Down the Garden Path
Song - Artist - Album
Playtime - JUNIOR BOYS - It's All True
Guns N' Roses were a no-brainer for nomination and induction in their first year of eligibility for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Excluding them would have been just another faux paux on the Hall's ever-growing list of oversights. But much as GNR should be there, alterior motive lingered in Cleveland.
All five original members of Guns N' Roses last performed together in April 1990. That's a lot of anticipation, much hoping, built up over twenty-two years. Slash, Izzy, Duff, Steven and Axl, seated together at the ceremony, would have been gold, for both HBO ratings and the credibility of the Hall.
But, in typical Guns fashion (the total lack of communication when they tried to start working on the Illusion albums in Chicago, for example), none of them really knew each other's plans. Despite numerous interviews over the last several months, the questions were unanswered: Would they perform? Would they all even show up?
Word was, Izzy would be a no-show. Slash, Duff and Steven — and drummer Matt Sorum, also on the induction ballot — publically planned to attend. The big question was Axl. Would the mercurial singer put on a game face and take one for the team?
The answer came three days before the ceremony, in an open letter to the Hall: No.
Slash, Duff, Steven and Matt were present in Cleveland on Saturday night, accepting the induction, then performing three Appetite tunes with Myles Kennedy from Slash's band on vocals. In a move that showed class and respect, guitarist Gilby Clarke was invited to play, an acknowledgement of his place in GNR history, despite personally not being inducted.
Keyboardist Dizzy Reed, also on the ballot, and the only player from the Illusion era band still playing with Axl under the GNR banner, was absent.
So, fans didn't get their long-hoped-for onstage reunion. But whether anyone realizes it or not, maybe least of all the band themselves, the five of them did come together as Guns N' Roses.
The snarling, spitting spirit of Guns N' Roses that we loved — and miss — so much, was their take no shit attitude. Us against the world. Each with their specific role, they always banded together against the bullshit of the music business.
That dynamic was in effect against the fat cat pretense of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the total antithesis of Guns N' Roses: Axl made a stand; Izzy disappeared; Duff appeased the media; Steven was exuberant; and Slash showed up to play.
No, the original line-up didn't perform. But they came together, the old Guns N' Roses gang, against an establishment trying to exploit them.