Ever since Axl Rose very publically announced he wanted nothing to do with Guns N’ Roses induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, speculation has run rampant about just which (if any) of his former (or current) bandmates will be on hand to accept the honor. And with the ceremony set for Saturday in Cleveland, we’re still not sure.
While Rose’s open letter to the Hall may have upset some , one former GN’R man probably wasn’t all that surprised. When MTV News sat down with bassist Duff McKagan (who served in Guns from 1985 until 1997) last month to discuss the paperback release of his biography “It’s So Easy and Other Lies,” well, he didn’t seem all that optimistic that his former bandmates would ever be able to put aside the past two decades of squabbles and appear at the Hall.
“If it were totally up to me … it’d be great if everybody showed up,” he said. “If not, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s it; it’s that simple for me.”
And McKagan has already been down this path before: In 2007, he and his Velvet Revolver mates were tapped to induct — and subsequently jam with — Van Halen, a band whose backstory rivals possibly only GN’R’s in terms of acrimony. By all accounts, former frontman David Lee Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen were all set to let bygones be bygones, share the stage together and bask in the moment. Of course, that didn’t exactly happen .
“Five years ago, we were going to be the band, and David Lee Roth was going to get on and sing with us, and Eddie was going to play with us, and those guys weren’t talking, but we were going to be the band and they were going to get up and play with us, somehow,” he laughed. “And then it kind of fell apart, and we were already in New York, and we were kind of left holding the bag a little bit.”
Still, even though he was eerily aware of all the drama that would come, McKagan was definitely touched by Guns’ induction into the Hall — mostly because he knows how much it means to his fans (take note, Axl).
“It’s an honor. It’s not something I strove for my entire career, was not even on my radar, but I saw the outpouring of the fan reaction when we were nominated, and suddenly it became important, because I saw how important it was for people who got me to a place where I can be in a house and support my wife and kids,” he said. “And what a journey we had, going from a little club band, playing to three people to eventually playing stadiums, just out of thin air … and it’s really incredible for it to be 25 years later, talking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”