The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is fast arriving, and this year's class, like most, is a doozie. A lot of excellent and deserving bands have been chosen for honors, including (but not limited to) The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beastie Boys, The Faces, and the centerpiece of this class, Guns N' Roses. Of course, with the ceremony, not unlike other years, comes talk of reunions. Hey, it could happen. After all, we got to see Cream, The Doors, Sly & the Family Stone, and that was just 1993!
With Guns N' Roses on the bill this year, it was hard not to conjure up images of Slash’s signature top hat bobbing up and down next to the fiery red attitude with matching hair that is Axl Rose. But alas, not only is this reunion not happening, Axl wont even step foot inside the ceremony!
In a letter addressed to “The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Guns N' Roses Fans and Whom It May Concern,” Rose refused the distinction. In his rant, he specifically states,
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.
To his credit, he does go on to express his gratitude and congratulations to all of the inductees, but its certainly not enough to put Axl and his ego in a positive light. And while The Faces, a fantastic band with Rod Stewart at the helm, will be reuniting, Axl’s no-show will undoubtedly take center stage to the evenings festivities.
The news is not terribly surprising. The band has been feuding for as long as anyone can remember, Axl is currently proud to be touring with a “Guns N' Roses” featuring none of the original members, and his reputation as an unpredictable raging madman has gotten, well... predictable. If, 10 years ago, someone were to tell you that the guys who wrote "Paradise City" would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you would probably respond "I'll bet Axl doesn't show."
In a way it seems fitting that he be absent from the ceremony. Even when the band was together, he was often the cause of concert cancelations. We're talking about a guy who once stopped a song so he could jump off stage and punch a fan in the face for carrying a camera. In 1992, Rose called the band offstage during a joint show with Metallica in Montreal, causing a riot. Since the band broke up in the early '90s, it seems like Axl has done everything possible to not only distance himself from his former friends, but to alienate himself as well. If you’re a fan of GNR you know that that this "new and improved" group simply can't compare to the original, not to mention how hard it is to ignore the aging of Axl's voice. Their most recent album, Chinese Democracy, only proved the newbies' lack of appetite for destruction. And yet despite its unnecessarily long creation and failure to deliver, Axl stands by it.
The hall of fame, despite being in Cleveland, is a huge symbol of achievement for many musicians. Perhaps it doesn’t have the prestige or class of Cooperstown, but the successful journey there still represents an achievement in the career of a musician. It's a pure meritocracy to cement an artist's legacy. So if this is the legacy of Guns N' Roses, I say it’s fitting. The possibility of a reunion has always been more like an unreasonably long wait for Axl to come around than a general band dispute.
Everyone else seemed to get along fine, without Rose. Even in Velvet Revolver, the super-group featuring three out of five members of GNR, the problems were with singer Scott Weiland. In fact, even with their second struggling singer, they sounded pretty great. Those original Guns just can't catch a break. So why should it be such a big deal to take the spotlight away from a band who truly deserves it?
From here on out, Guns N' Roses will always be remembered as a bunch of talented musicians with attitude and a psychotic lead singer who doesn’t seem to appreciate them. Yep, that’s the Guns N' Roses that made history alright. Induct on.