That is what went through my head and out of my mouth after watching the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony this weekend. When I first learned of Guns N Roses’ nomination and Axel’s refusal of the honor, I rolled my eyes and thought ,”Whatever. Typical.” he has a loooong reputation of thinking more of himself than everyone else does. But it really made me angry after watching the show and listening to the other recipients, including his former band mate Slash, acknowledge the fact that these inductions not only honor the recipients, but music as a whole. And THE FANS who made these honors possible. Without fans, you don’t sell records. You don’t sell out arenas. You don’t get to the hall of fame.
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day got booed for his little bit of mockery at the absence of Axel. Come on, Axel was quoted as saying he didn’t want to be where he “wasn’t wanted or appreciated”; he earned the rib poking all by himself. Slash himself gave credit to his wife for reminding him that there are a lot of people around the world who grew up banging their heads to “Welcome to the Jungle” and partying to “Paradise City” that deserved to see the band inducted. The fans who got them there deserved to be honored and thanked.
I got choked up listening to Flea, of The Red Hot Chili Peppers speak when his band was inducted. He was sincerely honored and humbled to be there. Music is his oxygen and it was blatantly apparent when they finally performed. I will never understand his genius or his talent to be able to rip on a bass guitar and jump around over and over like he does on stage. Fucking brilliant. And the finale with so many musical genius’ all jamming together on stage at once, THAT’S what rock and roll is all about.
And one band. One music changing band just lost their brother two weeks after this induction ceremony. Adam Yauch of The Beastie Boys sadly passed away a few days ago. Man they bring back memories. I got into a stupid fight with my mom one evening, I was 16 or 17 years old and completely in the wrong. Basically being a rotten little bitch (I can admit it). I ran into my room, slammed the door shut and locked it. I ran over to my stereo and blasted it. . . to drowned her out. “You Gotta Fight. . .for your right to party” happened to be on the radio. It was the perfect F U at that moment. My teenage brain felt vindicated somehow, like the rock gods were smiling down on me for my defiant behavior.
I have never been a hardcore fan of any of these bands, but I have enjoyed the music and they all have given me some great memories, of either people, or places, or moments in time like the one I just shared. They all meant something to me. And the loss of Adam Yauch is strikingly eerie proof of how short life is and how precious these once-in-a-lifetime moments truly are. Adam couldn’t be there because he was dying. Axel didn’t show because of his ego.
So Fuck You Axel Rose, and THANK YOU to all the others that honored us by making music we still love after all these years. For changing music and forging new sounds and being unique and different. For being rock and roll. Thank you for showing up!