I am a HUGE Guns N’ Roses fan, an equally LARGE Red Hot Chili Peppers fan and an overall devoted GARGANTUAN fan of Rock and Roll music. So where else would I have been this past weekend than in Cleveland, Ohio for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony? Nowhere. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Even when the rumors became fact that Axl Rose wouldn’t be attending (commentary on this to come later), I proudly packed up my leather boots and my snake skin jacket and boarded a plane. And I’m so happy I did.
The whole weekend I felt like I was at a rock and roll fantasy camp. We’d be walking out of the Ritz after cocktails and oh – there’s the Chili Peppers getting out of their car and entering the hotel. Then we’d be walking down East 4th street hitting the bars and oh – there’s Chad Smith (Chili Pepper drummer) smoking a cigarette on the corner. Then we’d be at the House of Blues to see Duff McKagan (former GNR guitar player) do a reading from his new book and oh- there’s Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum (former GNR guitar player and drummer) on stage playing music with him. It was the ultimate music lover’s experience and I’m so grateful I got to go. The actual induction ceremony, while over 5 hours long, was entertaining, heartfelt and most importantly, filled with a lot of awesome music. Here are some highlights: Sara Bareilles performed “Stoney End” as a part of a tribute to Laura Nyro, a New York artist from the late 60s who incorporated jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, show tunes, rock and soul into her one-of-a-kind style.
John Mellencamp – with cigarette in hand – inducted Donovan, a Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist, known for hits such as “Mellow Yellow” and “Season of the Witch.”
Bringing a little rap flavor to the event, Chuck D (of Public Enemy fame) and LL Cool J then took the stage to induct the Beastie Boys – one of the most well respected hip hop groups of all time. Mike D (Michael Diamond)and Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) graciously accepted on behalf of the band and gave thanks to their parents for letting them blast The Clash in their Brooklyn basements. The third member, MCA (Adam Yauch), who is currently battling cancer, was unable to attend, prompting The Roots and Kid Rock to perform a medley of their songs including “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” “So What Cha Want,” “Sabotage” and “The New Style.” Oh, and they were wearing matching green Adidas suits. Awesome.
Then it was time to induct Guns N’ Roses. Us fans already knew Axl would not be attending, thanks to a letter he sent to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few days prior, requesting that his name not be associated with the induction. I was heartbroken at the news, as were many fans, and not just a little pissed off as I felt his decision not to come was a selfish one, based on his never ending strife with former members and his inability to put that aside to simply come and acknowledge the fans that keep him in business. But I put it out of my head so I could enjoy the fact that original members Slash, Duff and Steven Adler (drummer) were on stage together for the first time in nearly 20 years. Awesome. Joined sporadically by members Sorum and Clarke, and with singer Miles Kennedy, they performed “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Paradise City,” and “Mr. Brownstone” off of 1987’s Appetite for Destruction – which continues to be the best selling debut album of all time. Oh, and Green Day inducted them, or rather Billy Joe Armstrong did while his band mates stood at the podium awkwardly behind him. I thought it an odd choice. Anyway…
Finally, Chris Rock took the stage to induct the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was touched by how seriously the band took their induction, inviting up former members to share in the moment – including the brother of their first guitar player Hillel Slovak, who died of an overdose in 1988. Flea got extremely emotional during his speech, as he thanked his mother and told fans that music continues to inspire him – promising the best was yet to come from the California band. Their song choices were odd, “By the Way,” “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” and “Give it Away” but their signature dance moves, heart pounding bass riffs and original style (Keidis and Flea both performed shirtless, the latter donned a head of dyed green hair) made it obvious why they were being inducted.
The night culminated with different members joining the Chilis on stage for a performance of “Higher Ground,” and I was personally blown away to see Flea and Slash performing together – two of my all time favorite musicians. Overall, it was a wonderful night and a great celebration of Rock and Roll. Now tell us, from this list, which is your favorite album from a 2012 inductee?
Appetite for Destruction
Blood Sugar Sex Magik
License to Ill