Guns N’ Roses Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Reunion: Will They or Won’t They?

  @EllenKilloran on December 21 2011 4:14 PM
Axl Rose
Axl Rose and Lana Del Rey were seen leaving the Chateau Marmont last week and now many are wondering if the two are dating. Reuters

Since the announcement earlier this month that Guns N' Roses had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, three of the band's core members have spoken out about the possibility of a reunion in Cleveland -- and they all have different ideas.

W. Axl Rose gave a rare interview to the Los Angeles Times this week, while he was in Seattle for a tour date with the current incarnation of GNR (which doesn't much look like the lineup who first welcomed us to the jungle).

I've got mixed emotions about what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame actually really is, Rose told Los Angeles Times critic Randall Roberts. But at the same time, there's a lot of people - the fans - that it just means something to them, and they're happy. It's like you won the Heisman or something.

Earlier this week, Joel Peresman, President and CEO of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Foundation, spoke to Eddie Trunk, host of That Metal Show, about a possible Guns N' Roses reunion.

Who will be invited, obviously, is the original five... and [keyboardist] Dizzy [Reed] and [drummer] Matt [Sorum], Peresman said when asked who could be expected to appear at the March 2012 ceremony.

When speaking of the oft-agitated Guns N' Roses, the adjective original more easily refers to the core musicians who played on Appetite for Destruction -- Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan, and Steven Adler.  The first group identifying as Guns N' Roses -- who played an inaugural show at the Troubadour in April 1985 -- included only Rose and Stradlin from the future lineup; Slash, McKagan, and Adler replaced the initial musicians (including founding member Tracii Guns) later the same year.

When asked, Peresman said all of the GNR invitees were coming to the ceremony.

They've all RSVP'd, so to speak? Trunk probed.

Yeah. I mean, I haven't spoken directly to someone from Matt's camp, yet, or from Dizzy, but...spoken to everybody else...and everybody else said they're coming, Peresman replied, somewhat unconvincingly. (Matt Sorum and Dizzy Reed both joined GNR in 1990, and Reed remains the keyboardist today).

I just saw Axl a month ago, Trunk cautioned Peresman, and paraphrased Rose's comments on whether or not he would attend the ceremony: I would have to see how it goes...and what it means for the original band. (Axl has a longstanding feud with Slash, and appears very loyal to the current GNR lineup).

Peresman backpedaled a bit at that point.

We've had situations where people haven't spoken, there's been animosity...all you can do is the best you can, frankly.

This is obviously an...evolving thing, he continued. We'd love for them to come and get together on stage and be pleasant to each other and play. We'll see what happens.

Within hours, Slash tweeted a denial of Peresman's claim: For the record, I didn't RSVP, or in any way commit to attending the RRHF. I don't appreciate people putting words in my mouth.

Trunk retweeted Slash's message, and later wrote that another GNR member had contradicted Peresman.

Proof that the GnR Hall might be a mess? Since the Pres was on my radio show saying members RSVP'd, 2 members texted me saying they did not! Trunk tweeted. He later added, Not going to speak for any members as I was texted privately by another.

Though Trunk did not provide any further clues to the identity of the second Guns N' Roses member who denied RSVPing to the ceremony, we can be pretty sure it was not former GNR drummer Steven Adler, who really couldn't be more excited about the Hall of Fame induction -- never mind that he was unceremoniously fired from the band in 1990 (and nearly killed himself because of it).

Earlier this month, Adler told Rolling Stone's Andy Greene that he'd been practicing his speech for three weeks -- even though the announcement had only been made the day before his interview.

Once I heard we were on the ballot, I knew we were going to win, Adler said when Greene questioned him on the chronology. (Guns N' Roses is among a select few artists to be inducted into the Hall of Fame their first year of eligibility -- 25 years after an act's first release of an album or single.)

In Adler's version of events, he was incapacitated from prescribed opiate blockers (which interacted poorly with the heroin still in his system) the day Guns N' Roses went into the studio to record Civil War. In a 2005 interview with Dave Ling for the GNR fan site Here Today...Gone To Hell, Alder said he had tried to convince Slash to reschedule the recording session, knowing that he couldn't perform. He admitted that his timing was like a rollercoaster, and said that his bandmates were convinced he was messed up on heroin.

He was fired two weeks later -- but said that he was duped into signing away his rights to the band. He later successfully sued for three million dollars.

Lawsuits and bad blood notwithstanding, Adler is hoping against hope that all of his former bandmates -- including Axl Rose -- might show up in March.

It would mean so much to me if [Axl] did, Adler told Rolling Stone. Izzy too. I know that Duff and Slash will show up. They're basically normal human beings...But Axl...it would mean so much to me.

Six years ago, Adler was somewhat less forgiving of the GNL frontman, who is widely believed to be the primary source of the band's discontent through the decades.

It was the greatest time of my life, but one of the guys -- I don't need to name him -- made it so difficult for us all, Adler told Ling in 2005. Quite often he made the best and most exciting times I'll ever experience feel like a complete pain in the a--.

Besides the loneliness and sadness I felt when I was excluded, the worst thing was to play in front of 20,000 people and have the guy storm offstage in the middle of the first song. With no warning, he'd throw the microphone to the floor, then leave, the drummer continued. 

It's all coming back to him now because he's the one who looks bad. But at the time it reflected badly on all of us.

Today, Adler just wishes Axl and Slash would bury the hatchet -- or rather, Axl would.

For twenty years, because of some STUPID grudge, which I guarantee you that neither of them could even tell you what it was, Adler told Rolling Stone. They don't even know! I just had lunch with Slash two days ago. He loves Axl. He holds no grudges towards him. Twenty years of great music wasn't created because of some stupid grudge. That's a shame.

Can't we just be f--king people who played music and accomplished a huge goal in their life and just play a couple songs? he later said.

If the Police could do a reunion...One of the biggest jerks I ever met was Sting. If he can do it, then anyone can do it...And the Eagles! They did it! They severely hated each other. It's just rock and roll.

Rose, for his part, seems to have warmed to the idea somewhat since his conversation with Trunk -- at least, he doesn't want to use the Hall of Fame induction as a vehicle to make some kind of a personal statement.

Referencing Marlon Brando's infamous protest at the Academy Awards, and Michael Moore's anti-Bush acceptance speech many years later, Rose said, People don't want that associated with their awards shows, even if you have a big audience.

So I really don't want to spoil it for everybody else - or take the beating, he told Roberts.

Still, he's not making any commitments right now. There is no plan yet. There really is no plan.

With or without Rose, Adler will be at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March - speech in hand.

I've got a tent and a sleeping bag, Adler said, so I'm going to be there the week before.

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