Suffice it to say that in his lengthy, lawyerly letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week refusing his induction as part of the classic line-up of Guns N’ Roses, singer Axl Rose had a bone (or two, or six or 20) to pick with the process.
It’s hard to say who the enigmatic hard-rock icon was most mad at, but his steadfast refusal to attend the induction, or even acknowledge the honor, put him in a long tradition of rock legends who’ve either bashed the RRHOF for not including them (only to change their tune once their number came up) or refused to show up, not to mention the fans who’ve raised holy hell when their favorite bands couldn’t make the cut.
Among the other hell-raisers:
Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath: Before the group got the call in 2005 , the Blizzard of Ozz had been very vocal about how little he wanted to do with the Hall. In a 1999 letter to the Hall of Fame, Ozzy famously told the institution, “Just take our name off the list. Save the ink. Forget about us. The nomination is meaningless, because it’s not voted on by the fans. It’s voted on by the supposed elite for the industry and the media, who’ve never bought an album or concert ticket in their lives, so their vote is irrelevant to me.” He added, “Let’s face it, Black Sabbath has never been media darlings. We’re a people’s band and that suits us just fine.”
John Lydon/Sex Pistols: Lydon (aka “Johnny Rotten”) was his typical snotty self when his pioneering punk band made the short list in 2006. In a cheeky letter, the perennially put out Lydon wrote, “Next to the Sex Pistols rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. We’re not coming. We’re not your monkey and so what?” Needless to say, the band did not show up for the ceremony.
Gene Simmons/Kiss: The kabuki theater bass player is never at a loss for words. And nothing makes him angrier than the fact that the “greatest band in the world” has never been invited to the party. He’s lashed out at the Rock Hall repeatedly in the 12 years since his group became eligible. “There are disco bands, rap bands, Yiddish folk song bands, but not Kiss,” he said in 2008.
David Lee Roth/Eddie Van Halen/Van Halen: The longest-running soap opera in rock was kicked up a notch in 2007 when VH was slated for induction. Original singer Roth had been rehearsing for the event and speculation swirled for months about who would show up and if replacement singer Sammy Hagar would be on hand as well. Then, in classic VH fashion, Eddie and Dave both bailed and it was left to Hagar and now-former bassist Michael Anthony to accept on the band’s behalf.
And then there are the fans. In addition to the unending volley of complaints from the Kiss Army, followers of Canadian prog rockers Rush have been bellyaching for the past decade of the band’s eligibility that the wizardly trio deserve their spot in the Hall. They’ve picketed, launched petitions and all but drawn their broadswords and threatened to storm the I.M. Pei-designed glass pyramid in Cleveland to rectify this grave injustice. All to no avail.
Are you disappointed that Axl Rose won’t be at this weekend’s Hall of Fame ceremony? Let us know in comments below.