Axl Rose Declines Induction Into Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame: Read His Letter

April 12th, 2012

You’d think being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame would be any musician’s dream, proof of the respect they have from their peers for a successful and influential carrer. But Axl Rose doesn’t need the honor. Though Guns N’ Roses will be inducted into the Hall on Saturday, April 14, the band’s former frontman will not attend the ceremony. In fact, he has asked for his name to be withdrawn from induction.
So what happened? Read Axl’s lengthy statement explaining his decision below.
To: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Guns N’ Roses Fans and Whom It May Concern,
When the nominations for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame were first announced I had mixed emotions but, in an effort to be positive, wanting to make the most of things for the fans and with their enthusiasm, I was honored, excited and hoped that somehow this would be a good thing. Of course I realized as things stood, if Guns N’ Roses were to be inducted it’d be somewhat of a complicated or awkward situation.
Since then we’ve listened to fans, talked with members of the board of the Hall Of Fame, communicated with and read various public comments and jabs from former members of Guns N’ Roses, had discussions with the president of the Hall Of Fame, read various press (some legit, some contrived) and read other artists’ comments weighing in publicly on Guns and the Hall with their thoughts.
Under the circumstances I feel we’ve been polite, courteous, and open to an amicable solution in our efforts to work something out. Taking into consideration the history of Guns N’ Roses, those who plan to attend along with those the Hall for reasons of their own, have chosen to include in “our” induction (that for the record are decisions I don’t agree with, support or feel the Hall has any right to make), and how (albeit no easy task) those involved with the Hall have handled things… no offense meant to anyone but the Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony doesn’t appear to be somewhere I’m actually wanted or respected.
For the record, I would not begrudge anyone from Guns their accomplishments or recognition for such. Neither I or anyone in my camp has made any requests or demands of the Hall Of Fame. It’s their show not mine.
That said, I won’t be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N’ Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
I strongly request that I not be inducted in absentia and please know that no one is authorized nor may anyone be permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf. Neither former members, label representatives nor the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame should imply whether directly, indirectly or by omission that I am included in any purported induction of “Guns N’ Roses”.
This decision is personal. This letter is to help clarify things from my and my camp’s perspective. Neither is meant to offend, attack or condemn. Though unfortunately I’m sure there will be those who take offense (God knows how long I’ll have to contend with the fallout), I certainly don’t intend to disappoint anyone, especially the fans, with this decision. Since the announcement of the nomination we’ve actively sought out a solution to what, with all things considered, appears to be a no win, at least for me, “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” scenario all the way around.
In regard to a reunion of any kind of either the Appetite or Illusion lineups, I’ve publicly made myself more than clear. Nothing’s changed.
The only reason, at this point, under the circumstances, in my opinion whether under the guise of “for the fans” or whatever justification of the moment, for anyone to continue to ask, suggest or demand a reunion are misguided attempts to distract from our efforts with our current lineup of myself, Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Frank Ferrer, Richard Fortus, Chris Pitman, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and DJ Ashba.
Izzy came out with us a few times back in ’06 and I invited him to join us at our LA Forum show last year. Steven was at our show at the Hard Rock, later in ’06 in Las Vegas, where I invited him to our after-party and was rewarded with his subsequent interviews filled with reunion lies. Lesson learned. Duff joined us in 2010 and again in ’11 along with his band, Loaded, opening in Seattle and Vancouver. For me, with the exception of Izzy or Duff joining us on stage if they were so inclined somewhere in the future for a song or two, that’s enough.
There’s a seemingly endless amount of revisionism and fantasies out there for the sake of self-promotion and business opportunities masking the actual realities. Until every single one of those generating from or originating with the earlier lineups has been brought out in the light, there isn’t room to consider a conversation let alone a reunion.
Maybe if it were you it’d be different. Maybe you’d do it for this reason or that. Peace, whatever. I love our band now. We’re there for each other when the going get’s rough. We love our fans and work to give them every ounce of energy and heart we can.
So let sleeping dogs lie or lying dogs sleep or whatever. Time to move on. People get divorced. Life doesn’t owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another’s, or in this case several others’, expense.
But hey if ya gotta then maybe we can get the “no show, grandstanding, publicity stunt, disrespectful, he doesn’t care about the fans” crap out of the way as quickly as we can and let’s move on. No one’s taking the ball and going home. Don’t get it twisted. For more than a decade and a half we’ve endured the double standards, the greed of this industry and the ever present seemingly limitless supply of wannabes and unscrupulous, irresponsible media types. Not to imply anything in this particular circumstance, but from my perspective in regard to both the Hall and a reunion, the ball’s never been in our court.
In closing, regardless of this decision and as hard to believe or as ironic as it may seem, I’d like to sincerely thank the board for their nomination and their votes for Guns’ induction. More importantly I’d like to thank the fans for being there over the years, making any success we’ve had possible and for enjoying and supporting Guns N’ Roses music.
I wish the Hall a great show, congratulations to all the other artists being inducted and to our fans we look forward to seeing you on tour!!
Axl Rose

