for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame were first announced I had mixed emotions but, in an effort to be positive, wanting to make the most of things for the fans and with their enthusiasm, I was honored, excited and hoped that somehow this would be a good thing. Of course I realized as things stood, if Guns N’ Roses were to be inducted it’d be somewhat of a complicated or awkward situation.
Since then we’ve listened to fans, talked with members of the board of the Hall Of Fame, communicated with and read various public comments and jabs from former members of Guns N’ Roses, had discussions with the president of the Hall Of Fame, read various press (some legit, some contrived) and read other artists’ comments weighing in publicly on Guns and the Hall with their thoughts.
Under the circumstances I feel we’ve been polite, courteous, and open to an amicable solution in our efforts to work something out. Taking into consideration the history of Guns N’ Roses, those who plan to attend along with those the Hall for reasons of their own, have chosen to include in “our” induction (that for the record are decisions I don’t agree with, support or feel the Hall has any right to make), and how (albeit no easy task) those involved with the Hall have handled things… no offense meant to anyone but the Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony doesn’t appear to be somewhere I’m actually wanted or respected.
For the record, I would not begrudge anyone from Guns their accomplishments or recognition for such. Neither I or anyone in my camp has made any requests or demands of the Hall Of Fame. It’s their show not mine.
That said, I won’t be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N’ Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
I strongly request that I not be inducted in absentia and please know that no one is authorized nor may anyone be permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf. Neither former members, label representatives nor the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame should imply whether directly, indirectly or by omission that I am included in any purported induction of “Guns N’ Roses.”
This decision is personal. This letter is to help clarify things from my and my camp’s perspective. Neither is meant to offend, attack or condemn. Though unfortunately I’m sure there will be those who take offense (God knows how long I’ll have to contend with the fallout), I certainly don’t intend to disappoint anyone, especially the fans, with this decision. Since the announcement of the nomination we’ve actively sought out a solution to what, with all things considered, appears to be a no win, at least for me, “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” scenario all the way around.
In regard to a reunion of any kind of either the Appetite or Illusion lineups, I’ve publicly made myself more than clear. Nothing’s changed.
The only reason, at this point, under the circumstances, in my opinion whether under the guise of “for the fans” or whatever justification of the moment, for anyone to continue to ask, suggest or demand a reunion are misguided attempts to distract from our efforts with our current lineup of myself, Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Frank Ferrer, Richard Fortus, Chris Pitman, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and DJ Ashba.
Izzy came out with us a few times back in ’06 and I invited him to join us at our LA Forum show last year. Steven was at our show at the Hard Rock, later in ’06 in Las Vegas, where I invited him to our after-party and was rewarded with his subsequent interviews filled with reunion lies. Lesson learned. Duff joined us in 2010 and again in ’11 along with his band, Loaded, opening in Seattle and Vancouver. For me, with the exception of Izzy or Duff joining us on stage if they were so inclined somewhere in the future for a song or two, that’s enough.
There’s a seemingly endless amount of revisionism and fantasies out there for the sake of self-promotion and business opportunities masking the actual realities. Until every single one of those generating from or originating with the earlier lineups has been brought out in the light, there isn’t room to consider a conversation let alone a reunion.
Maybe if it were you it’d be different. Maybe you’d do it for this reason or that. Peace, whatever. I love our band now. We’re there for each other when the going get’s rough. We love our fans and work to give them every ounce of energy and heart we can.
So let sleeping dogs lie or lying dogs sleep or whatever. Time to move on. People get divorced. Life doesn’t owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another’s, or in this case several others’, expense.
But hey if ya gotta then maybe we can get the “no show, grandstanding, publicity stunt, disrespectful, he doesn’t care about the fans” crap out of the way as quickly as we can and let’s move on. No one’s taking the ball and going home. Don’t get it twisted. For more than a decade and a half we’ve endured the double standards, the greed of this industry and the ever present seemingly limitless supply of wannabes and unscrupulous, irresponsible media types. Not to imply anything in this particular circumstance, but from my perspective in regard to both the Hall and a reunion, the ball’s never been in our court.
