The annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn Friday. This year’s class included N.W.A., Chicago, Cheap Trick, the Steve Miller Band and Deep Purple.
Drummer Ian Paice says they never tried to block guitarist Ritchie Blackmore from Deep Purple’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Paice says Blackmore was invited and it was his right to decline. The members of Deep Purple had nice things to say about Blackmore in their speeches and they played Blackmore’s signature song, “Smoke on the Water.” Lars Ulrich of Metallica inducted Deep Purple at Friday’s ceremony and said, “They should have been here a long time ago. They are now here where they belong.”
Singer Robin Zander of Cheap Trick says their induction into the Rock Hall was such a surprise. He says they’ve never won anything before, although he deadpans, “There was a few albums, 40 gold and platinum records. That’s the only thing.” Kid Rock inducted them and he pointed out that most bands present at the ceremony probably thought they were pretty good live acts. He says, “Then you go and see Cheap Trick. That’s when you think, we kind of suck. I better step up my game.” The mayor of Rockford, Illinois, is so proud of Cheap Trick’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that he’s renamed the city. Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey issued a proclamation declaring Rockford “officially unofficially” renamed Trickford as of Friday and lasting forever. Visitors to the city can walk the Cheap Trick Fan Trail, which takes them past the high schools the band members went to, the bars they played and the gift shop formerly owned by the parents of guitarist Rick Nielsen.
Here’s more from Rolling Stone:
- The night kicked off with a tribute to the late David Bowie, with the Roots, David Byrne and Kimbra performing the Bowie classic “Fame.”
- Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich inducted Deep Purple, acknowledging the influence the band has had on other rockers over the past 40 years. Lars noted, “So in my heart – and I know I speak for many of my fellow musicians and millions of Purple fans when I confess that – I am somewhat bewildered that they are so late in getting in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” Current Deep Purple members Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover then performed alongside 1970s singer/bassist Glenn Hughes and vocalist David Coverdale treating the crowd to “Highway Star,” “Hush” and, their classic, “Smoke On The Water.” Those hoping for a last minute appearance by Ritchie Blackmore left disappointed.
- The Black Keys Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney inducted Steve Miller, noting that the singer’s hits between 1974 ad 1977 were so prolific it warranted its own Greatest Hits album that “has sold a staggering 13 million copies, more than classic albums like ‘Abbey Road.” Miller’s speech was a bit critical of the Hall of Fame, sharing, “I encourage you to keep expanding your vision to be inclusive of women, to be more transparent in your dealings with the public and most importantly, to do much more to provide music to our schools.” (He also had some words to say about how they hand out tickets to the HOF induction while in the pressroom.) His performance included such hits “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Rock’n Me” and “The Joker.”
- Kendrick Lamar was on hand to induct N.W.A. “The fact that a famous group can look just like one of us and dress like one of us, talk like one of us, proved to every single kid in the ghetto that you can be successful and still have importance while doing it,” he said. “That was N.W.A. That was their true message.” The band didn’t perform at the ceremony, but all the members did give speeches. “There were a lot of people against us [when we started], probably because of what we were saying,” said Dr. Dre. “I get it. I understand. They weren’t ready for us. The name of our group alone was a shocker.” MC Ren then called out KISS’ Gene Simmons, who was quoted as saying rappers shouldn’t be in the HOF. “Hip-hop is here forever!” he said. “Get used to it! Get used to it! We supposed to be here!” Ice Cube added, “Rock and roll is not an instrument. Rock and roll isn’t even a style of music. Rock and roll is a spirit that’s been going since the blues, jazz, bebop, soul, R&B, heavy metal, punk rock and, yes, hip-hop. What connects us all is that spirit.”
- Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas was up next to induct Chicago, noting that people don’t necessarily consider the band “badass dudes,” but added that even Jimi Hendrix was a big fan. “That, kids, is badass,” he said. “If you think Chicago is your mom’s band, then I want to party with your mom.” Chicago lead singer Peter Cetera skipped the festivities, and the most memorable, and expletive filled speech, came from drummer Danny Seraphine , who was kicked out of the group in 1990. “We lived together, as most bands do, we cried together, we fought together, we f**ked together,” he said. “‘Please wrap it up?’ Screw you. I’ve waited 25 f**king years for this!” The band then performed “Saturday in the Park,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “25 or 6 to 4.”
- Kid Rock had the audience laughing through his speech inducting Cheap Trick. “When disco and soft rock had taken over our radio – thank God I wasn’t alive then – they were exactly what we needed, a garage band in sheep’s clothing,” he said. “They had a punk soul, a pop heartbeat and Beatles ambitions.” Cheap Trick, including former drummer Bun E. Carlos, then had the crowd on their feet with hits “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police” and “Surrender”
- The night ended with the return of the HOF induction jam, with David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Steve Van Zandt, Sheryl Crow, Rob Thomas, Steve Miller and members of Deep Purple and Chicago joining Cheap Trick for their version of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame.”
Despite performing at this weekend’s induction ceremony, Steve Miller is not happy with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “The whole process needs to be changed from the top to the bottom,” Miller explained in the press room following his set. “They need to respect the artists they say they’re honoring, but they don’t.” He claims he was only given two tickets to the ceremony and was charged thousands of dollars for any others he wanted. “I said ‘I’m playing here, what about my band, what about their wives,” he said. “They make this so unpleasant.” Miller noted that his performance didn’t almost didn’t happened because of the treatment he experienced, then, after being prompted to get off the stage, the rocker added “We’re not gonna wrap this up, I’m gonna wrap you up.” The Hall of Fame’s response? “Rock and roll can ignite many opinions. It’s what makes it so great,” they said. “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was honored to induct Steve Miller tonight and congratulates him.” Perhaps, but Miller isn’t the first honoree to complain, and he surely won’t be the last. Here’s the story from The New York Daily News
Gene Simmons and the members of N.W.A. have been in a war of words ever since the KISS bassist questioned the rap group’s induction in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During their induction Friday, N.W.A.’s MC Ren specifically called out Simmons sharing, “Hip-hop is here forever! Get used to it! Get used to it! We supposed to be here!” Ice Cube also added, “Rock and roll is not an instrument. Rock and roll isn’t even a style of music. Rock and roll is a spirit that’s been going since the blues, jazz, bebop, soul, R&B, heavy metal, punk rock and, yes, hip-hop. What connects us all is that spirit.” Well, Gene has now fired off his response via Twitter. “Let me know when @JimiHendrix gets into the hip hop hall of fame” he tweeted. “Then youll have a point.”