Axl Rose Booed, Ignored at Rock Hall of Fame Inductions
Axl Rose's former bandmates in Guns N' Roses took the high road during their acceptance speeches at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday night. The crowd? Not so much.
The ex-GNR members declined to mention the singer by name. But Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong had to, of course, in his introductory speech, and the audience at Cleveland's Public Hall responded with a round of boos, as they had early in the evening when Rose's visage first appeared on the big screen.
"Let's see--who am I missing?" Armstrong said, after discussing every original member of the band but Rose in detail. After the audience responded with raspberries, Armstrong broke in. "Shut the [bleep] up!" he said, in a not-too-admonitory way that made it clear he knew why the crowd was upset. "Shut up. This man's a bad-ass [bleeping] singer--one of the best frontmen to ever touch a mic."
Despite Armstrong's implicit plea for forgiveness, it was clear that Rose has, for this week, at least, become the kind of villain rarely seen outside a superhero movie. In his open letter declining the honor earlier in the week, Rose wrote, "Unfortunately I'm sure there will be those who take offense... God knows how long I'll have to contend with the fallout"—and more prophetic words were never spoken.
In his introduction, as if to offer an apologia for the MIA singer, Armstrong broke into an imitation of Rose singing a lyric about being "crazy." "Most singers are crazy," the Green Day singer added, describing it as a vocational hazard. "I can vouch for that right now."
When the band members came forward to speak, there were no specific references to Rose, but the musicians did use their allusions.
"The fans are the ones who made it possible for us to get together tonight with all the adversity and everything that was going on," said Slash. He particularly thanked his wife, saying, "When all this drama was going on, I was like [bleep] it, but she said 'Go and do it with the guys,' and I said 'You're right.'"
Drummer Matt Sorum took the highest of high roads, saying, "I want to thank the other bandmates that aren't here tonight [and tell them] that I love and respect them and I'm honored to have been on stage playing music with them."