In closing, regardless of this decision and as hard to believe or as ironic as it may seem, I’d like to sincerely thank the board for their nomination and their votes for Guns’ induction. More importantly I’d like to thank the fans for being there over the years, making any success we’ve had possible and for enjoying and supporting Guns N’ Roses music.
I wish the Hall a great show, congratulations to all the other artists being inducted and to our fans we look forward to seeing you on tour!!
Duff McKagan wrote this is his latest ESPN.com ‘The Life’ column (published before Axl released his statement): “The one reason that I am going to Cleveland this weekend is not to savor in some polite accolade or because an award show is that important to me. I am going because I have realized how important this is all to those many, many fans that supported us and believed in us, and showed up for us in droves.
Music is not like sports, and hence, a Hall of Fame in music is almost a false pedestal to sit upon. There are no statistics in music and art. No band or artist is “better” than another. Music comes from a primal place. Thin air. Dreams. And a lot of really hard damn work.
No one worked harder than us back then, and we were very fortunate to have met each other in those dirty back alleys of Hollywood sometime in 1984. We meshed and wrote, created thunder and beauty, and parlayed our real-life experience into an album that somehow related to a whole angsty world that felt just like us right then and there. It was a brilliant time.
I, too, now hope that we can just play a couple of songs there, and just sort of throw the microphone down on the stage and walk off. The rock-and-roll world would be set ablaze once again … and we could make a bunch of fans happy and sated to some degree.
But alas, I am only responsible for me, and can only speak for me. I have forgiven and forgotten. I have grown up and manned up. Part of me growing has been to realize I am powerless over others.
This whole deal, I hope, goes off without a hitch. I do hope we can achieve some grace in our acceptance. And I hope this grace, is enough, in the end, for the best rock and roll fans in the world. The Guns N’ (f—ing) Roses fans.”
Read the entire column here: www.sports.espn.go.com/espn/thelife
Duff followed that up with his April 12th column for Seattle Weekly:
“I’m on a plane to Cleveland for a performance tomorrow night of my musical book-reading for It’s So Easy. These things make me extremely nervous, as reading in front of people has turned out to be one of those things I just don’t feel too comfortable with. I think a lot of people are coming because my band, GNR, will be inducted into the so-fancy Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Adversity has followed this band since its inception. I get it. That seems to be my sort of “lot” in life . . . and I think that maybe through this whole sort of rub and honesty that GNR portrayed in a very real way in those early records indeed may have helped countless others overcome varying adversities in their own lives. It’s a wonderful and poignant thing to hear from different fans from around this globe. I hope that I can do you all proud.
In the end, it’s not about who does or doesn’t show up from the original band, and I back whatever reason this guy or that has for not coming. It’s all good. The songs are the important bit here . . . and the message they most certainly still must carry.”
Karen Bliss of Billboard.com spoke with Slash about the Hall induction and his new album ‘Apocalyptic Love’, before it was announced that Axl wouldn’t be attending:
BB: It’s interesting the way the last album was put together with all these different singers and for the last two songs you get Myles in, and now he’s your guy.
Slash: A whole thing came out of that.
BB: When you were touring with Myles, when did you realize this could be a creative partnership too?
Slash: The second that all four of us were in the same room, there was an instantaneous spark there and we all got along well. Everybody really likes each other and there was just an innate chemistry that happened and so that carried on. We started doing shows and we had a blast. And when you take a new group and you throw it out there in a festival, and play in front of thirty, forty thousand people, you don’t feel any kind of inhibitions and you just go out and rock it, and you really vibe off each other, I can think of a lot of bands that I’ve thrown out there in that situation and they really weren’t that great. So pretty early on I started thinking if I was gonna make another record, I would just do it with these guys. So I started writing material and all these songs were really borne off the road. I’d send these ideas to Myles and he’d have them and we collected a bunch. He had been putting ideas to some of them, melodies and whatnot, and then we got back to LA after the tour was over and we started just working really hard on making something out of all these ideas. And then when we were done with that, we had 17 or 18 songs and then we started preproduction and we narrowed it down to 15 and here is the record.