William Bruce Rose was born on February 6, 1962, in Lafayette, IN, and suffered sexual abuse from his biological father and physical abuse from his eventual stepfather at an early age (Rose changed his name to William Bailey after his mother remarried). Rose was also an outcast in school, where he was picked on for being "different," but found solace in singing with his school and church vocal choir and eventually rock music.
His rough teenage years were eased a bit when he befriended a Keith Richards-worshipping chap by the name of Jeff Isbell, who shared Rose's interest in music. Isbell left Indiana for the streets of Los Angeles in the early '80s with hopes of forming a rock band, and Rose followed shortly thereafter, changing his name to W. Axl Rose (while Isbell soon adopted the name Izzy Stradlin).

The L.A. rock music scene at the time was split done the center between rough and ready punk rock and hair spray-soaked glam rock/heavy metal, and Rose wanted to form an outfit that borrowed equally from each genre. Stradlin and Rose plowed through several outfits that went nowhere (Hollywood Rose being one), before hooking up with fellow streetwise rockers Slash (guitar, real name Saul Hudson), Duff McKagan (bass), and Steven Adler (drums). After slugging it out on the Sunset Strip and honing their act, the newly christened Guns N' Roses signed a recording contract with Geffen Records after issuing an independent live EP (1986's Live Like a Suicide). Their full-length debut, Appetite for Destruction' was released a year later and at first the public didn't know what to make of the album or of the band. Slowly but surely, rock's fickle audience came around and by the summer of 1988, Guns N' Roses was fast becoming one of the world's top rock bands (on the strength of such hit singles/MTV-saturated videos as "Welcome to the Jungle," "Sweet Child O' Mine," and "Paradise City").

But with fame came death-defying drug and alcohol abuse amongst all five bandmembers (as well as last-minute tour/concert cancellations) -- it appeared as though the more successful they became, the more problems arose. To fill the void for a new G N' R album, Geffen put out the 8-track stop-gap EP, G N' R Lies, in late 1988, amidst widespread rumors of an impending band breakup. The album was another big seller (on the strength of the hit acoustic ballad "Patience") but Axl Rose came under immense fire and criticism for the song "One in a Million," in which Rose had derogatory comments for gays, blacks, and immigrants. Undeterred, Rose and co. regrouped and worked on their much-anticipated true follow-up to Appetite, which seemed to always miss its numerous projected release dates. Adler was sacked during the recording, while 1991 finally saw the release of the two-part sophomore effort Use Your Illusion. Both discs were massive hits, but the band appeared to have reinvented themselves as a bombastic and indulgent rock act, often recalling the music that their punk rock idols attempted to destroy in the mid-'70s. A mammoth two-year tour followed (with Stradlin leaving the band mid-tour) in which G N' R found themselves losing their validity as a streetwise rock act in the face of the stripped down grunge movement (which included such acts as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden,etc.).

It only made Rose seem more out of touch from reality when he would hold the band up from going onstage, resulting in ridiculous multi-hour delays. His public image took a few more shots when several concerts were marred by audience riots caused by Rose's notorious hijinks and when he tried to pick a fight with Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain backstage at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards for disparaging (yet quite on the mark) remarks Cobain made about Rose in the press. When the tour finally ground to a halt in 1993, G N' R issued a lukewarm-received collection of covers, The Spaghetti Incident, and took a well-deserved rest. But after numerous aborted writing/recording sessions for their third proper studio album, the remaining other two original members (Slash and McKagan) either quit the band or were dismissed by Rose. Rose had been granted full ownership of the name Guns N' Roses, so he slowly formed a whole new band around him.

With rumors running rampant that he had become a bloated, bald, and drug-addled hermit (due to the fact that he did not grant a single interview between 1994-1999, staying completely out of the spotlight), Axl Rose continued to work on G N' R's next release himself. 1999 saw G N' R's first new song released in nearly eight years -- the industrial rocker "Oh My God" from the End of Days soundtrack, as well as a live compilation of old-school G N' R tracks (Live Era: '87-'93), yet both came and went without much fanfare. But all that changed when Rose and his new cohorts (which included ex-Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck, mask-wearing solo guitarist Buckethead, ex-Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, ex-Primus drummer Brian Mantia, plus longtime G N' R keyboardist Dizzy Reed) played their first live shows together in early 2001, receiving unanimously favorable reviews. With a world tour booked and album nearing completion (reportedly to be titled Chinese Democracy), the G N' R/Axl Rose-hype machine appeared to be building up to a feverish pitch once again. ~ Greg Prato, All Music Guide

Please follow this blog J