BB: You make it sound so easy. In one of your webisodes, Brent says that you’re really diligent at practicing. I actually just had a conversation with a struggling musician, whose band doesn’t have a following yet, who complained he doesn’t want to practice because it’s boring.
Slash: Practicing is boring. In the webisode, I think there was someone who mentioned that I play all the time. I do play all the time and that’s fun and if I’m writing it’s cool, as long as there’s something coming out of it. Before shows is the only time I really sit down and practice, where you have to force some dexterity out of your fingers just to get ready. But other than that, when I’m at home, I try to do anything but sitting there and going over a scale.
BB: But there’s a reason why you are at this level and regarded the way you are; it’s because you work your ass off. It’s like Neil Peart from Rush still takes drum lessons. Other musicians would think that’s crazy.
Slash: And it’s funny because I’ve thought about taking lessons myself. That’s so funny. I will. There’s some stuff that I know that other guys do that I think is really interesting, but I’m not even sure which guys do it and I’m not sure what it is. I know some really good musicians I could get lessons from and it would take me out of my comfort zone. I try and do it on my own, but you can only go so far. One of the great things about touring is it’s really a place for me to expand whatever it is that I know. I start making up shit that I have no idea what I’m doing, in the heat of the moment, and that’s how I really find myself progressing. If I’m at home for a length of time or about to do a record, those ideas of trying to do something wacky different just for the sake of it happen.
BB: Do you feel that you’ve found your new band and new solo project?
Slash: Let’s put it this way, I see no reason to see why if I was gonna do another record why I would do it with anybody else. I have to take into account their schedules. There’s Velvet Revolver; there’s Alter Bridge; there’s other things to take into account, but right now I’m just happy that we did this record together. It was really a great feeling of accomplishment. And it was very cathartic and it’s a good rock record, which I needed to do, just a focused hard-driving record. So we’re going to do this big tour and we’re just going to take off where we left off before, which really opened the floodgates for opportunities. We’re just going to take it as it comes, but yeah, I feel very strongly about the band.
BB: I’ve been told you don’t want to talk about The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction [April 14], but that’s pretty exciting. All these bands are in there that you probably grew up on.
Slash: It’s great company to be in. I think I’ll appreciate it much more when we actually — I don’t know, there’s so much controversy around it.
BB: Are you nervous about it to see how it’s gonna go and who’s gonna be there?
Slash: I’m not nervous about that. I mean, we just have to show up. I must say, I was hoping in my hearts of hearts that we might be able to get it together and play, but wishful thinking; that’s not gonna be able to happen. So I was more excited about it when we got nominated [laughs]. That’s when I really felt honored.
BB: You know you’ve made it when your songs are turned into elevator music or you get inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Slash: [Laughs] Yeah, you know what though? You get inducted into the Hall of Fame and then the next day life goes on.
BB: And Rush isn’t in there.
Slash: Well, that’s the problem. That’s my biggest problem with the Hall of Fame is that there are more bands than I can count that should definitely be in there and are not, and then it makes it seem very bias and not necessarily kosher.
BB: When Van Halen was inducted, only two of them showed up, Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony.
Slash: We played for them and it was a disaster.
BB: Jimmy Kimmel said that was like having a Pac-Man reunion where only Inky and the cherry show up.
Slash: [Laughs] That’s funny. Yeah, it was an unpleasant scene being at the Van Halen thing and playing for them and David Lee Roth might come but he didn’t come. It gets very uptight. It’s a very formal event.